PROS / It can record 100 hours of data.
CONS / The unit is lacking GPS functionality.
VERDICT / This heart rate monitor watch’s best-in-class features and intuitive design make it suitable for athletes of all abilities.
Editor’s Note: This product has been removed from our side-by-side comparison because it has been replaced by another product. You can still read our original review below, but Top Ten Reviews is no longer updating this product’s information.
Polar calls their RS100 a “running computer” instead of a heart rate monitor watch, and we can see why. The wrist unit’s capabilities would rival a basic computer. Polar has gone to great lengths to produce a heart rate monitor that records valuable training data. The Polar RS100 has earned high marks for its intuitive features and easy-to-use interface.
Heart Rate Monitoring
Before you hit the road on an exhilarating long run, you’ll want to enter accurate personal information so that when the heart rate monitor records your workout, you’ll receive accurate feedback. Correct personal information means a more precise training summary at the end of your workout.
Five buttons control the Polar RS100’s functionality. These five buttons access measurements for calories burned, heart rate zones, the time, recorded training summaries and target zone alarms. The target zone alarm is one of our favorite features, allowing the user to input goal heart rate zones. Once those zones have been reached, the runner will hear an audible beep to indicate they’re in a specific zone. Knowing what heart rate zone you’re in helps you target a specific type of training, whether it's losing weight or building endurance.
One of the reasons a heart rate monitor is an essential training tool is that you can track how your heart rate changes through the training process. Your heart rate should actually decrease during consistent exercise as your fitness improves. The RS100 will not only record every lap you complete during a run, but after your workout you can go back and review your best lap. With this feature, you can conveniently evaluate how to improve your pace.
A textile transmitter comes with RS100 and is easy to use. Simply wet the transmitter nodes and securely strap them to your chest. Once the monitor has obtained your heartbeat, the watch should automatically display the measurement on the watch face. The included transmitter is coded so it shouldn’t cross-talk with other transmitters. However, if you're running in a race with several people around you wearing heart rate monitors, it may not work correctly. Because the transmitter is mainly intended to be worn during training, we don’t see this as a major problem.
Although marketed as a beginner's heart rate monitor watch, we think it has enough bells and whistles to satisfy any level of athlete. You can record up to 100 hours of workout data and it can track heart rates within a range of 15-240 beats per minute. The wrist unit’s battery lasts a whopping two years (with normal use) before it needs replaced. Polar does not recommend trying to replace the battery yourself. Take the watch to an authorized Polar Service Center where they will replace the battery and test the monitor for water resistance. The RS100 is water resistant to 50 meters, but that doesn’t mean you should go swimming with the watch on. If you do submerge the monitor in water, do not push any of the buttons to prevent water damage.
Connectivity & Design
Heart Touch is a feature Polar includes in most of their heart rate monitor watches. The last thing you want to do during a workout is mess around with buttons. When you bring the watch unit close to the logo on the chest transmitter, the watch will display the time and your heart rate. This is smart design and we applaud it. Another option to prevent unwanted button selections is the keylock function.
If night running is your passion, the Polar RS100 has an awesome backlight setting. When you activate the backlight during a recorded evening run, the setting will automatically turn on the next time you head out on a similar run. Before heading out, be sure to check the battery level indicator to ensure the watch doesn’t die during your workout.
Like most sports watches, the Polar RS100 can act as a chronograph, timing laps and using split time. It also displays the time and date, has an alarm and can be set to several different languages. Unfortunately, the RS100 doesn’t have GPS – the one and only feature it doesn’t have.
Help & Support
Polar’s help and support is impressive. They have an online product page for each of their products with accompanying information. You can watch informative videos, peruse the FAQs or download a user manual. A contact phone number and technical support email address are conveniently located either on the Contact Us page or via the Product Support link. A two-year warranty is also included, and if the watch needs to be repaired, you can send it straight to Polar’s headquarters. We contacted Polar support and received a quick response to all of our questions.
The Polar RS100 heart rate monitor watch is an ideal training solution for a wide range of athletes. Whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned runner, the heart rate monitoring features will help you keep in an appropriate training zone. By staying in different heart rate zones, you can improve your fitness level and lose weight. We wish the unit had GPS, but the 100-hour memory capacity, two-year warranty and intuitive backlight feature help ease the loss.