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When setting up the sensors on your bike, be prepared for a long ordeal. It took a very long time to get it setup correctly, but is is bomb-proof now that I've got it working.
been using the s510 for about a year and a half. it works fine. i upgraded from pc coach light software which comes w/the 510.
i only had 1 problem. i was using a laptop w/out an external mic and as a result i couldn't get the sonic download loud enough to work. i had to go in to one of the program files and change the value for the "sonic boost" from "1" to "8" (it goes up to 9 i believe). this isn't difficult and i got the directions on how to do it off of polar's website. good luck.
I consider the fact that the 710 supports power and the 520 doesn't as the equivalent of buying an "option" for power in the future.
I've used the 710 for about 15 months now.
My complaints (keep in mind that I work for Intel Corp. so my expectations may be a little skewed):
S710 IR is NOT WIN2K or WINXP compatible...You need to buy an additional "IR Interface" to do an IR download with these VERY COMMON Operating Systems...What's the point of IR if I have to buy an additional $40 interface? When I called Polar (repeatedly), they showed no interest in addressing this fundamental issue...I'm not sure if they've resolved it yet. As a tech guy, I simply found that unacceptable.
S710 was very "buggy." The monitor needs to be operating before the cadence/speed sensors. If you lose HR during a ride, it required resetting (storing as a different file) all cadence/speed data as well...On cold/rainy days, I often had problems getting my entire workout completed on a single file...Thus defeating the purpose of the downloadable file option for comparing workouts.
S510 Sonic Link Technology is pretty mediocre. Nice idea, but marginally executed...It often took many tries before all my data would download completely.
Both units are very large on the wrist. I found them both cumbersome when running or swimming. Although the face is nice for riding;-)
I'd honestly consider saving the money and buying a "non-integrated" unit. Buy a decent/less expensive HRM and buy a separate bike computer. Then you won't have dependencies which can negatively impact the performance of your recording devices.
Finally, ask yourself honestly what you are really going to do with all those downloaded files...It takes a LOT of time to properly analyze downloaded HR/Cadence/Power Information. If you aren't really experienced, you may be better served spending that time training, lifting weights, or paying attention to your family/friends.
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1) the sonic link downloading software is a dead end software platform. If you don't like (or find other software you wish to use in the future) your toast - forget it, the data is not transferable. There is no generic file options.
2) The red button design flaw...this is one you will find out on your own. And, you'll probably find out this design problem just when you wish hadn't lost that specific training session or important race. The red button was designed to easily create laps (or mark transitions times). Furthermore, in order to stop the HRM from recording, you push a button on the side (thats a good thing). Once you've press the side button, your data will stop recording and will be saved. However, IF you inadvertently press the big red button again (located on the face of the watch - easily accidently pressed), WHAM! You've lost all of your detail HRM data. There is nothing to download. All your left with is basic HRM information. BTW, there is also another way to loose all your data during downloading...but, that would take more words than this product is worth writing about.
These are two of it's biggest flaws. If you also use it to obtain bike data information, you'll soon find out it's not very accurate and the caused is likely be because you'll need to increase the power by switching the internal jumpers. As for getting the cadence to work...good luck if of average size and you ride in the aero position with the watch on your arm (even if you increase the power).
On the plus side, the Polar S-510 HRM is accurate in measuring HR and not that difficult to learn.
I wouldn't trade up - you might wait until Timex-Garmin comes out with it's HRM plus Speed+Distance device comes out. IF it's as good as it's Timex S+D in terms of accuracy and ease of use, then adding a wireless HRM would make it THE benchmark HRM.
FWIW Joe Moya
-the 510 is basically good for only one downloadable exercise at a time. If you finish your run, turn off the hrm, drive to the pool, turn on the hrm, you just nuked your 1st (run) file... you can download only a "summary." This alone makes the 510 useless in my book.
- IR vs. SonicLink - after seeing a laptop fly across the room at a team training camp, after 15 minutes of muffled sonic-link inspired cursing, I'm sold on IR; I have had zero problems with it. Perfect downloads, every time. That's worth 40 bucks to me.
- Software on the 710 is not only better than the 510's, it is pretty darn good on it's own merit; this is now my main method of tracking my training. It's very easy to use, and while it does track a lot of info, some of the graphic representations available do a very good job of distilling that info into a novice-usable format. Altitude v Cadence v spd v HR on a graph is pretty darn useful, and far from rocket science.
- I think that people who experience dropouts of HR function while using this HRM need to experiment with electrode cream. The 710 is the ONLY HRM I have ever used that I have not had dropouts with, even under high tension lines.
- The wrist unit IS large, and I thought it would be a problem, but it hasn't been - I even wore it for all my Cyclocross races this season, and if it didn't get in the way there, it won't.
- The ability to add power, should Polar ever work the bugs out of the system, is a plus, but I haven't gone that route (see the rants on the wattage list for more info than you could possibly stomach on this topic.)
that's probably about 2 cents worth...
Tech writer/support on this here site. FIST school instructor and certified bike fitter. Formerly at Diamondback Bikes, LeMond Fitness, FSA, TiCycles, etc.
Coaching and bike fit - http://source-e.net/ Cyclocross blog - https://crosssports.net/ BJJ instruction - https://ballardbjj.com/