Test: the Pace 2 watch by COROS [sponsored]
The market of watches for mountain runners, has long been divided into two main parts. Not long ago, a brand new player from across the big water appeared on the scene, trying to carve off a bigger and bigger slice of that very tasty pie for itself. Fortunately, in addition to a well-thought-out marketing strategy involving Poland’s top athletes, COROS has other arguments that benefit where two beat each other.
I had the opportunity (or pleasure, it will become clear a little further on) to test the second edition of the basic model of this American brand, whose first two products were… smart bike helmets. In mid-May 2018r. COROS, however, unveiled its debut wrist-based multisport combo – Pace. And so it began! Last August, the successor to the “pey” saw the light of day, advertised as the lightest GPS watch on the market (30g in the version with a nylon strap). How it performed during the tests? Well quite bravely, but one step at a time.
What is a deciding factor for many users turned out to be one of the biggest advantages of the watch. With daily use (biking, running, ball, dancing, exercising, during the day all the time on the wrist, most of the night also), the battery lasted two weeks quietly, and it is worth noting that this is not a “premium” shelf for four national minimum, recharged with energy from the interior of the earth and the light of the full moon. Bravo, a basic model with such a capacious magazine (and at the same time such a low weight), is a really attractive option for someone who just a few years ago was forced to invest in “high-end stuff” in order to safely hobble 100+ in the hills. Interestingly, the aforementioned equipment I have to charge more often than COROS’s.
COROS PACE 2 during testing (pic. Rafal Slociak)
As for GPS measurement, apart from the first launch, where it happened to wait a few minutes for a complete signal, the search for receivers lasted a few seconds. Not once did the track note “jump sideways”, lose satellites, call to eat or cry. I’m satisfied – with the caveat that I didn’t do a direct comparison using two or three different watches attached to the same wrist during a single workout. And only this would show who, in the race for the title of champion of measurement accuracy, has the best arguments.
I also have no objections when it comes to the averaged measurement of heart rate from the wrist, although of course in non-GPS mode it was not refreshed continuously, but once in a while, but maybe that’s a good thing, because constant bombardment of the skin with green light can over time lead to its mild damage, as I once empirically discovered. It should also be remembered that the wrist measurement is not as accurate as the measurement from the chest strap. I could only complain about the reading during the performance of rhythms, when the watch missed a couple of heart rate spikes, but I forgive due to the high dynamics of wrist movement during this particular type of training. 😉
COROS PACE 2 during testing (photo. Rafal Slociak)
The menu of the watch is quite simple, intuitive, I didn’t miss the touch functions one bit, everything to be freely directed by two buttons and a dial (which is also one of these buttons). For those for whom the graphic/visual side makes a difference, a really large number of watch face designs have been prepared, which can be freely uploaded to the watch from a smartphone. Plus for this. Of course, the quality of the display itself leaves a lot to be desired in terms of contrast and color saturation, but if COROS had gone the way of the smartwatch and smartband market, it would certainly have lost out on battery life. This watch is not supposed to shine nicely – it is supposed to work well and for a long time! A word more about the strap – the nylon version has a Velcro fastener, but we can also choose a (slightly heavier) silicone version. Switching takes a few seconds and does not create major problems.
As for the guts of this device and the flavor of the mobile app, we get a range of interesting and detailed data for analysis, including cadence, stride length, running power and described training efficiency. Not all of them, of course, are relevant to the average amateur, but there will be those who will make actual use of them. I personally really liked the efficiency markers. There is some motivational value in it. Everything, of course, is long-term recorded in the mobile app. There we also have access to various tidbits, which I will not write about for the simple reason – I did not feel the need to use them.
Pace 2 Admittedly, it does not have a route navigation function, which may be in the eyes of some mountain climbers a disadvantage deciding to choose another model, or another brand altogether, but it must be honestly admitted that in this price segment (around PLN 1000), you will not find a single device on the market with the function of uploading maps. We can see our track only after the workout, on the watch face, and also in the mobile app after the synchronization is done. For daily workouts in familiar terrain – what more could you want??
COROS PACE 2 during testing (photo. Rafal Slociak)
I will now focus on the subjective pros and cons that I managed to catch during the test period. First of all: the weight, and therefore the “disturbance” on the wrist. With the watch is a bit like with the rest of the running armor components. They perform best when you don’t feel you’re wearing them. If something weighs us down, bothers us, captivates us – it sucks. COROS Pace 2 does not weigh, does not feel on the wrist (other members I have not checked) and definitely does not suck. Second – my personal top tidbit when it comes to the functionality of this device. You happen to be running after dark? Well, of course it is. And it happens to you not to take your headlamp? Of course. For trouble – COROS. Just lift your wrist toward your face and the screen automatically illuminates. But I missed it! Numero Tres – what I’ve written about before, and what made a pleasant surprise. A two-week active vacation without a charger? No problem, we can do it. This battery is really capacious! And in addition – Pace 2 Is relatively inexpensive. And it can do quite a lot!
Wanting to talk about the downsides, I would have to start digging into the deepest layers of my clinginess. The manufacturer has protected the watch with an automatic button lock during the activity. To unlock the functions, including: the stop or pause training function, we have to twist the small dial a few times. This is a bit annoying, but can be survived. The second thing – the blessing of automatic backlighting, becomes a curse during sleep monitoring. Of course, only if we do not freeze in one position. In my case, when I tried to fall asleep, squirming from side to side, each time I got a shot of the display in my face. More sins I do not remember, although even a small number of them may be enough to discourage fanatics of the other two manufacturers. However, the COROS brand’s offerings are definitely worth looking into if you are looking for really good quality and advanced technology at a competitive price. Because if setting aside the top model of the market’s rehasher in favor of the COROS brand’s entry-level specimen of the Pace 2, one notices so many positive aspects and so few hindrances, it’s scary to think how thoughtful and advanced combos are on higher-end models. 😉
COROS PACE 2 during testing (photo. Rafał Słociak)