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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
- 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.
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.
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
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.
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
Garmin Forerunner 935
The Final Word
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 2021-01-18 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API