Update: Check out our review of the Polar Pacer Pro, after our in-depth testing.
Polar has officially launched the Pacer Pro and Pacer as its latest watches that are geared for runners that don't want to spend the big bucks on a top-end Polar.
Many years ago Polar launched a Pacer heart rate monitor, and now the company is embracing the name once again, this time for two new watches that sit below Polar's Vantage M2 and V2 watches.
Essential reading: Best running watch to buy right now
We'll start with the Pacer Pro, which is aimed at serious runners according to Polar, and comes in at $299,90/£259. It's available in grey, white, blue, maroon and green colored looks. It comes with a 20mm silicone strap and uses what Polar calls a Shift adapter to let you drop on any standard 20mm straps onto it.
Weighing in at 41g, the Pacer Pro includes a memory in pixel display, which is the same display technology used on Polar's current watches. Polar says on the Pro, it's improved visibility in direct sunlight.
The Pacer Pro is packing an improved version of its Precision Prime optical heart rate sensor technology, which has now added two extra LEDs, which should in theory help to improve accuracy.
Polar Pacer Pro
It also says it's boosted things on the processing power front to deliver a snappier software performance, which is something Polar's watches have definitely needed.
Features-wise, you're getting multiple running profiles, access to Polar's running performance test, route tracking powered by third party service Komoot and access to Polar's run training programs. You can delve into running index and training load pro insights here as well.
It's also includes a new Walking test to allow running newcomers get estimates of their aerobic fitness based on going for a 15-minute walk.
Elsewhere, it's grabbing features from existing Polar watches, including music controls and the ability to view weather forecasts and notifications from your phone.
On the battery front, you're getting up to 7 days in watch mode, up to 35 hours GPS battery life and up to 100 hours in a power saving training mode.
Polar Pacer - What you need to know
Over to the non-Pro Pacer, which comes in at $199,90/£169.50, putting it just above Polar's Unite fitness watch and making it a little more expensive than the Garmin Forerunner 55. It does come in cheaper than the excellent Coros Pace 2.
In terms of the design, the Pacer comes in black, white, teal and purple and also features an MIP display, which promises the same improved visibility in sunlight as the one on the Pacer Pro. It weighs in at 40g, which isn't quite as light as something like the Coros Pace 2 (29g). Unlike the Pacer Pro, it doesn't require an adaptor to change the supplied 20mm silicone strap.
In terms of features, you're getting a lot of the same features as the Pacer Pro, including access to Polar's Running Program, Training Load Pro insights, music controls, nightly recharge sleep insights and multiple running profiles including trail running and track and field. You're also getting the new Walking test included on the Pro.
On the battery front, you're getting up to 7 days battery life with continuous HR in use and up to 35 hours of GPS battery, and that factors in using optical heart rate monitoring as well.
So the key differences it seems between the two are that you're getting watches that are slightly different in weight, offer different approaches to changing straps and you're getting an extra battery mode on the Pacer Pro. You also miss out on running power and route navigation support on the non-pro Pacer.
Polar Pacer Pro and Pacer price and release date
In terms of availability, the Polar Pacer Pro is available now from Polar, with the aurora green version available later this year. The Pacer is only available to pre-order and will start shipping in May.
We've already got the Pacer Pro in for testing, so we'll have our verdict in soon on whether Polar has managed to pull together a great running watch.
How we test