Can The New Polar Vantage V3 Rival The Garmin Epix?

Polar Vantage V3 showing navigation screen
(Image credit: Polar)

Polar has launched the latest generation of its flagship Vantage sports watch. On paper the Polar Vantage V3 offers a host of exciting hardware and software upgrades on the Vantage V2. I’ve yet to start testing the watch, but it’s safe to say if the Vantage V3 lives up to its promise in practice, it will be one of the best sports watches and a rival to the Garmin Epix 2.

I say a rival to the Epix, rather than the Garmin Fenix, because the Vantage V3 has a bright 1.39in AMOLED touchscreen rather than an LCD. This reduces battery life, but Polar says the Vantage V3 will still last up to eight days on a charge, and offer an impressive 47 hours of training time using dual-band GPS tracking, and up to 140 hours if you take advantage of all the power-saving options.

The Vantage V3 has an attractive design, with an aluminum bezel surrounding the curved Gorilla Glass display, and Polar has also upgraded the hardware on the back of the watch, claiming the new Gen 4 optical heart rate sensor on the watch is more accurate than ever before. 

The sensors on the watch, which are now packaged into the “Polar Elixir sensor fusion platform”, allow it to take ECG readings and check your blood oxygen saturation, and it also monitors your skin temperature at night. 

Polar Vantage V3 blood oxygen saturation testing screen

The new Gen 4 optical heart rate sensor on the Polar Vantage V3 delivers blood oxygen saturation testing (Image credit: Polar)

Another exciting update is that the Vantage V3 offers dual-band GPS tracking, which should lead to more accurate distance and pace measurements during outdoor activities. A note of caution here, however, because the Polar Ignite 3 has multi-band tracking and in my experience its GPS accuracy is middling. Hopefully the Vantage V3 can rival Garmin and Suunto’s multi-band GPS accuracy, which is excellent.

One area where Garmin has been streets ahead of its rivals for years is navigation, but the Polar Vantage V3 aims to start closing the gap with the addition of offline topographical maps. It will also offer turn-by-turn directions for routes made through Komoot. 

The Vantage V3 is still primarily a sports watch, and doesn’t offer smart features like music storage or NFC payments, which you do get on Garmin watches. However, if the new sensors and GPS prove to be highly accurate, the Vantage V3 will be a major player in the high-end watch market.

You can pre-order the Polar Vantage V3 from today. It comes in three colors—black, blue and apricot—and will ship from October 25. The watch costs $599.90 in the US and £519 in the UK, and you can buy a bundle consisting of the watch and the excellent Polar H10 chest strap heart rate monitor for $649.90/£559.

Nick Harris-Fry
Senior writer

Nick Harris-Fry is a journalist who has been covering health and fitness since 2015. Nick is an avid runner, covering 70-110km a week, which gives him ample opportunity to test a wide range of running shoes and running gear. He is also the chief tester for fitness trackers and running watches, treadmills and exercise bikes, and workout headphones.