The Polar name is synonymous with heart rate monitors, and that’s the core function of the RC3 GPS watch. Packed into the relatively small package is not only a heart rate monitor, but a GPS system and the ability to monitor cadence. All in, it’s a great tool for those who want to monitor their training.
With the heart rate chest strap, cadence sensor and GPS enabled, the watch’s eight training screens are really easy to use and understand. They provide data on everything from calories burnt to distance, top speed and average speed.
It can all be downloaded to Polar’s training software – and onto the ubiquitous Strava – so you can compete with your mates (or people you don’t really like and just want to crush – it’s up to you). The RC3 also gives you a rundown of your ride, telling you how it’s benefited your fitness.
Setting the system up is very easy – let the watch find the chest strap and cadence unit via the 2.4Ghz wireless system and it starts taking data. Finding satellites can take a few moments, especially among the trees, but we’re yet to find a situation where it loses signal completely. The RC3 is comfy and unintrusive on the wrist, but there’s a bar mount if you prefer to stick it on your bike.
Battery charging and data downloading is via micro-USB, and the port’s hidden below a neat magnetic cover on the back of the unit. Expect 8 to 12 hours of life from full charge; less if you use the light a lot.
The RC3 GPS is available in a few colours, so go for a lower-key black/red design if you’re not keen on showing your love for the Tour de France with this very yellow special edition model.
This article was originally published in What Mountain Bike magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.