Gear Review: Polar RC3

  • By Triathlete Europe
  • Published November 28, 2012

Polar have joined the ranks of the integrated GPS training device with their new RC3 training computer. It’s aimed for use on the bike and run, but not when swimming like their non-integrated RCX3. Being integrated means there’s no need to wear a separate GPS receiver on the arm. This unit is simple to navigate and provides all of the important instant feedback with speed/pace, time elapsed and distance for up to the second information on the fly. One thing we like is the large numbers making it easy to see what’s happening when you’re on the move, especially when working hard. Along with the instant feedback you can programme zones for interval sessions. Output is customisable but the RC3 doesn’t offer as many variations as some of its competitors.

When it comes heart rate training this works as well as with any of Polar’s set ups and we had no issues with the soft heart rate strap. For use on the bike the unit will connect with Polar’s WIND speed sensor and WIND cadence for all your important data. The big downer for us that it’s not Ante+ and will not will not connect with Polar or third party power meters. In terms of accuracy we found the Polar to be spot on with other units we have tested on our set routes.

You can look at training history on the watch unit as well as downloading information to a computer via a USB lead. Data can be used with Polar’s online training log to record data, check your recovery status and set further training. It was a little sad to see the RC3 isn’t Bluetooth compatible for quick and easy transfer of data.

While the RC3 is waterproof this is only to one metre and for 30 minutes. This means it will survive riding and running in the rain, as well as in the shower, but we don’t recommend using it in the pool (like most non-triathlon specific units from other brands). We found we got 1 2 plus hours of use per charge, which is better than most similar set-ups from competitors. The slim profile of the wrist unit means the RC3 can be worn as a day-to-day watch without feeling too big or clumsy. We think the RC3 is a good value unit and covers all bases at a fair price.

Performance: 8
Value: 8
RRP: £199.50

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