If you're an athlete looking for training guidance, you'll get everything you need with the S210. You can program the watch to store the training parameters (TZ, timers, recovery) of your five most popular workouts. Just select the workout on the watch, put the transmitter on, and get going. The S210 will coach you through your workouts.
Strengths: Accurate, can be used on allot of various treadmills (with integrated polar heart rate display)
Weaknesses: Bad construction, for the price, I would recommend staying away from this one.
I have had the s-210 for two years now and out of that, it has pent over 6 months in repairs at polar. The watch itself seems to work fine, the heart rate functions are excellent but the buttons used to select different modes keep breaking off. Twice I have had it in the shop for broken side buttons.
Strengths: Features, Build quality - I've found its fine.
I've had no problems with cross talk or hassles with mobile phones.
Weaknesses: Need to have monior battery replaced by dealer.
It took a little while to get used to using it, but once you work out the buttons to push its great.
I'd agree with the comment about the alarm, it would be nice if the out of zone alarm was a little louder.
Cant download to a Mac computer without polar software, however the ismarttrain software from the UK is great.
If you shop around can get a good price on them from the large discount sports chains.
If I had my time over again I might go for something that also has cadence.
I really like this HR Monitor, I spent too long researching the features that I needed, and it has all the ones that I need without any that I wont use.
Strengths: I have used this HRM in the oast 3-1/2 years for nearly everything that I do outside. From road bike training, mountain biking, Skate skiing, running, trail running, swimming - I have never really had any problems with this HRM in any way (exception listed below).
I believe that it has the right balance of features for someone needing *some* HRM functionas like avg rate, max rate, and time in zone, but forgoes a lot of things that just are not really useful for me.
Weaknesses: The only problem that I have had is the fact that a cell phone will interfere with the signal. Not that I condone carrying a cell phone everywhere, but when you are out for a quick run waiting on a call, but have to have the cell phone off for the HRM to work properly is a hassle.
The battery out of the box lasted until this past January, so I got about 3 years out of it. I use it on the bike by wrapping it around the bar and cinching it with a rubber band - have to go light you know ;)
I initiall bought this HRM because I wanted something that was halfway between the upper end that had a lot of features that I would never use, and the lower end HRMs that are missing a number of features that make an HRM really useful.
The functions on this thing are pretty nice. The memory storage is OK and I like the calorie Counter. It was waay overpriced though. The build quality is the most disappointing thing. I had a cheap Sigma Sport for years before this thing and I wanted a new HR monitor for a few more functions and I was working at a bike shop at the time so I got this thing at cost. EVEN AT COST IT WAS NOT A GOOD VALUE. The buttons on the left side both fell off within 6 months of use. It is not water resistant enough to withstand a hard rain. The functions are great. It's very lightweight but the build quality and overall fit and finish look like a $15 kids toy. Any casual wear of the watch B4 or after races makes you look like a super dork. Looks worse than a Timex. I recently replaced the battery and now the red start button on top doesn't work. Instead of sending it back and hassling with Polar, I'm choosing to but the Sigma Sport fit watch which cost much less than the S210 and has all the same features. My wife also has an entry level polar and has problems with getting it to pick up initially. Finally, Polar's coded technology doesn't seem to work. I've gotten just as much "cross talk" on group rides as with my old sigma sport and my wife gets it with her Polar too. I'm done with this company. They are an innovater but maybe I'm too rough on things to use their products. If you are going to use anything frequently, you mountain bike, ride in rain, or are remotely concerned about quality, I would recommend buying something else.
Strengths: Can set up HR zones or interval sessions exactly as you want. Easy to switch from one Exercise Set to another. Displays HR in beats or % of max.
Weaknesses: The Fitness Test function is of no use if you want to know your specific max HR. This function measures your resting HR, then, apparently based on averages for your age and fitness level, calculates your max HR. But because it's apparently based on averages, the max HR it calculated for me was actually about 8 beats below my true max - a big difference. Also, the out-of-zone alarm could be a bit louder, to compensate for the sound of the wind when cycling.
Wanted an HRM that was easy to read and that had competely customizable zones or workout routines. The S210 includes 5 "Exercise Sets", as Polar calls them. Each Exercise set includes a warm-up timer, interval functions and timers, and a recovery timer. You can give each Exercise Set a unique name, turn the timers on or off in any combination, specify more reps than you'd ever care to do, and specify whether the warm-up, intervals, and recovery are time-based or HR-based. Each Exercise Set also lets you define up to 3 HR zones.
I set up 3 of the Exercise Sets as simple HR zones: 90-95%, 80-90%, 70-80%, and named each Exercise Set accordingly. For each of these 3 I set the upper and lower HR limits, turned all timers off, and did not set up any intervals. I used the other 2 Exercise Sets to set up 2 interval sessions. For example, one of these has a warm-up period, 3 minutes at 95%+ repeated 3 times, and then a recovery period.
I've mounted this on my bike's handlebars with Polar's bike mount.
The S410 and S610 have PC interfaces to let you download info.
I don't care for the Polar cycling HRMs, because I don't like cycling functions included in an HRM. I've got a high-end cycling computer anyway, and having everything in one computer means you keep flipping through the displays, which have smaller text to fit everything in. And with only one computer, if it fails, you've then lost all functionality.
I've been pleased with this HRM. I tried a number of others (Polar and other manufacturers).
Suggested retail is $199, but found it online and at local REI store for $180.
Similar Products Used: Polar F6 - only one zone can be completely customized; Polar S150 - text too small, don't like all functions in one unit; Timex 5C401 - very easy to read, but the frequency at which the readout is refreshed (about 2 seconds) means there can be big jumps in the displayed HR.
Bike Setup: 1999 Cannondale R4000 - all Dura-Ace 9 spd