Triathlon Modes – Garmin FR920XT v Polar V800

The background to this post can be found in the in-depth review of the Garmin Forerunner 920XT where I performed a test of a full (albeit DIY) Triathlon wearing both the FR920XT and the Polar V800. To make sense of the activity (if you’ve come straight to this page) head over to the Triathlon section the FR920XT Review here.

I wanted to provide a separate page for the screenshots of the workout obtained from both Garmin Connect and Polar Flow. I’ll provide the summary screens first and then each sport in turn, Swim/Bike/Run.

The distances were:

  • Swim – 400m
  • Bike – 20km
  • Run – 5km

These screenshots are from exactly the same activity at exactly the same time. The Garmin was on the left wrist. Polar on the right.

Triathlon Summary/Timeline

Garmin Forerunner 920XT review

Both summary screens provide a really useful timeline above the map detail to show the times for each segment, including transitions. The summary pages act as front screen for clicking into the detail of the swim/bike/run segments.

Garmin FR920XT v Polar V800

The summaries are near identical save for 15 seconds. This will be through no fault of either watch but simply that one had to be started/finished before the other (as I only had two hands). The only real difference is on the Polar, where heart rate is captured throughout the entire activity.


Pool based 400 Metres Freestyle (Front Crawl).

Garmin FR920XT v Polar V800

Further swim metrics were available in Garmin Connect (i.e pace, strokes, intervals) but I have not shown them here as 4 lengths were missed. I’m attributing this to a congested pool, rather than a fault in the Garmin.  See the relevant section in the full review.

Garmin FR920XT v Polar V800


Although heart rate capture is available in swim mode with the V800, you can see that a small amount was missed at the very start of the swim. Swim metrics are now possible with the V800, but I guess I need to manually customise the Triathlon mode in oder to achieve this during a multisport event. This was the first Triathlon I attempted with the V800 since the swim metrics update was released in November 2014.


20km open roads on 2o speed TT Bike with Stages Power Meter.

Garmin FR920XT v Polar V800

FR920XT Review

Garmin Forerunner 920XT Review

There’s masses of cycling data available in Garmin Connect ranging from the map right through to the advanced power meter stats. Clicking on the ‘Splits’ tab would also show the timings for each 1km stint.

Garmin FR920XT v Polar V800

Screenshot 2014-12-22 01.51.36

The Polar provided a very neat and user-friendly format but is not quite as detailed as the Garmin due mainly to the lack of power stats. Capturing power data would have been possible with the Polar but there are far fewer options for pairing as most power meters only transmit data via ANT+. So far as all other metrics are concerned for this ride, however, they are near identical (N.B the Stages power meter I was using will pair with the Polar V800).


5km steady pace back to the beginning of the triathlon.

Garmin FR920XT v Polar V800


Screenshot 2014-12-22 01.48.23

Garmin FR920XT v Polar V800

Screenshot 2014-12-22 01.50.00

With the Garmin benefiting from the capture of ‘Run Dynamics’ there is far greater detail to analyse back in Garmin Connect.

Garmin FR920XT v Polar V800

Screenshot 2014-12-22 01.50.52


The overlaid graph in polar Flow provides a neat comparison of pace against heart rate. The stats are near identical in both, with the Polar showing the average pace 3 seconds slower than the Garmin.

Conclusion – Garmin FR920XT v Polar V800

The purpose of this test was to compare the data analysis received from the triathlon modes of the Garmin FR920XT and the Polar V800.  Both watches performed with ease during the triathlon with simple one button operation to  transition all the way to the finish.

Overall, the data received from the Garmin is more comprehensive. This is purely because of the advanced hardware functions available due to a second accelerometer in the heart rate strap and the greater options available for pairing a power meter. They both work perfectly on the wrist for capturing your event but if data analysis is your thing, Garmin Connect pips the Polar when it comes to additional detail.


  1. Pingback: Garmin Forerunner 920XT Review | TriedOnline

  2. Have you noticed the difference in calories? 653 in Garmin versus 1431 in Polar – which one is more reliable?

    • I hadn’t noticed until now and haven’t seen such a large discrepancy before. I guess it’s partly explained by the V800 capturing HR data throughout the full activity (i.e during the swim) but I still would have expected them to be closer. I’ve done a good number of further running and cycling activities with both and they are closer for single activities however the Garmin often comes out approximately 10% lower for calories. This seems to be across their devices (including the FR620 & Edge 810) so can only be explained by differing algorithms rather than reliability.

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