Polar Vantage M vs. Garmin Forerunner 935: In-Depth Comparison

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Needless to say, Polar and Garmin are both market leaders in the market of athletic watches. They have a wide selection of high-end products to take your running to a whole new level.

In this article, we’ll take a close look at the differences between Polar Vantage M vs. Garmin Forerunner 935. Let’s see!

POLAR VANTAGE M –Advanced Running & Multisport Watch with GPS and Wrist-based Heart Rate (Lightweight Design & Latest Technology), Black, M-L
Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit (Black)
POLAR VANTAGE M –Advanced Running & Multisport Watch with GPS and Wrist-based Heart Rate (Lightweight Design & Latest Technology), Black, M-L
Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit (Black)
Prime Status
-
-
Rating
-
Reveiws
-
661 Reviews
Heart Rate Monitor
Smartphone Compatible
Battery Life
30 hours of training time
2 weeks in watch mode, up to 24 hours in GPS mode or up to 50 hours in UltraTrac mode
Preloaded Run Profiles
fitness tracker, separating cardio load, muscle load and perceived load
Anaerobic or Aerobic training sets
GPS Locking
GPS Running
GPS running/triathlon watch
Display Size
240 x 240
240 x 240
Price
$249.95
$285.00
POLAR VANTAGE M –Advanced Running & Multisport Watch with GPS and Wrist-based Heart Rate (Lightweight Design & Latest Technology), Black, M-L
POLAR VANTAGE M –Advanced Running & Multisport Watch with GPS and Wrist-based Heart Rate (Lightweight Design & Latest Technology), Black, M-L
Prime Status
-
Rating
-
Reveiws
-
Heart Rate Monitor
Smartphone Compatible
Battery Life
30 hours of training time
Preloaded Run Profiles
fitness tracker, separating cardio load, muscle load and perceived load
GPS Locking
GPS Running
Display Size
240 x 240
Price
$249.95
Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit (Black)
Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit (Black)
Prime Status
-
Rating
Reveiws
661 Reviews
Heart Rate Monitor
Smartphone Compatible
Battery Life
2 weeks in watch mode, up to 24 hours in GPS mode or up to 50 hours in UltraTrac mode
Preloaded Run Profiles
Anaerobic or Aerobic training sets
GPS Locking
GPS running/triathlon watch
Display Size
240 x 240
Price
$285.00

Design: Quite Similar with Minor Differences

If we wore these two watches blindfolded, you probably won’t be able to tell them apart.

Vantage M weighs 45 gm while the Forerunner 935 weighs 49 gm.

These numbers place them on the lightweight extreme since most of the other watches typically weigh around 100 gm.

Band Design: Vantage M Looks Better

Judging the band design is surely relative between each one of us. But I have to say, I love the Vantage band. It has multiple holes that fit naturally with the circular slots in which the buckle tongue fits.

On the other hand, the Forerunner band features the basic rectangular slots seen on other watches.

POLAR VANTAGE M –Advanced Running & Multisport Watch with GPS and Wrist-based Heart Rate (Lightweight Design & Latest Technology), Black, M-L

Screen: Similar Size But a More Modern Finish in Vantage M

Both watches feature notably large watch heads to easily grasp all the information you need while running.

You might feel that the Vantage has a bigger screen, but that’s not true. The screen itself is around the same size as the Forerunner.

Polar made the bezel surrounding the display with the same material to look like an extended screen. On the other hand, Garmin went for a grey fiber-reinforced bezel, which made the screen look smaller.

I personally like the Vantage design since it feels more modern and sleek. Then again, there’s no winner here. This is left for your personal preferences.

Sale
POLAR VANTAGE M –Advanced Running & Multisport Watch with GPS and Wrist-based Heart Rate (Lightweight Design & Latest Technology), Black, M-L
  • ULTRA-LONG BATTERY LIFE : The Polar Vantage M Advanced GPS Running & Multisport Watch lasts for up to 30 hours of training time
  • POLAR PRECISION PRIME HEART RATE : Polar’s heart rate monitor watches redefine the gold standard in optical heart rate accuracy by combining the latest in bio-impedance electrodes and optical sensors
  • TRAINING LOAD PRO: The Vantage M is the ultimate fitness tracker, separating cardio load, muscle load and perceived load. Polar’s Training Load Pro provides an unparalleled look into how your training affects your body
  • SWIM/BIKE/RUN FUNCTIONALITY : As a waterproof watch, long-distance running watch and biking activity tracker combined, you can capture key metrics like swimming stroke and pace. You can even pair with your favorite compatible cycling accessory
  • PERSONALIZE WITH YOUR OWN STYLE : With customizable fitness band options, tailor your Vantage M with replaceable wrist bands of multiple colors

Screen Brightness: Forerunner 935 Slightly Excels

When it comes to the actual usage, you might feel more comfortable with the Forerunner.

The Vantage screen is good, but it doesn’t give enough brightness in the active mode. In standby mode, you pretty much see nothing!

The screen of Forerunner doesn’t shine that much, either. But it’s surely easier to deal with when compared with the Vantage.

Features

As you might expect, both watches are packed with a bunch of useful features to step up your running and overall activities.

Surely, I won’t investigate every single feature, just to keep this article short and concise. Instead, I’ll highlight the most prominent features unique to each one.

POLAR VANTAGE M –Advanced Running & Multisport Watch with GPS and Wrist-based Heart Rate (Lightweight Design & Latest Technology), Black, M-L

Heart Rate: Vantage M Is More Accurate

The first and most notable difference between the two watches lies in the optical heart rate monitor.

Polar has equipped its watch with a technology name Precision Prime. This is supposed to be the latest, state-of-the-art technology to accurately measure the heart rate.

Flip the Vantage M and you’ll see 9 LED sensors: 4 red and 5 green. The variety of the color channels and wavelengths penetrates the skin deeper and better. This way, it can detect the faintest changes in blood flow.

These sensors are paired with 4 bioimpedance sensors. These are responsible for detecting and ignoring jerky movements and sensor-skin contacts. Otherwise, these movements could affect the overall reading accuracy.

The Forerunner, on the other hand, doesn’t specify the actual technology behind its heart rate monitor.

Several customers said that it works fine until you start a vigorous workout.

Sale
Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit (Black)
661 Reviews
Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit (Black)
  • Premium GPS running/triathlon watch with wrist based heart rate;Strap material : silicone ; Smartphone compatibility : iPhone, Android, Windows; designed for sale and support in North America only
  • Offers advanced running and multisport Features in a comfortable watch you can wear all day, and it only weighs 49 grams
  • Provides elevation changes with a built in barometer; altimeter and electronic compass help you keep your bearings
  • Evaluates your training status to indicate if you’re undertraining or overdoing it and offers additional performance monitoring Features
  • Provides advanced dynamics for running, cycling and swimming, including ground contact time balance, stride length and more. Bezel Material Fiber reinforced polymer

But Forerunner 935 Compensates with Heart Rate Accessories

The wristband itself might not be that accurate. But if you want to compensate for this difference, you can pair your watch with two external chest straps that connect to the watch with ANT+.

The first strap, HRM-Tri, is used during running and cycling. This accessory would give you insights other than the heart rate such as the lactate threshold. This tells you how much time you still have before your body starts dwelling on fatigue.

The second one, HRM-Swim, stores your heart rate information while swimming to view it later on the wristband.

Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit (Black)

Forerunner 935 Holds More GPS Features

GPS tracking is super accurate in both watches. However, the Forerunner allows you to import and export GPX files. This way, you can share your running route to challenge your friends which helps you set and break goals

And you can also import race routes to have an advantage over the rest of the competitors.

Softwares

After you finish running, you can sync data from both watches to the corresponding apps and web platforms.

Both of Them Track Data and Suggest Plans

Garmin Connect and Polar Flow can show you in-depth details about your heart rate, running routes, sleep efficiency, overall activity, and more.

Best of all, you can turn these data into personalized guidance. Both watches suggest workout plans and exercises. They can even plan up to a full season ahead! If their suggestions don’t conform to what you have in mind, you can always plan on your own.

During future runs, both watches can adjust their interaction based on these data.

For instance, if you’re running in a 5K, they can tell you how fast you should run, whether your heart rate is too fast or too slow, etc.

If something doesn’t go according to the plan, both watches will instantly notify you to adjust it.

I absolutely like these features since they allow you to fully concentrate on your running and leave these data to be perfectly monitored.

Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit (Black)

Pros and Cons: Brief List

Alright, now that I said all I have, it’s time for you to make a decision. If you still can’t make up your mind, here’s a quick list of pros and cons to help you.

Polar Vantage M

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Modern, sleek design
  • Advanced optical heart rate monitor
  • Polar Flow app collects data and plan workouts
  • Can be used for swimming
  • Large battery life (30hr)

CONS

  • The screen brightness might not be sufficient
  • Can’t import or export GPX files

Garmin Forerunner 935

PROS

  • Lightweight
  • Can be paired with external chest straps for better readings
  • Can be used while swimming
  • Can import and export GPX files to share routes
  • The Garmin Connect app collects your running data and suggests plans
  • Large battery life (24hr)

CONS

  • The heart rate monitor might not be always accurate
  • Might slightly lag while saving workouts and switching modes
POLAR VANTAGE M –Advanced Running & Multisport Watch with GPS and Wrist-based Heart Rate (Lightweight Design & Latest Technology), Black, M-L
Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit (Black)
POLAR VANTAGE M –Advanced Running & Multisport Watch with GPS and Wrist-based Heart Rate (Lightweight Design & Latest Technology), Black, M-L
Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit (Black)
Prime Status
-
-
Rating
-
Reveiws
-
661 Reviews
Heart Rate Monitor
Smartphone Compatible
Battery Life
30 hours of training time
2 weeks in watch mode, up to 24 hours in GPS mode or up to 50 hours in UltraTrac mode
Preloaded Run Profiles
fitness tracker, separating cardio load, muscle load and perceived load
Anaerobic or Aerobic training sets
GPS Locking
GPS Running
GPS running/triathlon watch
Display Size
240 x 240
240 x 240
Price
$249.95
$285.00
POLAR VANTAGE M –Advanced Running & Multisport Watch with GPS and Wrist-based Heart Rate (Lightweight Design & Latest Technology), Black, M-L
POLAR VANTAGE M –Advanced Running & Multisport Watch with GPS and Wrist-based Heart Rate (Lightweight Design & Latest Technology), Black, M-L
Prime Status
-
Rating
-
Reveiws
-
Heart Rate Monitor
Smartphone Compatible
Battery Life
30 hours of training time
Preloaded Run Profiles
fitness tracker, separating cardio load, muscle load and perceived load
GPS Locking
GPS Running
Display Size
240 x 240
Price
$249.95
Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit (Black)
Garmin Forerunner 935 Running GPS Unit (Black)
Prime Status
-
Rating
Reveiws
661 Reviews
Heart Rate Monitor
Smartphone Compatible
Battery Life
2 weeks in watch mode, up to 24 hours in GPS mode or up to 50 hours in UltraTrac mode
Preloaded Run Profiles
Anaerobic or Aerobic training sets
GPS Locking
GPS running/triathlon watch
Display Size
240 x 240
Price
$285.00

The Final Word

In the comparison between Polar Vantage M vs Garmin Forerunner 935, picking a winner isn’t that easy.

The heart rate accuracy of the Vantage is a huge plus for me. But I also like the GPX feature in the Forerunner.

All in all, they both offer excellent performance for all sorts of exercises.


Last update on 2020-07-10 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API