Daily Tracking Comparison Data: Garmin Forerunner 945 vs. Polar Vantage V

One more for general activity and sleep comparisons, this time with Garmin vs. Polar, Forerunner 945 vs. Vantage V…

Activity/Step Tracking

Step tracking, strangely, had some differences in the beginning of my analysis period. Over all, though, the results from the Forerunner 945 and the Polar Vantage V were very similar:

Steps Tracked by FR945 vs. Vantage V

The Forerunner shows a tendency to count more steps than the Vantage, but not by much. And trends, once again, are similar enough (by far) that both look more than just usable for some insight into daily activity levels.

Calorie Tracking

Always the natural complement to step/activity tracking: how many calories do the watches think one has burned.

Algorithms (and sometimes approaches) used by different companies tend to be somewhat different, so no exact matches are to be expected. The trends should be equal enough, though, or one has to assume that something really was off…

… and here goes:

At the beginning, when the Forerunner 945 measured more activity than the Vantage V (or than it did later, comparatively), it also calculated a higher number of calories than at other times.

That fits.

Trends are also similar enough again to make sense. It is very noticeable, though, that the Garmin Forerunner 945 calculates calorie expenditure different from the Garmin.*
(* Or, I have to admit, there is a chance that I had not set both devices up in exactly the same way; I’ll return to this to double-check.)

Sleep Tracking

Sleep = recovery = progress, so…

Sleep Duration

What sort of total sleep time watches measure is a good indication of how similar they are in sensitivity re. the accelerometer. After all, there is an algorithm behind this measurement which uses (lack of) motion to indicate sleep…

… and either I was very obviously active or inactive during these days, or the Garmin Forerunner 945 and the Polar Vantage V are extremely similar when it comes to sleep measurement.

(Or a bit of both…)

Between 1 and 15 minutes of difference in the total sleep duration measured is basically no difference.

Sleep Times

Of course, similar sleep duration should be reflected in equally similar times measured as times at which one fell asleep and woke up again…

… and there we are again.

At most the same difference of 15 minutes, on rather irregular times I went to bed. Usually, just a few minutes of difference.

Battery Runtime, Garmin Forerunner 945 vs. Polar Vantage V

As before, I used the time one single charge lasted as the period observed here – with a difference that is more noticeable.

Where the Garmin Forerunner 945 and the Suunto 5 (both running similar Firstbeat features about daily heart rate and body “resources”) lasted for basically the same amount of time, the Polar Vantage V shows a weakness here.

Maybe because of its “better” oHR sensor, which seems to record rather more constantly than those of other sports watches, the Vantage V only lasted 6 days until a 10% charge. At that point, it absolutely needs a recharge to remain usable – and it starts to notify of low battery.

The Garmin, stretched to the fullest of one charge, was usable for 8 days and went into a ninth until it had reached 10% battery charge. On day 8, though, it went into a battery saving mode and should have been recharged to be really good for anything.

(Of course, I didn’t use the Forerunner for listening to music or anything like that; notifications went to both the Polar and the Garmin.)

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2 Comments

  1. Liviu

    After wearing both devices for a while, how do you feel about keeping one or the other on your hand 24/7? I mean what would be your preference? I had both (not using them in parallel more than just in training for a month) and it’s just too hard to decide if I should support more Polar as I like the device and the web platform or stick with the better all-rounder and complete device (Garmin).

    • I’m feeling exactly the same way, I’m afraid (because it means I can’t give you *the* answer).

      The Forerunner 945 feels a touch more comfortable to wear 24/7 for me (I feel like the Polar’s ridged case may be more prone to holding sweat and bacteria, thus to causing skin issues). It has the pulse oximeter built in and offers more – as you point to – in terms of smartwatch-like features.

      For me, the “completeness” is also where I find reasons to find Garmin pretty stupid, though. I don’t need my sports watch to try to do everything a smartwatch does, for that I prefer a WearOS smartwatch – and Garmin is a cause of frustration for me as someone who journeys between Europe and Asia.
      I can understand that Garmin can’t or doesn’t want to put Asian, especially Chinese, maps on their watches that are worth anything; China is a complicated country to deal with, anyways. But the Garmin watches can’t even display Chinese text correctly if they are not bought in China and run Garmin’s Chinese firmware, as if nobody outside of Asia could possibly ever want to communicate (get notifications) in Chinese.

      The Vantage is less complete in terms of smartwatch, but satisfies me much more in terms of what it is meant for and does. Navigation is not the best, there are also issues with notifications (in Chinese), but it records and tracks training and recovery very well on the watch and great with the app and website; it can be used for phased workouts and training plans easily – and in that, it’s a very satisfying device in my opinion… even with fewer overall functions and less value (long list of features) for the money.

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