Two very similar watches on the market right now is the Garmin Forerunner 735XT and the Polar Vantage M. Both feature some impressive metrics aimed specifically at the triathlete, with additional functionalities for everyday activity tracking. The differences here are very subtle, where both fall into a similar price bracket with similar capabilities. Let’s drill down into what makes each of these fitness watches unique.
Garmin Forerunner 735XT - R4999,90
Paired with a wrist-based heart rate monitor, the Garmin Forerunner 735XT is an ideal watch for the beginner triathlete. It provides detailed metrics for running, cycling and swimming disciplines that enable you to really push your limits.
Appearance. With a fresh, new updated circular display and more comfortable rubber band, the Garmin Forerunner 735XT makes an effortless transition from workday to workout. Not only is the watch nice and lightweight at 40 grams, it also features a bright display visible in harsh sunlight. Feel free to add a picture of your most recent sunset run, or even a picture of your mom to the customisable watch face. This watch allows you to add a personal touch to your fitness device, or download others from Connect IQ. Additionally, its auto multi-sport features enable you to switch between sports with a simple touch of a button - making it an ideal triathlon watch.
Features. Not only does the Garmin Forerunner 735XT come with handy everyday activity tracking capabilities, it also enables some advanced running, cycling and swimming dynamics. Its swimming functionalities allow you to track metrics such as distance, lap info, stroke count, rate, intervals and many more. When paired with HRM-Run and HRM-Tri monitors, the Garmin Forerunner 735XT can dig even deeper into these metrics. These are sold separately, and analyse your performance with metrics such as VO2 max estimate, lactate threshold, race predictor, and recovery advisor.
Additionally, the Garmin Forerunner 735XT enables smart notifications that allows you to receive prompts when your mobile phone is nearby. Furthermore, the watch also facilitates automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, which is a free online community where you can plan and save workouts, as well as share them with people around you. The Live Tracking feature is also a useful functionality that allows your friends and family to see where you are during your workouts - especially handy for triathletes that tackle multiple disciplines in a day.
The Garmin Forerunner 735XT is also the first watch to be compatible with Strava Live Segments. This means that your starred Strava running and cycling segments automatically sync with your watch, which enables live feedback during your workouts. Strava Live Segments also allows you to see leaderboard rankings, and receive alerts for segment starts and finishes. Additionally, Strava Suffer Score analyses your heart rate during your activities and then ranks your effort. So, basically, the feature measures your time spent in a certain heart rate zone, and then rates scores according to intensity instead of overall time.
Battery. The Garmin Forerunner 735XT lasts for about 16 hours in GPS mode with heart rate activated, and 24 hours in UltraTrac mode. This mode still enables GPS tracking, but less frequently in order to conserve battery life.
- Measures heart rate at the wrist
- Provides advanced cycling, swimming and running dynamics when used with HRM-Run or HRM-Tri monitor (sold seperately)
- Offers VO2 max estimate, lactate threshold, race predictor and recovery advisor when used with chest strap heart rate monitor (sold separately)
- Connected features: smart notifications, automatic uploads to Garmin Connect, live tracking and more
- Customise with free watch faces, apps and more from Connect IQ
- Built-in activity profiles for running, cycling, swimming, paddle sports, hiking and strength training
- Auto multi-sport feature lets you switch sports with just 1 button press
- Strava Suffer Score analyses your heart rate during a workout and ranks your total activity effort
- Battery life:16hrs GPS and 24hrs Ultratrac mode
Polar Vantage M - R4999,90
The Polar Vantage M is an exceptional multisport watch built for anyone who loves tracking data to improve their performance. It also comes with a wrist-based heart rate monitor that seamlessly tracks heart rate with the new Precision Prime™ sensor fusion technology for increased reliability. With its ability to track over 130 different sports and exceptional battery life - it’s no wonder that this watch is a favourite amongst multisport or triathlete enthusiasts.
Appearance. Much like the Garmin Forerunner 735XT, the Polar Vantage M also boasts an attractive circular design with always-on colour display. The lightweight, waterproof design makes this watch an incredible fit in any sport. With this watch you also have the option of customising your look with a changeable wristband. Here you have the option of choosing from Polar’s selection or any band with 22mm spring bars.
Features. The Polar Vantage M was built for those athletes who strive to always push themselves to the limits. With Training Load Pro, a smart coaching feature, this watch allows athletes to optimise performance by monitoring training load from every training session. This enables you to assess your own limits by understanding when you are overtraining or undertraining, and ensures that you improve your personal performance without injury. Basically, it takes into account how much stress is placed on the cardiovascular system. Together with a power sensor that measures how much your muscles are stressed during training, and your perception of the session, this can really be an exceptional tool.
In swimming mode, the Polar Vantage M is also able to automatically detect your heart rate, swimming styles, pace, distance, and strokes in open water and in the pool. Together with advanced cycling and running data, this makes it an incredible partner for improving your overall multi-disciplined performance.
Additionally, Running Index allows you to measure VO2 max and track how your running fitness is developing. The Polar Vantage M also offers a few handy features such as Sleep Plus and Smart Cals. Sleep Plus ensures you optimise your recovery by tracking the timing, amount and quality of your sleep. Smart Cals can be a great feature if you’re actively tracking your nutritional requirements for weight-loss, muscle gain or maintenance by providing your personal calorie metrics. This feature takes into account your height, age, gender, weight, as well as your individual maximum heart rate.
Furthermore, the Polar Vantage M is also compatible with all Polar Sensors and also offers personalised running programs to guide you through your training. Whether you are working toward your first couch to 10k, or running a marathon - the Polar Vantage M gives you free adaptive training guidance.
Battery. The Polar Vantage M lasts for about 30 hours with GPS and heart rate activated - which is more than enough time to get you through a tough training session, or triathlon race.
- Battery Life: Up to 30 hrs in Training Mode (GPS and Wrist-Based Heart Rate).
- Display: Always on Color Display
- Screen: Size 1.2", Resolution 240 x 240.
- GPS: Integrated GPS & GLONASS, assisted GPS for fast fix times.
- Weight: 45g
- Swimming Metrics: Polar Vantage M automatically detects your heart rate, swimming style, distance, pace, strokes in open water and pool swimming .
- 24/7 Activity Tracking
- Sport Profiles: Polar Vantage M supports over 130 different sports.
- Smart Calories: Know exactly how many calories you have burned based on your weight, height, age, gender, your individual maximum heart rate (HRmax) .
- Running Index: Find out your running VO2max and follow how your running performance is developing.
- Sleep Plus: Polar Sleep Plus automatically detects the timing, amount, and quality of your sleep.
- Running Program: Get a personal and adaptive training plan that fits you and your goals.
- Connectivity: Bluetooth Low Energy. Custom USB cable for charging and data synchronization.
- Sensors: Compatible with all Polar Sensors.(Cadence Sensor, Speed Sensor, Stride Sensor)
Garmin Forerunner 735XT vs Polar Vantage M - the verdict
Two exceptional watches with very similar features and price points. Which one is right for you?
Based on our analysis of the Polar Vantage M and Garmin Forerunner 735XT, the most noteworthy difference is the superior battery life of the Polar Vantage M. In GPS mode with heart rate activated, it outlasts the Garmin Forerunner 735XT by nearly double. Additionally, the Garmin Forerunner only offers VO2 max estimates when paired with a chest strap.
There may be other slight differences, like for example, the Garmin Forerunner is slightly more lightweight and offers music controls that the Polar Vantage M does not. However, is really comes down to what you intend to achieve with your fitness watch. If you’re looking for a decent fitness watch to carry you through multiple disciplines at an amazing price point - both these watches could be a great fit for you.
It will all boil down to the details - perhaps you are a long-time Garmin fan, or perhaps you enjoy the sleek elegance of Polar watches? Extended battery life may seem like a deal-breaker, but unless you’re a serious athlete that demands continuous GPS and heart rate tracking for more than 16 hours - the Garmin Forerunner 735XT may also achieve all your desired outcomes. Whatever the case may be, choose a watch that best enables you to achieve your fitness goals.