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In-depth Polar Verity Sense Review (Optical Heart Rate Sensor Band)

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Polar has launched an updated version of its own standalone optical heart rate sensor, taking the Existing Polar OH1 and adding new features and capabilities, and renaming it Verity Sense. For those familiar with my reviews and tests, you will know that I often use the Polar OH1 as a reference device in tests – and it is probably the most accurate optical heart rate sensor on the market – usually even with conventional chest straps (especially in cooler weather). Perhaps once Scosche Rhythm 2.0 starts shipping in a month, things will change, as the first results here were promising.

The question is: Does Verity Sense keep that title? First, there are the improvements. They significantly increased battery life, from 8 to 20 hours. They also increased the range from 75m to 150m, mainly aimed at team field sports which may have pitchside recording devices. They also included a new swim mode and dedicated mode lights on the back, as well as a completely new strap design that minimizes the chance of a tip over. In other words, they basically addressed the most common complaints of the OH1 series.

I’ve been testing the unit for a while now and have some solid good data to look into for accuracy, as well as general usage. However, I will continue to add datasets to this, especially in the coming weeks as part of other reviews where I will continue to use it alongside other products to see how accuracy fits into long-term trade shows.

Finally, please note that neither this post, nor any other post I write, is sponsored by Polar or anyone else in the sports tech industry. I’ll return this media loan unit to them and go out and buy my own. If you found this post helpful, please consider the idea of become a DCR Supporter who makes the site ad-free, while also gaining access to a series of mostly weekly behind-the-scenes videos from DCR Cave. And of course, it makes you awesome.

It would be relatively easy to look at Verity Sense, spit out a couple of battery and band changes, and call it done. But in reality, there’s really a lot more to it than it looks different from the OH1 series, especially once you start using it. Here is my pointed attempt to capture all of those (including drum and band changes):

– Battery life increased from 8 hours to 20 hours
– Signal range increased from 75 meters to 150 meters
– Memory increased from 4 MB to 16 MB (thus up to 600 hours of data)
– Water resistance increased from 30m to 50m
– Added secondary Bluetooth channel (2x Bluetooth Smart + unlimited ANT + connections)
– Added dedicated swimming mode, which captures swimming metrics
– Added three lights for the three main modes (transmission / self recording / swimming)
– Added gyroscope and magnetometer for SDK applications
– Added antenna signal amplifier to the new design strap
– Design of the
modified strap to make it difficult to flip – Modified strap design to allow the strap to be detached (like a watch, compared to the previous one piece strap)
– Changed the swim clip to make it more universally compatible
– Basic operational aspects changed, such as how exactly one activity is logged in standalone mode
– Price increased from $ 79 / 79EUR to $ 89 / 89EUR
– It kept the same optical heart rate sensor as the OH1 series
– It has kept the same external design / size and charging / sync dock

Now, we’re going to dive into all of these details, but I know many of you will be wondering: Can you buy the new strap design for the old Polar OH1 series? And the answer is yes. The external pods are identical, and Polar says they will offer the band as an accessory you can purchase. As for the antenna’s boosting properties, it won’t increase range for the OH1 series, but Polar says it won’t hurt either. It will be just a wash. But it will keep it from tipping over and make it much easier to put your arm on when you forget after putting on your long sleeve shirt / coat (we’ll talk about that in a second too).

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