A budget-friendly running and triathlete watch
The Coros Pace GPS watch is a great multisport fitness tracking device for runners who also bike and swim. The Pace is a highly accurate alternative to more expensive options on the market. Runners and triathletes who want workout accuracy, but don’t need navigation functions and built-in training plans will find everything they need in this watch.
- Strava integration
- Long battery life
- Accurate distance, heart rate, and elevation tracking
- Great value at $200
- Cannot play or control music
- Auto lap information easy to miss – only displays for a few seconds
- No sleep tracking
But don’t let this fool you. It’s a strong performing watch at a great value. While it’s the same price as Garmin’s newly released Forerunner 45 ($200), it’s packed with way more features and a more powerful, longer-lasting battery.
For triathletes looking for the best bang for your buck, the Pace with its swimming and cycling modes is a great option.
With recent improvements to the silicone band, the Pace is, first and foremost, comfortable over long periods of time and during intense workouts. While the overall design is not as sleek as other models on the market, the watch is lightweight at only 1.7oz – 10% lighter than the Coros APEX (read our APEX watch review here).
The silicone band comes with great spacing for different wrist sizes, and is available in black, red, and blue. As a user with a bony wrist, I appreciate the spacing, as I have a hard time finding a band with enough sizing options to fit properly. The watch fits great during workouts, and I’m able to adjust the Pace so it’s snug without being too tight.
The soft plastic on the band is pretty comfortable. I soon forgot I was wearing the watch after I put it on. There is no quick release option, but the band is removable.
The Pace watch face is 1.2 inches–big enough for easy reading, without feeling bulky. White text over a black background will draw comparisons to the Garmin Forerunner 935 display. The button setup is similar as well.
With a high-resolution screen, you can easily glance down and read the stats.
I like that the information is organized from top to bottom, so your eyes don’t have to search for stats. Normal display shows you an easy-to-read assemblage of activity information: steps taken, time, date, calories burned, and active minutes.
The PACE has three different modes that impact battery life: standard, GPS, and UltraMax GPS. For everyday use outside of workouts, standard mode allows the battery to last up to 30 days.
GPS mode has an impressive 25-hour battery life, just 10 hours short of the 35 hours on the APEX. For the average active user, a charge tends to last about a week to 10 days.
Right now, UltraMax GPS mode is not supported. COROS is in the process of rolling out support and this function should be live soon. This feature will give users significantly more battery life by only recording GPS data 25% of the time. For reference, the APEX battery life is extended by 280% (up to 100 hours) with UltraMax mode. So whether you just don’t want the hassle of charging your watch every week, or need long-lasting performance for your next ultra trail race, this mode will keep you covered.
I love not worrying about charging the Pace after every workout. Time to a full charge is two hours, making it easy to keep the Pace ready for your next training session. You also see a battery percentage during charging.
Buttons and User Experience
The buttons and user experience are similar to the Garmin Forerunner 735XT, but if you are used to a Garmin, you’ll have to adjust to different button functions.
Once you have used the watch a few times, changing things up and navigating through the watch becomes very easy and intuitive. There are 4 buttons total, 2 on each side of the face.
The buttons on the right side of the face control the up and down selection. The top left button is the back button. The bottom left button acts as the selection or enter button.
As a right-handed person, I like that the enter button is on the bottom left (my thumb). You also have to use a decent amount of pressure to activate a button so there is less chance for accidental button pressing.
Overall, a solid user experience, especially when you consider the customized data screens.
Using the app, you can customize your watch face and choose how data displays during workouts. Many other watches make this process tedious by forcing the user to make edits on the watch instead of the app.
The Pace makes it easy to start recording an activity. You have the option to choose from indoor and outdoor runs and cycling, as well as pool or open water swim. Running, biking, and swimming are all recorded with accuracy.
As you navigate through the screens when recording activity, you always see the timer at the bottom of the watch face, making it easy to keep track of time.
When running outdoors, the watch connects to GPS very quickly (usually within 5-10 seconds). The watch beeps to let you know it has your heart rate and GPS, and the screen populates with heart and satellite icons.
If you scroll down, you also have the option to set auto lap, auto-scroll, and HR alert. The watch will vibrate and beep to display pace and time once at your chosen distance or heart rate.
The 5 scrolling screens, with 3 stats each, allow you to choose what you want to focus on. I enjoyed utilizing the cadence alerts in order to stay near a specific cadence.
Switching over to the indoor running modes, the algorithms within the Pace make indoor running more accurate than what many users expect with a GPS watch.
The indoor and outdoor cycling modes are solid, providing users with up to 5 types of cycling-tailored data. The ability to connect a power meter makes the Pace an especially attractive option for cyclists.
You have options for auto-lap as well as manual lap with the cycling mode. Users report that distance for cycling workouts are very accurate.
The Pace is water resistant up to 50 meters (164 feet). Both the indoor and outdoor swims are tracked very accurately. Missed laps are generally not an issue.
The optical heart rate sensor also works well during swims, enabling swimmers to skip the additional chest strap. Open water and pool swim metrics are both available, with the minimum indoor distance at 15 meters. Stats include total distance, average pace, current pace, and lap time. Stroke type is also recognized post workout, and broken down by lap.
Triathlon mode combines all three activities – run, swim, and bike, into one session, allowing seamless tracking.
Hardware included in the Pace is a good value for the price point of the watch. The Pace has a Heart Rate monitor (which records 24/7), accelerometer, barometer, and compass/gyroscope.
Heart rate monitor
The built-in optical heart rate monitor is designed to record swimming, cycling, and running. The Pace heart rate monitor is decent, but users have reported issues with accuracy and will sometimes pair with a chest strap sensor.
The Pace tracks heart rate zones, and gives you heart rate alerts based on your goals. It also gives you a more accurate calorie count by including heart rate calculations. The watch also tracks continuous heart rate, resting heart rate and recovery time.
The heart rate screen displays heart rate and cadence. Custom Heart Rate Zones is a great feature that you set with your reserve heart rate and max heart rate. The heart rate screen shows what zone you are in based on color coding: blue, green, yellow, and red.
Although the GPS locks in quickly, the accelerometer takes longer to recognize changes in speed.
The Pace’s barometric altimeter is very accurate. I took advantage of pre-workout calibrations for both the Barometer and the compass to ensure accuracy. During workouts, the Pace’s elevation screen displays current elevation, ascent and descent.
The internal compass and gyroscope is used in the Pace algorithms to combine with a strong GPS signal to calculate stride length. This way, if you ever lose GPS or the signal becomes weak, the watch calculates a realistic estimate. A perfect feature for running inside or through a tunnel.
The Coros app is easy to use and intuitive. Coros also adds features to the Pace through firmware updates. Anytime an update rolls out, it’s easy to add via your phone’s Bluetooth.
While the watch syncs well with third-party apps (Strava, etc), Coros recently included the ability to export files.
Unlike the Apex, the Pace does not have navigation information (no route, off-route alerts, elevation profile, distance to destination, route navigation features that the Apex has).
The Pace’s algorithms really help the user improve running numbers. The pace provides average and maximum cadence as well as stride length. I loved learning about my lactate threshold heart rate and actually sticking to the right pace for longer mileage.
The AI Trainer provides you with a stamina percentage as well as estimated time to full recovery based on previous workouts. While the stamina percentage wasn’t super helpful to me, I’ve been following the recovery timelines and I always feel solid during my runs.
The Pace functions as a basic activity tracker outside of workouts but stops there. Total daily steps, average heart rate, calories burned, and exercise time are tracked. The watch is not intended to be used as a general health and wellness device, as it doesn’t track sleep or nutrition.
You have the choice to activate smartphone notifications based on your preference. If you turn on notifications, you’ll get them through vibration.
You can read the first few sentences of these notifications (emails, texts, etc) but can’t respond. You do have the convenient option of declining phone calls from your wrist.
The ANT+ and Bluetooth technology built into the watch makes it easy to use an ANT+ compatible device that you already have, or choose another third party device.
Running accessories include heart rate chest straps, speed sensors, and cadence sensors.
Cycling accessories include a power meter for indoor cycling to ensure accurate stats.
Overall, the Coros Pace Multisport watch is an excellent tool for tracking workouts with accuracy.
I appreciate that Coros is adding new features and am looking forward to additional firmware updates.
With the extended battery life and easy customization and tracking at an awesome price, I highly recommend the Pace.Buy Now on Amazon