Polar V650 Bike Computer Review

Polar V650 Bike Computer Review

The Polar V650 bike computer is a unit that combines integrated GPS and a touch screen in full color. It’s also one of the first handheld bike computers to feature the Bluetooth Smart sensor capability. An innovative handheld device that’s a must-have for the avid cyclist, the v650 is the newest device in Polar’s lineup.

Polar V650 Cycling Computer Assessment: Specs and Features

This device is equipped with newer mount models that are different than what you’ll find on past models produced by Polar. Because of the new mount types this device isn’t compatible with older mounts. The company is releasing two mount types for this device. The first is an aero mount, which is designed for triathlon and time trial bikes while the second one is a small rubber mount.

This device is navigated by touch, similar to an iPhone, except this model is suited for glove wearers and is waterproof. Beginning with the main menu, you’ll have the options to start a ride, view history, and change settings. The design itself is fairly simple. On the left side you’ll find a single button that works to provide sensor calibration and can also power down the device. Sensor calibration includes GPS calibration and meters.

Located on the bottom of the device you’ll find one red button, which acts as a start and stop trigger for laps. If you press the button it will trigger a lap. To stop an activity, you’ll hold the button down.

On the main menu screen, you can swipe down from the bottom or top of the screen. If you swipe you’ll get such settings information as front light and backlight brightness and configuration, in addition to audio and sound levels.

Regarding the data configuration side of things, this device will allow you to configure up to six pages, which each page containing between one and eight pieces of data. You can swipe right or left to change the views of the data page.

There are four sports profiles: Indoor, road, MTB and other. These profiles control the activity settings. Aside from sports profiles you’ll also have bike profiles named bike one through four. Each profile features a separate set of sensors. These sensors are paired globally.

The front LED headlight is probably a unique feature on this device. The light will make you more visible to others. So it’s designed more for rider visibility and safety rather than darkness assistance.

The headlight features a couple of modes including flashing and constant. You can change the mode in the settings section. Generally, constant flash has the ability to alert others around you, compared to the flashing mode.

This model also includes an integrated GPS chipset. With the GPS on, the battery will have around ten hours of use with one second of recording rate.

It also features satellite pre-caching abilities up to three days. This model is also equipped with a barometric altimeter, which provides the user with accurate information regarding the elevation during a ride. It also provides descent and ascent info and vertical ascent in hours and meters. The VAM tells you how fast you’re climbing.

This model supports Bluetooth sensors, which means it has the ability to connect to Bluetooth cycling sensors. The Bluetooth Smart sensors hit the market a couple of years ago with a line of heart rate straps and this type of technology caught on quickly and has been implemented in a variety of fitness monitors.

This device does include a full 4.0 Bluetooth chipset making it compatible with Bluetooth-capable smartphones. With iOS devices you’ll need to use the iPhone four or newer. With Android devices you’ll need to use an Android OS 4.3 compatible software.

This model includes a variety of different training focused functionalities. Allowing you to customize your biking workout based on your fitness level. It’s also packed with color-coded zones which are based on the cyclist’s current zone info.

Online at the Polar Flow website the user will have the ability to create a workout and then plug their device into their PC and sync it. But once the company’s mobile app is ready to launch the user won’t have to deal with syncing at all and can create their customized workout right on their smartphone.

Consumer Feedback for this model by Polar

Pros: During a ride, this model can record heart rate variability. This info can help to determine the VO2 max estimates. Also, the unit will then take this type of information, transmitting it to the device which will display details regarding recovery and training load. Based on the impact of each workout and combined with the Polar device historical data, the website has the ability to predict your specific recovery time, which can be a big deal for your total weekly workout because this info can be used to better predict your training load.  This model also features route navigation which is based on the routes that have been downloaded from Polar. These are either past historical routes or routes that have been shared by other cyclists. This feature is kind of limiting because once the app has been launched you’ll no longer be able to create your own route. Initially, the routes will all need to be downloaded from your PC onto your device, but after the app release you can simply look at hundreds of options for routes using your smartphone. On the handheld device the routes are displayed as breadcrumb trails, with a little compass. The compass is not magnetic and is actually GPS based. Aside from the numerous route options consumers loved the easy to use interface, accurate readings and safety headlight for safe night riding.

Cons: Until the app release some users felt that the features were somewhat limited. The inability to create your own route until the app launch is a big downside for some buyers.

Conclusion and Feedback for this Cycling Computer

Consumers gave this model a rating of four out of five stars for heart rate reading accuracy, ease of use and pricing. Definitely a must-have device for the avid cyclist who loves a challenging ride or needs to train, this Polar device utilizes innovative technology that can allow you to train like a pro.

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