Polar Verity Sense (Optical HR Sensor Band) In-Depth Review


Polar has launched an up to date model of their standalone optical HR sensor, taking the present Polar OH1 and including new options and capabilities, and re-branding it because the Verity Sense. For these aware of my critiques & testing, you’ll know that I usually use the Polar OH1 as a reference gadget in testing – and it’s arguably probably the most correct optical HR sensor out there – normally out-performing standard chest straps too (particularly in cooler climate).

The query is – does the Verity Sense retain that title? First up, are the enhancements. They’ve considerably elevated the battery life claims, from 8 to twenty hours. They’ve additionally elevated the vary from 75m to 150m – primarily focused at subject group sports activities that will have recording gadgets on the sidelines. They’ve additionally included a brand new swimming mode, and devoted mode lights on the again, plus a wholly new strap design that minimizes the prospect of a flip-over. In different phrases, they mainly addressed the commonest complaints of the OH1 collection.

I’ve been testing the unit for a bit now, and have some good stable information to have a look at accuracy on, plus basic utilization. Nonetheless, I’ll hold including information units to this, particularly over the approaching weeks as a part of different critiques the place I’ll proceed to make use of this alongside different merchandise to see how accuracy gala’s long term.

Lastly, word that neither this publish, nor every other publish I write, is sponsored by Polar or anybody else within the sports activities tech business. I’ll return this media loaner unit again to them and exit and purchase my very own. In case you discovered this publish helpful, think about changing into a DCR Supporter which makes the positioning ad-free, whereas additionally gaining access to a principally weekly video collection behind the scenes of the DCR Cave. And naturally, it makes you superior.

What’s new:

It’d be comparatively simple to have a look at the Verity Sense, spit off a few battery and band adjustments and name it performed. However in actuality, there’s truly fairly a bit greater than meets the attention that’s totally different than the OH1 collection – particularly when you begin utilizing it. Right here’s my bulleted try at capturing all of these (together with the battery and band adjustments):

– Elevated battery life from 8 hours to twenty hours
– Elevated sign vary from 75 meters to 150 meters
– Elevated storage from 4MB to 16MB (thus as much as 600hrs of knowledge)
– Elevated water resistance from 30m to 50m
– Added secondary Bluetooth channel (2x Bluetooth Sensible + limitless ANT+ connections)
– Added devoted swim mode, which captures swim metrics
– Added three lights for the three essential modes (transmission/standalone recording/swimming)
– Added gyro and magnetometer for SDK purposes
– Added antenna sign amplifier to new strap design
– Modified band design to make it tough to flip over
– Modified band design to permit it to detach strap (like a watch, versus single-piece band prior)
– Modified the swimming clip to make it extra universally appropriate
– Modified fundamental operations facets, like how precisely you report an exercise in standalone mode
– Worth elevated from $79/79EUR to $89/89EUR
– Stored the identical optical HR sensor because the OH1 collection
– Stored the identical exterior design/dimension & charging/sync dock

Now, we’ll dive into all these particulars, however I do know a bunch of you’ll be asking: Can you purchase the brand new strap design for the older Polar OH1 collection? And the reply is sure. The exterior pods are equivalent and Polar says they’ll supply the strap as an adjunct you should buy. As for the antenna boosting properties, for the OH1 collection it gained’t increase the vary any, however Polar says it additionally gained’t damage it both. It’ll simply be a wash. However, it’ll hold it from flipping over, and make it far simpler to place in your arm whenever you overlook after placing in your long-sleeve shirt/coat (extra on that in a second too).

With that, let’s get this unboxed.



First up, let’s get this factor unboxed. When you slide the quilt off, you’ll see the strap, swim goggle connector, and charging plug:


Then under deck there’s a brand new pouch, designed for the pool deck, in addition to some paper stuff.


Right here’s that swim pouch, with the strap and pod inside. Realistically you’d most likely simply put the clip in your goggles always, after which change it between the strap and the goggles, however, do as you please.


The swim strap connector has modified to make it extra universally appropriate, whereas the charging dock has stayed the identical.

DSC_2771 DSC_2770

Lastly, right here’s the strap itself – which is sporting a brand new ‘heather grey’ colour scheme, and far wider band than beforehand.


I just like the coloring although – it’s very sharp and crispy.


Oh wait – and the manuals – in case it is advisable learn them or one thing.


Okay, with that, let’s run by means of learn how to use it.

The Fundamentals:


To get began you’ll need to arrange your Verity Sense with Polar Stream, which is their on-line coaching platform. You are able to do that through your smartphone or pc (or each). When you may use it simply as an HR sensor, you’ll need to guarantee it’s obtained the proper time and firmware updates. Plus, it’s required to activate it anyway. The setup course of takes just some seconds, and primarily walks you thru what the totally different buttons and lights do/imply.

IMG_7284 IMG_7285 IMG_7293

Having a look on the strap for a second, you’ll see that it opens up on one finish, in addition to could be adjusted for these with manly-man arms. I lack such a factor, so the inventory medium band matches simply tremendous.


The largest profit of getting a strap although is that whenever you overlook to placed on the sensor after placing in your coat or long-sleeve gear, you’ll be able to merely attain down your sleeve as an alternative and connect it. Arguably it’ll most likely take you simply as lengthy to do it that approach, however generally it’s the precept of it.


Anyway, wanting on the sensor, on one facet you’ve obtained the charging contacts and textual content stuff. Nothing thrilling there. Polar OH1 Plus at left, Polar Verity Sense at proper:


Then, flipping it over, you’ve obtained three little icons that point out the three modes:

A) Coronary heart Price Broadcasting mode
B) HR Recording mode (standalone)
C) Swim session recording mode (standalone)

Technically, when in one of many standalone recording modes it additionally transmits too. Right here’s these icons (once more, Polar OH1 Plus at left, Polar Verity Sense at proper):


Once you energy on the gadget utilizing the facet button (maintain for a second or so), it’ll then energy on the optical HR sensor and present you which of them mode you’re in. You may faucet to vary between the modes. You’ve obtained a little bit of a brief interval earlier than it ‘locks’ that mode, and you can’t change it once more with out powering off (which, is sorta annoying). It’ll default to no matter mode you have been within the final session.


On the other facet of the button is an LED. This provides you affirmation the unit is working, and a selected mild colour/sample. They’re as followsNyah-Nyah

Blue: Coronary heart Price Broadcasting mode
Inexperienced: HR Recording mode (standalone)
White: Swim session recording mode (standalone)

Now, sliding it into the strap it simply snaps in place. It’s particularly designed to orient certainly one of two instructions. It doesn’t matter which course per se, however generally you need the LED standing mild to face you (so you’ll be able to see standing simply). However that’s extra of an ease of use factor than a technical/accuracy factor.


The strap truly has a skinny steel piece on the within, which then ‘connects’ to the sense internally, serving to increase the sign. It’s a easy old-school but sensible antenna booster sort design. The rationale Polar needs to spice up sign upwards of 150m is that they’ve obtained a bunch of group sport packages/programs they promote the place coaches can monitor athlete efficiency from the sidelines.


With the whole lot all set, you’re able to go and pair it as much as one other gadget (if that’s your jam). The Verity Sense doesn’t show your HR or zones on the unit itself. As a substitute, it both broadcasts to a different watch/app/bike pc/no matter, or, it data it for later entry. The principle new factor on the Verity Sense is that it’s obtained twin Bluetooth Sensible channels, in comparison with a single channel beforehand (plus limitless ANT+ connections). That’s most relevant for Polar/Suunto/Apple customers as their watches solely join over Bluetooth Sensible. So for instance, should you’ve obtained a Polar/Suunto/Apple watch and also you need to pair it to the OH1 sensor for higher accuracy, you wouldn’t be capable of report the session on Zwift through Bluetooth Sensible. Whereas with the Verity Sense, now you are able to do that with two concurrent connections.


The sensor is wise sufficient to not attempt to hook up with your telephone, until there’s good motive to (to dump information). Else, that’d take up certainly one of your  Bluetooth connections.

And naturally, there’s no points through ANT+ both. Right here’s connecting on a Garmin Edge gadget through ANT+:


For platforms that help ANT+ & Bluetooth Sensible concurrently (Garmin/Wahoo/Hammerhead/Phases/Peloton Bikes/and so on…), my basic advice is to make use of ANT+ first, since that doesn’t deplete any Bluetooth Sensible channels. Nonetheless, right here you’ll be able to see it paired up on a Peloton Bike utilizing Bluetooth Sensible, whereas under the pairing you’ll see the ANT+ ID listed for a similar sensor, simply connecting through ANT+ as an alternative:

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And generally, like on an iOS/Apple TV gadgets, you may solely have Bluetooth Sensible to work with. So for instance, connecting to Zwift on my iPhone, you’ll be able to see it pairs up simply tremendous:


Throughout your exercise, you’ll see the standing displayed on the watch/gadget/app in real-time, as you’d anticipate from every other coronary heart fee strap:


What about recording mode? Properly, in that mode it merely data the session to the gadget as quickly because it powers up and confirms that mode. That is useful for sports activities the place you is probably not allowed to have a watch on. When you’re performed, simply energy off the Verity Sense, after which it’ll save the session. In case you energy it again on, it’ll then sync through your smartphone to Polar Stream (or, should you plug it into the charging cradle through USB on a pc).

You may then see your session on Polar Stream, both through smartphone app or on the internet:


The one draw back to this recording mode in comparison with the OH1 Plus is there is no such thing as a devoted guide beginning. Which means that on the OH1 collection, you could possibly activate the unit, after which double-tap to start out recording. Whereas this simply begins whenever you flip it on, if within the recording mode. The place this sorta issues is I normally activate the sensor whereas I stroll to my run/trip begin level just a few minutes away. On this configuration it’ll seize that additional time, versus earlier than with the OH1 Plus, I simply double-tap after I’m prepared to start out my exercise to report.

Now thoughts you, virtually talking, on the OH1 collection I handle to overlook to start out the recording of the exercise about 10% of the time. So…yeah, that is most likely higher total. Nonetheless, I might see that it could be useful to have a easy ‘trim’ possibility within the app/platform for the information, akin to what Wahoo has for his or her TICKR X straps. In truth, it’s my favourite function of their straps – because the device is foolish simple to trim exercises, and even re-upload them to Strava/and so on…

Talking of which, your Verity Sense exercise will add to any platform that you simply’ve paired up with Polar Stream. That features Strava, amongst others. Right here’s a Verity Sense exercise on Strava:


One of many new options of the Verity Sense is the power to seize swimming information in a brand new swimming standalone mode. Whereas the Polar OH1 Plus added a brand new swim goggle strap, it didn’t seize swim distance – simply coronary heart fee.

To get in that new mode, you’ll faucet the button after powering on, which exhibits the swimmer icon. And naturally, place it in your swim goggle utilizing the included swim goggle accent.


In the meantime, earlier than you do this, make certain on the smartphone app you’ve set the proper pool-size in your particular pool. You are able to do this pool-side, in case your pool switches between long-course and short-course configurations on the common (e.g. 50m vs 25m). You can even select any particular customized size too after all.

IMG_7302 Swim1 Swim2

Within the pool, it’s simply wanting on the flip/open turns and determining units primarily based on that. It’s not going to provide you actual stroke info, because it’s not measuring that. Nor will it work as properly for drills, until you doubtless push off onerous sufficient to set off the sensor (since most drills have you ever going slower).

Additionally, the Polar Verity Sense nonetheless works just like the Polar OH1 Plus with the FORM Swim goggles/heads up show, so you’ll be able to pull your coronary heart fee from that if you wish to:


Now sadly on account of a mixture of COVID restrictions and the Nice Netherlands Freeze 2021, all our swimming pools are closed. Whereas COVID has closed all of the indoor swimming pools right here, I had deliberate to do an out of doors pool swim this week. However then beginning this previous weekend they closed these too, as a result of the out of doors temperature was mainly turning them into ice skating rinks or one thing. Perhaps they’ll open once more subsequent week.

So I can’t exhibit that proper now. However I can at the least present you what the information ought to appear like. Under are some screenshots Polar despatched over from certainly one of their precise product group members swimming, and the precise information proven on the Verity Sense – which is actually distance and coronary heart fee:


In fact, the hole right here is that Polar nonetheless doesn’t allow pairing of the Verity Sense to their Polar watches (such because the Vantage collection or Grit X). It’s at all times been a bizarre quirk for the reason that Vantage collection launched. Positive, the Polar Vantage collection can seize your swimming coronary heart fee on the wrist, however for most individuals, that’s a crapshoot at greatest because of the whacking nature of your wrist on the floor of the water every stroke (and lots of different components). Whereas the OH1/Verity Sense sensors are likely to do a greater job up on the temple because it’s a extra secure space to measure coronary heart fee. I’ve lengthy been shocked that Polar hasn’t enabled the Vantage collection to do direct offload from the OH1 Plus (or now the Verity Sense) – in the identical approach that Garmin does offload from the HRM-SWIM/HRM-TRI/HRM-PRO straps. Positive, it wouldn’t resolve mid-swim accuracy points (since Bluetooth can’t transmit greater than a pair centimeters underwater), but it surely does resolve post-swim accuracy evaluation.

Now, I used to be curious concerning the distance will increase, so I got down to (attempt to) take a look at it. That is difficult as a result of there’s actually two items of the puzzle right here: The transmission and the reception. Each gadgets should not suck. For instance, a wearable (like a watch) goes to cut back the communications power to avoid wasting batteries. That’s why headphones can generally wrestle with watches for music playback. Whereas some fancy third occasion subject setup programs embody devoted antennas and such (like these from NPE). Polar’s Staff system is predicated on an iPad.

In any case, I first went to the observe and examined a fundamental situation of a watch on the sidelines, and see how far I might go. I began in a single nook, carrying solely a t-shirt atop (so clothes didn’t influence it), and principally attempting to maintain my arm dealing with the watch.


I then ran the within perimeter of the soccer subject. Right here’s roughly the place it was good and dangerous. Once more, that is only a one-off take a look at, and most of the people would place it within the heart of the sector sidelines, fairly than the top (however I needed to check vary, not regular utilization).


First off, this can be a very imprecise factor to do solo, I’m attempting to match-up time and site observe factors after which draw them on a map with different highlights. However the basic sample right here was that after I stopped at every nook for just a few seconds, it appeared to assist – and would reconnect. I then do a protracted out and again on a straight shot throughout two fields (no limitations between). I had repositioned the watch additional off-field first although, up about two meters. This appeared to go additional on the return when it was dealing with the watch.

image_thumb[20] image_thumb[13]

So I then went and used my telephone. I propped it up on some gloves on a motorcycle saddle, after which used the nifty distance markers on a motorcycle path close to me. The sensor would have line of sight straight to the telephone the complete time.


I then cross-reference two information collectively to determine the place all of the drops occurred. For this straightaway take a look at, it dropped out as I walked previous 99 meters, although curiously, that was mainly *not* dealing with the telephone, however sorta off-set on my arm (like a standard particular person would put on it). When it was principally dealing with the telephone coming again, I ran (versus walked – I used to be chilly) – but it surely didn’t choose it up until a lot nearer (~60m out). Maybe if I walked again it could have performed higher. Or, if I’d modified any variety of issues on the take a look at. Frankly, this isn’t actually a difficulty that impacts me – so I’m performed freezing myself to validate it.

And at last, a point out of battery life. It’s a bit difficult to determine battery life on the Verity Sense, because it doesn’t present an actual battery proportion wherever. Thus, I mainly should attempt to burn it down over the course of a number of periods. Which, I’ll do over time. Notably, Polar says they achieved the battery life will increase by means of sensor and algorithm optimizations, not through growing the precise battery itself. That at all times offers me pause in terms of optical HR sensors – as normally which means decrease energy to the sensor and thus decrease accuracy. Subsequently, no time like the current to leap into the accuracy part than now.

Coronary heart Price Accuracy:


Okay, so in my testing, I merely use the strap all through my ordinary exercises.  These exercises embody all kinds of intensities and circumstances, making them nice for accuracy testing.  I’ve a mix of interval and steady-state exercises on each operating and biking in right here, each indoors and open air.

For every take a look at, I’m carrying extra gadgets, normally 3-4 in complete, which seize information from different sensors.  This generally included a second strap, normally the Polar H10 chest strap and the HRM-PRO, in addition to normally two optical sensor watches on the wrists, after which another armband optical HR sensors. Observe that the numbers you see within the higher proper nook are *not* the averages, however fairly simply the precise level my mouse is sitting over.  Observe all this information is analyzed utilizing the DCR Analyzer, particulars right here.

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We’ll begin with one thing comparatively tame after which construct up from there. First is a Zwift session that was principally steady-state, minus just a few intervals tossed in. Right here it’s in contrast in opposition to the Polar H10 chest strap, Scosche Rhythm+ 2.0, Whoop strap, and Polar OH1 Plus. Right here’s that data set:


The sense is in teal, although that’s just about not possible to see because it’s equivalent to the whole lot besides Whoop (who’s dancing to its personal beat, like ordinary).

Nonetheless, it’s not fairly excellent. Very very shut, however we see the very slight little bit of lag like we normally see on most optical HR sensors. On this case, we’re taking a look at about 5 seconds of lag for important will increase in depth, however nearly no lag for decreases. Take a look at the under. There’s mainly three ‘tracks’ right here on this reasonable dash. The quickest to reply have been the Polar H10 chest strap and Scosche Rhythm+ 2.0 optical sensor band. These have been nearly indistinguishable. Under that, with a little bit of lag you then see the same Polar OH1 and Verity Sense sensors – logical they’d act the identical since they’re mainly the identical. And at last, in final place on lag and incorrectness was Whoop.


Nonetheless, we’re solely speaking just a few seconds of lag, and that’s mainly the one error casualties right here. Take a look at this chunk of the set of steady-state depth:


Right here once more for this subsequent dash – the identical sample of slight delay as the primary. On this case, the dash was sharper, however the delay wasn’t appreciably totally different. Nonetheless this time it did lag barely on the restoration, which, paradoxically sorta made all of it a wash if one have been taking a look at complete time in zones. The Whoop mainly missed the dash totally.


Nonetheless – whereas I can nitpick right here, we’re speaking very very related tracks with solely a tiny little bit of delay.

Let’s head exterior now and sort out a more durable interval run in chilly climate. Chilly climate is generally a nightmare for wrist-based optical sensors because of the chilly impacting blood stream on the extremities (resembling your wrists). Nonetheless, for the Verity Sense, it’s going to be positioned a lot greater up and thus extra protected in opposition to that – in addition to being beneath my coat. That is in contrast in opposition to an Apple Watch SE on one wrist, and a Garmin FR745 on the opposite wrist. Plus a Polar H10 chest strap on my higher chest, and a Garmin HRM-PRO on my decrease chest (mainly one above/under the nipple). I then threw within the Polar OH1 Plus and Whoop bands for enjoyable too. Right here’s that data set:


Now at a excessive stage issues look fairly good. One odd dropout in inexperienced for the HRM-PRO to the watch, however extra notably, the Garmin FR745 actually struggled this time on the third interval. Not fairly clear why, as that was a comparatively regular interval. Additionally I believe the primary time in 6 months I’ve seen it truly wrestle in any significant approach. In any case, the Verity Sense was mainly spot-on with the chest straps and Polar OH1 Plus, and naturally, the Whoop was low/incorrect.

If we glance carefully at these 4 core 800m intervals (earlier than the sprints in a while), there’s just about no lag in any respect this time. Why? Properly, most optical HR sensors take a look at operating cadence through the accelerometer as a supporting issue for determining depth shifts. So on this case, it sees my cadence naturally enhance as I enhance depth, permitting the algorithm to think about {that a} legitimate enhance sooner than on the bike, the place it doesn’t have additional information. Thus, right here issues are mainly excellent.


In truth, if we then transfer to the 30-second sprints on the finish, that are normally fairly tough for optical HR sensors within the chilly, nearly the entire items did properly (minus Whoop, which was 10bpm low). We see some squiggles from the FR745 on the third and 4th intervals once more nevertheless, the others have been tremendous totally.


In different phrases, for this out of doors interval run, the Polar Verity Sense was spot-on with the chest straps and different sensors, regardless of the difficult depth shifts.

Subsequent, and the final set for now – let’s return inside for a beastly Peloton exercise. This began off with a pleasant warm-up construct, after which did some reasonable depth intervals as much as Z3 energy ranges. Nonetheless, what got here after that was a string of a dozen 30×30 second intervals the place my depth was shifting from 80w to 500w each 30 seconds – dragging my coronary heart fee together with it. There’s a boatload of sensors right here together with the Scosche Rhythm 2.0, Polar OH1 Plus, Whoop, and the Polar H10 chest strap. Right here’s that data set:


And you recognize what? On the excessive stage – issues look very very shut for the primary 2/3rds of the set. Heck, even the Whoop solely made minor errors up till that time. You see everybody agrees properly for probably the most half, making it close to picture-perfect.

I imply…at the least till we get to the 30×30’s, which appear like a protracted set of velocity bumps. Let’s zoom into that:


The sample we see right here is sort of equivalent to the primary biking exercise, by way of delay. The Polar H10 chest strap and Scosche are spot-on along with no lag, whereas the 2 Polar optical HR sensors (OH1 Plus & Verity Sense) are delayed barely, nevertheless the delay is equal on the ups and downs – so total issues are mainly shifted. For a exercise like this, it’s extra about energy zone durations than coronary heart fee durations. Which means, we’re not utilizing coronary heart fee as the first/main indicator of success – so the delay isn’t a difficulty (versus for different kinds of exercises we might use HR because the main indicator).

Notably, the Whoop strap totally misses each interval – each the ups and the downs. It simply plows by means of oblivious. And I do know I’ve harped on it quite a bit – however a exercise like this exhibits *exactly* why that’s so problematic. The coaching load from this exercise is *ENTIRELY* these 30×30’s and people ups/downs, and lacking all of that misses the whole lot coaching load-wise concerning the exercise. It vastly underestimates how onerous this was. The opposite sensors don’t have that downside, regardless of costing a fraction of the value.

Now as I mentioned on the outset, I’m going to be together with many extra Verity Sense information units within the coming days and weeks as I publish extra/different critiques, so be looking out for these. However for now – I’m seeing nothing of main concern, past the standard Polar OH1-style slight lag in biking exercises. For operating it’s spot on. Observe that because of the winter storm circumstances the previous week, I’ve been unable to get out and do any correct exterior street biking exercises (which might introduce different variables). Hopefully it’ll heat up sufficient in just a few weeks to get a number of the roads cleared of ice to do this – as that’s an space that some optical HR sensors wrestle (although not often the Polar OH1 Plus).

Nonetheless – at this level, this seems simply as stable because the OH1 Plus, regardless of the ability consumption adjustments/optimizations that Polar made so as to acquire the additional battery life.

(Observe: All the charts in these accuracy parts have been created utilizing the DCR Analyzer device.  It means that you can examine energy meters/trainers, coronary heart fee, cadence, velocity/tempo, GPS tracks and many extra. You need to use it as properly in your personal gadget comparisons, extra particulars right here.)

Wrap Up:


General, the Polar Verity Sense is solely a a lot improved model of the workhorse that’s the present OH1 Plus. They mainly addressed nearly each criticism of that product with out seemingly impacting any of the goodness of it – I imply, other than including $10 to it. However I believe most of us would pay that additional $10 in comparison with the OH1 Plus for these options. The anti-flip strap and the twin Bluetooth Sensible channels being a number of the larger ones for me, but additionally merely having to cost it much less.

About the one criticism I might wager at this level can be that I’d prefer to see some type of exercise cropping possibility through the Polar Stream smartphone app, to snip out the beginnings of a exercise earlier than I truly get began (resembling ready to start out a run or such) – much like what Wahoo affords for his or her TICKR X straps. However that’d be about my solely actual criticism. The slight little bit of lag of some seconds on indoor biking exercises with high-intensity intervals doesn’t trouble me an excessive amount of for the way I practice indoors.

Lastly, as for availability, pre-orders from Polar’s web site will ship on February seventeenth, whereas all different retailers will start delivery on February twenty fourth. Keep tuned for my different strap critiques, in addition to an up to date/consolidated optical armband strap publish together with the Scosche Rhythm 2.0 and the Mio Pod.

With that – thanks for studying!

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