Polar Verity Sense Review: Price And Availability
The Polar Verity Sense is available to buy now at Polar UK , Polar US and Polar Australia for a reasonable £79.50 / US $89.95 / AUD $129. It ships with a sensor, swimming goggles strap clip, a USB charging adapter, an armband, and a small mesh carrying case.
In terms of colourways, there only seems to be one flavour available here, and thats a melange charcoal strap with a black plastic casing. However, there are two strap sizes available: M-XXL, which covers limbs 22-34 cm in circumference, or smaller XS-S size at 15-22 cm.
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Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, Im an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so its a fair bit of work . As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments and theres quite a bit of detail in there as well.
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Enter The Polar Verity Sense Armband Hrm
Having owned several Polar running watches and chest monitors I have always been impressed with the performance of Polar products, particularly in the accuracy of measuring heart rate. Being a long-distance runner there has always been one issue Ive faced, particularly when wearing hydration packs, chaffing! Over longer runs and long races the heart strap gradually digs and rubs across my chest, often to the point where I have to remove it. On paper the Verity Sense would be a product that could solve this problem.
The Polar Verity Sense is the third iteration of arm-based heart rate monitor from Polar. The Verity Sense has taken significant steps forward from the original OH1 and OH1+ arm heart rate monitors, which were pretty basic devices.
The key improvements Polar have added include:
- Improved battery life
- Increased Bluetooth range, now 150m
- Addition of a swimming mode
- Dedicated mode lights added to the main face
- Secondary Bluetooth channel
- Increased storage
Wrist or arm-based heart rate has commonly been seen as less accurate compared to measuring a chest strap. The arm-based technology measures blood by shining a low intensity light through the skin, the fluctuations in blood flow determine heart rate. Whilst there is some truth to this claim, the Polar Verity Sense is very accurate, a fact I put to the test by wearing both a chest strap and the armband on a run.
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Polar Verity Sense Battery Life
- 20 hours on a single charge
- Uses USB charging adaptor
Polar doesnt specify the capacity of the battery packed into the Verity Sense but does say it should be good to track 20 hours worth of training. Thats up from the 12 hours promised on Polars OH1+ armband monitor.
On the device itself, the LED lights on the back of the sensor will blink red slowly when theres roughly 15% of battery life left and blink quicker when you have roughly 8% of battery left. Polar will be adding a battery level status indicator in the Flow app in a future software update.
That 20 hours means if youre working out around an hour a day, you can expect a couple of weeks of battery before you need to charge it and thats pretty much what weve found in our experience. Theres no horrible drop-off whether you pair it with another device or use it on its own.
When it is time to charge, theres an identical USB cradle to the one bundled with Polars OH1 and OH1+ sensor that builds the USB charging port into the cradle. Again, its small, which makes it nicer to plug into a laptop, but slightly more annoying for plug sockets. Its easy to misplace too, which is likely why Polar has now decided to include a small bag to carry the sensor, charger, swimming clip in one place.
First reviewed March 2021
Polar Verity Sense Verdict
If you want reliable heart rate data without the restrictive elastic of a chest strap monitor, the Polar Verity Sense should be just the ticket. Its easy to use, comfortable to wear and accurate to boot. Syncing is a cinch, while the option to clip it to swimming goggles gives it useful versatility. Plus its battery lasts for ages.
Its also the perfect tool for those who want a screen-free workout: set it to recording mode and youll be free to sweat it out in the zone, delving into the heart rate data later.
Simplicity rarely comes without compromise, of course. The Verity Sense starts recording as soon as you select the mode, for example, with no option to pause so workout logs often include data from before you actually start. The LED indicators are hidden when you wear the armband and you cant switch modes after starting a session. But the biggest drawback is the Polar Flow app, which makes it unnecessarily clunky to access and edit data.
Yet even with these foibles, the Polar Verity Sense is easy to recommend. As a simple, standalone solution for reliably logging your heart rate, its the clear winner in its niche.
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What Can I Do To Get The Most Accurate Readings When Measuring Heart Rate With Optical Heart Rate Sensor
Movement between the sensor and your skin can interfere with the readings. To measure heart rate accurately, make sure that the sensor is snugly and firmly against your skin. When using the armband, you need to wear the sensor snugly on your forearm or upper arm, not on your wrist. If you’re using the swimming goggle strap clip, try to fit the sensor as far as you can on the strap towards the hairline on your temple, without getting any hair between the sensor and your skin.
Activities that involve irregular hand movements, such as racket sports, make it harder to get an accurate heart rate reading from the arm. When playing these sports, wear the sensor on your non-hitting hand. If you perform activities that cause extreme pressure on your arms, such as weightlifting or pull-ups, your heart rate may be more difficult to detect from your arm. However, regardless of the sport, you can always use the sensor to monitor your average heart rate and heart rate trends during the workouts, and get accurate calorie burn readings.
In cold conditions, blood circulation on the skin may become too weak for the sensor to get a proper reading. You can solve this by warming the skin on your wrist or by doing some exercise to increase skin temperature.
If you have tattoos avoid placing the sensor right on them it as it may prevent accurate readings.
Unboxing The Polar Verity Sense
I like nice packaging. Its give you the sense the manufacturer cares about you!
Out of the box you will see the adjustable arm strap, charging plug, swim goggle connector and carry pouch.
Getting started with the Verity Sense is very straightforward, it is worthwhile downloading the Polar Flow app to enable software updates even if you are pairing this with a sports watch. The Verity Sense can be paired with any Bluetooth or Ant+ device, in my case a Garmin Fenix 6X through the pairing menu.
A single physical button is used to switch the device on, small presses can then be applied to switch the device to the follow three modes
An LED- light on the back of the sensor indicates the battery status
Green 99-80%, Yellow 79-30%, orange 29-10%, red 9-0%.
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Polar Verity Sense Design
- Waterproof up to 50 meters
The design of the Verity Sense is inspired by the sensor that is at the heart of Polars first armband monitor, the OH1. In fact, close-up from the front, its tough to distinguish between them and their large coin-sized stature. Its worth mentioning here that the Sense is not replacing the OH1, which remains on sale.
You still have a single physical button to turn the device on and off, but now theres a series of small icons that let you use that button to quickly change between the three different modes. The first is transmitting data to another device via ANT+ or Bluetooth. You can do that to two devices simultaneously over Bluetooth and as many as youd like over ANT+.
Next up is storing the heart rate-based workout on the device with 16MB of onboard storage, giving you room for 600 hours of training.
The last mode is swimming, letting you use the bundled swimming clip that attaches to your own swimming goggles to monitor heart rate in the pool or open water. It carries a waterproof rating that makes it safe up to 50 metres depth, which should make it suitable for most swimmers.
That sensor is clipped and held in place inside of a black cradle that Polar says also acts as an antenna to boost Bluetooth range by 150 metres. This should make it easier to use it with Bluetooth-enabled equipment thats a little further away from your body.
Polar Verity Sense Review: The Polar Flow App
One of the biggest letdowns when using the Verity Sense day-to-day is the devices companion app, Polar Flow. Its so poorly designed, counterintuitive, and difficult to understand that we often find ourselves becoming frustrated with it. Its not only ugly to look at, but it doesnt even attempt to make clear how you use the Verity Sense. Basically, if youre a Polar newbie, you will have to read the lengthy instructions it comes with there’s no easy way in.
Once you manage to get your tracker connected and finish a workout wearing it, theres then no workout summary displayed afterwards, just a calendar showing when you did your last session and the time it took. You have to link up Strava or some other app to get this info. Its confusing and actually quite challenging to use.
And its not like this is the only device that relies on this app. Polars entire ecosystem of fitness trackers utilises this software, so it’s a bit silly that it doesn’t have a clearer user interface. The Polar Flow is clearly designed for Polar’s running watch range as opposed to tracking individual heart rate monitor workouts.
Our recommendation is to connect the Polar Verity Sense to the Polar Beat app instead, which is way more user-friendly and feeds data back into the Polar Flow app too. You can initiate a workout from the Polar Beat app and also monitor heart rate, and calories burned in real time using the phone, which acts as an external screen for the Verity Sense strap.
Polar Verity Sense Connectivity & App: Syncing Feeling
There are two ways to pair the Polar Verity Sense: using ANT+ or using Bluetooth. In heart rate mode, the tracker will search for nearby devices which are available for pairing, then automatically transmit your pulse data using the appropriate wireless protocol. Thats usually Bluetooth for smartwatches and smartphones, while ANT+ is used by certain gym equipment, turbo trainers and bike computers. In practice, real-time pairing works a treat. The Polar Vantage V2 detected and connected to the Verity Sense swiftly and maintained the connection throughout a workout.
Alternatively, if you log workouts in swimming or recording mode, youll need to download the resulting data through the Polar Flow app. This is similarly easy: with Bluetooth on and the app open on your smartphone, simply turn on the Polar Verity Sense and it should sync automatically.
Less straightforward is the Polar Flow app itself. Its nothing if not comprehensive, with an activity log plotted on a rolling calendar, as well as in-depth training data for individual workouts. If youre familiar with the system, youll find no shortage of numbers to mull over. But its not the most intuitive interface for first-timers, and theres quite a learning curve.
If youre a fan of other training platforms such as Strava or Nike+ you can sync data across by connecting these through your Polar account. But youll still need to download the numbers through the Polar Flow app first.
Highlights Of Polar Verity Sense
- Long battery life: up to 20 hours
- Large Bluetooth transmission range: up to 150 m
- Large internal memory: 16 MB
- Integrated motion sensor, gyroscope and magnetometer
- Dual Bluetooth as well as numerous ANT+ connections possible
- Precise measurement via optical pulse measurement with 6 LEDs
- USB rechargeable battery
- Removable, washable wristband
- Flexible, easy to use on the upper/forearm or on the temple when swimming
- Mounting clip for standard swimming goggles
- Swim mode: records distance , pace and heart rate
- Over-the-air firmware updates
- Waterproof up to 50 meters
- Can be worn under tight clothing without sensor holder
- Pulse sensor mode for real-time transmission of pulse values to compatible apps or sports equipment
- Recording mode: saves training session via internal memory for later synchronization
- Can be used in standalone mode with the Polar Beat app, in combination with wrist products and the Polar Flow app or numerous other sports apps/devices via BLE
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A Better Place For Hr Monitor
Anthony, 31 January 2022
I was using a HR chest strap but starting to find that the strap irritated or cut in on very long runs – always been v happy w polar products so wanted an alternative that would work with cardio equipment at the gym and also with my Suunto watch and Garmin bike gps. This product is really good and the swim option is great too . Works well and very comfortable – recommended!
- Value for Money:
Final Thoughts On The Verity Sense
I have found very little to gripe about the Verity Sense. One potential limiting factor could be the battery life which may compromise use during some endurance events . This is a minor issue that can be overcome using a spare sensor or using a power bank for recharging as the monitor only takes several minutes to fully charge.
Switching the monitor on or off when wearing a long sleeve top is not a simple process as you are unable to see the monitor LEDs under the sleeve material, after using the monitor you do get used to this as the connection status is displayed on a compatible watch. It would be useful if Polar could design a larger power button that gives feedback when pressed.
It is worth noting the very small size of the charging plug gives people like me a high likelihood of misplacing it around the house, gym bag etc! I recommend carrying the sensor in a chest pocket on your jacket, or some place where you dont carry other items.
The Verity Sense retails around the £75 area, when taking into consideration the accuracy and new and improved features from the Polar OH1 the increase of £10 from the OH1 makes the Verity Sense very good value. I believe the Verity Sense to be a market leader in the world of arm-based heart rate monitors.
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How Does The Polar Verity Sense/polar Oh1 Optical Heart Rate Measurement Work
The Polar Verity Sense/Polar OH1 uses a technology called optical heart rate monitoring . It’s a technology that’s been used in hospitals for some time already and is based on detecting your blood flow optically through the skin on your arm.
The LEDs on the optical heart rate sensor shine a bright green light through the skin of your arm, and the photodiode detects the intensity of the green light reflecting back from the skin. Now, when your heart beats, it pumps blood to your veins. When the blood flow is stronger in the veins, less green light is reflected back to the photodiode. Between the heart beats, the blood flow is weaker, and more green light is reflected back to the photodiode. From these variations in the intensity of the green light reflecting back from your skin, the optical heart rate sensor can determine your heart rate.
Polar Verity Sense In
Polar has launched an updated version of their standalone optical HR sensor, taking the existing Polar OH1 and adding new features and capabilities, and re-branding it as the Verity Sense. For those familiar with my reviews & testing, youll know that I often use the Polar OH1 as a reference device in testing and it is arguably the most accurate optical HR sensor in the market usually out-performing conventional chest straps too . Perhaps once the Scosche Rhythm 2.0 starts shipping in a month, thatll change as the early results here were promising.
The question is does the Verity Sense retain that title? First up, are the improvements. Theyve significantly increased the battery life claims, from 8 to 20 hours. Theyve also increased the range from 75m to 150m primarily targeted at field team sports that may have recording devices on the sidelines. Theyve also included a new swimming mode, and dedicated mode lights on the back, plus an entirely new strap design that minimizes the chance of a flip-over. In other words, they basically addressed the most common complaints of the OH1 series.
Ive been testing the unit for a bit now, and have some good solid data to look at accuracy on, plus general usage. However, Ill keep adding data sets to this, especially over the coming weeks as part of other reviews where Ill continue to use this alongside other products to see how accuracy fairs longer term.
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