Polar Gathers More Information, But Leaves You Feeling Alone

By Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am — Filed under:

With the recent release of the iPhone, I was tempted to dump my iPod Nano in favor of the shiny toy. Since the iPhone doesn’t work with the Nike+ (I FINALLY have an answer to that question), I thought that maybe I should switch to a REAL workout wrist computer like the ones available from Polar.

Polar Gathers More Information, But Leaves You Feeling Alone

After reviewing their website and all the documentation, however, I am unconvinced it would be a proper replacement. The biggest advantage of the Nike+ system are the online challenges. You can challenge a friend who also has a Nike+ or join the many challenges against people in your own fitness level.

The Polar watches track MUCH more than the Nike+ system: Heart Rate, altitude, bicycling, and much more. Their computer system allows you to track this information, graph it out, and even upload it online, but there is no mention of any ability to compete with other Polar watch owners. I know the runners who use Polar outnumber the Nike+ owners, but Polar has no way of you contacting and competing with people of your same caliber.

It’s a huge loss for Polar, if you ask me. Their products are superior to the Nike+ system. If only they understood the competitive incentive of trouncing someone, they would allow me to compete.

Yet another reason to skip buying the iPhone and just stick with my iPod Nano. It looks like Apple is leaving Nike+ in the background. I hope Nike picks up the pace and keeps Nike+ alive with or without Apple.

If you would like to join a Nike+ Challenge, Starling Fitness sponsors several levels of challenges:

  • Level 1: 0-10 miles a week
  • Level 2: 10-20 miles a week
  • Level 3: 20-30 miles a week
  • Level 4: 30-40 miles a week
  • Level 5: 40-50 miles a week
  • Level 6: 50-60 miles a week

If you have a Nike+iPod, you can sign up for the weekly challenges here:

Telll me what level you would like to start at when you sign up and come run with us!


6 Responses to “Polar Gathers More Information, But Leaves You Feeling Alone”

  1. Adria Says:

    I was looking at Polar HR monitors today since I have a lot of trouble getting an accurate read with the Garmin. The problem is on my end, because it works fine for Phil. I’d like to find something that works without the chest strap but haven’t come across it yet. I’m training by HR so a monitor is a must.

    What are your thoughts on Nike’s virtual half marathon?

  2. Laura Moncur Says:


    Before you spend any money on another HRM, try my KY jelly trick. I’m not sweaty enough to get an accurate reading on HRMs, but if I put KY jelly on the sensors, then it reads correctly right at the beginning. It might be that Phil is a little more sweaty than you are, so the HRM can read his heart rate a little better.

    I saw the advert for Nike’s virtual half marathon, but I didn’t really care to join it. I’m not at that level yet, so I didn’t even consider it. It’s a good idea, though!

    Best of luck, Laura

  3. Sam Says:

    I just read your opinion on Nike+ versus the Polar. In my situation, I purchased the Nike+ for my Nano, and realized late that I needed the video (not knowing the Nike+ was not going to work with the bigger iPod). I purchased the new, bigger iPod because of the video (I do use it a lot…news, cooking, etc.), and lost my Nike+ ability. I purchased the Polar F55, and I LOVE IT! I use the simple features (for now). My problem/challenge was that I need to be efficient; that is, I am 49-years-old, want to run/job at 148 beats per minute (85% of my max zone) on the treadmill for 30 to 60 minutes. I find that I almost “glide” through my jogging/running because of the heart monitor accuracy. I get my heart rate to 148 within 3 minutes at about 6.2MPH and stay at that speed and gradually come down to about 5.5 MPH within 30 minutes of running/jogging with a constant 148 beats per minute. I did not by the extra device that allows you to beam the data to an interface connected to the computer for plotting purposes. It was $79!! It’s a simple device that probably cost Polar a few bucks to make. Sam

  4. Digift Says:

    So you might want to check out Digifit. We have had the only heart rate monitor on iOS devices – iPhone, iPod touch, iPad – for 16 months running!

    We recently launched the patent pending Digift Ecosystem where we bring it all together now … heart rate, foot pod, cycling speed cadence and power meter as well as weight scale. More to come.

    iCardio, iRunner, iBiker, iSpinner and iPower (WATTS) are all available on the App store and you can get the Digifit Connect accessory and sensors at digifit.com

  5. FitnessGal Says:

    Thanks for the suggestion to check out Digifit and relieved to read that Digifit works with Garmin sensors. I was a longtime Polar user until I found Garmin – the cross talk with Polar belts is enough to never go back and the cost on Amazon for Garmin straps is 30-40 when Polar is 50. I love the video capability with Digifit’s iSpinner and the real time charting in iRunner, too. Cool stuff!!

  6. ANT+ enthusiast Says:

    The new Polar/Nike+ HR belt only works with the Nano 5G, it does not work with iOS devices (iPhones, Pod Touch, iPads) or any other Apple devices.

    Polar 5 KHz (analog) wireless technology has been around for 25 yr and has serious shortcomings in gyms, groups and multi sensor systems (like on bikes).

    Nike+ is digital but it is a single channel, closed, proprietary system.

    ANT+ is based on digital technology, it is an open ecosystem with over 230 companies contributing products and services including: Adidas, Garmin, Timex, etc.It is the defacto standard for ultra low power wireless in fitness and health personal physiological monitoring. http://www.thisisant.com

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