Polar V650 cycle computer goes on sale

Touch-screen GPS bike computer from Finnish Garmin rivals hits stores

Polar has launched its first Garmin-style touch-screen GPS cycle computer, the V650.

Priced at £175 / €220 / USS$269 / AU$399 or £210 / €270 / US$319 / AU$449 complete with heart rate sensor, the Polar V650 joins the V800 GPS watch as part of the Finnish company's cutting-edge sports tech line.

Polar says the V650 is “a state-of-the-art bike computer designed for devoted cyclists who want to analyse every aspect of their riding and to get an edge over their competitors”.

The V650 has a 2.8in colour touchscreen and has a claimed weight of 120g. That makes it a little heavier than Garmin's 97g Edge 810, but it undercuts that unit in price by about a third. The computer is mounted on via a twist-turn mechanism that will be familiar to users of other head units.

The V650 uses Bluetooth Smart instead of Garmin's ANT+ protocol. While this means many existing sensors, such as Quarq power meters, will not be compatible, there are a growing number, such as Stages, 4iiii and Polar's own Polar Keo Power that use the newer technology. Bluetooth Smart speed and cadence sensors are available separately, alongside a separate bike mount for time trial and triathlon bikes.

Data fields on the V650 include speed, distance, real time VAM, incline/decline, cadence and altitude (via a built-in barometric pressure sensor) while riders can also use the V650 for route guidance. You can also customise these screens and create different bike profiles. Polar is also touting Smart Coaching features on the V650 for session guidance and feedback.

One particularly cool feature is the front-mounted smart visibility LED light, which turns on automatically in low-light conditions. Aside from this though, it sounds like the V650 has more in common feature-wise with Garmin's older Edge 800 unit, rather than the smartphone-linked Edge 810 or Edge 1000.

Polar is claiming a 10-hour battery life in training mode and all users will have free access to the Polar Flow service, which opens up a world of route planning and detailed post-ride analysis. Connection is via USB, which also allows for system updates.

The V650 is available now, and support for the Polar Keo Power Bluetooth Smart Sensors will also be added in April 2015.    

Watch a video on the new Polar V650 here:

Video: the new Polar V650 cycle computer

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