Polar RCX5 heart rate monitor Review

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Polar RCX5 is designed to perform multi-functions for swimming, cycling and running. Basically, it is created to accompany triathletes who want to use a single watch for all the three above mentioned sports. But this watch can be used for all sports activities. Watch has its own power saver battery option which runs automatically.

Smart calorie meter tells you how much calories you have burnt till now in a single workout. I

It can measure your heart rate accurately even when you are in water. This makes this watch unique of its kind.

It also works accurately regardless of if the electrodes are wet or not. It trains you with its smart coaching features. To improve your running and cycling performances, it guides you with its downloadable endurance programs.

Fitness test can help you in tracking your strength improvements. It shows you your running index to better analyze your running exercises. Training load option produces equilibrium in your rest and training sessions.

You can also put your fitness logs on personaltrainer.com to compare your results with other performers. This all things keep you highly motivated to work according to your fitness plans.

Calorie meter helps you set your daily milestones in accordance with the total calories burnt. This feature actually helps you a lot in your weight loss. Running index can show you on how much RPM you are cycling so that you can see your day to day improvements.


Polar RCX5 Black Heart Rate Monitor Watch is a light weight and stylish watch. At the time of purchase, Polar RCX5 box contains four elements: Polar RCX5 training computer, Polar WearLink+ Hybrid transmitter, Polar DataLink data transfer unit and a RCX5 Getting Started Guide. It has a battery life up to 8-11 months of full fledge use.

Watch has a great option of Sports profiles by which user can switch between different sports profiles. This makes the use of watch more versatile as you can customize it with your sports type.

Watch has another feature of “Zone Optimizer”. This will help you in getting train at the right intensity. Hybrid transmitter keeps watch working even in water. You can download all endurance training programs from personaltrainer.com. The function of Race pace keeps you well guided about the finish line time.

You can simply make your swimming, racing and cycling a lot better with Polar RCX5.


Watch does not show you automatic summary of your workout. That means you have to view data from watch settings. Plus, to use in high saline or chlorine water, Polar recommends a t31 transmitter.

Watch has an automatic power saver option by which it automatically shuts down from 12am to 6 am. This is a smart option which most people thought as a possible watch damage signal. So don’t be scare of it, it is just a watch attribute.[/wptab] [wptab name=’Customer review’]

Customer Reviews

[usr 5]

I’m not a hardcore athlete, but I workout on the elliptical trainer and stationary bike most of the times. A few months ago I decided to get myself the Polar RCX5 Heart rate Monitor to help me in these exercises and optimize my performance. Prior to this, I read a lot of HRMs reviews and I loved its superior quality and excellent design praised by most reviewers. I don’t like bulky or unattractive models. So far my watch is working perfectly well and I give it a thumps up, 5 out of 5 rating.

[usr 5]

I have read a few reviews that are complaining about missing the heart rates, but mine has been very accurate. I also like its chest strap, which is very comfortable to wear and must have been made from a quality material. Even though I paid 30% lesser than the asking price, thanks to my internet research for the best bargains, the Polar RCX5 is worth its price.

[usr 4]

I like this watch and how it works. It is user-friendly and easy to synchronize with the web-based account. However, there are two things that make me deny it a five star rating. The two flaws include:

You can not monitor your heart throughout the day, since it only measures your heart rate through recording. This means that you are not able how your heart varies during the day.

It fails to work with my iPhone App. The transmitter does not pair with my phone app. In addition to this, it does not provide a way to share the data on the web. I didn’t expect this; it explains how ignorant how these guys are when they integrate the devices.

[usr 5]

I have owned quite a number of Polar heart rate monitors, but I find Polar RCX5 to be extraordinary. Perhaps this is because its features synchronize with my needs. Just for the record, I’ve owned Polar FT60, RS100 and FT80.

This Polar is built for tri-athletes, that is, swim, bike then run. However, you can still use it in other sports. Just like other Polar monitors, it displays heart rate, time, laps, calories and all the items measured. What makes it unique is that you can see your prevailing average heart rate while exercising. This often makes me push myself to the limit because I don’t want to lazy around and score below my target. But unlike other models, the RCX5 model does not display the automatic summaries when you are done with the workout. Anyway, you’ll find them within data.

I’m very grateful to have this device. However, I would be much happier if Polar can make another model which combines this model and the FT80. The combination would be incredible, especially for me.

Another thing, you don’t have to worry when you wake up between midnight and 6am, and find the monitor off. It has been automatically programmed to stay off during that period. It can be a bit nerve-breaking, but it does that to maximize the battery life.

[usr 4.5]

I had a Polar HRM but it broke just a few days to a big marathon event I was participating in. I had to quickly get a new one, and I settled on the Polar RCX5 model. It is faster and comes with a feature its predecessor never had, GPS. In addition to the GPS device, I use the wrist unit and the chest strap.

Benefits of the RCX5 model

When I compare it to my partners’ Garmin, it is far much reliable since its GPRS data is only slightly different to the wheeled distances on known routes. Its satellite signal is also stronger and better.

My battery often last longer than my partners’, almost 18 hours longer. What is even interesting is that when it runs out of battery, not all features stop running. This has been very important to me, especially when I’m running long distances. I’m planning to try it with Instant USB Charger, such as Duracell or a similar device. If it works, I can use the charger as an auxiliary battery to help me go beyond 18 hours limit.

It measures topographical changes more accurately using pressure gauge, than when using the GPS. It means that elevation change features do not necessarily need the GPS unit.

Its display shows virtually every measured unit, one at a time in a three readout screen. The display is easy to configure while running, so you can interchange between the stop watch, time, heart rate, elevation, speed or distance.

The HRM has a user-changeable battery, unlike the earlier Polar models. I suppose the receiver (wrist unit) too has a changeable one, but so far I’ve not encountered the hurdle.

  • The wrist watch is very comfortable; I hardly feel it during my workouts and runs. This is the exact opposite to Sigma, which rubbed me during the runs.
  • Again, unlike Sigma, the chest strap can be adjusted without sliding downwards. Nevertheless, Sigma was very cheap.
  • The pace readout is useful for long distance runs and workouts.

Drawbacks of RCX5 model

Its buttons are too sensitive for watch functions. When I use it as regular watch, it constantly shifts to heart rate monitoring and suddenly beeps since it does not find the GPS or theheart rate monitor.

The watch settings is such that when are set to start a session, the first press on the start button prepares the watch to communicate with the monitor and GPS transmitters in readiness for the start, and the second press start both the timer and the recorder.

The difference between the two settings may mix up the athlete who is waiting for the gun shot to start running. While the Sports Watch has its specific functions, I would have loved it more if it were able to map my coordinates and display my path.

My friends’ Garmin software is far much sophisticated and better. In my case, you must use GPS viewers, such as Google Earth. Nevertheless, this is not a big deal for me.

I simply like the Polar RCX5 model and I’ve only managed to point out some flaws because I was comparing them one on one. And it is obvious that its positives outweigh the negatives.


For triathletes and endurance athletes looking for better performance.

    • Allows you to create your own sport profiles
    • Supports multisport training through swift switching between sports
    • ZoneOptimizer personalizes your sport zones during your warm-up
    • Improves performance with endurance training programs, downloadable from polarpersonaltrainer.com with the Polar DataLink
    • Gives heart rate even in water with a comfortable hybrid transmitter *
    • Compatible with Polar running, cycling and GPS sensors
    • Up to 8-11 months of battery life

Body measurement features

  • Manual target zone – bpm / %
  • HRmax (user set)
  • HRmax (age-based)
  • HRmax (Polar Fitness test-based)
  • Polar Fitness Test
  • Polar OwnCode® (5kHz/2.4 GHz W.I.N.D.) – coded transmission
  • Polar OwnCal® – calorie expenditure with fat percentage
  • HR-based target zones with visual and audible alarm
  • Average and maximum heart rate of each lap
  • Automatic age-based target zone – bpm / %
  • Average, minimum and maximum heart rate of training
  • Heart rate – bpm / %
  • Polar ZoneOptimizer – personalized sport zones
  • Polar sport zones

Recording features


  • Memory left indication
  • Adjustable recording rate – 1s, 2s, 5s, 15s, or 60s
  • Training files (with summaries) – 99
  • Weekly history

Training features

  • Interval trainer guided workouts – heart rate / pace / distance
  • Number of laps – 99
  • HeartTouch – button-free operation of wrist unit
  • Graphical target zone indicator
  • Automatic lap recording
  • Display zoom
  • Sport Profiles (up to 15 sport profiles)
  • ZonePointer
  • Training computer settings
  • User configurable displays – all lines
  • ZoneLock

Polarpersonaltrainer.com features

  • Training Load
  • Training diary
  • Training programs
  • Map view – optional with GPS sensor
  • Endurance programs
  • Advanced training analyzing

CS cadence sensor W.I.N.D. features

  • Cadence – current, average and maximum
  • Bike settings – for two bicycles

CS speed sensor W.I.N.D. features

  • SpeedPointer Speed-based target zones with visual and audible alarm Speed – current, average and maximum Race Pace Autostart/stop Bike settings – for two bicycles Distance based interval Distance – training, lap, trip and total

G3 GPS sensor W.I.N.D. features

  • SpeedPointer
  • Distance – training, lap, trip and total
  • Distance based interval
  • Race Pace
  • Route mapping – opt. with polarpersonaltrainer.com web service
  • Speed/Pace – current, average and maximum
  • Running Index
  • Altitude data via Google Maps – using the free polarpersonaltrainer.com web service

G5 GPS sensor features

  • Race Pace
  • Distance – training, lap, trip and total
  • Distance based interval
  • Route mapping – opt. with polarpersonaltrainer.com web service
  • SpeedPointer
  • Speed/Pace-based target zones with visual and audible alarm
  • Speed/Pace – current, average and maximum
  • Running Index
  • Altitude data via Google Maps – using the free polarpersonaltrainer.com web service

s3/s3+ stride sensor features

  • Speed/Pace-based target zones with visual and audible alarm
  • Speed/Pace – current, average and maximum
  • Running Index
  • Average stride length
  • Cadence – current, average and maximum
  • Race Pace
  • Distance – training, lap, trip and total

Data transfer

  • Compatible with Mac (Intel-based) via Polar DataLink
  • Compatible with PC via Polar DataLink
  • Compatible with polarpersonaltrainer.com via Polar DataLink

Watch features

  • Backlight
  • Date and weekday indicator
  • Display text in English, German, Finnish, Swedish, French, Portuguese, Spanish, and Italian
  • Dual time zone
  • Button Lock
  • Low battery indicator
  • Time of day (12/24h) with alarm and snooze
  • Training reminder
  • User replaceable battery
  • Water resistant – 30m