Best Polar Watch | Reviews by a Serious Runner
Polar Watch Reviews | Table of Contents
Meet Our Favorite Sport Watch Review Guy
When it comes to running watches, and really all manner of GPS smartwatches and gear for runners, triatletes, hiking, and outdoor sports, Dave from Chase the Summit is our go-to guy.
Full disclosure, we do sponsor some of his videos and he is one of our affiliate partners. But as you'll discover in his videos, he is not a promotional puppet for our products. He gives his honest opinions along with some big and more nuanced insights about these fitness smartwatches that we think are invaluable.
So why do we value his opinion?
He's a serious runner and hiker. As an endurance and trail runner, he will run anywhere from 40 to 70 miles a week when training. AND he uses the watches he reviews during his training and the events he participates in to really get to know them. Some of the watches he reviews have been through ultra marathons with him—so, yeah, we think of him as an expert!
Lastly, he's a down-to-earth guy you can relate to. He does all of this while being a husband and a dad to little ones. He's even admitted to changing diapers with these watches—now that's some real-world testing right there!
Polar Vantage V2 Review
The Polar Vantage V2 is Polar's flagship watch because it is a multisport watch designed to offer the most features for your training and recovery.
It replaces the wildly popular Vantage V with the intent to improve on some of the shortcomings triatheltes, runners, and cyclists experienced with the original.
The Vantage V2 features a 1.2" color touch display, weighs just 52g, and is one of Polar's most expensive watches with a price tag of $499.95.
So is it worth it?
We're going to hit the highlights here but recommend you check out Dave's video review to get all the details on this premium multisport GPS watch.
Overall, Dave feels like this is a great-looking watch that is well built and comfy to wear. GPS accuracy, running power data, and wellness/sleep tracking are all on point! Plus access to the Polar Flow ecosystem gets major points.
Oddly, he found a slight issue with the heart rate accuracy on the Polar Vantage V2. It came out of the gate very accurate and remained so during most of his run—at times better than the Garmin and COROS devices. However, toward the end, it showed a few inexplicable spikes in comparison with the Garmin FR 945 and COROS APEX Pro watches he was wearing. His concern was that this could effect max heart rate value.
Other areas of concern are not having notifications during activities (something that gets fixed with the 2022 Pacer Pro), a bit of lackluster in the standby battery life compared to competion, and, his final issue—the price. For $500, he says, this Polar watch has a lot to compete with.
On the whole, though, Dave admits that he's pretty excited about this watch—especially the new metrics and testing built into it.
Polar Vantage M2 Review
This popular Polar watch has earned a following because it combines affordability with many of the high-end features of the Vantage V2.
At $200 less, the Polar Vantage M2 offers Training Load Pro, Running Program, and FitSpark ready-made daily workouts.
It also has a 1.2" color display, but is button-operation only. And it's superlight, weighing in at only 45.5g.
So what's the verdict on this Polar multisport watch?
We're hitting the highlights from Dave's Vantage M2 review. But hit the adjacent video for the full report from a guy who runs. A LOT.
At first glance, Dave says that the Vantage M2 looks almost exactly like the original Vantage M.
He goes on to point out that most of the upgrades are on the software side. However, the good news is that the Vantage M2 was rolled out at the same price as the Vantage M.
One thing he found odd was that this Polar watch did not have the upgraded heart sensor that came out on the Grit X. Hmmm ...
Getting down to what's new, Dave digs the added music controls that were not available on the original M, along with the weather widget and weekly summary widget that he says are done very well.
Again, he's annoyed that while you can get push notifications, you can't get them during an activity.
He is a fan of the FuelWise smart nutrition reminder, which is super handy for endurance runners. He was also pleased to see a battery saver mode and some customization added to this Polar running watch.
He gives the GPS accuracy a pretty good thumbs up and found the heart rate accuracy to be genrally good, but not so consistant on some of his trail runs.
Polar Ignite 2 Review
The Polar Ignite 2 is a proper triathlon watch for under $300.
You can expect GPS tracking, heart rate monitoring, Nightly Recharge, and FitSpark daily workouts.
This is one of Polar's sleeker watches, offering some proper style to your wrist as well with 4 color options: Rose Gold/Pink, Gold/Champagne, Storm Blue, or Black Pearl.
As for size, the Ignite 2 features a 43 mm case and is ultralight at 35g.
After spending a lot of time with the original Ignite and testing this version, Dave has some valuable insights about this Polar watch.
We're going to hit the highlights here, but jump onto the video to see it in action!
Starting with the display, Dave likes the brightness on this watch, but mentions that in very bright sunlight it's a little difficult to see the smaller print.
There's a lot the same between the Ignite and the Ignite 2: user interface, GPS, FitSpark daily workouts, sleep tracking with nightly recharge and sleep stages, fitness test for ballpark VO2 Max, and the same library of up to 130 fitness profiles.
So what's different?
For battery life, the Ignite 2 has 3 more hours in GPS and a new battery saver mode. Also, it has a HR sensor mode, allowing you to broadcast your heart rate to another device, like a treadmill or bike computer. For Dave, it's a welcome addition.
The Weekly Summary widget has been added to let you see your weekly stats at a glance. And a music control widget has been added, as well.
Once again, you can't get smart notifications during an activity.
The Ignite 2 does have customization that was not there before, including watch face settings and themes.
And finally, Dave really likes the new weather widget.
As for GPS and heart rate accuracy, it was a bit of a mixed bag, and not quite as good as the higher-end Polar watches. Keep in mind, Dave was reviewing a beta version of this watch.
Polar Grit X Pro Review
Here's the Polar watch that fills the rugged outdoor niche for trail running, hiking, climbing, and the like.
The Grit X Pro features a 1.2" sunlight-visible, transflective memory-in-pixel display complete with always-on touchscreen. It's the heavyweight of Polar watches, weighing in at 79g.
It's topped off with a scratch-resistant sapphire lens and a price starting at $499.95. There is also a pretty snazzy-looking Grit X Pro Titan model available with titanium bezel and 2 watch bands. That'll set you back $599.95.
The orginal Polar Grit X did a lot well, but was lacking in some navigation and outdoor watch basics.
Does the Grit X Pro address these earlier shortcomings?
We're going to fill you in here on the highlights. But you can watch Dave's full review to get a solid understanding of this premium mulitsport GPS watch designed with military-level durability.
Let's start with what Dave found to be new on the Grit X Pro.
The Grit X Pro Titan model has a titanium bezel, as opposed to stainless steel on the Grit X and Grit X Pro, making it lighter on your wrist. You also get 2 straps with the Titan model—leather and FKM. Other than that, there's no difference between the Grit X Pro and the Grit X Pro Titan.
The original Grit X had a Gorilla glass lens, whereas the Grit X Pro and Grit X Pro Titan have a much more durable sapphire lens.
As far as software upgrades, the Grit X Pro series now has a music control widget for controlling music on your smartphone.
Next, it has a new outdoor widget with compass, altitude with graph, and location coordinates.
Polar also added a sunset/sunrise widget with length of the current day—very helpful for calculationg your daylight hours.
The Grit X Pro includes the test widget that was previously only on the Vantage V2. This includes orthostatic test, leg recovery, cycling test, running test, and fitness test.
Dave is happy to report that Polar has added a backlight brightness adjustment in the settings. He walks you through it in the video.
Overall, he found the Grit X Pro battery life to be a bit better. But what Dave found most exciting is the new navigation features. You can now zoom in and out on your course, get an elevation profile in graph form, and use a track back tool if you should get lost. All of these were nonexistant on the original Grit X.
You can check out all this and more in the video.
Polar Pacer Pro Review
The 2022 Pacer Pro is Polar's no-nonsense running watch for $299.95.
What does that mean?
It was built for serious runners who don't want added fluff on their sport watch.
It's superlight at 41g with a 45 mm case and always-on display—no touchscreen.
You'll get straight reporting with some excellent running features like VO2 Max, Running Performace Test, Running Index, Race Time Predictor, and Running Power.
So what does our go-to running guy think of it?
We give you some details here. But feel free to check out Dave's video review for a full rundown on the Polar Pacer Pro where he also compares it to the Pacer base model.
After testing out the Pacer Pro for a couple of weeks, taking it on daily runs, Dave found this Polar watch to be a pretty solid running watch option for someone in the Polar ecosystem looking to upgrade.
The Polar Pacer and Pacer Pro have the new Polar heart rate sensor that is flush on the back of the watch. And, generally speaking, Dave says the heart rate accuracy on the Pacer Pro is pretty solid.
In the sensor area, one gripe Dave has is that this watch does not have a SPO2 sensor, which is pretty much industry standard at this price point.
He found that the buttons on the 5-button layout on this running watch have a nice, knurled texture to them for an easy, confident feel when you're not looking at the watch during an activity.
You get 2 band sizes with the Pacer Pro, which Dave thought was quite a nice touch. And he found the silicone watch band to be very comfy.
A couple of welcome surprises include thinner glass on the display to make noticably improved readability. Also, Polar increased the brightness of the backlight and added backlight adjustment.
He found the battery specs to be about the same as all the other Polar watches.
The Polar Pacer Pro has an updated processor, and according to Dave, it's extremely quick and responsive to button presses.
And, FINALLY, Dave got his smart notifications during activities. This is a first for a Polar watch. Check out his video to get the lowdown on this improvement.
Dave points out that this watch has Bluetooth connectivity for outside sensors, but you should know it does not have ANT+.
The Polar Pacer Pro has a full suite of training tools. We recommend you check out his review or click on our link below to see all these features.
Which Is the Best Polar Watch for You?
If you are an traithlete or endurance runner who wants all the bells and whistles, you might be looking at the more expensive Polar Vantage V2.
If you're on more of a budget, the Vantage M2 might be more your speed in this category.
For a mid-range fitness watch with a bit more style, the Polar Ignite 2 might be speaking your language.
Need a rugged outdoor watch? The Polar Grit X Pro might be the way to go.
And if running is what it's all about, the Polar Pacer Pro is this brands essential watch for runners.
Be sure to check out Dave's review videos of any of these watches you might be interested in, and feel free to hit the button below to compare this lineup of Polar watches!