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Polar OH1 Plus Optical HR Sensor In-Depth Review

Polar OH1 Plus Optical HR Sensor In-Depth Review


And identical to that, Polar now makes ANT+ gadgets. The Polar OH1 is one in every of two gadgets these days that Polar has introduced which are getting ANT+ compatibility. The different being the H10. But I quilt that (and ideas round conceivable Vantage sequence ANT+ toughen), on this separate submit.

This overview is concentrated at the Polar OH1 Plus, however the excellent news is that Polar OH1 homeowners will quickly discover a firmware replace that still provides their current OH1 gadgets the facility to broadcast by the use of ANT+. However, if you’ll be able to’t look forward to that, the brand new OH1 Plus gadgets get started transport later this week and are already en-route to outlets.

Note that in case you are having a look at purchasing an OH1 (non-Plus), you’ll be able to use this overview as neatly. In truth, for this overview I used a couple of gadgets. First was once my very own Polar OH1 that I purchased after which had the firmware upgraded to successfully make it an OH1 Plus (hardware-wise there’s no distinction, the Plus simply comes with a goggle strap for it too). In addition, Polar despatched over some loaner OH1 Plus gadgets that had the little ANT+ emblem at the outdoor. But once more, very same . I’ll ship the ones again to them in a while.

Oh – when you’d love to skip all of the textual stuff and simply get all the lowdown in a couple of mins, hit up the video for all of the demos and OH1 goodness:

As all the time, when you discovered the overview helpful – hit up the hyperlinks on the backside to assist toughen the web page.

What’s within the field:

The Polar OH1 Plus has virtually the very same field contents as the former OH1. Only distinction is that this now comes with a little bit swim goggle clip. Here’s the field contents, as soon as reworked right into a plastic baggie since the ultimate bins hadn’t slightly arrived but:


I’ll replace this segment most probably the next day when the general external field arrives right here, however the contents are ultimate. And truthfully, the contents are precisely the similar as ahead of internally. Here’s the beautiful top-down shot of all of the portions:


Here’s a more in-depth have a look at the pod and charging cradle:


Then, there’s the only new factor – which is the small swim goggle clip. I’ll speak about that in a while, however necessarily it means that you can clip the pod in your swim goggles after which use the optical HR sensor in opposition to your temple.

DSC_7835DSC_7835 DSC_7836DSC_7836

And…that’s the field contents. I think within the ultimate paper cardboard bit I obtain there’s the general instruction manuals and protection stuff. But frankly, neither you or I will be able to learn that anyway.  So let’s get proper to the use of it.

The Basics:


Actually, it’s about now a lot of you may well be questioning if there’s any variations to the pod itself. Internally Polar says they’re an identical, and that is sensible for the reason that the prevailing OH1 pods gets a firmware replace to cause them to an identical in capability to the OH1 Plus. However, at the external somebody were given out their stamper and stamped the little ANT+ emblem onto the brand new OH1 Plus pods. You can see that right here facet through facet:


Everything else Polar says is identical. And that is sensible – no corporate needs to rev the internals of if they are able to keep away from it.  As famous above, the only different bit that includes the OH1 Plus is the brand new swim goggle clip. You can see this right here:


This is if truth be told a good move through Polar. The temple is a nice position to measure optical HR, as there’s no whacking happening there like your palms do. As such, there’s some distance much less exterior forces which are going to scale back accuracy. And actually, there were different HR sensors that experience leveraged your head ahead of for measuring HR. So this is fascinating. I’m having a look to do extra checking out right here within the pool within the near-future, although once more, there’s no trade to the prevailing OH1 (which I’ve used on my arm within the pool with lovely excellent good fortune in recent years).


From a charging viewpoint, the unit comes with a small USB charger that plugs without delay into your laptop or every other USB port you to find:


You simply pop the pod into it and also you’re excellent to head. Additionally, this lets you sync by the use of Polar’s Flow Sync desktop app. Fear no longer, you don’t have to make use of the desktop app, it’s simply an alternative choice for sync and/or firmware updates.

You can as an alternative use Polar’s Flow app for your iOS or Android instrument. To do this, you’ll merely deliver the pod within sight when you’ve were given it powered on, and it’ll pass in the course of the pairing procedure. It’s fast and simple:

IMG_2712IMG_2712 IMG_2713IMG_2713 IMG_2714IMG_2714

You is also questioning why you’d want to sync in any respect – isn’t this only a HR sensor? Well see, the OH1/OH1 Plus has inner reminiscence in it, so it could actually document your classes when you both don’t have an eye at hand, or, if in a wearing scenario like swimming the place sign can’t broadcast to the watch.

To get started a recording, simply double-tap the outdoor energy button two times after you’ve became it on:


This will then cause the standing LED at the different facet to blink abruptly two times, indicating it’s in recording mode.


This works neatly sufficient, excluding when it doesn’t. My grievance in this has all the time been that it’s flaky. Not since the is flaky, however as a result of me as a human is. Specifically in that normally that is slightly below the brink of your clothes, and can also be awkward to catch whether or not or no longer the button press registered (because the button is easily designed to be secure from unintended presses).  So when you ignored the double-blink (because it’s tremendous fast), then you haven’t any concept if it’s recording or no longer.

I’d love Polar to easily permit me to press the button once more after which have the sunshine light up some distinctive recording colour. Purple, crimson, truly, the rest to suggest it’s recording. Scosche does a little bit higher activity at this, making it way more transparent you’re in recording mode.  Again, I understand it’s a minor factor – however I’ve misplaced two swim workout routines and a journey in the previous couple of months the place I assumed it was once recording however wasn’t. In all instances it’s most probably 100% my fault, however since there’s no approach to double-check, you simply need to accept as true with.

After the exercise, you’ll energy again at the sensor and it’ll mechanically hook up with the Polar Flow app and get started the sync procedure by the use of Bluetooth Smart, which you’ll be able to see under at the left. On the precise is the finished exercise:

IMG_5888IMG_5888 IMG_5885IMG_5885 IMG_5887IMG_5887

You can then dig deeper into the finished exercise. Note that I don’t consider you’ll see the Training Load Pro main points when you simply have the sensor, that’s as a result of I even have a Vantage V in my account.


Now, on this distraction of cached workout routines and all we were given distracted from the most obvious: To flip it on, you merely press the button.  Once on, it illuminates the golf green LED’s at the again, which permits the optical sensor to measure your blood go with the flow:


The pod is then positioned within the strap (or you’ll be able to do it ahead of) and slide up onto your arm. I choose the higher portion of my arm close to my bicep, as that’s normally coated through a blouse or what-not.


At this level, the sensor is on and transmitting your middle charge, which is now a great time to discuss the way it does that.

Pairing and Compatibility:


The unique Polar OH1 has all the time transmitted your middle charge over Bluetooth Smart to appropriate gadgets. It makes use of Bluetooth’s middle charge sensor profile, because of this just about each health/game app and instrument in the market is appropriate with it. Even maximum Garmin gadgets made after Jan 2017 also are appropriate with it because it up to now stood.

However, what the OH1 Plus (and the firmware replace for the unique OH1) upload is the facility to additionally now broadcast over ANT+.  So what you get is the next at the same time as:

A) Unlimited ANT+ HR Connections
B) A unmarried Bluetooth Smart HR connection

I notice this singularity bit at the Bluetooth Smart , since the Polar H10 strap if truth be told provides you with two concurrent Bluetooth Smart connections (in addition to ANT+), as does the brand new Garmin HRM-DUAL.  When I requested Polar about this, they famous it’s one thing they can deal with. Both gadgets use the similar Nordic chipsets, so there truly shouldn’t be a explanation why one is extra restricted than the opposite.

Speaking of which, I am going thru all the historical past of the way and why ANT+ got here to be on Polar in my different submit right here, you might wish to learn there.

So what does two concurrent HR streams appear to be? This. Below is an instance from Zwift appearing each the ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart facet of an OH1 Plus sensor:

Screen Shot 2019-03-19 at 10.44.49 PMScreen Shot 2019-03-19 at 10.44.49 PM

Sometimes, like above, you’ll get slight 1-2 moment latency distinction between ANT+ and Bluetooth Smart alerts. That’s commonplace for all sensors.

Where it turns into much more fascinating although is on Garmin tools that doesn’t toughen Bluetooth Smart sensors. Take for instance the Garmin Edge 520 Plus, launched not up to a 12 months in the past. That unit was once constructed atop the Edge 520 platform, which Garmin elected not to improve to toughen Bluetooth Smart sensors. As such, it’s ANT+ simplest sensors there. But now with the replace, you’ll be able to pair to the OH1:


For dual-capable head gadgets just like the Wahoo BOLT, or others within the Garmin vary (such because the Edge 1030), it leaves you with only a case of which facet you’d choose. Though, I’d suggest the use of ANT+, as not to burn up the one Bluetooth Smart channel. Here’s how the information regarded the day past on my journey, with the Polar OH1 streaming my HR to the Edge 520 Plus (decrease unit), whilst the Polar H10 strap was once appearing HR at the Edge 1030 (higher one) additionally the use of ANT+:


(Heart charge at the higher unit is the largest information box at 135bpm, while at the decrease unit it’s within the decrease proper nook at 135bpm)

One fascinating tidbit is if truth be told going again to the swim bits right here, specifically for group situations. Currently they’ve were given coaches that wish to observe the HR of athletes in real-time within the pool. The problem with Polar’s current answers is that all of them require the athlete get to the wall after which look forward to transmission to pick-up. That extend/latency for swimming HR…principally sucks. It’s simply no longer tremendous helpful.  But with the goggle strap attachment, the pod remains above the waterline sufficient to stay a near-constant flow of HR information again to a trainer the use of an iPad at the sidelines. Here’s a screenshot from that video:


That’s good. Note that Polar says it received’t backfill/cache information to the trainer’s app for instances the place the pod is underwater for prolonged sessions of time. So there may be that limitation. Still, that is through some distance the most productive answer in the market for real-time tracking. The iPad app can observe as much as 40 athletes at the same time as.

Ultimately, I haven’t had any problems with connectivity to any instrument I’ve attempted with the OH1 Plus (or OH1), on both ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart. I’ve individually used it for workout routines by the use of ANT+ or Bluetooth Smart with Zwift on Mac, iOS, and PC – in addition to the Polar Vantage V, Garmin MARQ, Garmin FR935, Garmin Edge 1030, Garmin Edge 520 Plus, and almost certainly extra that I’m forgetting. Oh, just like the Wahoo BOLT.

HR Accuracy:


Before we transfer directly to the check effects, notice that optical HR sensor accuracy is quite various from person to person.  Aspects equivalent to pores and skin colour, hair density, and place can affect accuracy.  Position, and the way the band is worn, are *a very powerful* items.  A unit with an optical HR sensor must be cosy.  It doesn’t want to depart marks, however you shouldn’t have the ability to slide a finger underneath the band.

Ok, so in my checking out, I merely use the sensor all the way through my commonplace workout routines.  Those workout routines come with all kinds of intensities and stipulations, making them nice for accuracy checking out.  I’ve were given regular runs, period workout routines on each motorcycle and operating, swimming, in addition to pace runs and rides. Basically, maximum the whole thing a regular triathlete would do. While I’ve been the use of the OH1 in swimming workout routines, I haven’t had a possibility to get to the pool with the OH1 Plus but. Though once more, it’s the similar sensor/internals/and so on, so I wouldn’t be expecting any problems there. If you wish to have to look some swim information from it, take a look at my most up-to-date COROS APEX In-Depth Review, which presentations some information units there.

For each and every check, I’m dressed in further gadgets, normally Three-Four in overall, which seize information from different sensors.  Typically I’d put on a chest strap (in recent years that’s been the Garmin HRM-DUAL and Polar H10), in addition to two watches the use of optical HR sensors and continuously after all some other optical HR sensor at the different arm (maximum not too long ago the Scosche 24). I by no means put on a couple of watch in step with wrist, and not a couple of optical HR sensor in step with higher arm facet.

Note that the numbers you spot within the higher proper nook are *no longer* the averages, however quite simply the precise level my mouse is sitting over.  Note all this information is analyzed the use of the DCR Analyzer, main points right here.

We’ll kinda paintings our approach more or less backwards with a few of these information units. First is one from Sunday evening, a quite laborious structured exercise indoor journey on Zwift. Comparative information from this actual set contains the Polar H10 (over ANT+ no much less), in addition to the Garmin MARQ optical HR watch, and the Scosche 24. Here’s the information set:


Well rattling. That’s uninteresting. Everything simply labored. Perfectly. Seriously, when’s the ultimate time that’s came about round right here?

Ok, I assume technically on the 17:42 marker the Garmin MARQ watch did in brief bobble moderately for a couple of seconds, however critically, the whole thing else is spot-on best possible throughout 4 other optical HR sensors. Next factor you’re going to inform me all of the energy meters matched too. Oh excellent, they didn’t.

Next, right here’s some other biking job – this time outside. This one from a pleasing loop out on open highway. I had it paired this time by the use of ANT+ to an Edge 520 Plus. There’s additionally comparative information in opposition to the Fitbit Inspire HR, Garmin MARQ Athlete watch, and Garmin HRM-DUAL chest strap. Here’s that information set:


Now there we pass –that’s the type of optical HR sensor messiness I’m talkin’ about!

We can see the Garmin MARQ and Fitbit Inspire are having a coarse pass of items. Now technically the MARQ was once nonetheless in beta all the way through this journey. Meanwhile, if we organize to dig thru all that we’ll see that the OH1 and Garmin chest strap agree more often than not. Except, once they don’t. For instance, let’s check out this previous segment:


To the left of the yellow line is a host of prevent and pass as I exited the town. We’ll forget about that for the instant. Instead, I’m maximum within the segment simply to the precise of it as a get started an extended threshold segment. You can see the Garmin chest strap catches it first, then one way or the other amazingly the Fitbit Inspire HR wakes up too and notices. But it’s virtually two mins later that the Polar OH1 catches on (however then but some other two mins additional for the Garmin MARQ). None of that’s preferrred. Though, a minimum of they work out restoration in combination, all declining on the identical time.

Now if we use your absolute best rainbow decoder glasses and focal point in at the crimson and inexperienced (identical to Christmas), you’ll see the ones two entities close to completely overlay each and every different all the time. That’s what I’m on the lookout for!


Next, switching over to operating, I’ve were given this period consultation round Vondelpark. In this situation, I paired the OH1 to the Garmin Fenix 5S by the use of ANT+, however I additionally recorded it internally by itself reminiscence too. There’s the similar collection of alternative comparative sensors as the former set. Here’s the information set.


There’s so much happening HR sensor clever on this graph, so I need you to concentrate on the golf green line (that’s the Garmin chest strap), and the blue line (that’s the OH1).

I’m going to zoom in to turn the previous couple of longer durations and primary few shorter durations:


What you realize here’s that the chest strap and OH1 are tremendous shut to one another all the time. The chest strap leads the way in which on restoration simply moderately through a couple of seconds, however the OH1 isn’t some distance in the back of. We know there’s if truth be told no time waft right here for the reason that approach the Analyzer instrument accounts for that – additionally, in a moment I’ll display you ways I recorded it two alternative ways.

Again, the slight latency here’s infrequently a subject for many. Also – the reality is that this $70 sensor simply outperformed the optical HR sensor at the wrist-based $1,500 Garmin MARQ watch and the $99 Fitbit Inspire HR job tracker.

Now ahead of we depart this set, there’s something to notice: I if truth be told recorded the OH-1 additionally internally. And actually, what you noticed above was once the interior facet of the equation. Whereas under presentations the pink line of the ANT+ facet from the Fenix 5s. You can see the 2 Polar OH1 tracks fit completely atop each and every different, excluding at 3 issues the place the sign drops out momentarily. It’s no longer transparent who’s fault that is, although, the Fenix 5s (non-Plus) does have some considerable historical past with third birthday party sensors and dropouts. I haven’t noticed dropouts in different workout routines be an issue, nevertheless it’s vital to notice.


Finally, some other operating consultation – this time an enormous rectangle. Because the form of my operating course maximum without a doubt issues to optical HR accuracy. In this situation I merely used the OH1 with none watch in any respect. I simply used the interior reminiscence to seize my run after which sync’d it later to the Polar Flow app. Here’s that set:


In this run I principally did part of it at a quite even steady-state depth, adopted through the ultimate part or so doing fixed 60-second on/off durations of laborious operating. The Polar OH1 is in teal, whilst the Garmin chest strap is in crimson.

Once once more, identical to above we see the OH1 reflect each period spot-on. However, like ahead of there’s a couple of seconds of lag in comparison to the chest strap.


Again, the opposite contenders all struggled right here. Which I assume makes issues a little bit of an uneventful accuracy segment when the sensor being reviewed simply works.

If one needs much more accuracy information, there’s heaps extra OH1 units to be had in each my contemporary Polar Vantage M In-Depth Review in addition to my COROS APEX GPS Watch In-Depth Review.

Ultimately although, from an accuracy viewpoint, I feel the particular optical sensor throughout the OH1/OH1 Plus is almost certainly both the most productive, or equivalent with Scosche for his or her implementation within the R24 or Rhythm+. Though I feel generally there’s almost certainly a slight accuracy edge to Polar, a minimum of in my exams over the process 2019 so far.

I’d additionally argue that generally, I recuperate efficiency from the OH1/OH1 Plus than conventional chest straps. The explanation why is discreet: With maximum optical HR sensors at the higher arm, you don’t need to handle the truth of cool/dry chest straps in cooler/dryer iciness months. That continuously manifests itself as problems early within the exercise with drops/spikes, in addition to static electrical energy discharge. Things I used to write annual posts about. With wrist founded optical HR sensors, you’ll be able to nonetheless run into blood go with the flow problems on cooler days initially of a exercise. But for the higher arm, that’s infrequently a subject – and thus, accuracy is normally truly truly excellent. Just like I noticed right here.

(Note: All of the charts in those accuracy parts have been created the use of the DCR Analyzer instrument.  It means that you can examine energy meters/running shoes, middle charge, cadence, pace/tempo, GPS tracks and lots extra. You can use it as neatly in your personal system comparisons, extra main points right here.)

Product Comparison:

I’ve added the Polar OH1 Plus into the product comparability instrument throughout the middle charge sensor class. I’ve when compared it in opposition to the Scosche Rhythm 24 in addition to the Wahoo TICKR FIT, which can be principally the one different upper-arm choices on this class. Of route, there’s various chest straps, so if you wish to see how this compares in opposition to the ones and make your personal comparability charts, hit up the comparability instrument and do a little evaluating:

Function/Feature Polar OH1 Plus Scosche Rhythm 24 Wahoo TICKR FIT
Copyright DC Rainmaker – Updated March 20th, 2019 @ Four:48 amNew Window
Price $79 $99 $79
Product Announce Date Mar 20th, 2019 Jan ninth, 2018 Jan third, 2018
Product Availability Date Mar 22nd, 2019 Late April 2018 Jan third, 2018
Measurement Type Optical HR Optical Optical
Typical Placement Upper Arm Mid/Upper Arm Mid/Upper Arm
Battery Life 10 hours 24 hours+ 30 hours
Battery Type USB Rechargeable USB rechargeable USB rechargeable
NFC Capable No Yes No
HR Transmission Polar OH1 Plus Scosche Rhythm 24 Wahoo TICKR FIT
ANT+ Yes Yes Yes
Bluetooth Smart Yes Yes Yes
Dual concurrent ANT+/BLE Yes Yes Yes
Analog for fitness center apparatus No No No
Usable HR information underwater No Depends: If on identical wrist, YMMV. Depends: If on identical wrist, YMMV.
Bridging ANT+ to Bluetooth Smart No No No
Can document job w/o second instrument Yes Yes No
Additional Data Polar OH1 Plus Scosche Rhythm 24 Wahoo TICKR FIT
Run Pace No Yes No
Run Cadence No YEs No
Run Economy/Metrics No No No
Cycling Power Meter Estimation No No No
Valid HRV/RR information No At leisure simplest No
Configurable Sport Modes No Yes No
Requires Bluetooth Smart Phone for Configuration No No No
Firmware Updateable Yes Yes Yes
Amazon Link Link Link
Clever Training Link (Save 10% with DCR10BTF) Link Link Link
Clever Training Europe (Save 10% with DCR10BTF) Link N/A
More Info Link Link Link

Again, don’t overlook you’ll be able to make your personal comparability charts within the product comparability instrument right here.



Overall the OH1 Plus is precisely the product it truthfully must had been when it introduced just about two years in the past because the OH1. The excellent information is that water is underneath the bridge and Polar now has a shockingly aggressive providing on its palms, much more so in the event that they make a decision to permit the second Bluetooth Smart broadcast channel – wherein case it’ll simply sweep the class.

Though truthfully, pitted up in opposition to the Scosche Rhythm 24 and Wahoo TICKR FIT, it’s laborious to look the way it’s no longer already the winner. The TICKR FIT lacks offline caching that each the Scosche and Polar have. However, Polar edges forward of the Scosche in the case of their app/platform ecosystem – which is full-featured, quite than simply being a relatively clunky conduit. Of route if Scosche pulled out the stops and allowed such things as the lengthy mentioned swim-sync to Garmin watch capacity, that would possibly without a doubt trade issues. At provide, none of those sensors can transmit your swim information to any watches without delay (an oddity for Polar particularly).

There are only a few issues to nitpick at the Polar OH1 Plus (or OH1 post-firmware replace). As I famous previous, I truly want they’d work out one thing for the standing LED gentle to re-confirm you’re in recording mode when tapped. Additionally, there’s truly no excuse for Polar no longer having OH1 to Polar Vantage M/V offload capacity like Garmin has (wherein for swimming it’ll sync post-work mechanically and merge the information in combination at the watch). But I assume that’s truthfully extra a Vantage M/V grievance than an OH1 grievance.

Anyways, as I stated previous – when you’re out there for a standalone optical HR sensor, there’s little explanation why at this level not to make a choice Polar OH1. I’ve truly picked up my utilization of it since previous this 12 months, and now with ANT+, it’s just about going to be my go-to higher arm optical HR sensor – basically as a result of simply how blank the sync is post-workout and as the accuracy is so excellent.

With that – thank you for studying!

Wanna Save 10%? Or discovered this overview helpful? Read on!

Hopefully you discovered this overview helpful.  At the tip of the day, I’m an athlete identical to you on the lookout for essentially the most element conceivable on a brand new acquire – so my overview is written from the viewpoint of the way I used the instrument.  The opinions usually take a large number of hours to position in combination, so it’s a good bit of labor (and hard work of affection).  As you almost certainly spotted through having a look under, I additionally take time to reply to all of the questions posted within the feedback – and there’s slightly a little bit of element in there as neatly.

I’ve partnered with Clever Training to supply all DC Rainmaker readers an unique 10% bargain around the board on all merchandise (excluding clearance pieces).  You can decide up the Polar sensors (or any equipment) from Clever Training. Then obtain 10% off of the whole thing on your cart through including code DCR10BTF at checkout.  By doing so, you no longer simplest toughen the web page (and all of the paintings I do right here) – however you additionally get a candy bargain. And, since this merchandise is greater than $49, you get unfastened US transport as neatly.

Polar OH1 Plus
Polar H10 with ANT+

Additionally, you’ll be able to additionally use Amazon to buy the unit (all colours proven after clicking thru to the left) or equipment (although, no bargain on Amazon).  Or, anything you decide up on Amazon is helping toughen the web page as neatly (socks, laundry detergent, cowbells).  If you’re outdoor america, I’ve were given hyperlinks to all the primary person nation Amazon shops at the sidebar against the highest.  Though, Clever Training additionally ships there too, and also you get the 10% bargain.

Thanks for studying!

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