Last month, Polar released its latest premium outdoor GPS watch, the Polar Grit X Pro, an updated version of its previous model, the Grit X. Over the last four weeks, Canadian Running has been putting the watch through its paces to bring you an in-depth review of the brand’s latest addition to its family of outdoor adventure watches.
Polar has always been known as a brand for the hardcore fitness buffs and outdoor adventure enthusiasts of the world, and the Grit X Pro delivers for this crowd. The watch carries over several of the features from the Grit X and the Polar Vantage V2, introduced last fall, with additional features that make using the watch mid-workout easier. These new features are as follows:
- Sunrise/sunset/daylight/etc dashboard
- Altimeter/compass/GPS coordinates dashboard
- New Route selection profile page (with map, elevation profile,
hydration/nutrition reminders in one spot)
- New in-workout route elevation profile page
- Further ‘back to start’ routing options including reverse route, beeline, and traditional trackback
- Ability to load route mid-workout
- Ability to change the brightness setting
The additional dashboards included in the Grit X Pro allow you to get in-depth information about your location right to your watch, so you can plan day-long or multi-day adventures safely and effectively. The new route selection page appears when you choose a route breadcrumb, which gives you a map and elevation profile from Komoot routes. The page also gives you the option to add nutrition reminders throughout your route before you get started to reduce fuelling errors. You can also use the new elevation route profile during your workout, so you know how much further you have to climb when you’re mid-incline.
As someone who is a bit directionally challenged at the best of times, my favourite additions to the Grit X Pro were the trackback features, which really came in handy when I got myself turned around in an unfamiliar trail. There are three options to help you find your way back home, including reversing the route that you had already planned ahead of time, trackback, which ignores the route you had planned and follows what you actually did, as well as beeline, which will take you back to your start point via the most direct route possible (a welcome feature when you get really lost).
The pros and cons
For the fashion-conscious runner, one of the biggest pros to the Grit X Pro is how it looks — the brushed metal finish and leather-looking wristband makes it look like a fashion watch as opposed to a sport piece, so it transitions seamlessly from your workout to the office. It’s also very durable and comfortable, and the raised sensor allows for increased skin contact without constricting your wrist movement. The titanium version removes even more of the weight from the watch, for those who want something that is as light as possible.
The watch’s haptics, in the form of light vibrations every time you hit a button, are subtle confirmations that you did, indeed, press the button, are not annoying or obnoxious, which is also appreciated. The battery life in the Grit X Pro is not any longer than the previous versions of the watch, and will last 100 hours in its longest-lasting GPS mode, but most people will use the standard GPS, which lasts about 40 hours. The battery lasts about seven days on standby. The watch also charges relatively quickly (it takes about two hours to reach full charge if it was completely dead when you plugged it in), which is helpful for those times when you realized you forgot to plug it in earlier.
The watch isn’t perfect, but the good news is that all of the issues I experienced can be fixed with some simple software updates. The touch screen is a bit laggy at times, which was annoying but not a huge problem because you always have the option to use the buttons on the side, which I preferred for the most part. The watch face is also supposed to turn on when you turn your wrist to look at it, but this feature wasn’t always as responsive as I wanted it to be.
The Polar Grit X Pro is definitely not a watch for first-time smartwatch users, but if you’re a multi-sport athlete, an ultra-runner or an outdoor adventurer, it has a lot of really useful features that can elevate your workout experience. It’s durable and comfortable, and once you get a hang of navigating through the various screens to get the information you’re looking for, it’s a handy tool to have right on your wrist when you’re in the middle of a long run. It contains modest upgrades from the Grit X, but it solves the dilemma of having to choose between a nice-looking watch or a feature-rich watch, a welcome change from the plastic, very sporty-looking watches that dominate the market.
For more information about the Polar Grit X Pro, head over to the Polar website