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COROS Pace 2 Review

A Budget-Friendly Watch Packed with High-End Features

The Pace 2 continues the COROS legacy of providing value-driven watches that are accurate, easy to use, with great battery life.

It gets points for its lightweight design, multisport abilities, and unique features like track run mode and running power – all for a nice price.

PROS:

  • Third party app integration
  • 1.5x more powerful processor than the original Pace
  • The lightest GPS watch on the market
  • Strength training with 200 built-in exercises

CONS:

  • Lacks some navigation functions

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This lightweight watch packs a punch in terms of functions and features. For $199, you can’t find a more value-driven GPS watch on the market.

It offers a wide range of activity profiles, but it has some running-specific features that make it great for runners and triathletes in particular.

Hardware

The COROS Pace 2 is a clean, professional-looking watch, right on par with Garmin, Suunto, and other GPS watch brands.

The watch face is available in either black or white. It’s on the smaller side, at 42 × 42 × 11.7 mm. The display size is 1.2 inches, with a resolution of 240 x 240 pixels in 64 colors.

The Lithium Polymer battery is about the same size as just about all other watches, so there’s no added weight or bulkiness. There’s also a 2-LED optical heart rate monitor, which we found to be quite accurate.

One of the most noticeable aspects of this watch is how lightweight it is. With the standard silicon band, it weighs just under 1.26 ounces (about 36 grams).

But they also offer the option to purchase it with a nylon band. If you choose this option, your watch will weigh barely 1 ounce on your wrist (29 grams). The nylon band is also quick-release, which is a nice change from the previous bands that needed tools to remove.

Battery Life

The Pace 2’s battery has been upgraded, offering an even better time between charges than before. If you want to use the watch without GPS, you’ll get a good 20 days out of it before you need to charge it again.

In full GPS mode, it’ll last about 30 hours. To save battery life, switch to UltraMax mode, which will stretch the battery out twice as long. When your Pace 2 needs to be recharged, 2 hours will get the battery back up to full.

The watch also gives insight into where your battery is going. You can view exactly what’s using up the battery, which gives you some information into whether or not you’re getting the most out of your device’s battery life.

New Features/Improvements of the Pace 2

If you’ve used and loved the original COROS Pace, the Pace 2 has done a good job of improving the watch. Here’s what’s different from the original.

Processing Power

The Pace 2 is quite a step up from the original COROS Pace in terms of processing power, with 1.5 times more power. That means it’s a bit snappier without any added bulkiness or lagging.

There’s also 5 times more RAM than the original Pace, allowing the watch to work efficiently and smoothly.

Combined, it also means that the Pace 2 is ready for any new updates COROS releases. Unlike Garmin, which often holds back features for their newest watches, COROS keeps adding features to their existing watches.

With this much power means, it’s got plenty of room for future enhancements.

Storage

The Pace 2 has 4 times more storage space than its older brother. While the original featured 16GB, the Pace 2 offers 64GB.

Buttons

The original COROS Pace featured 4 buttons. The Pace 2 is noticeably different, with a single button and a digital dial.

This may take some getting used to if you’re moving from the original to the 2, but ultimately it’s a simpler, more user-friendly design.

Sleep Tracking

Sleep tracking function has been added. This is a big plus, going a long way towards upping this watch to Garmin standards. The addition of sleep monitoring adds an extra element to training, recovery, and day-to-day health monitoring.

Running Power

Another new feature for runners is the ability to measure running power on the watch without any added accessories. If you do prefer to use a Stryd power meter, the watch features Stryd Running Power support. You can also use COROS running pod.

The default setting shows you Power by lap and also real-time power as you’re running. We couldn’t get a picture of it here but you can see the lap power and the running would display as you run. You can also set it to show average power along with a more balanced average power spaced between 3, 10, or 30 seconds.

Night Mode

If you run at night or early morning, night mode automatically enables the backlight when you’re working out between sunset and sunrise.

Track Run Mode

Runners who train on the track will appreciate this feature. The algorithm is designed to measure track runs accurately no matter which lane you happen to be in.

Muscle Heat Map

Muscle heat map is a unique feature. Whichever type of exercise you’re doing, you can get a well-rounded view of which muscles got the most exercise in a session.

You can also view this data by day, week, or month. This can be incredibly helpful to make sure your workouts are covering every muscle group and nothing is falling behind.

Other Updates

  • Extra training plans
  • Increased battery life in all modes
  • Reduced weight

Carry Over Features

The Pace 2 retains many of the activity profiles that the original Pace featured. Here are a few of the most popular.

Running Features

Although the GPS isn’t effective for serious navigation, it’s perfectly adequate to track your runs. As well as monitoring your standard metrics like distance, speed, and time, it also monitors more advanced data such as VO2 max, training load & effect, auto-lap, and cadence.

When it comes to tracking activity, choose from treadmill, running, and running on a track.

Third-party integration means you can sync to Strava, TrainingPeaks, or a variety of other apps to save your data. You can also choose between indoor or outdoor running, and create your own structured, customized workouts.

Cycling Features

Choose indoor or outdoor cycling modes. As usual, you’ll be able to track your distance, time, and speed. COROS also allows cyclists to add a Bike Power Meter. You can put together your own cycling workouts.

Swimming Features

The Pace 2 is water-resistant to 164 feet (50 meters), which is perfectly adequate for swimmers doing laps or distance swimming. It features a pool mode and an open water mode.

The GPS distance-tracking and heart rate sensors still work fairly well in the water. The watch also recognizes your stroke, which is a handy feature.

Triathlon Features

The triathlon mode is a combination of all three of the above activities. Not all GPS watches offer this, so the Pace 2 is a great choice for triathletes.

Everything Else

There are added features the COROS Pace 2 offers:

Sensors

The Pace 2 has an optical heart rate monitor, an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a compass, a thermometer, and a barometric altimeter.

Of these, we’ve discussed the heart rate monitor, which is a great feature. Also nice is the altimeter, which provides accurate elevation data.

Other Sports

You’ll find more than 200 preloaded exercises in the COROS Strength Training Program. The accelerometer and gyroscope come into play to auto-detect your movements. There are also settings for indoor and outdoor aerobics.

It measures your heart rate and how many calories you’ve burned during your training session too. The HRM also features a variety of heart rate algorithms that correspond to different activities, so you can get the most accurate readings.

COROS App

You can save workouts, connect with your friends, share data or exercise info, or start a new training plan in the COROS app. It’s a solid app, that’s easy to navigate.

Runners who use a web-based platform to track their data should note that COROS doesn’t have a web dashboard. If you wish to store and use metrics on the web, you’ll need to sync to a third-party app such as Strava or TrainingPeaks.

That being said, we are living in a phone-centric world. And the COROS app is more than adequate for most people. Post-workout, the Pace and app sync quickly. If you upload your activities to Strava, this happens in almost real-time.

Switchable Buttons

A unique and interesting feature is the ability to switch the watch around so the buttons are on the left-hand side of the screen if you prefer it that way.

The idea is that it makes it easier to wear it on either hand while leaving the main buttons in a more convenient location.

Hands-on Testing

We were able to test out the Pace 2 in person. Here are our thoughts…

Weight

One of the biggest of using the Pace 2 is how little it weighs. We found that was definitely the case here. Unlike some watches, the Pace 2 is barely noticeable when you wear it.

Of course, there are other watches that are pretty light (Garmin Forerunner 45 is one example). But just going by weight and features, COROS has them beat with things like swimming and paddle sports – plus stronger run features like track workouts and power tracking.

Plus – as we’ll see in a moment – nearly double the battery life.

Ease of Use

We found the Pace 2 to be very easy to use. It has two buttons, one which is a dial to scroll through menus and screens.

Jumping from screen to screen was straightforward. Starting the watch, pausing, stopping – all of that was intuitive. We also liked that the buttons auto-locked when running to prevent accidental button-pushing. Unlocking it was just a matter of turning the dial.

The corresponding COROS app also was easy to use. There were 4 main screens: calendar view of all fitness data (including step counting/fitness tracking), all workout view, profile and settings, and a watch screen to customize the watch and upload new firmware.

Battery

COROS is known for long battery life on all their watches. With 20 days in regular use, 30 hours GPS, and 60 hours in ultramax, that’s a strong performance.

We found those numbers to be more or less in line. In terms of weight-to-battery ratio, the Pace 2 does very well here.

Running

We found the Pace 2 to be easy and accurate to use while running. It actually reminded us of COROS’ other watch, the APEX. Accuracy and functions were very similar.

The screen displayed standard stats: time, distance, pace, heart rate. But also things like power, elevation, and cadence. Scrolling between screens was easy. The watch face itself was easy to read in both bright light and near dark conditions.

A nice feature on the Pace is the auto-lock on the buttons. So after a few seconds of not using the buttons or watch dial, the Pace locks so you don’t accidentally pause, hit the lap button, or turn the watch off. Unlocking the watch is easy – just spin the watch dial about one full rotation.

Other Activities

We didn’t get to test these out but feel compelled to point out how many additional activities the Pace 2 can track. If you are in the market for this type of watch, you’re likely considering the Pace vs Garmin’s Forerunner 45.

On top of the battery, activities beyond running are where the Pace excels. We’ve mentioned swimming, but it also tracks paddling activities like rowing, kayaking, and SOP (stand-up paddleboard).

So if you do any cross-training, the Pace 2 is much more versatile than the Forerunner 45.

Triathletes

With its swimming, cycling, and multisport features, the Pace 2 is the best value watch on the market right now for triathletes. If you are new to triathlons or just want a watch without the frills of more expensive GPS watches, this is your best bet.

COROS The Brand

One of the things we like most about this watch is something you might barely even notice. And that is its powerful processor and memory storage.

This might sound like a boring add-on, but having used the COROS Apex for over two years, one of the things we like most about it is that new features are constantly being added to the watch. Owning a COROS means that you will likely have a watch that stays current and up-to-date much longer than any other brand.

For example, since we’ve been using the Apex, COROS has added: track workouts, nordic and alpine ski tracking, improved navigation, the auto-lock button feature, training plans, and strength workouts. With a powerful processor, the Pace 2 is ready for whatever future improvements the COROS team can think of.

Contrast this to Garmin, which often holds back their newest features for the latest watches, making you buy a brand-new watch if you want them. Sure, Garmin will sometimes release a few additional features and offer firmware updates to fix bugs. But when compared to COROS, they are on two different levels.

Summary

The COROS Pace 2 is an impressive upgrade from the original Pace watch. It sports a range of high-end features usually only seen on much more expensive models. But at $199, it’s a great deal!

We highly recommend the Pace 2 for runners and triathletes who want a feature-rich watch packed with helpful data that doesn’t cost a fortune.

We found it to be very much like the Apex’s little brother. Core functions were quite similar (in a good way), it just lacked some of the activities and features of the Apex.

Final verdict? An affordable, lightweight watch jam-packed with useful features for runners and triathletes.

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The Wired Runner