Interbike 2012: Polar launches new RC3 GPS multisport watch for 2013

It's faster than Garmin but there are drawbacks

This article originally appeared on BikeRadar

Polar debuted a new RC3 GPS watch at this year's Interbike show to serve the diverse needs of multisport athletes looking for a single solution for cycling, running, and even swimming activities. Just as with other GPS-enabled devices, the RC3 GPS conveniently tracks your location, speed, distance, and other related data just by triangulating signals from orbiting satellites – or via Polar's optional wireless speed, cadence, and footpod sensors for even greater accuracy.

According to Polar, the RC3 GPS's SIRFstar IV GPS chip locates satellites faster than competing products from Garmin and also remembers locations for even faster locks. Once it's acquired your location, Polar says the RC3 will run for a full 12 hours of activity via the USB-rechargeable Li-ion battery despite the fact that the claimed higher sampling rate supposedly provides more accurate data than other GPS computers, too.

Multiple configurable screens provide a host of metrics that seemed to be easily accessed and navigated during our brief visit to Polar's booth. The small, monochrome LCD screen is sharp and easy to read, too.

Polar is putting a heavy emphasis on training with the RC3 GPS as opposed to mapping or navigation features with prompted alerts for interval sessions, for example, and even encouraging messages when you've met a target. Data can be downloaded to Polar's own software or the popular TrainingPeaks suite for post-workout analysis, pre-workout planning, or longer-term evaluation of progress

That being said, more serious cyclists will be disappointed to hear that the RC3 GPS won't work with the KéO Power pedals the company developed with Look, nor any other power meter for that matter as it also doesn't incorporate ANT+ wireless capability. The RC3 GPS's data also can't be downloaded to Strava or GarminConnect.

Polar says the new RC3 GPS should be available in stores now and retail price is US$279 without a heart rate strap of US$329 with one included.


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