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Polar RCX5 review




Our Score:



  • Excellent battery life
  • Waterproof
  • Post-workout analysis


  • Lack of built-in GPS
  • Ugly design
  • Difficult to adjust

Key Features

  • Multiple sport profiles
  • Heart rate monitor training
  • Customisable display
  • Long battery life
  • Manufacturer: Polar
  • Review Price: £329.50

The Polar RCX5 is not just a mere watch. It calls itself a “fitness computer” and it lives up to its name by analysing your statistics on the move to help you get the most out of your fitness sessions. It all starts by monitoring one particular marvel of technology - your heart.

If you work at 50-60 per cent capacity you improve overall health and recovery rate. At 60-80 per cent you’ll improve endurance. Go even further and you’ll develop performance and speed. And the RCX5 can help keep you in the right zone while you’re working out.

You can throw more data at your fitness programme by adding a stride sensor, which measures your speed and pace as well as your average length of footfalls. Once we calibrated the unit over half a mile, we found it was fairly accurate when matched against a GPS unit. A 5.7 mile run was recorded as 5.8 using only the stride sensor.

That's less than a 2 per cent variance, and we tried to throw it off by changing our gait and putting in the occasional sprint, yet the sensor could judge not only the average length of our stride at 3ft 5in, but the type of step we were taking, be it a light walk or a heavy run.

However, the sensor itself is twice the size of the Nike Sportwatch monitor which can fit into the sole of a compatible running shoe and tested extremely well in the tunnels during our test at the Paris Marathon.


September 27, 2011, 11:48 pm

Not in the same class price-wise but I was very disappointed with the build quality of a Polar S410 that I purchased for my wife. The material covering the buttons was repeatedly prone to cracking and then the whole lot would disintegrate. My wife is by no means a power user of all of the watches functions, often simply wearing the watch to tell start and end times of a run, so its not like the buttons got a lot of abuse. Even when replaced (at a charge) by Polar the same buttons failed again (the large red one on the front and two of the side ones). The strap also proved to be a weak point, with the shorter length that holds the buckle failing in two different places. I don't know what Polar's reputation for reliability is but I was put off getting a Polar myself and stuck with a simple Timex that proved very capable and durable. I'm now considering other options to give me more information, such as Garmin solutions, so this review caught my eye. I'm not sure, though, if just sticking to the Timex and combining it with an app like Endomondo on a lightweight smartphone would be just as useful.


September 28, 2011, 1:47 pm

The build quality on the RCX5 is very good. The strap is more flexible and rubberised which suggested to me it won't dry out and crack the way that my older 1st gen Polar watch has.

Garmin announced a revamp of its Forerunner 210 yesterday. I have been very impressed with the Endomondo app. Free apps are rapidly changing the game for Sat-Nav and GPS watches are no exception. Just a shame that data plans are less generous now.

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April 10, 2012, 3:05 pm

I was born to be cyclist.I have used Polar RCX5.It is really good stuff with indeed a difference.I like polar watches and I have my collection of polar.thanks for sharing.heart rate watch Monitors

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