Polar H10: Two minute review
The Polar H10 is a heart rate monitor mounted on a chest strap designed as a multisport tracking solution, made for regular use by athletes such as cyclists, long-distance runners, triathletes and the like, who want to work out with as little strapped to them as possible. To record your workouts and view their insights, you’ll have to connect it to the Polar Beat app, which certainly isn’t our favorite workout app out there.
For one, there are no clear instructions in the app to tell you how to connect the H10 or access the list of trackable activities. We found it exceptionally frustrating at times, especially since the app didn’t always find the H10 right away. Another gripe we had with the app was its limited activity-tracking options. It misses some of the slightly more obscure sports that some people might do from time to time.
On the plus side, the Polar Beat app has some added functionality over just simple workout tracking, which makes it a worthy addition to our best heart rate monitors list. There’s the option to assess your VO2 max and general fitness level, for example.
And if you’re not a big fan of the app, the H10 is pretty versatile in that it’s also compatible with a host of popular third-party fitness apps including Cardio Mapper, Endomondo, and Runtastic.
Performance is where the Polar H10 really triumphs, though. It does a perfect job of capturing heart measurements and therefore provides users with super-accurate results. It’s also waterproof, boasting the ability to be worn underwater to an astonishing depth of 30 meters, a feature that you won’t find on many of its rivals, and something swimmers will love.
In terms of battery life, the H10 will record data for an astonishing 400 hours. Although it’s worth noting that this is only a rough estimate: in real-world terms, we’d expect that to work out at about 100 weeks (two years) of use if you’re wearing it to track an hour-long training session three-to-four times a week.
Overall, it’s hard to fault the hardware of the Polar H10, especially when it comes to performance. It’s a reliable device that’s comfortable to wear and provides super accurate results for anyone using it in their training. It’s just a shame this is let down somewhat by the counterintuitive interface of the connected Polar Beat app.
|Dimensions||65 x 34 x 10 mm|
|Weight||60g with strap, 21g without|
|CPU speed||64 MHz|
|Operation temperatures||-10, -50°C|
Polar H10: Price and release date
- Available to buy now in the US, UK and Australia
- Priced at $89.95 / £79.50 / AU$139 RRP
- Cheaper on Amazon
The Polar H10 originally hit the market way back in January 2017. However, a new and improved model has since been released and is now available to buy for $89.95 / £76.50 in the UK, $89.95 in the US and AU$139 Down Under. It can be bought worldwide, direct from the Polar site (opens in new tab), or from online retailers for a little cheaper in some instances, such as Amazon UK (opens in new tab), where it can currently be picked up for £67.
Polar H10: Design
- Unoriginal design
- Comfortable to wear for long periods
- six strap size options available: XS-S or M-XXL
- Available in two colours: black or grey
The H10 comes in a choice of six strap colours and two size options: XS-S for a chest size of 51-66 cm (20-26 inches) or M-XXL for a chest size of 65-93 cm (25-37 inches). Weighing 60g, it offers a snug fit that feels pleasant throughout most workout types. If it’s a unique design you’re looking for in a chest strap, then you won’t find that in the Polar H10: it comprises your bog standard heart rate monitoring chest strap design that we’ve seen time and time again from numerous brands over the years. The reason behind this probably boils down to that old adage “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”.
As long as it’s comfortable, adjustable and works fine just the way it is, that’s all that should matter, right? Maybe so. And since it’s hidden under a t-shirt and bra for most during exercise, then it could be argued that design shouldn’t be a massive focus.
Still, for those who do have the guts to work out topless or in a sports bra and want to express themselves, then at least Polar offers a choice of six strap colours and designs to choose from. There’s black with grey “track it, wear it, crush it” graffiti-style text (as featured in our review), green camo, grey camo, red with “do it with heart” text, plain black, or turquoise. In the US you can also opt for a melange-style grey one similar to that found on the Polar Verity Sense.
These straps, which attach to the central node with two simple press studs, can also be switched out if you fancy buying other colours, or want a spare to wear while the other is in the wash, for instance.
That leaves us with one major question: is the Polar H10 comfortable to wear? It all comes down to personal preference but in our time using it, we can attest that it offers a snug fit that feels pleasant throughout most workout types.
Weighing 60g with the strap in tow, the Polar H10 is heavier than most of its rivals (the Wahoo TickR X comes in at just 8.5g), but this isn’t something we noticed during daily wear. All-in-all, it feels well made and of high quality.
When it comes to sizing, the H10 comes in two sizes, XS-S for a chest size of 51-66 cm (20-26 inches) or M-XXL for a chest size of 65-93 cm (25-37 inches). Our model was the latter and found to be the perfect fit for an average male build with a 42-inch chest.
- Design rating: 4/5
Polar H10: App and features
- App design is too simplistic and not very intuitive
- Limited activity tracking
- Compatible with heaps of third-party apps
The Polar H10 has been designed as a multisport tracking solution, made for regular use by athletes such as cyclists, long-distance runners, triathletes and the like, who want to work out with as little strapped to them as possible.
However, the H10’s limited onboard memory means it can only cache a single workout at a time, so you’ll need to sync your exercise data with the Polar Beat app before you record a second workout, which is annoying. Still, most users will be using the H10 alongside the connected Polar Beat app anyway. All that this involves is ensuring you track your workout via the app then you can leave the phone behind and the H10 will cache it automatically.
The Polar Beat isn’t our favourite workout app to use, though. It's simple in design - an attribute we’d usually commend - but in this instance, it’s not very intuitive. There are no clear instructions in the app to tell you how to connect the H10 or access the list of trackable activities. You have to tap here and there to discover it yourself. We found it exceptionally frustrating at times, especially since the app didn’t always find the H10 right away. Once it’s connected, there are no clear messages telling you so, either.
Some simple “your Polar H10 is now connected” pop-up dialogue would have been nice and reassuring. We often found ourselves trying to connect just before a workout class or training session, scrambling to attach the monitor, grab our smartphone, load up the app, make sure it's connected, find the activity we wanted to track from the list and tap start. There’s certainly a lot of faffing around to do. Although, of course, this all depends on personal preference and if you think the awkwardness involved in getting a chest strap to record your exercise data is worth the hassle. You’d have to be really dedicated. For us, a wrist-worn smartwatch and a simple tap of the “start workout” button is preferable over this any day.
Another gripe we had with the Polar Beat app was its limited activity tracking options. It misses some of the slightly more obscure sports that some people might do from time to time. There’s no squash or rugby tracking, for example, and so we found ourselves frantically looking for close alternatives just before doing these sports in the hope to track them as accurately as possible.
On the plus side, the Polar Beat app has some added functionality over just simple workout tracking. In the weirdly named Upgrades tab, there are options to perform a fitness test to assess your VO2 max and general fitness level as well as two coaching modes called Benefit Target and EnergyPointer. These let you set specific goals for your training alongside more tailored coaching, which is a nice touch.
And if you’re not a big fan of the app, the H10 is pretty versatile in that it’s also compatible with a host of popular third-party fitness apps including Cardio Mapper, Endomondo, iSmooth Run and Runtastic.
- Features & app rating: 3/5
Polar H10: Performance
- Super accurate
- Gold standard in heart rate monitoring
- Can be a bit of a faff to operate
So why would you even bother with a chest strap when it can be way more awkward to operate than a smartwatch? The bottom line is, they generally provide very accurate results as they feature an electrocardiography (ECG) heart-rate sensor, usually with a 99.6% accuracy.
Wrist-worn devices, which rely on optical sensors that shine light through your body tissue and read the refractions, are far less precise in their monitoring. If you want real-time heart rate monitoring but aren’t too fussed about point-to-point accuracy, then a smartwatch will do just fine. But chest straps are popular, especially among fitness enthusiasts and serious athletes, as they provide super reliable results that can help them adapt their training accordingly.
The Polar H10 is renowned for being the gold standard in heart rate monitoring thanks to its super accurate results. It does a perfect job of capturing heart measurements and we found zero issues in this area while testing.
The Polar H10 is also waterproof but, unlike most of its rivals, can be worn underwater to an astonishing depth of 30 metres. By comparison, the Wahoo TickR X and the Garmin HRM-Dual are both only moderately waterproof to 5 metres. Great news for swimmers.
So what about battery life? Thanks to its Bluetooth Low Energy support, the H10 can soldier on for a whopping 400 hours. Although it’s worth noting that this is only a rough estimate as alleged by Polar. In real-world terms, we’d expect that to work out at about 100 weeks (two years) of use if you’re wearing it to track an hour-long training session 3-4 times a week. By comparison, the Wahoo TickR X claims to boast a battery life of about a year, so it seems to be pretty decent by those standards.
Since it’s pretty impossible to review how accurate this is in just a few weeks of testing, we’ll just have to take Polar’s word for it and update this review later down the line if we spot worrying. Our device still reads as having a full battery on the Polar Beat app after a few weeks of intermittent use so there’s always that.
Polar H10: Buy it if...
You're serious about heart rate training
A chest strap detects changes to your heart rate more quickly than a watch, which makes it a more accurate tool if you're training by heart rate zones.
You hate having to charge your fitness tracker
The Polar H10’s 400-hour battery means it will go for months without needing to replace the battery - ideal for those who find it annoying having to charge their smartwatches every few days.
Polar H10: Don’t buy it if…
You like to see your data presented to you in real-time
The H10 isn’t for you if you’re looking for a device that has its own display so it can give you insights into your data without needing a connected app.
You want to quickly monitor workouts without a lengthy setup
Applying a chest strap isn’t as swift as tapping a button on a smartwatch. And since the connected Polar Beat app isn’t so intuitive, it can prove frustrating to get going when in a rush.
|Component||Polar H10||Garmin HRM Pro||MyZone MZ-Switch|
|Dimensions||65 x 34 x 10 mm||142 x 30 x 12 mm||42 x 33 x 11 mm|
|Weight||60g with strap, 21g without||59g||17g without strap|
|Connectivity||Bluetooth BLE||ANT+, Bluetooth||ANT+, Bluetooth|
|Operation temperatures||-10, -50°C||-10°C - 50°C||Unknown|
|Water resistance||WR30 (30 meters)||5ATM (50 meters)||10 meters|
|Battery||160 mAh||210mAh||3-6 months|
Garmin HRM-Pro (£119 / US$129.99 / AU$159.00)
Designed for multi-sport use, the HRM-Pro is the most advanced heart rate strap Garmin produces. It’s also one of the most expensive options available. With the ability to connect to multiple devices via Bluetooth and ANT+, capture insights into your running form, and store workout data to its internal memory, the Garmin HRM-Pro has everything you need from a heart rate monitor strap. Although it’s probably of greater interest to those who already own Garmin products.
Read our full MyZone MZ-Switch review
MyZone MZ-Switch (£139.50 / $159.95 / AU$209.99.)
The MyZone MZ-Switch isn’t just a chest strap. The center sensor node features an ECG monitor as well as an optical sensor and pops out so it can be worn on the wrist like a smartwatch, your arm or even your swimming goggles, giving you the best of both worlds. And, when used in chest strap mode, the MZ-Switch’s accuracy compares with that of the Garmin HRM-Pro. A great alternative if you want to mix it up a bit.
Read our full MyZone MZ-Switch review