Polar Vantage V2 vs Garmin Fenix 6 Pro: Which is the best multi-sport watch?
The Vantage V2 is admittedly the best Polar watch and the Fenix 6 Pro can still be considered one of the best Garmin watches; although Garmin has quite a few high-end smartwatches in its arsenal alongside the Fenix 6 Pro, which might confuse some people. Not to mention all the different Fenix 6 models (more on this later).
Admittedly, the Polar Vantage V2 is the newer model of the two and provides a completely different user experience than the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro. For example, the Vantage V2 has a touchscreen display while the Fenix 6 Pro can only be operated using the navigation buttons around the edge of the case.
Of course, there is more than just one difference between the two watches and we'll pit them against each other to make it easier for you to choose the best multi-sport watch for your needs.
Polar Vantage V2 vs Garmin Fenix 6 Pro: Main features
The Vantage V2, being a Polar watch, focuses heavily on recovery and training load management. It features three brand new fitness tests: running performance test, cycling performance test and leg recovery test, as well as two other features inherited from the Polar Grit X outdoor watch, HillSplitter and FuelWise.
The Polar Vantage V2 also supports smart notifications (e.g. weather updates, calendar prompts and message alerts) and enables users to control music on their phone using the watch. However, sadly, the Vantage V2 doesn't have any internal memory dedicated for offline music storage.
The feature-richness of the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro might be overkill for most people. Even the main functions are aplenty, not to mention stuff like the turbo trainer integration, a feature hidden in a sub-menu somewhere.
The Fenix 6 Pro has offline topographic maps, point-of-interest navigation, approx. a million sport modes, pulse oximeter, compass, altimeter, barometer, etc. Just think of a multi-sport watch feature: the Fenix 6 Pro has it. And probably 20 variations of it you haven't even considered.
Polar Vantage V2 vs Garmin Fenix 6 Pro: Design
The V2 looks almost identical to the original Vantage V, albeit the V2 is lighter than its predecessor (V2 – 52 grams, V – 66 grams ). The bezel is made of "aerospace aluminium alloy" with a glass fibre reinforced polymer watch case – both help keep the weight down.
There is only a minor issue with the lack of physical redesign. The navigation on the Vantage was never perfect; the five-button plus touch screen navigation is confusing, especially for new users. Not to mention the laggy touch interactions; some patience is required to get used to the watch.
The Garmin Fenix 6 confuses people differently. It has no less than 28 different versions, including the smaller Fenix 6S, the mid-sized Fenix 6 and the largest Fenix 6X. Other smartwatch manufacturers have fewer watches altogether than there are Fenix 6 varieties.
The Fenix 6 Pro hasn't got a touch screen – Garmin only included this feature in a few of its more casual watches – and all version of the Fenix 6 has Corning Gorilla Glass DX or sapphire crystal lens, stainless steel, titanium, or diamond-like carbon (DLC) coated titanium bezel and stainless steel, titanium or diamond-like carbon (DLC) coated steel case. You can rest assured that all versions are more rugged than your average smartwatch.
The Pro version, in particular, looks rather manly, with a bulky, large case covered in brushed, exposed metal surfaces. The Fenix 6S tones down the machoness by using rose- and light-gold colours for highlights.
Polar Vantage V2 vs Garmin Fenix 6 Pro: Battery life
Battery life on the Polar Vantage V2 is pretty good, especially considering the size of the screen. It can last up to a week in smartwatch mode, 40 hours in training mode (GPS and wrist-based heart rate) and 100 hours in battery saver mode. The battery can last around 4-5 days, assuming average mixed-use (with some GPS tracking).
The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro has a slightly less impressive GPS battery life (36 hours) but will last for up to two weeks in smartwatch mode, 72 hours in ‘max battery GPS’ mode, 28 days in ‘expedition GPS’ mode and 48 days in ‘battery saver watch’ mode. The smaller 6S has a shorter (25 hours with GPS on), and the 6X has a longer (60 hours with GPS on) battery life.
Polar Vantage V2 vs Garmin Fenix 6 Pro: Accuracy
The Vantage V2 uses Polar's latest Precision Prime sensor technology. This combines optical heart rate measurement with skin contact- and colour sensors to "rule out motion artefacts that might disturb the heart rate signal and produce unreliable readings", as Polar explains.
This fusion technology ensures that the V2 reads heart rate when the watch is entirely in contact with your skin. Needless to say, wearing the watch loosely/too tight can skew the readings, although it's true for any smartwatch.
The Vantage V2 can track global position using input from four systems: GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and QZSS. It also has integrated compass and barometric altitude sensors too. The V2 is accurate enough for everyday use and more precise than even the best fitness trackers.
The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is renowned for its heart rate and GPS precision. The watch uses the Elevate 2 optical heart rate sensor, and Garmin frequently sends software updates to its watches to tweak the sensors almost every week.
GPS performance on the Fenix 6 Pro is second to none: the chip picks signal up fast, and they never seem to drop it either. The watch measures distance accurately too.
The heart rate sensor and the GPS are geared toward sports profiles and not low-HR slower activities. Garmin's are most precise when used for running, cycling, swimming etc. and when users move faster. It's because the algorithm is tailored for sport and not for everyday use, like in the case of the Apple Watch.
Polar Vantage V2 vs Garmin Fenix 6 Pro: Pricing and availability
Polar Vantage V2 is available today at Polar (opens in new tab) for £449 / $499.90 / AUD $699 on its own in black, green and grey-lime colourways and coupled up with the Polar H10 Heart Rate Sensor for £489 / $549.99 / AUD $799.
The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is also available to buy at Garmin (opens in new tab) and at selected third party retailers for a recommended retail price of £699.99 / $749.99 / AUD $1,149.
Also consider: the Garmin Enduro is the lovechild of the Forerunner 945 and Fenix 6 with ultra-long battery life