So, having been out of stock for a couple of weeks, my Polar RCX3 Tour de France training computer has arrived. Unfortunately, this means that I have no more excuses to avoid training for the upcoming Manchester – Blackpool bike ride on July 8th!
So, there will be a series of videos coming shortly to detail how the Polar RCX5 works, how you set it up and what you can gain from the added training software. For now, these are my first impressions of using the device.
Out of the box: The Polar RCX5 Tour de France comes in some nice simple packaging and inside you will find the RCX5 watch on top. Below that, you will see the WearLink+ Hybrid heart rate sensor, W.I.N.D Cadence Sensor, G5 GPS sensor, Belt Clip for G5 GPS sensor, Universal Bike Mount and DataLink USB stick for wireless data transfer.
First Impressions: What a great looking unit. Compared to the Garmin Forerunner 305 i’m used to using, this is featherlight and about a fifth of the thickness and displays more information. The Forerunner has integrated GPS which accounts for the bulky size and i thought a watch without integrated GPS would be a pain. Not so, the G5 GPS sensor is slim, light and comes with a clip so you can securely clip onto your shorts or the WearLink Hybrid heart rate monitor. A separate GPS receiver is definitely NOT a disadvantage.The bike mount is a handy accessory, especially if you don’t want to be looking at your wrist each time you want an update on your progress.
Setup: Being a typical male, instruction manuals are not for me. It’s worth noting that you do get hard copies of three detailed manuals for the watch, GPS sensor and Cadence Sensor – not always the case these days. Upon switching the RCX5 on, the setup was as simple as any. You are guided through entering your watch preferences, then details on your gender, age , weight etc. I’ll post a video shortly on how to pair your GPS sensor but again, this is very simple and quick. One thing the manual doesn’t detail (unless i skimmed over it which is possible) is that you will need to download some free software from polarpersonaltrainer.com in order to get your DataLink talking to the RCX5 but that only takes a couple of minutes.
Software: WOW!! That’s all i can say. The polarpersonaltrainer.com website blows anything Garmin has to offer out of the water. I took the liberty of setting up a training program with Blackpool in mind and straight away, I’m presented with a diary view with different sessions laid out for me. Today is day 1 of the training program so i’ll be able to tell you more once i’ve synchronised everything up tomorrow. In the meantime, i could see from last nights game of squash that i burned over 400 calories, 24% of which was fat.
Overall impression: This watch is the business. It is lightweight yet well made, comes with a generous bundle of accessories. You can genuinely use it out of the box and the user interface is far FAR superior to Garmin and has one less button! I would have liked the option to switch between miles and kilometers but then Garmin doesn’t offer that either. One feature i loved was bringing the watch close to the heart rate monitor switches to a screen of your choice – in this case it was the time of day so we could see what time we had to be off the squash court. My favourite fitness watch yet!
For more information or to buy one of these limited edition watches, click here. Alternatively you can still buy the regular RCX5 in red or black here.