- Nice new look
- More navigation features
- Added performance and recovery tests
- Sleep tracking still dents battery
- Price has jumped from Grit X
- Polar Flow still feels busy
The Grit X Pro sees Polar upgrade its outdoor adventure watch, which launched in 2020.
The first Grit X brought innovative features for endurance athletes, such as smart fuelling recommendations, route guidance, hill tracking and training insights.
It also came in at a price that put it in less the outdoor watches like the Garmin Fenix 6 and the Coros Vertix.
The Grit X Pro sees a jump in price from the Grit X. It costs $499/£439 – while the Grit X stays on sale at $429.99/£379.99.
That extra spend gets you running and cycling performance tests introduced on its Vantage V2 watch, improved satellite support and extra navigation features.
The aim is clear. To make the Grit X a better rival for Garmin's Fenix and wade off the new competition in the shape of the Coros Vertix 2. So has Polar done enough? We've been putting it to the test to find out. Here's our comprehensive verdict.
Polar Grit X Pro: key features
- 1.2 inch transflective memory-in-pixel (MIP)
- 240×240 resolution
- 22mm FKM Fluoroelastomer strap
- GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS.
- 40 hours full GPS tracking
- 7 days watch mode
- New fitness tests
- FuelWise nutrition tracking
Polar Grit X Pro: Design and screen
Grit X Pro (left) and Grit X (right)
In terms of look, the first Grit X was a departure from the other watches in Polar's family. There was a clear emphasis on making the outdoor watch light and comfortable to wear, and get sweaty for long periods.
With the Pro, Polar has tweaked things on the design front. It's swapped the plain bezel for a compass-style one, it's still offering a stainless steel case, but added tougher Sapphire glass. It now comes in black DLC, gold and copper colors. We had the black version and put it side-by-side with the Grit X, we'd say it's a nicer looking watch to glance down at.
Polar has also launched a Grit X Pro Titan edition, which adds a titanium bezel, comes with two bands options in the box, and at 53g, is lighter than the Grit X Pro. Without that titanium, the Pro weighs in at 79g, so it's jumped up slightly in weight from the Grit X (64g).
The fluoroelastomer strap paired to that case has a pleasingly stretchy feel to it that gives it a snug, secure fit that never felt too tight or restrictive in our testing.
The are five physical buttons with a textured finish that make it better suited when hands get sweaty, cold, or you're wearing gloves.
Polar has stuck to the same sized, 240 x 240 resolution colour touch display, but this isn't a colour display in the same way that an Apple Watch or a Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 has a color display.
It does mean Polar can show off colors on watch faces and menus, but those colors are far from punchy or vibrant.
It's a touchscreen display, which isn't the most responsive we've used on a watch, and we found ourselves largely sticking to the physical buttons.
Visibility on the whole in bright outdoor light is good though we'd like to see the option of having a larger font on data fields to make it easier to absorb. You do have a reasonably strong backlight for nighttime tracking here though.
Polar has stuck to the same WR100 water resistance rating as the original Grit X, which means the Pro is fit to be submerged in water up to 100 metres and it survived our showering and pool swim time with it.
Polar Grit X Pro: Sports tracking and navigation features
Everything we got on the Grit X is included in the Pro. So there's sports modes aplenty, those new outdoor-centric features like Hill Splitter and the great FuelWise fuelling reminders.
This is a feature that works for activities longer than 90 minutes and looks at estimated intensity and the grams in your carbs to help you fuel correctly. It's a feature you won't find on rival watches right now and really separates Polar from the competition.
You're getting the same strong satellite support for accurately tracking outdoor activity and there's performance-driven insights like Training Load Pro along with Polar's useful FitSpark suggested workouts in tow here too. This is a watch that will throw a lot at you, so it might take time getting to grips with what data matters most for you.
Where you're seeing improvements is with what the new Grit X is like to help you find your way and how it can better tell you whether you're fit to train and assess your performance in workouts.
On the navigation front, you're still getting route planning and turn-by-turn navigation powered by third party platform Komoot. On top of that, it's added a trackback feature, and the ability to view route and elevation profiles.
These features don't look like they're coming to the original Grit X, so would be reasons you might want to make that upgrade.
The Komoot integration to us still feels a little clunky in terms of getting routes onto the watch in the first place. You do also have to pay to use Komoot as well.
The added track back and route profiles aren't groundbreaking features, but do make the Pro a better watch for navigation. it's easy enough to follow routes on the watch with a green line pointing in you the right direction. You do still lack that much richer, detailed mapping support you'll find on Garmin's Fenix watches.
Polar is also bringing over the three tests from the Vantage V2. That's the leg recovery test along with running and cycling performance tests.
The running performance test will come to the original Grit X, but for the others you'll need to go Pro. Those tests look at information like maximum aerobic speed, maximum aerobic power and VO2 Max to help better understand you current fitness level and the level of training you can start to take on.
The leg recovery test is arguably the most useful addition here as it seeks to offer a more useful way to understand if your legs are in good physical shape to take on a tough high intensity workouts. It requires jumping on the spot for a couple of minutes to provide that assessment.
Core sports tracking on the whole hasn't changed a great deal from the first Grit X. We've run on road and hit the trails, jumped in the pool and used it for HIIT workouts and indoor rowing sessions and it's fared well with everything we threw at it.
Run tracking compared: Polar Grit X Pro (left and centre) and Garmin Enduro (right)
Heart rate tracking compared: Polar Grit X Pro (left and centre) and Garmin HRM-Pro (right)
All the same training insights are here too, including running index analysis, recovery pro (with a chest strap).
The great FitSpark training guide is on board, which feels more robust than Garmin's suggested workout feature, and offers useful recommended workouts based around cardio, conditioning and mobility. They are easy to follow, and felt nicely in tune with our logged workouts.
So how does it work in practice? After a long run, it suggested some mobility work while after a lot of cardio work logged it suggested workouts focused on building muscle.
Step tracking compared: Polar Grit X Pro (left) and Garmin Enduro (right)
Sleep tracking compared: Polar Grit X Pro (left) and Garmin Enduro (right)
Polar Grit X Pro: Smartwatch features
Polar has been playing catch up as far as adding more smartwatch features to its watches. It may have been a more tentative approach to make sure it was still delivering on all of its core features first. With Garmin pressing ahead on this front, Polar has started to ramp things up too.
We had our Grit X Pro paired up to an Android phone but you can of course connect it to an iPhone as well and features across are consistent.
With the Grit X, we got notification support and the ability to view weather forecasts including 3-day reports.
Those features of course remain and now you're getting the addition of music controls, which works during training, and watch face color themes.
Features we've seen added to Polar's Vantage and Ignite watches. Polar has also added the ability to view altimeter, compass and coordinates data around watch faces and you can now silence calls from the watch.
As a smartwatch it still pales in comparison to full fat smartwatches and what Garmin offers. You're not getting a music player, payments or third party apps here.
What is here works fine. You can't respond to notifications but they're easy enough to read. Music controls work as well as they did when we tested the Vantage M2 and the Ignite 2. Those controls work with third party streaming apps like Spotify for instance.
Ultimately though, you're not getting the best smartwatch experience on a sports watch. If you want that, you'll need to look in the direction of Garmin.
Polar Grit X Pro: Battery life
The Grit x Pro packs a 345mAh capacity battery and promises to deliver up to 7 days in watch mode with continuous HR and activity tracking in use. GPS battery life is up to 40 hours and a power saving mode gives you up to 100 hours. That's exactly the same numbers attached to the Grit X and we'd say you can expect more of the same in terms of battery performance.
During GPS tracking and day-to-day use, there isn't a worrying drop-off in battery and it definitely feels like it holds true to those GPS battery claims. An hour's worth of running saw battery drop by around 3% for instance. There's definitely some perks to battery performance though. An hour and half of running from the battery at 100% saw zero drop-off.
It's when you factor in the rich sleep tracking that you see the most noticeable drain. We found with GPS tracking, sleep monitoring and notifications enabled we saw on average 5-6 days battery life. So a little short of those maximum 7 days, but you're getting something good for roughly just short of a full week.
How we test