Reviews

Polar H10 Chest Strap HR Monitor – User Review | GadFit (Updated 29th May 2018)

April 11, 2017

So Polar released the Polar H10 ($89.95) and officially declared it to be the company’s “most accurate” HR monitor. Well if you’re like me, between 30-40 years of age, then it’s highly likely we grew up with Polar as the heart rate monitoring company. And when they say their product kick ass, we sit up and pay attention.Polar H10 HRM main feature in story I had the Polar H10 for a few weeks now and have used it extensively for product testing versus the Fenix 5, Suunto Spartan with Wrist HR and so on.  That aside, I thought Polar’s most accurate HR monitor had a few tricks up its sleeves and certainly deserved a write up of its own. So here it is in its full glory. Enjoy!



Polar H10 IN SHORT

Pros

  • Most “accurate” heart rate monitor in Polar’s history
  • Can receive OTA software updates
  • Bluetooth Low Energy
  • 5 kHz transmission frequency
  • Waterproof 30 m, suitable for swimming
  • Built-in memory with Polar Beat for one training session
  • New Polar Pro chest strap with anti-slip silicon dots and secure buckle
  • User replaceable battery coin cell CR2025 battery
  • Compatible with dozens of leading fitness apps, including Polar Beat
  • Compatible with old and new Polar products (that use either BLE or 5kHz)
  • Compatible with indoor gym equipment and Polar Club and Polar Team solutions
  • Battery life of up to 400 hours with BLE and 5 kHz transmission active
  • Pairs with multiple devices and will work with up to 2 BLE devices.
  • Records up to 30+ hours workout at one go

Cons

  • No hard data on accuracy improvements over H7.

LOOK AND FEEL

In comparison to the Polar H7, the H10 appears larger but with a slimmer profile. What’s unique about the H10 is the inclusion of a Polar Pro chest strap which has silicon dots to prevent slippage.Polar H10 silicon dotsI think we all know what it feels like to have the chest straps slipping about 30 minutes into a run; with perspiration and mild body water loss. And since the H10 is made to store HR during swims, the silicon dots are a necessity rather than an innovation.Polar H10 vs Polar H7 side by side sizeThe back of the Polar H10 houses the user replaceable coin cell battery which features a flip to open design. I think you want to be careful of the O-ring and make sure it’s properly fixed and secured before using it.

Personally I thought the strap was a more comfortable fit over that of the Polar H7. Putting on is also a breeze because it clips easily when previously you needed to find a loop for the H7 belt’s hook. Polar H10 strap vs Polar H7 strapThe burning question we all have is how accurate is the H10 over the H7? According to Polar, the increased accuracy is due to the improved electrodes and algorithm.

In the picture above, you can see the H7 and H10 straps placed side by side and the H10’s electrodes extends by nearly an entire inch on both ends.

So does the H7 fit on the H10 belt? It does. Does it work? Yes, there’s HR readings. Does it perform as it should be? Yes. I’ve got the official from Polar that the H10 straps will work with H7. Does the strap improve the accuracy of H7? I can’t say anything about that. I’m sure Polar has their own documentation of this but they’re not sharing it.

This is what’s listed on the Polar Website about this new Polar Pro chest strap:

“The extra interference-preventing electrodes on the strap make it extremely sensitive to your heart’s electrical signals, providing maximum precision for heart rate readings and eliminating interference.”

You be the judge.



FUNCTIONS AND DATA PRESENTATION

The H10 has two recording modes and only one require that the user install the Polar Beat mobile app. Do bear in mind that all updates to the H10 is effected via Polar Beat.

In the normal mode, the H10 functions like any normal chest strap monitor and transmit HR data in real time to the connected mobile app and mobile device via Bluetooth Smart.Polar Beat with Polar H10One of the key improvements the H10 has over the H7 lies in its capability to store workouts. To use the sensor memory feature, the user must pair the H10 with the Polar Beat mobile app. Once that is done, start a workout as normal but tap the three dots on the top right corner instead, then select “Save HR with sensor.”

The HR monitor strap icon will now appear along with the unique ID of the Polar H10.Upon cessation of workout, either by not wearing it any more or by manually stopping the workout on the Polar Beat mobile app, you’ll be asked if you would like to have the workout saved or deleted.

If you choose to save, then the workout HR data will be downloaded to the mobile app.

HR tracking during swimming

The H10 is water resistant to 30m and can record HR data with the on board sensor memory and transfer the workout data afterwards to Polar Beat mobile app as mentioned above.

While Garmin’s HRM TRI and HRM Swim can record HR underwater which is then transferred post workout, both require Garmin hardware and are not Bluetooth Smart enabled.Polar H10 with BLE Garmin Fenix 5So Polar’s H10 may have a slight edge here in terms of ease of compatibility and not being hardware dependent.

polar H10 connect to dual BLE devices

Also, new updates has brought about dual BLE device compatibility to the Polar H10! If you refer to the picture above, you’ll see that the Polar H10 I was wearing was transmitting to two watches concurrently. The limit is two devices. So that would mean a watch and gym equipment or mobile device. I did try the mobile device with watch combination and that worked too.



Polar H10 IN A NUTSHELL

I tried the sensor memory feature and while it’s cool, I found little use for it. People who are training will most probably want their HR readings in real time to check if they’re hitting their target zones.

For me personally, I had issues pairing it to my mobile device and had to pry open the battery housing, re-insert the battery, before trying to connect again. This happened a few times even though the H10 was paired on previous occasions. Your experience might differ of course.

As for the accuracy claims, Polar says that “the improved electrodes make Polar H10 the most accurate heart rate sensor in Polar’s history. The Polar H10 keeps on improving with OTA software updates.” I would have loved to have some numbers for comparison though.

The only practical use I can think of for the sensor memory is during swimming. Even then, unless you have a Gymlink enabled Polar device, downloading and syncing of the swim workout data will have to take place at the end of the session rather than in real time.

Polar H10 OTA updates

According to Polar, this is their most accurate chest strap heart rate monitor to date and this tiny device stores up to 30+ hours of workout at one go. The Polar H10 will also receive future software updates over the air.

If you need a few reasons to get the Polar H10 , there’s improved “accuracy”, memory storage with Polar Beat app, and most recently transmitting to dual BLE devices.

You can purchase the Polar H10 from Amazon where there’s usually a small discount, great return policy, and free delivery depending on where you reside. In return your purchase helps to offset the costs associated with the running of this site. Thanks for reading!

20 Comments

  • Reply the5krunner April 12, 2017 at 3:17 am

    how do you know it is more or less accurate than any other chest strap?
    what were the pairing issues?
    as it is now, I don’t think the H10 is very interesting. I think the future of the strap supporting other product features is much more interesting. Let’s see what Polar have in store for us

  • Reply Jake Johnson April 12, 2017 at 8:23 pm

    Thank you for your review. Some early reviews mentioned that Polar H10 would support two concurrent bluetooth connections, perhaps based on the GoPro connectivity. That feature would be very useful if realized. Unfortunately, this is NOT true. You can pair Polar H10 with several devices but have only one bluetooth connection at a time.

    Have you tried Polar H7 with Polar Pro Strap? I wonder if there are any benefits to this combination.

    • Reply Michael S April 14, 2017 at 11:02 am

      Hi Jake,

      Thanks for your inputs. The H7 does work on the Polar Pro Strap, I’ve tried it. As to whether the HR monitor accuracy is as desired, can’t say much about it. Polar claims the accuracy is a result of the improved electrodes so in this case, I’m guessing putting a H7 on the Pro strap will achieve the same level of accuracy as the H10, just without the sensor memory and the OTA firmware updates. This is guessing on my part.

      Probably get around to trying it later.
      Mike

  • Reply Adam April 19, 2017 at 9:08 pm

    I find the Polar H10 very valuable during CrossFit workouts where I don’t want anything on my wrist. Don’t care about real time HR as I know my butt is getting kicked. 🙂 It’s nice to look at afterwards and keep track of different days.

    • Reply Michael S April 19, 2017 at 9:20 pm

      Thanks for the tip Adam. You’re right, the h10 would probably be prefect for cross fit!

      Mike

  • Reply Lance B. August 29, 2017 at 12:53 am

    Thanks very much for an unbiased and thorough evaluation.

    • Reply Michael S August 29, 2017 at 12:06 pm

      Thank you Lance. Glad you enjoyed it

  • Reply Sarytoo September 2, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    I have experienced at complete failure to record my HR during swimming now on my H7 that I got in Dec 16 which came with a v800. It started to degrade after about 4 months with more and more frequent drop outs but now I flat line at 118 bpm so have given up wearing the sensor and strap at all. It still works for non-swmming activities and I was unsure what the problem might be. Could it be the sensor or the strap? Would moving to an H10 mean I get more reliability? Any help you could offer would be greatly appreciated.

    • Reply Michael S September 3, 2017 at 3:30 pm

      Hi Sarytoo,

      It’s barely been a year’s worth of use and my personal experience with the Polar H7 tells me it’s a very robust device. I’m still using the one I got few years back.
      Have you tried changing the coin cell battery? My connection usually goes iffy but it’s nothing a fresh battery won’t fix. Just in case you haven’t tried.
      If you have, I’d suggest you drop Polar Support an email to check.
      Like you said, you got it Dec 16, no harm checking with Polar really.
      Mike

  • Reply Sarytoo September 3, 2017 at 7:10 pm

    That’s excellent, Mike. Thank you for the advice, I will give it a go.

    Sarytoo

  • Reply Jaco October 5, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    Will the H7 & H10 work with Suunto ambit3 sport?

    • Reply Michael S October 6, 2017 at 9:15 am

      Hi Jaco,

      I don’t have an Ambit 3 so can’t comment on that.

      Mike

  • Reply Robin October 28, 2017 at 6:23 am

    The polar H10 ability to store data is a real benefit to those of us who are not wanting/able or forget to have our phones within range at all times.

  • Reply Robin October 28, 2017 at 6:25 am

    I am having repeated issues pairing my polar H7 and polar H10. I find it really frustrating that the polars don’t have a LED to let you know that they are working (it could just be on for a couple of seconds). My Zephyr HRM was much much easier to pair – ironically on the polar strap H7 it still was far easier to pair than the polars.

    • Reply Michael S October 28, 2017 at 9:11 am

      Hi Robin,

      I found that it helps to close the Polar Beat mobile app after removing a paired device before trying to connect another.

      If you like LED indicators, have you checked out the new Polar OH1?

      Mike

  • Reply Jason Kennedy February 6, 2018 at 8:32 am

    Pairs with multiple devices but will only work with one at a time isn’t this a con? I can’t use it with zwift / trainer road and also the garmin simultaneously.

  • Reply Charlie July 25, 2018 at 10:05 am

    Do you know if, sense the strap is bluetooth smart enabled, it would pair for use with suunto watches (i.e. Ambit 3)?

    • Reply Michael S July 25, 2018 at 9:34 pm

      I don’t have the Ambit 3 on hand to test this but I can let you know it pairs nicely with the Suunto Spartan Trainer.

  • Reply Andrejs V. November 8, 2018 at 5:01 pm

    Here is my story. I run 4-5 times a week. I’ve had problems with HR readings with Polar H7. The HR sometimes jumped from very low to dramatically high for some time intervals, especially when trained hard. Now I’ve got H10 and using the same old strap the mentioned problem disappeared. So, I conclude it’s not only a strap, which became better. It’s either the electronics or firmware algorithms.

    • Reply Michael S November 8, 2018 at 8:22 pm

      Thanks for posting your experience with the Polar H10.

      Good to hear feedback from users like you.

      Mike

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