Monday, May 07, 2012

Polar RS300x and Footpod S1 Review

Since i have been actively doing sports for fitness and health reasons, basic tools such as heart rate monitor and such has been a "good to have" gadget to help monitor the training or races. The simple heart rate monitor are able to tell how much you have stressed yourself in races and could be a lifesaver or early warning device if you are not aware of your actual health condition. It takes a strong sport person to admit that they are not well. For those in denial, the fast beeping on the HRM will remind that they are not robots ;-)
I have used previously, up to 4 different type of HRM. Most costing about RM100 to RM150, bought at a bargain. The decision to finally invest in something a bit more hardy and able to measure pace and distance. I was considering either a Suunto or a Polar. Being an outdoor person, Suunto was the first choice except that it is way more expensive for a basic unit. Polar was driven by the fact that it is proven with these activities and widely used by a lot of friends. Then came the decision on which model, which the then almost top of the range RS300x came to mind. So this is a very delayed review - after using the unit from August 2010
Still with the original box. Like new.
Basically, the unit that i purchase with Wifey (yes, we bought two) comes with the Watch, the HR module and the S1 footpod to measure distance and pace.
Everything inside, including the strap that hold the HR strap and the screen protector!
We purchase the unit on August 24, 2010. It has been in service since then.
Warranty is over, but never did needed anyway
I still have the watch screen protector that can be used to cover it again. If not because the color ain't too orange-y like the first time, this watch could had passed off for new.
Scratch free
I have just recently changed the battery for the watch even though it is not due yet. It was done for Bali marathon so i will not have my watch dying on me when i need it most.
 As myself and wife has the same watch, i marked mine with my nick name behind. It is like carrying the Spirit of Stupe, if you want to see it that way ;-)
The HR module that comes with it is of Polar WearLink. Basically it prevents the unit from cross talking with another unit once paired. Th HR module is detachable and the strap will be able to be washed/rinse for hygiene purpose. I always wash it after use even if the run is a short one.
 To start the watch operation, just press the middle red button. It will then scan for HR module and the footpod (if you configure it to check for it). Else, if you purchase an unit without the footpod, you can also pair the RS300x up with the Polar G1 GPS unit - the very reason why i bought this in the first place - for future upgrading.
Scanning for HR module and Footpod
Starting and ending the exercise is as simple as pressing the Red and lower left button. You can retrieve all your workout on the watch or if you can separately purchase a communicating device known as the Polar flowlink to download your workout and put it online.
File with a filing cabinet. :D
 Here is an example of the log tracked for my Bali Marathon
Shows the date of the workout. The bargraph is the HR record in general
 The watch has an information that tracks the total number of workout, distance, calories and other good to know, but not crucial information for the number-nannies out there.
Ran a total of 721km since 24 August 2010. But that is not included those i did not use the footpod
268hours? wow!
86 exercises done since.
 If you want to erase them all, you can. It is all in the watch.

But why would anyone wants to do that?
 The Polar system has the function for you to utilise or to add in new exercises for your own customization. As not everyone are build the same, having something based on our own ability would be good. That way, you can chart your fitness from the beginning.
The uit comes with a blue backlight but it doesn't say on long enough to view everything if you are running. It is good to have, but pretty useless most of the time. Also, one can get confused as to get the light activated, you just need to press the upper left button ONCE and let go. Many did the mistake pressing it too long and not getting what they wanted.
 Seen in semi darkness, the backlight adequately light it up.
Overall, this Polar RS300x is good to have. The watch is trouble free and it functions as it should. Providing enough of information on the run and adequate for the data-nerds in each of us. Pairing it up with a S1 footpod makes the unit superb for a day's run. Only caveat is that the battery runs out unexpectedly but they last for about 80km or so. My cheap option is to use the cheaper hypermarket alkaline battery as replacement and change before any marathon race.
Having a footpod allows tracking even when you are under canopy - the weakness of most GPS watches where the signal will be lost if you are under semi-dense jungle.
For Sale
1. There is a unit of Polar RS300X, same color, February 2010 is up for sale as well It belongs to a good friend that too, has recently upgraded to the Garmin Forerunner 910XT. Unit as good condition as mine. Asking price RM450.Priority sale.
2. I have got myself an upgrade by getting the Garmin Forerunner 910XT. Therefore, this calibrated unit (as accurate as GPS) is up for sale. Unit is as is and as seen per the above photos. I have changed the batteries in the watch, the pod and the HR module. Also, the O-ring on the footpod has been replaced and i can throw in one extra FOC. Asking price RM480.
Both watches come with technical back up by me. :)

Some of you might be waiting for my Borneo International Marathon report. Please wait up and bear with me as i will be busy with work today and will get it sorted by Wednesday, latest.


  1. Nice reading, Bro... can you write up on waterproof cameras, thinking of buying one for sports activities, going trekking etc, in my mind, i am narrowing down between the few namesakes like Olympus, Fuji and Nikon, would be good if you can share your experience.

  2. P5 bro - got...the only waterproof, drop proof and idiot proof camera i ever had :

    Panasonic Lumix FT2. Now already got FT3 with GPS tagging feature!