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Polar Pacer Pro review – Keep up! Reincarnation after 30 years

Tags: Review | Polar | Men's | Women's | Smart

17.6.2022 | 7 MIN

The Polar Pacer Pro is the new bomb from the Polar brand. And I have to say, you can really feel the speed and the strength. A job well done by Polar with some typical brand-specific errors.

Yes, yes, you read it right. This model has seen the light of the day 30 years ago as one of the first sporttester in the world that could measure the heart rate with an accuracy of an ECG (by the way, the first one was released in 1982 also by Polar).

Originální Polar Pacer z roku XY :-)

The original Polar Pacer from year XY :-)

Well and now, the year 2022 brings the second generation that is noticeably smarter than the first one. The price tag is pretty similar to the one of the Vantage M2 model, but function-wise it is much higher. Let's sum up some things that I consider to be cool:

  • Barometric altimeter
  • Very very faster processor
  • Watt measurements from the wrist
  • Hill splitter, route navigation
  • More contrast display

And there are, of course, things that stayed the same and that I do not like:

  • The watch cannot repeatedly connect itself to a phone
  • The overall pairing is not good
  • Some menus cannot flip (you have to go back up after the last file)

Now let's go through the technicalities the right way.

Disguised Vantage V2

Seriously, there is no need to change anything if it works perfectly. The look of the watch resembles the one of the Polar Vantage V and the V2 model. There is no difference on the upper side of the watch. The biggest change happened on the case back, where there is a charging connector. The "puck" is no longer enclosed to the heart rate sensor, but the magnetic charger is separate at the bottom of the case back. Another difference is in the heart rate sensor, as it no longer protrudes from the case back and is actually slightly sunk inside. It makes me happy because it doesn't leave a "hickey" on your hand.

The watch has a pleasant diameter of 45 mm, so it can fit nicely on a woman's or man's wrist. The watch has a spare strap in the packaging so it fits on a smaller wrist without standing out. This watch doesn't fit my wrist as well as other Polar models... It is a shame because I like the watch, and I don't know where the problem is. The weight stopped at 41 grams, which makes it a light device.

And the strap? Seriously perfect for a race. It is perforated along the entire length, and so it ventilates well. Plus, you have the option to use the technology shift and exchange the Polar's strap for another Quick Release strap with a width of 22 mm. After detaching the spring bars, you have to attach new lugs that fit universal straps.

The brighter display is very much noticeable

The watch has a transflective MIP display with a resolution of 240 x 240 pixels and a size of 1.2". It is a normal display for this price category. Both in resolution and size. But Polar handled the visibility very well. It improved a lot, even in comparison to the more expensive Grit X Pro model. Oftentimes the black color is disputed in the smartwatch circles. Is it really black, or more blue-ish or gray-ish? Here, the black is seriously black. And the display is protected by a 3 mm wide gorilla glass.

Barometer and watts leading the way

It can be said that the sensor equipment of this watch is amazing. Heart rate sensor, barometer, compass, accelerometer, and a GPS that can receive GLONASS, Galileo, and QZSS. As I said, a pretty decent arsenal for good and accurate training. Many people were afraid that Polar switched to another type of sensor, but it is not the case. The watch has the same sensor, which was slightly modified due to the different types of charging. There are still 10 diodes in three colors, each color making different measurements. The orange one works the best for measuring resting heart rate, while the red one is faster when measuring during sports activity.

Although the watch compares a lot to the Vantage M2 model, the Pacer Pro has a few more things to offer. One of the essential things is the watt measurements directly from the wrist. Watts work the best when running intensive trainings as the heart rate doesn't accurately notice the changes in activity intensity, but watts do. In the beginning, one has to find out a bit about what the value actually represents, but eventually, it can be a very handy helper.

Polar Pacer Pro – černá, Garmin Fenix 7X – červená

Polar Pacer Pro – black, Garmin Fenix 7X – red

As for the accuracy of the sensors, the heart rate sensor pleased me as well. Polar knows how to do this and is an actual titan. But I do have some doubts about the GPS. The watch measured 250 meters less than Garmin Fenix 7X, and the climbed meters differ by 90 m with Polar having the higher value (the overall route was 9.28 km / 655 altitude meters). I believe Garmin is more accurate, but I forgive Polar because the next day the measurements were very similar to the 7X.

Polar Pacer Pro – černá, Garmin Fenix 7X – červená

Polar Pacer Pro – black, Garmin Fenix 7X – red

Therein lies the problem

One of the few things that boil my blood is the battery life. The watch doesn't have that many functions for it to shorten the battery life significantly. And yet, we are getting a below average battery life of 7 days in the smartwatch mode and a slightly above average endurance of 35 hours with GPS every second.

Everybody loves speed

And now, you can fall in love with the speed of the new Polar system. I mean, the system is the same as in the previous models with all those errors (the menu doesn't flip, and similar), but the overall speed is finally as you would expect from a watch like this. Anyone interested in Polar agrees on one thing. If you control the model by buttons only, and there is no touch screen, the system is faster. And thanks god, this model is controlled by buttons only.

Sports double-helix

Sport is in the DNA of this watch. And that is why you can find over 20 sports activities when you hold the red button. Is it too little for you? Don't you worry. Polar Pacer can handle 20 activities, but you can alter them in the Polar Flow. There are many of them...

When it comes to running, the watch gives you a feedback on your training that is so good that even the biggest numerical nerds have to drool over it. The watch "spits" out the most important analysis after the training, and you can find the rest of the metrics in the app.

I also have to highlight the Hill Splitter function that works perfectly, and I have to recommend it to you if you focus on running up the hill. And if you are worried about the accuracy. I ran up the Halda Ema 11x and the Hill Splitter recorded 11 hills. What a way to to track how well you did during your practice.

And it wouldn't be Polar if it didn't offer tests for almost everything. The Fitness test also gives you the VO2Max value in only 2 minutes. And you don't even have to move a finger to do that (seriously, the test gets canceled when you move). In addition to the test you do while laying down, there is also a running, cycling, and walking test.

And finally, Polar decided to include the turn-by-turn guidance in the middle-class model, which is an awesome tweak. All you need to do is upload a GPX file into your watch and enjoy the adventure.

I praised Polar to heaven for sports activities, but I must also mention one drawback. You start monitoring the activity by the middle button on the right side of the case, and you stop it by pressing the lower button on the left side. Many times while jumping on a bike, I accidentally touched the lower button and paused my training...

No reason to take the watch off

The watch doesn't only measure sports activities, it also monitors your steps, calories, and time you spend active during the day and sleep during the night. So there is no reason to take the watch off. Unless you need to charge it... And I am repeating myself now as I am saying this in every Polar review: the watch has a masterful sleep monitoring called Nightly Recharge, and other brands should take note.

The watch offers a night average heart rate, heart rate variability, breath, and other values. And another standard is the expression of the sleep score, as well as the percentage of REM, deep, and light sleep.

Change in smart notifications

And it is a big one. For the first time ever, Polar gives us the possibility to open smart notifications in the activity. That means you can accurately set up where you want to see the notifications. I take it as a huge step forward and expect it to move even further than just displaying notification. But that is a music of the future.:-)

The watch also offers music control from the phone, alarm clock, stopwatch, and Serene breathing exercises, which will help you tame your breath, stress, and heart.

Is it really suitable for runners?

Yes. Yes, it is. From the design to the sports evaluations and functions. This model has Pace in its DNA. And with no regrets, I can say that this piece makes the most sense from Polar. Watts from the wrist, turn-by-turn navigation, decent battery life, barometric altimeter. It includes everything a runner needs. Plus, it has a menu that is smooth and overall very fast.

If you'd like to consider other brands with similar parameters, check out the new Suunto 5 Peak, which, excluding the watts measurement from the wrist, has almost identical functions. Another good example is definitely the Coros Pace 2, which suffers only due to the lack of turn-by-turn navigation. Garmin offers the Forerunner 245, or the 745.

Did you find the Polar Pacer Pro interesting? Let us know in the comments what you find the most intriguing.:-)

You may also like:

Coros Pace 2 review – A watch that speeds up any sloth
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Coros Pace 2 review – A watch that speeds up any sloth

Suunto 5 Peak introduction – Different coat, same heart
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