Reviews - February 2, 2024

7 reasons why the Polar Vantage V3 could be the best snowboarding smartwatch

There are a variety of tech wearables with snowsports tracking modes, and many of the best smartwatches boast them. But as an avid snowboarder for 20 years, one of the 2024 models particularly caught my attention. This is Polar Vantage V3.

Equipped with a dual-frequency GPS antenna and altimeter, it ensures accurate location and altitude tracking even when outside of cell phone coverage (or when traveling without a cell phone).

The V3 also boasts just about every wrist-based health tracking sensor available, from SpO2 to ECG. Plus, post-ride stats and maps are detailed and easy to decipher, as are recovery indicators.

I recently tested Polar’s new flagship model while riding at Whistler Blackcomb Mountain, the largest ski resort in North America. With over 8,000 acres of ski terrain, a full day on the slopes can test even the most seasoned rider’s physical abilities.

And it definitely passed my test. I rode 28,000 vertical feet over two days with the Polar Vantage V3 strapped securely to my wrist. Here are seven features that make it a strong contender for the best snowboarding (and skiing) smartwatch of 2024.

Snow falling from the top of Blackcomb Mountain

This is the view from the top of 7th Heaven on Blackcomb Mountain. (Image source: Dan Bracaglia / Future)

1. Really impressive battery life

Battery life was our biggest concern when testing the Polar Vantage V3 for several hours in British Columbia’s harsh winter mountain environments. Once continuous heart rate and GPS tracking is enabled, will it last until Après time? yes.

I rode non-stop for about 4 hours, and the battery remained above 90% on both days on the slopes. According to Polar, you can expect up to 61 hours in all training modes, including snowboarding, which seems reasonable in slightly warmer, less ideal conditions.

2. “Hill Splitter” keeps your data clean.

To properly track your all-day mountain activities, the best snowboard smartwatch should be able to read how much time you spend on the powder and how much time you spend on the lifts.

Because many trails contain incline and downhill portions, this task is not as simple as parsing uphill data from downhill. Likewise, ski lifts do not run strictly uphill. However, the snowboard mode does incorporate Polar’s famous Hill Splitter feature.

This nifty technology uses GPS location, speed, and altitude readings to determine when a rider’s feet actually touch the ground and when they float gracefully in the sky. This is done with impressive accuracy and is very convenient as it records individual runs as “laps”.

3. Distance, speed, and driving time at a glance

Polar Vantage V3 smartwatch back

(Image source: Future)

You can individually customize the V3’s watch faces to suit the activities you want to track. By default, snowboard mode displays your current speed, distance traveled, total exercise time, and heart rate. These statistics are very easy to read even at a glance.

Other screens provide insight into altitude, calories, speed, cardinal directions, and more. All buttons can be toggled by simply pressing the top or bottom right bezel button.

4. Bright screen that is easy to see even during the day

The display is easy to view, even in direct sunlight, with vibrant colors and sharp details.

Following the last one, the Polar V3 sports a 1.39-inch AMOLED touchscreen with a resolution of 454 x 454 pixels and a maximum brightness of 10,500 nits. When set to maximum, the display is easy to view with vivid colors and sharp details even in direct sunlight.

5. Control your music from your wrist

This may not be a groundbreaking smartwatch feature, but the ability to control your music from your wrist is a must-have for the best winter mountain wearable.

Once paired with your smartphone, a single tap on the watch’s top right button will bring up music controls. Best of all, V3 works well with most music apps like Spotify and YouTube.

6. Durable and weatherproof design

Polar V3 construction inspires confidence. No one wants to break their fancy $600 device into huge pieces by getting caught on an edge or slipping on black ice. Fortunately, the V3’s front is made of shatter-resistant Gorilla Glass, and the case is also aluminum, so it will survive. maximum effect.

And while I wouldn’t pick the V3 for deep sea diving, its 50 meters of water resistance is more than enough to survive even the sloppiest spring rides. The device has also been rated to operate in conditions as cold as minus 5 degrees Fahrenheit. I don’t think I’ll ever see myself hitting an incline at that temperature, but it’s nice to know that if I do, the smartwatch will still work.

7. Post-ride route map and statistics

Apple Maps with snowboarding routes marked in red.

(Image source: Future)

Finally, after riding all day, it’s not always easy to remember which courses have the best conditions or are the least crowded. This is where V3’s post-workout route maps come in handy. This is especially useful when comparing notes with fellow riders over a few cold beers at the end of the day.

Polar has partnered with Apple on its Maps feature, allowing users to move between the standard Apple Maps view and satellite one-time split sessions using colored lines representing each run/lap. Tap a line to see run by run. statistics.

Of course, V3 also provides daily totals for distance traveled, vertical distance traveled, top speed, and top heart rate.

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