Review: Polar RCX3 GPS Heart Rate Monitor

My last Polar product review was 3 years ago.  It’s about time for an update, isn’t it?

Back then, I had barely started running and when I did run, it was the same route, with the same mile markers.  Mainly, I used my heart rate monitor to tell me my heart rate and calories burned.  Not much else.

Fast forward to today.  I’ve been running three years now, I run all kinds of different routes (so that I don’t bored and also, for whatever fits into my busy schedule, wherever I might be), and I understand a tad bit more about the role heart rate plays in my training.  Yes, I still like to know how many calories I burned but there are more things I like to know.

Enter the RCX3 GPS (fancy title for a great HRM).

Recently, I had the opportunity to review of the PolaRCX3 GPS heart rate monitor.

It should come as no surprise that I have fallen in love with my Polar heart rate monitor (HRM) and the days that I forget to put it on, I am kicking myself.  Everyone needs a heart rate monitor to keep them in check!

Why do I love the Polar heart rate monitor?  Here we go- an honest review of the Polar RCX3 GPS heart rate monitor (try trying *that* real fast three times in a row):

  1. Nice, smaller lady-like design.  It comes in two colors- black and white. I received the white watch and it seems to me to be more ladylike than the black watch.  I could be wrong since I haven’t seen the black one in person, BUT trust me- the white one is sporty and feminine. SCORE!
  2. It tells me all kinds of geeky, runner date DURING my run, with just a glance at the watch.  Yes, I have become *that* runner who likes to glance down at my watch to know how fast I am currently going, what my average pace is, how far I have gone, what my heart rate is, how long I have spent in each of the five training zones,  how many calories I have burned, AND how much time I have been running.  Granted, all of this information is on a series of screens but still, I am *that* runner.
  3. You can *pause* your workout. Meaning, if you have to stop to stretch, use the bathroom, or whatever, you can pause your recording, and then start it up again when you are ready.  Even better, which probably will NOT apply to most of you but does to this very, crazy busy mom of three- you can start a running workout, pause it for a lengthy amount of time (don’t ask) and start it up from a DIFFERENT location and it will still give you accurate information. For example, I run a few miles in one location, then have to pick up my child from one place, deliver him to another place, and then resume my run at a different location and the GPS will pick it up.  FREAKING AWESOME!
  4. OK, I haven’t had the chance to use this particular feature yet, BUT supposedly you can use the GPS for cycling data as well.  I had all intentions of cycling this past Summer but life got in the way (hello move! hello three kids at home! hello no one to stay with them while I cycle! hello new pool in the backyard!). Anyhow, I cannot wait to try out this feature in the Spring as I would like to train for a triathlon and since I already know I am geeky about runner information, I will want to be able to access similar cycling information- cadence, how far I have gone and how long.
  5. Sync up your workouts to Polar Personal Trainer.  OK, I have to be honest and tell you this is another feature that I have yet to tap into, but you can sync up the workouts from your watch to Polar Personal Trainer, a website that allows you to track your training, create training programs, track your progress, participate in challenges, and more!

What I am not crazy about:

  1. THE GPS sensor is separate from the watch, which means another gadget to hook somewhere on me.
  2. I cannot get the *stink* out of my heart rate strap.  I hand wash it with soap but that’s not doing the job. Does anyone have a recommendation on how to get rid of the sweat funk?
  3. Not being able to figure out how to sync my watch to Polar Personal Trainer.  It seems like I always have a very limited amount of time to dedicate to new technology and if it doesn’t go right from the start, I have neither the time nor the patience to figure out what I did wrong.  This is NOT Polar’s fault, but my own.

Recommendation:  GET ONE!  And take the time from the beginning to learn how to use all the cool features of this watch.  It is wonderful and suits my needs currently, but I know it can do so much more.  Also, this HRM isn’t just for runners- walkers would love it too : ).

Retail Value:  $339.95

 HEADS UP: This POLAR heart rate monitor will be featured in our Holiday Gift Guide for Runners, which will be posted in a few days.  We will have quite a few giveaways included in the gift guide (wink wink!).  Make sure to be on the lookout for it!

So tell me, is a heart rate monitor on YOUR Christmas Wish List?

Disclosure:  POLAR USA provided myself and a colleague with this product for review purposes only.  As always, all opinions are entirely my own.

  • Melissa (@TheDailyMel)

    Have you tried Febreze Sport? I use it in my running shoes and it gets the stink right out! It might work for your HRM strap, too.

  • curleegirl

    Yes! I just emailed a link to this exact Polar heart monitor to my husband! It’s perfect to kick up my runs a little!

  • Auds

    Hi Lisa,
    Thanks for you’re article on Polar RCX3. I would love to buy the white version as being a female, I have a smaller wrist but worry that white will get dirty and look grubby after a while. How long had you had yours and does the white attract marks on the strap easily?

    • Lisa

      I have had mine for 8 months and it still looks brand new! I just looked at it and it looks great. I wear it for runs all the time in all kinds of weather- love it!

  • Bob

    We use this trick to get stink out of football gear and it works. The stink is bacteria, so you need to kill the bacteria. We so soak it in a very diluted solution of bleach and water. Just a small amount of bleach will work. I would try very small amounts first in hopes of it killing the bacteria without bleaching out color.

  • Bia

    Hi Lisa, I’m reading your review from Switzerland and must thank you for the feedback on the RCX3. I started to run end of 2013, got an iPod Nano with the Fitness App, but currently I’m in need of something more serious and accurate. Probably gonna go for the RCX3. Cheers!