Customer Reviews: Polar RCX3 GPS Black
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Color: Black|Change
Price:$119.95+ Free shipping
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on November 20, 2012
The product works great. The heart rate sensor and gps sensor (external) all sync up and work very well. It's easy enough to use (pretty straightforward and intuitive). I'm happy with the purchase and use this all the time. The website training history works very good. It's really nice to see the historical performance and there's a ton of nice features, graphs. I like the band. This unit also seems very lighweight and comfortable... not a brick on your wrist... feels very good.

The calories burned seems to be way high IMO. I'm no expert, but I went on a 25mile bike ride and got 1500 calories burned?? My attitude is to keep the calories burned relative or rely on the training load to get a sense of the effort expended.

Here's what I'd like to see improved: The readout is somewhat faint..probably good for battery life, but not crisp like some of the timex watches that look like liquid paper (kindle). The light button is disappointing to me...need to go inidiglo. I guess if the readout was better, I wouldn't have to even try to use the light button. Lastly, the buttons seem awkward to me. I haven't had any accidental presses, which is good, but they just seem more difficult than they should be.
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on July 2, 2013
After suffering a serious heart attack, my doctor put me on a cardiac rehabilitation exercise program. At the hospital, I am connected to a portable EKG monitor while I exercise, and I wanted something that would provide me with similar feedback when I exercise at home or at the gym.

The Polar RCX3 has a wireless heart monitor (smaller than a business card) that you wear on a strap around your chest. The strap is elastic fabric, and quite comfortable; I had my qualms about it when investigating these things, but I don't even notice it when exercising. The M-XL chest strap wasn't overly large, I wear a size 42 jacket and it was just big enough for me. This is supposed to be snug, but larger men and women many need a larger strap or an extension to wear this comfortably. The heart monitor has a user replaceable battery good for about a year. The GPS is likewise small, about the size of a pack of Trident gum. You wear this clipped to a pocket, belt or waistband, just turn it on and it automatically picks up satellite signal and syncs itself to the watch unit. The GPS will track your mileage and speed, and also record your route and altitude while you run or hike. It is extremely accurate, within 1% of measured distances in my experience, and the route and altitude data are also spot on.

Polar has a heart monitor watch with the GPS built in, but the RCX3 is thin and light enough to wear as an everyday watch - it doesn't look like some fantastical piece of gear from NASA or MI-6. You can wear this quite comfortably at work or play (the watch is waterproof to 10 meters or so), and it doesn't look out of place if you wear a business suit during the day. Unlike some "fitness watches" I've seen that wouldn't fit under a standard business shirt cuff because they are too clunky or bulky, the RCX3 is at home at work or play.

Ready to run or work out? Just attach the strap around your chest, snap on the heart monitor (no switch, it turns on automatically when you snap it onto the chest strap), and turn on the GPS. Both sync up automatically in seconds. Press the red button and select running, cycling, or a third sport (dozens to choose from on and the recording begins. You can choose seven display screens, showing speed, distance, heart rate, heart rate zone, time, elapsed time, etc. You cannot customize the screens, but you will have no problem finding one that is right for you. When walking/jogging, I like the screen that shows heart rate, speed and elapsed time. In the gym, I like the screen that shows heart rate and heart rate zone to indicate how hard I'm working my heart at the time.

Done working out? Press the red button again for a summary of how well you've done. You get elapsed time, minimum, maximum, and average heart rate, elapsed time your heart spent in each of 5 heart rate zones, average and maximum speed, fat burning percentage, calories expended, running efficiency and much more. The watch stores all this data until you down load it wirelessly into your computer. Polar has a free website with analysis and training guides which show you second-by-second detail of what your heart was doing as you exercised. They will help you plan a workout or allow you to set up your own.

As a heart patient, I was glad to be able to set up my own limits for both the heart rate zones (I'm not supposed to go above a certain heart rate for awhile) and my exercise goals. Polar lets me customize all this and monitor my progress within limits that my doctor and I agree upon. My doctor can also log onto my Polar fitness account and see all the data from my watch at any time. Uploading the data is easy. Polar includes a wireless link that looks like a USB memory stick, plug it into your PC and anytime your watch is nearby, it will automatically sync itself and upload your most recent data. The website also provides weekly summaries and other useful data that will help you and your doctor plan your recovery exercise program.

I cannot tell you how much the cardiac rehab exercise program has helped me. I have no more chest pain and I exercise with confidence now. I know when, and how much, to push myself without endangering my health or recovery. Almost three months out from my heart attack and I am much more fit and 20 lbs trimmer than I was before the event. With the help of my doctor and Polar - I hope I'll never have another cardiac event. If you are a heart patient, or you need to get fit so you DON'T have a heart attack; don't hesitate to make this investment in your heart - and your good health.
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on August 21, 2012
I am a runner and a cyclist. This is my first heart rate monitor and I love it. It is large, but that's true of all HRMs. The band is narrow and comfortable. It's incredibly easy to use. The watch has never lost a signal from the W.I.N.D. sensor. The GPS takes a minute or two to find a signal, but that's expected. It only loss the signal once, when I was in a heavily wooded area.
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on June 29, 2014
I have owned this device for close to a year which means I have a fully formed opinion of it, but I recognize that it is a model that may not even be available so this review is probably going to be less than useful. But I suspect that newer models will have similar virtues and problems so hopefully it won't be a complete waste of time.

The good news is that this is a solid running watch and heart rate monitor. It also gives me reasonably accurate calorie burn data, at least with respect to cardio based activities. It isn't that hard to learn how to use, but I would recommend anyone getting the online users manual and at least read through it once. I've referred back to it a half dozen times at least.

The watch is not that easy to read, so if you are someone who sweats a lot and has "older" eyes, you may have difficulty reading some of the data as you work out. I know I do.

I've owned 4 different Polar devices over the last 25 years and two things that are consistent with all of then is that a) they are not very intuitive and b) just pushing a button doesn't mean that a lap is going to register or a function is going to change. I have no idea why Polar cannot get their buttons to easily depress but they stick and if you push too hard you may get a double recording (the dreaded 1 second lap) or you don't get the split recorded at all. I've called Polar and taken all their advice but candidly nothing works and never has. It is just a design flaw or lousy engineering. I've had zero problems with button depressing on Garmin's or Timex. My finger strength hasn't changed over the years so I feel pretty confident that the problem is with Polar and not me.

The battery replacement has been very disappointing. It is easy to change them (for both the watch, err. training computer and heart rate monitor) and they aren't that expensive but I've been flipping these out a lot more than I expected and it started within 3 months of owning it. Now I use the device for every workout (approx 270 times the las 12 months) so maybe this is normal but it doesn't feel right.

I barely use the GPS unit unless I go out of town. Since I tend to run the same courses, I've found using the GPS a big waste of time since the information is often only 90-95% accurate in terms of distance covered. In certain areas of town it is better than others but for the most part I can get a lot more accurate information measuring courses on my bike and not getting frustrated with the wild fluctuations in what GPS thinks a mile is. I've run a segment using the Polar maybe 10-15 times and the distances have ranged from 3.05 miles to 3.52 miles. (On my bike the course is 3.48 miles) Other courses have the same level of "relative accuracy" which may be fine for some, but isn't for me. Having to carry a second unit for GPS doesn't help when others like the Garmin just have it built into the watch. Now I originally used the clip but that was very cumbersome and a bear to actually get out of the holster (which is necessary from time to time for removing moisture and cleaning). Fortunately Polar explained that merely sticking it into a zipper pocket in your running shorts works just as well so other than the issues of it being a bit heavy and bouncing around, I'd say if you have to use it, this is the way to go. The optimal thing I've found is putting it into a key pocket sewn on the inside of the shorts. You barely notice it.

Getting a GPS signal isn't that hard. Putting it out on some flat area with a clear view of the sky and you'll get a green signal in about 30-45 seconds.

The biggest disappointment over the past 6 months is how lousy the data sync is when you upload workouts to While it worked pretty seamlessly at the start, not the connection routinely gets lost and something that should take a minute or so, can become a 10-15 minute exercise in futility. I've called Polar on this a few times but they merely are guessing and don't seem to have a clue on how to make it work. I've explained to them that I'm using the same computer, at the same desk with the same sync device in the same USB port. None of the variables changed, but the dependability is completely lacking. Uploading my last 3 workouts took 6 attempts at getting it to go all the way through and I changed absolutely nothing during the entire process. On the 6th time it finally worked and I have no reason to explain why the last effort clicked when the previous 5 did not.

The fitness test that they offer is kind of a joke. It is not accurate at all, and if it was, my Vo2 max would seem to indicate I should be quitting my day job and becoming a professional athlete. It is largely dependent on your resting HR, which in my case is very low and over time my fitness test results have gone from 47 (still elite in my age category) to over 60, which is off the charts. I wouldn't care, but immediately it impacted my calorie burn results to a point where I went from burning 100-110 calories per mile to 130, all relatively at the same pace per mile. Manually changing the vo2 max down to low 50's and immediately the calorie results went back to normal. When I asked Polar the reason for this, they tried to rationalize it but clearly the people you speak with have no idea what they are talking about. The logic I employed was that if I were truly getting that much fitter, then I'd burn less calories per mile at the same relative effort because I'd become more efficient. That makes perfect sense to me, but in Polar speak, the opposite is true.

So at this point, I have a 1 year old device with a GPS that I don't like to use. The batteries die frequently, and you can't consistently upload your results if you really have your heart set on analyzing them. OTOH, I only paid a little over $200 so if I can suffer with it for another year I'll start fresh with something else and feel like I at least got my money's worth.

Three stars is probably generous, but the Polar people at least take your call (it sounds like I've called them 100 times, but in reality it may be 8-10) and do seem concerned with helping you, even if they can't.
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on June 25, 2013
I have used the RC3X with the footpod for about a year. The watch is lightweight, and technically it works very well. But the good stops there. It has several drawbacks, specially when compared to my previous SX625 model:

1. I could not find how to simply read my heart rate. Yep, I just wanted to wear the chest strap, push a button and read my heart rate. Can't do that. You have to start a program with timing. This program will eventually clog the memory of the watch with useless info.

2. I finished a training and pushed on the stop button. The watch, instead of showing me the heart rate in real time and allow me to bring it down in a controlled manner keeps showing me the stupid "Recording stopped" message. Very useful...

3. What is the deal with the messages it posts? It is always "Great pace!" or "What a session!" even when the session was horrible and the pace was much worse than the day before. Either write something meaningful or don't say anything.

4. The absence of a program you can install in your computer to communicate with the watch is pretty annoying. Not everybody wants to have his personal data in the "cloud".

I'll keep this watch until the battery dies and then look for another brand.
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on August 21, 2014
The GPS unit is compact and can fit into a pocket or clips onto the waistline. The chest strap is very comfortable and dries quickly. The ease of the watch switching to the differrent training settings is great. This is one of the best prichases I have made in a long time. I wore it for my marathon as well as my training up to the marathon and love it. I have also used it on bike rides and it hold up to rain and wind, a rain storm came out of no where and it kept on working well. I am very pleased and would recommend this product to anyone!
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on February 5, 2016
Its 2016 and i bought this watch over 5 years ago.... Its still running, trekking, swimming... I almost never take it off. Just the red ring holding the strap recently ripped a bit but after going through roughness like no other garment, been to beaches, mountains, lakes, snow and even in the shower, only changes the battery a few times cause i use it a lot, and the gps, heart monitor and usb stick look brand new after all this time....i dare any other watch to be this good and longlasting.
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on July 20, 2014
Had it about a year and it froze on race day. Sent it in to Polar to be repaired as it was still under warrantee and they said the cause was "operator error" and that I needed a new battery which would have been the 2nd new battery in a year (one battery is supposed to last a year) and not once did the watch indicate it needed a new battery.
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on March 25, 2014
I have own a few Polar HRMs in the past (S625X, RS300X, and M61) and this one is by far the best one.
Love the fact that the GPS and the Wireless USB PC interfase are included.

I have been using it for 2 weeks now, it is a perfect training companion to record the details of your training session and monitor your progress overtime.
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on January 2, 2014
This a very good watch, with some minor cons...

Very Lightweight
Program workout via Website
Wireless sync with PC / MAC
Easy to use and intuitive menus
Good quality, well made
Autolap funtion with GPS

Sometimes GPS takes to much to receive signal (between 5-10 minutes) This is too much considering that your are for example taking a 30 min run...
Look: Not the most appeling design by polar.
Info display. Its not possible to have time elapsed + beat + pace

Overall I think is a good watch for the price.
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