Home / Mobile / GPS & Sat Nav / Polar RCX5 / GPS and Accessories

Polar RCX5

By Cliff Jones



Our Score:


Which brings us on to our biggest and perhaps most contentious point. While it won't deter every athlete, the biggest shortcoming of the RCX5 for us was the lack of built-in GPS. We understand this makes the watch lighter and slimmer for the times when you might not want to use GPS, for instance if you are swimming or on a treadmill, but we prefer the more integral approach.

Unlike running with the Nike Sportwatch and the Garmin Forerunners models, RCX5 owners who want to track their route have to carry the G5 GPS sensor as an extra accessory. This can be worn on an armband, or we found it worked equally well in a rucksack on a hip belt.

If you will always want to track your run on a map after a workout, this feels like extra equipment to have to carry, especially if you run with a phone or an MP3 player on your arm already.

What we can't complain about is the RCX5 's efficacy as a training tool. Using the included heart rate monitor, we were able to focus on keeping our heart rate under 160 beats per minute to run below 80 per cent of our capacity. This allowed us to run further without burning out and we set a personal best for a half marathon, something we had never managed when training with a standard GPS watch. Measuring speed alone regardless of heart rate ignores the fact that running up a hill at a consistent speed is tiring and will wear you out sooner over a longer distance, whereas running at a constant capacity is running smarter.

On the plus side, the absence of a GPS unit means regular runners don’t have to charge their watch at the mains every week. The standalone G5 GPS Sensor charges via micro-USB and the battery lasts 20 hours, but the S3 Stride Sensor and the RCX5 watch itself take a CR2032 battery which lasts between 8 and 11 months.


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.

heart rate watch Monitors

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

comments powered by Disqus