Update* The Polar H10 chest strap HRM has since received a number of firmware updates including one in April 2019 that allowed the HRM compatibility with ANT+. To enable this, make sure you turn the ANT+ feature on within the Polar Beat app.
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. 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
- 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
- ANT+ compatible
- 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.I 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.The 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. The 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.One 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.So Polar’s H10 may have a slight edge here in terms of ease of compatibility and not being hardware dependent.
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.
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. 2 notable firmware updates to date would include enabling BLE transmission to 2 devices and ANT+ compatibility.
If you need a few reasons to get the Polar H10 , there’s improved “accuracy”, memory storage with Polar Beat app. It’s hard to find a more versatile chest strap HRM on the market at present really.
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!