Before you read this, please know that I am no gear junkie. There are other reviews out there that go into great detail on the functionality of GPS watches. If you are like me and want an easy functional watch that accurately records workouts, displays messages, syncs easily to the watch app and third-party apps, then this review is for you.
Let me first begin by giving you my history of GPS watches for running. My first one was the Garmin Forerunner 310XT, followed by the Garmin Forerunner 235, Epson ProSense 57, Suunto Ambit3Peak, and the Suunto 9.
My fellow trail runners have raved about the Coros Apex watch, including a review on this site. Having been frustrated with Suunto’s connectivity problems with the app and website, I decided to get a Coros Apex for myself at REI. I noticed the Pace 2 was only $200 and basically did what I needed and decided to try it. After all, REI has a 30-day return policy, so if I didn’t like it, I’d get the Apex.
The first thing I noticed when I opened the watch was how light it was. At 29 grams, the Pace 2 is the world’s lightest GPS watch. The nylon band is 50% lighter than a silicon band. The holes in the band also help with breathability on a hot day. I was a little concerned with the small watch face. My aging eyes already have enough problems reading the small digits on the Suunto 9.
I got bold and tried the watch on a 10-mile tempo run to test my fitness on the roads. Basically, the only time I pause my watch is on a road workout. So at the first stoplight, I tried to pause unsuccessfully. The top right button requires you to roll it similar to a mouse roller to unlock the screen. I didn’t quite master this until the run was almost finished. Obviously, this is to keep someone from accidentally stopping the watch during a workout. I have done this several times, crawling over downed trees and other obstacles, so I think this is a great function. I just wished I knew it before this tempo run. There is a way to turn this function off for the next road workout.
I then ran a 12 plus-mile route to test how the watch tracked under the tree-lined canopy of Portland’s Forest Park. I recently wrote an article about the Pacific Northwest’s infamous “tree tax,” a GPS robber of miles due to the difficulty of getting a signal among the tall Douglas Fir and Western Red Cedar trees. I have run this route several times over the last few months, and the mileage/ascent that the Ambit 3Peak was usually around 11.75 miles and 1800′. With the Pace 2, I logged 12.06 miles and 1617‘. The most I’ve ever recorded on this run for distance but a little short for elevation gain. I was pretty happy with that.
There isn’t even a comparison about how well the Coros app works compared to Suunto and Garmin. The app is so basic; even your Grandmother can handle most of the functions. My Suunto would take 30 minutes or longer to upload after most runs. The Coros uploads in a few seconds and then immediately uploads to Strava. It doesn’t have a shared platform, but who actually uses the watch ones anyway? Instead, it uses Strava, Training Peaks, and other third-party apps to share workouts.
The app keeps track of Active Energy, Exercise Time, Steps, Heart Rate, Sleep, Training Load, Fitness Index, and Fitness Level. Like most watches, phone notifications can be pushed to the watch. Training plans, workouts, and more can be added to the app.
My one problem with the app is that I have been unable to load routes from the app to the watch. I’m sure a call to tech support will solve this.
Coros is known for its long battery life, and the Pace 2 is no different. The Coros GPS battery technology on the Pace 2 offers 30 hours of full GPS battery life. That’s a 20% increase from the original Coros Pace. The battery will last even longer when switched to UltraMax for nearly half the battery consumption. The Coros Pace 2 lasts 20 days of normal daily use, including tracking heart rate and sleeping, triggering backlight, measuring steps, getting notifications, and even alarms every day.
I recently ran 6 miles with a full battery on a Thursday and then ran the Tillamook Burn 50 mile race in 10 hours on Saturday without recharging the watch. The next day the watch still had 65% battery life even though notifications were on the whole time.
Luckily with the long battery life, there is no need to charge the watch very often. But when charging, the small plug on the back of the watch is tough to connect and falls out very easily.
Also, there are only twelve workout types. I basically only use run because there isn’t an app for run types, like trail running or road running. There is no hiking or walking workout, so anything done by foot is basically a run workout. No worries, I change the workout type after it’s uploaded to Strava.
How to buy
Support Northwest Dirt Churners by purchasing through affiliated brand REI. NWDC receives a small commission at no cost to you. I sold my Suunto 9 watch on eBay for $160. With the REI member dividend of $20, the Pace 2 only cost me $20!
Affiliated link to buy at REI:
|Part Number||PACE 2|
|Display Size||1.2 in. 240 x 240 (64 colors)|
|Display Type||Always-On Memory LCD|
|Screen Material||Corning® Glass|
|Bezel Material||Fiber Reinforced Polymer|
|Cover Material||Fiber Reinforced Polymer|
|Quick Release Band||20mm|
|Physical Size||42 × 42 × 11.7mm|
|Weight With Silicone Band||35g-36g|
|Weight With Nylon Band||29g-30g|
|Navigation||GPS/QZSS, GLONASS, BeiDou|
|Sensors||Optical Heart Rate Monitor|
|Water Resistance||5ATM (50 Meters/164 Feet)|
|Working Temperature||-4°F to 140°F (-20°C to 60°C)|
|Storage Temperature||-4°F to 149°F (-20°C to 65°C)|
|Charging Time||Less than 2 Hours|
|Battery Life||20 days of regular use|
30 hours in Full GPS mode
60 hours in UltraMax mode
|Supported Workouts||Run, Indoor Run, Track Run, Bike, Indoor Bike, Pool Swim, Open Water, Triathlon, Gym Cardio, GPS Cardio, Strength, Training|
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