If you want an alternative to chest-strap heart rate monitors, you can’t go wrong with the optical Polar Verity Sense.

Ideal for pairing with the best rowing machines or exercise bikes, here’s how the Polar Verity Sense performed when we put it to the test.

Men’s Fitness verdict

With a rechargeable sensor, decent workout storage and good accuracy, the Polar Verity Sense is a useful alternative to a chest strap HRM.
  • Comfortable alternative to chest strap
  • Good accuracy for an optical sensor
  • Fiddly to use on the move
  • Charging cradle is easy to lose

Chest strap alternative

If you don’t like wearing chest straps, or your sport makes it tricky, the Polar Verity Sense optical heart rate tracker is a reliable and comfortable alternative. It can be worn on your forearm, bicep and even on your goggle straps to track your BPM from your temples in the water. So it’s one of the best heart rate monitors for a triathlon.

The Verity Sense features some important improvements over Polar’s other optical arm strap option, the cheaper OH1+ ($59.95 / £54.95). The big upgrades include a wider strap and sensor casing that help it stay in place better. The sensor also features lights that make it easier to see when you’re switching between modes and starting workouts, though it’s still fiddly to use underneath long-sleeve tops. 

Polar Verity Sense design

When it comes to accuracy, the Verity Sense doesn’t match the best chest straps for nailed-on tracking. However, our tests show the six LED sensor to be as reliable as optical heart rate trackers get. It can still lag and lurch when you’re doing things like gear-shifting intervals but we think it’s as good as, if not better than, the built-in optical monitors you find on most GPS watches.  

The rechargeable sensor packs 30-hours training time on a single charge, 16mb memory – around 600 hours of workout storage – and 150m broadcast range. It supports ANT+ and two simultaneous Bluetooth connections – that’s one less Bluetooth hook-up than the OH1+. It also broadcasts direct to heart rate apps including the Polar Beat app, GPS watches from Garmin, Polar and COROS plus compatible gym equipment and stationary bikes like the Wattbike Atom.  

It’s water resistant up to 50m and the strap is machine washable. If you’re after an arm strap, this is our top recommendation. Though we’re not fans of the small and easy-to-lose charging cradle.  

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