My New Toy: Polar RS800CX Pro Team Edition

Wednesday, 19 August 2009  |  Gear + Gadgets

I never did get back to you regarding my choice between the Polar RS800CX and the Garmin Forerunner 310XT.  Reason being, it took me a full three months to decide on my next running watch purchase.  With a purchase this costly, I made sure I did my research comprehensively. 

I spent hours upon hours of research on both watches.  You name it, I read it: articles on Runner’s World, online reviews and forums.  I interviewed (read: harassed) both loyal Polar- and Garmin- users about the pros and cons.  I tested the Polar for a week (which was not long enough!) and devoured as much info as I could get my hands on regarding the new Garmin Forerunner 310XT.  At the end of most days, I would lie on my bed wanting to pull all my hair out.  All the research left me even more confused.

You see, all readings and research led me to discover this one truth: both brands come highly recommended.  It was much like choosing between a PC and mac, McDo and Jollibee, or Piolo and Jericho.  (Okay, scrap the last example since Marc Nelson wins hands down.)  The Polar RS800 has a slight edge as it’s been tested by more athletes compared with the new Garmin 310XT.  But, basically, both have their own strengths and weaknesses.  It all depends on the user to determine which watch would fit his/her needs more.

After all this research, I devised a rather simple guide to help you determine which watch is for you:

– you want GPS-based readings
– you’re not a techy (Garmin is very user-friendly)
– you’re more of a runner than anything else

Choose the GARMIN 310XT ($400) if…
– you swim
– you’re in need of longer battery time (say a marathoner or ultramarathoner)
– money is of no concern.  It’s pricey for minor upgrades from the Garmin Forerunner 305

Choose the GARMIN FORERUNNER 405($300 Amazon) if…
– you need a regular watch too
– you don’t mind using bezels (I do!)

Choose the GARMIN FORERUNNER 305 ($165 Amazon)/205 ($154) if…
– you need an simple, affordable, and accurate running watch

* Note: My hubby uses a 405.  I don’t like it since I find the bezel too sensitive and the screens are much more complicated than the 305.  I would opt to purchase another 305 (in my humble opinion, still the best for Garmin) than the 405.

GET A POLAR RS800 (price ranges depending on the model, P25,000 to P30,000) if…
– you run and swim (it’s waterproof) or you plan to get into triathlon
– you need a regular watch
– you train using heart rate (this is what Polar is known for although Garmin has HRM too)
– you’re not too focused on super accurate distance readings (if you use S3 Stride sensor) although Polar also has a G3 GPS sensor too
– you want to count your cadence
– you’re a techy (very complicated to learn, but worth it)
– you’re all for analyzing a lot of data
– you’re a PC-user (Polar software doesn’t run on mac—grrrrr!—but this was something I felt I could overlook considering all the other features)
– you want a friendly and accomodating local service center (Hi Hitler!)
– you want a watch that will last you over a decade (This was one major reason which led me to switch.  Even if the Polar is more expensive than the Garmin, it is still offers more value for money considering it won’t die on me in the next couple of years.)

So, what did I buy?  Introducing my new toy…

The Polar RS800CX Pro Team Edition


The Polar RS800CX PTE is Polar’s newest and limited edition watch in the market.  It differs from the other Polar RS800 watches—Polar RS800CX Run, Polar RS800CX Bike, Polar RS800CX Multi, Polar RS800—in that it is shiny, not matte, and it comes with complete bike accessories.  I opted for the PTE, well, because it looked irresistibly handsome, and I thought I’ll eventually use it on my bike anyway (when I do get serious with my cycling).  I then purchased the Polar S3 sensor (P8,795) for running.  

– Everything else that came with the watch –

– Polar S3 Stride sensor –

Although the purchase was quite pricey (that’s why I shut my eyes the entire time and ran my worries away in Ultra right after), I took comfort in the fact (or my rationalization) that, in the long run, choosing a Polar offered better value for money as the watch will be used more often (even when I’m not running) and for a longer period of time.

I’ll be taking my new toy out for a spin tomorrow morning.  I’m hoping I made the right decision with the big switch.  Goodbye Garmin, Hello Polar!

Click here and here for more info about the Polar RS 800.

POLAR is available at:

Sports Resources Inc.
143 Pasig Blvd.
1600 Pasig City
671-9765/ 671-1563/ 671-9768 to 69

Bonifacio High Street