Polar's New GPS Fitness Watch Tracks Workouts, Counts Calories Burned and More

The new Polar RC3 GPS watch is a great companion for recreational runners and cyclists who want to track their workouts. It's not cheap at $350, but it does pack a number of unique and valuable fitness features.

The Polar RC3 GPS watch is designed for runners who want to track and improve their workouts, and it also supports a few Polar-made accessories for cyclists. The watch's integrated GPS helps track runners' routes, speed and distance, and workout data can be uploaded to the polarpersonaltrainer.com portal and shared online with friends.


Note the backlight button on the top lefthand corner of the Polar RC3 GPS

The Polar RC3 GPS looks like a standard watch designed for an active lifestyle. Weighing just 58 grams, the RC3 GPS is IPX-7 rated which means it can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes at a depth of 1 meter. The watch gets about 12 hours of continuous use with GPS active, and it is recharged using a supplied micro-USB cable.

Setting up the Polar RC3 GPS is simple and intuitive thanks to a setup wizard that starts up after the watch is charged for the first time. The watch requests the following user data: date, time, age, weight, height and preference for imperial or metric units.

The RC3 GPS unit that I received came with a heart-rate sensor that captures heart-rate data and sends it back to the watch using Polar’s proprietary 2.4GHz wireless technology.


The Polar H3 heart-rate sensor is part of the RC3 GPS package


CR 2025 battery inside the heart rate sensor

I really appreciate the watch's “Back to Start” feature that activates after a run to bring you back to your starting point. Based on GPS coordinates saved at the beginning of your workout, an arrow appears on the watch face to indicate the direction of your start point. It even display the distance remaining between you and your start point. This is useful for folks who run in unfamiliar areas while traveling or while wandering outside their normal workout zones.

A free WebSync utility for your PC or Mac lets you configure user-specific settings using your computer, and you can upload the data to Polar’s free portal. The watch also has a calorie-counter feature and a “ZoneOptimizer” that sets the correct personal heart-rate zones based on the user’s current physiological condition.


The RC3 GPS is recharged via micro-USB


The RC3 GPS with port cover in place

Conclusion: Polar RC3 GPS

The Polar RC3 GPS with Heart Rate Monitor costs $350, which is significantly more expensive than comparable products from other vendors. On the other hand, the RC3 GPS is a highly-polished product that is both intuitive and easy to use, and it also offers integration with a free online service. In short, you don’t have to be a geek and/or a fitness freak to enjoy using the RC3 GPS.

The Polar RC3 GPS is available from authorized Polar U.S. retail shops, select fitness facilities and from Amazon.com starting on November 17.

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