Polar RC3 GPS ReviewJanuary 5, 2013
- Accurate GPS
- Long batter life in both GPS on and off modes
- Instantaneous pace was consistent
- Display on the unit is clear and crisp
- Altitude Included
- No average lap pace
- Price a little higher than other competitors
The Polar RC3 is an excellent mid-grade GPS running watch—with great battery life, and good GPS accuracy. It’s best for runners who need basic fitness and pacing metrics, and who value comprehensive heart rate functions. Serious runners will like its sleek size and ability to be worn as a daily watch.
Since the unit is made by Polar it comes with an industry best heart rate strap and pod. The pod attaches to the strap and fits nicely against the chest without any discomfort. I was quite impressed by how comfortable the strap was.
One nice thing about the Polar RC3 is that the numbers are large on the screen, which makes running and viewing your run quite easy.
The unit also contains many data fields, which is a good thing. Though not able to customize data fields, the preset fields are the ones you’d actually need or want, and similar to the ones on top of the line units. In all, the RC3 offers seven pages with 2 or 3 data fields per page.
Battery life was in the range of 11-13 hours on average, which is also quite good, though I feel battery life needs to be longer for GPS units in general. (And why don’t watchmakers use a watch battery backup to keep the stop watch functions working after the GPS dies?)
Running and Satellite Acquisition
Starting a run is quite simple if you are familiar with GPS watches. Simply go outside and let the watch acquire satellites. The first time the unit took about 90 seconds to acquire signals, but subsequent runs were much quicker in 20-35 second range, which is quite fast.
While not offering lap pace, the watch’s instantaneous pace was quite good and very consistent. The unit offers the standard average pace you would expect from a GPS unit.
When you are done running, you can view your run’s data via Polar’s online site, Polar WebSync. Polar WebSync is both PC and Mac compatible, which is not standard with many other units.
While online you can view your data in a very in-depth format online, which allows for a comprehensive overview of your workout across many different metrics.
The RC3 was extremely accurate. Under clear skies on the track, I completed my standard 5000m test and it was only about 25m off—which is quite good. I did have a few problems when running under covered areas, like bridges but this did not at all affect the final outcome of the run’s distance only a short delay.