I was hoping to be able to write this up a little sooner but I've been waiting for a response from Polar Customer Support since 2020-10-10 and received it today 2020-10-27. Their answer was integral to how this whole post was going to be framed, so here it is.

Brace yourself, this is one long rant.

The Backstory

I have been a Polar user for many years but also have data imported in to their Flow platform from previous hardware. I never really liked the software side of Garmin, and they seemed to have the attitude of "too big to fail". Polar, on the other hand, seemed to be making truly reliable hardware and consistently updated the firmware of their devices, listening to the feedback of their user base.

Fitbit and TomTom were also around and making sports watches at the time, but they just didn't "feel" right. So, Polar it was.

The Polar M400 was my first outing with them and is also still in a completely useable state (albeit looking a little battle-scarred these days) and was a fantastic entry level device that covered a disgusting number of activities. I mostly used it for running but it was also my training partner as I got into triathlon. Years later, it was still receiving firmware updates and bug fixes despite the M430 (its successor) being around. It had feature parity (hardware permitting) and it just kept going.

As my cycling progressed, I wanted more info. With the reliability and the service from Polar being what it was, I opted for their V650. It was highly rated at the time for being a fantastic all-rounder but, unfortunately never really received any love or attention much after its release. It does still serve its purpose and also saw me through Ironman Wales.

On that note, I also upgraded to the V800 for Ironman and the M400 was passed down to my other half. The v800 served me well for years but, much like the V650, updates were few and far between and any requests for features seemingly began falling on deaf ears over at Polar. A little later, all became clear as they released their Vantage line up. It had been a while since they'd done a huge refresh like this and it seemed fair.

I eyed up the Vantage V, but at the time really didn't need the upgrade, nor did I feel the extra features were really worth it.

Some changes in my personal life meant I couldn't really dedicate any training time to Ironman for a year or two, so I started concentrating on my running again. I can do runs early morning, but with swimming - you go when the pool is open. It was hard to schedule it in around work and family sometimes. But, with running back in the spotlight, I started reviewing some goals I wanted to tick off, Ultra Distance being one I've been keeping on the backlog for years.

The v800 just didn't have the battery life needed for the time I could be out there (well, it would be cutting it fine anyway). Upgrade time! I started looking around but something about the Vantage still wasn't calling to me. Users were reporting bugs that were seemingly going ignored/unfixed for months. I looked back at Garmin again but the line up just wasn't tickling my inner nerd at all.

Then the Polar Grit X came to life. This looked to be a true successor to the V800. But at the same time, an unknown company was starting to really make some waves, that company was COROS.

I compared the devices but opted to stick with Polar once again due to the sheer amount of data in the Polar Flow platform already. It seemed to know when I was over stressing myself and had a good handle on my performance. Besides, who is this COROS?

The Grit X ticked all the boxes. It was the V800 with longer battery life and some snazzy new features like FuelWise and Drink Reminder. Seriously, when you're going the distance, sometimes you forget even simple things and a reminder on the screen is incredibly helpful. Especially one that reacts to how hard the session is.

There was also a tighter integration with Strava segments, Komoot for guidance and lots of other little nerdy things.

Polar Grit X (Image from Polar Product Page)

There was some serious internal (and external) self debate for a few weeks over this purchase but eventually it happened, mostly because my partner got bored listening to me and my constant dithering about all purchases (apparently, I drive her insane).

The Now

That brings us up to now (kind of). There will be other posts coming about my training time with the Grit X and how my first 50KM Ultra went.

So far, there has been one firmware update for the Grit X since I have owned it, two updates total. There has been nothing since July. While the device is incredibly stable and pretty much bug free, there are certainly improvements that can be made and have been asked for by the community.

The Grit X was released in April, and then on 2020-10-07, this happened:

@PolarGlobal (@PolarGlobal)
Introducing #PolarVantageV2 – the lightweight premium multisport watch with all of Polar’s sports expertise. 🔴 Running Performance Test🔴 Cycling Performance Test🔴 Leg Recovery Test🔴 Music controls Preorder yours at http://bit.ly/Polar_Vantage_V2_Twitter #KnowledgeIsProgress

While there are very little differences between the devices, I can't help but feel like Polar has pulled another fast one here. First time around with the original Vantage V1 and the Grit X, and now the same with the Vantage V2. As expected, there was some incredibly negative feedback around this. There are some very obvious software features that should be on the Grit X that they have no intention of doing despite the hardware being (as far as I'm aware) identical. I took a day or two, watching the feedback to see how Polar reacted and I wasn't impressed. They were basically dismissing feedback from Vantage V1 and Grit X users. So I sent them this email:

With your recent release of the Vantage V2, what are your plans for the Grit X for the next year? Do you have a roadmap of planned features?

Having just spent a significant amount of money on the Grit X, a device that is less than 6 months old, I can't say I'm impressed that it has obviously been used as a test device for some features on the Vantage V2. A couple of which are undoubtedly software only.

I've been a Polar user since the M400 & V650, upgrading to the V800, and finally to the Grit X after moving up to Ultra distances and needing that extra battery life. I sincerely hope that you are not planning to now ignore the Grit X after only releasing in April.

You used to believe in, and update your products and seemed to care about your customers - year after year, I've seen this attitude rapidly declining. I, and many others have fed countless activities and its data in to your platform giving you the resources you need to create these features putting you where you are today. Your behaviour towards the Vantage V, the V650 with practically no updates and now possibly the Grit X is disgusting and, I have to admit, rapidly heading in to Anti-consumer rights territory.

I truly debated going over to COROS or Garmin with my latest purchase but stuck with you because of my years of data already on Flow. It's becoming impossible to recommend Polar when your competitors are working with partners such as Stryd, and Garmin with their Connect IQ service allowing third parties to offer missing features.

As for Flow, are there any plans to ever add Power Zones to training targets? Heart rate and pace are there. Power zone limits are on the sports profile settings, why is it still not an option for phased targets? Your users have been asking for this for quite some time.

I look forward to hearing your response and your plans for continued support towards the Grit X over the coming year.

Perhaps it could have been a better email, but I was still feeling incredibly disappointed in them at this point.

Days went by with no response, not even an acknowledgement (apart from the automated one). I sent a chaser on 2020-10-26:

Hello,

I'm aware that delays to these requests are to be expected at times like this, however, I think you have had ample time to answer the very few simple questions I asked in the initial request.

So once again;

- Do you have a plan for the Grit X or have you abandoned it already?
- Do you plan to add the ability to use Power Zones as training targets when creating a workout in Flow?

To the support tech that has ended up with this ticket, please understand that the disappointment conveyed in these responses is in no way aimed at you. I work T3 support and understand how thankless the task can be, especially when faced with a request like mine (and probably not just mine with that V2 release).

Today (2020-10-27), I received a response:

Hello,

Thank you for contacting Polar Customer Care. Apologies for the delay in replying.

I hope my email finds you well and safe.
We have been rather busy the last few weeks and we're trying to reach out to all customers as soon as possible.

The introduction of Vantage V2 should not affect the Grit X users in no way.
Support for the Grit X is very much available as the device is manufactured and sold.

We do not have any communication in regards to if or when the features V2 has will be available for the original Grit X, though.
No one of the devices is better than the other, they are all on the same level targeting different user groups.

You can actually see below by comparing the features of the two that they are rather similar:

Polar Comparison

We, here at Polar, base our development very much on the needs of our customers.
So learning about your experience and getting your thoughts is very important to us.
I've forwarded your improvement suggestions to our developers.

You can follow what’s new and what’s coming to Polar products and services at http://support.polar.com/updates and https://www.polar.com/blog/.

Thanks again and happy training with your Polar!

As I mentioned in my toot earlier, I felt like this was just a bit of a cut-and-paste response. What really stood out to me, however, was this part:

We do not have any communication in regards to if or when the features V2 has will be available for the original Grit X, though.

The "original" Grit X. Now, this could just be me reading far too much in to things, but this sounds like they're already planning to do a Grit X V2, just like they have with the Vantage V line. If this is the case, then the Grit X is as good as dead, feature-wise. Sure, they have to support it in regard to faults and repairs (depending on your locality of course), but for a device that is 6 months old, it's just not cricket!

Bottom - Possibly the greatest comedy ever (RIP Rik Mayall)

As for forwarding on the feature request? Yeah, whatever. Sticking with the Bottom theme: "pull the other one mate, it's got bells on it".

Feature requests to Polar seem to have an automated delete rule these days. If I see Power Targets in Polar Flow before I die of old age, I'll be amazed.

Anyway, that's my rant and why I will not be recommending Polar products to anyone going forward. The trust has gone, along with the interest they once had in their customers. They (and many like them) are far from the company they once were. All they want now is your data and your money.

My Grit X should (hopefully) last me many years. I'll be keeping local backups of my fitness data going forward in readiness to leave the Polar platform behind when the time comes. They will not get another penny out of me.

Sorry Polar, it's not me - it's you.