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Coros Pace 3 review – Small, light and handy

Tags: Review | Coros | Smart

8.12.2023 | 5 MIN

The Coros Pace 3 doesn't play at being a smartwatch with a ton of features. What really makes it stand out though, are the sports features packed into a miniature case. And it also boasts literally insane battery life. Could this be the best price/performance sporttester?

Already the Coros Pace 2 was my favorite model from this young American brand and I really appreciate that all the "ills" of the Pace 2 have been fixed in the triplets. What do I like about them?

  • The minimalist design and the weight of 30 g with nylon
  • Transflective display
  • Sports activities (outdoor ones added)
  • 24-day battery life
  • Curve navigation
  • Decent fitness and smart features

However, I do have some complaints about this watch. One of the biggest is the addition of the touchscreen, which makes no sense to me at all. Another is the classic Coros crap, which is the limited language options.

The feather is an anvil compared to the Pace 3

The watch case hasn't changed at all from the last generation. Same plastic chip on the wrist, same crown and bottom button, same light weight. The watch has quite unisex dimensions - 41.9 x 11.7 mm and very nice 30g of weight with a nylon strap. Some might find the dimensions quite small but it fits well on the hand. And the weight is really like a fart in the wind.

I'd like to stop at the strap because Coros has claimed the top spot for "mixing" a classic mast with the Quick Release system. So on one side is the fixed mast and on the other side is the quick release. With a nylon strap, it works great.

The nylon strap is made a little differently. I find it softer and more comfortable and less water-sucking. But you can also buy watches with silicone with classic Quick Release masts on both sides. The weight then increases by 9g.

The design divides the "smartwatch" into two sides. One side loves it and the other hates it. Nothing in between.

A transflective touch screen and I ask why?

Coros wanted to move with the times with this model and fitted the model with a classic transflective display, but touchscreen. The touchscreen actually bothers me a little bit. It doesn't make sense and the watch is much easier to operate via the crown, as the display jams when operated by touch. The most fun was that you can operate the watch with a stream of water, which the touchscreen responds to.

However, the technical specifications say that the watch has a 1.2" display and 240 x 240 pixels. It's covered by Gorilla Glass, so I would either fit the watch with a silicone cover or a protective glass.

Sensor-filled watch

It would make sense that, given the price of the watch and the size of the case it would be a bit of a rip-off. For me however, this is definitely not the case. We can find an accelerometer, barometer, altimeter, gyroscope, thermometer, heat sensor and even a pulse oximeter, which is new to the Pace range. The GPS is also modified to DualBand.

There is nothing to fault with the heart rate sensor and the accuracy is really decent. With the GPS, I have mixed feelings again, as the mileage beeped just like the Garmin but the curve went completely off. After a while though, it "got back on track" and it was ok. I hope this is an isolated problem that can be solved with an update like the Coros Apex 2 / Apex 2 PRO.

Modrá – Coros Pace 3, Fialová – Garmin Fenix 7X PRO

Blue – Garmin Fenix 7X PRO, Purple – Coros Pace 3

The GPS was set identically to all satellite system options and the purple one accurately copies the route.

Watch with ultra-durable

Again, I'll refer to the watch case which might seem small for ultra battery life. But the opposite is true and the watch lasts up to 24 days in smartwatch mode! A fairy tale, eh? It kind of is. But it has its "buts". You have to leave the watch on the basic setting where it measures your heart rate once a minute and not continuously. But even if you get down to 15-20 days, that's still a lot and you don't have to deal with a charger every few days.

It's also solid with the GPS and the watch will give 38 hours per second with the GPS and up to 15 hours on the DualBand. So in some reasonable mode you can run practically anything. But I'll leave you all the values in the table (comparing to the Fenix 7X) just in case.

Coros Pace 3
Garmin Fenix 7X
In smartwatch mode
24 days
28 days (37 days)
Power saving mode
-
90 days (1+ year)
GPS signal reception
38 hrs.
89 hours (122 hours)
Reception of all satellites
25 hrs.
63 hours (77 hours)
Reception of all satellites (multi-frequency)
15 hours (multi-frequency)
36 hours (41 hours)
All satellite reception + music
7 hrs.
16 hrs.
GPS (max. power saving mode)
-
213 hours (578 hours)

Pretty good, huh?

Viva la Trail!!!

The sport functions have undergone major changes, the most important being the addition of trail activities. So we finally find trail running, hiking, but also maybe skiing, boarding or cross-country skiing. It remains a classic that Coros doesn't have 100+ activities but exactly the ones one needs and they all have specialized metrics.

And the watch will also tell you how long to recover after your workout, what your expected times are for different distances and your VO2 Max for example. I shouldn't leave out the "numbers heaven" Coros Training Hub and EvoLab, which will satisfy many a running numbers nerds.

Blood oxygen now also in the little guy

Not much has changed for health functions. Except for the addition of a pulse oximeter. I won't go into that here, we have an article on it:

ALL ABOUT: Pulse oximeter – Why is it important, and what does it tell us? (1/2)
31.5.2021
ALL ABOUT: Pulse oximeter – Why is it important, and what does it tell us? (1/2)

Apart from the novelty, the watch includes the tried and tested classics in the form of steps, floors climbed, heart rate during the day, sleep, calories... and that's about it.

Music for all

If you like listening to music during sporting activities and occasionally leave your phone at home, you can easily play it from the Pace 3. There is a new 4gb storage for songs that you have to upload to the watch as empathies. Too bad they don't support streaming services but maybe we'll see that in time.

Aside from the music there are the tried and true Coros classics in the form of notifications, compass, altimeter, battery manager, alarms, stopwatch and maybe even an overview of the satellites above. The Pace 3 also includes curve navigation, which can help you on races or when discovering new running and cycling routes.

The best price/performance sporttester of them all?

I fell in love with the Coros Pace 3 from the first moment it arrived on my wrist. I didn't mind the weight, the size... nothing really. If you want a quality sporttester with all the essential sensors, quality training data and huge battery life, you've come to the right place. An important aspect of choosing a watch is often the price, which here does not exceed 250€ which is actually unreal - to make a device that can do everything and does not cost a crazy amount.

If I were to look at some alternatives, I'd check out the Suunto 5, which lacks a barometer (it shows meters climbed anyway) but is otherwise very similar. You might also be interested in the Garmin Forerunner 255 or Instinct 2 from the same brand. Garmin is renowned for its sporty soul and quality but you'll pay an extra money compared to the Coros.

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