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Fitness Trackers, Sports Watches - News & Reviews 2022

Polar Pacer Pro – Leightweight GPS sports watch for runners

With Pacer and Pacer Pro, Polar launched two new GPS sports watches designed for runners. Leaks from Roland Quandt and early listings on various online retailers provided a fairly complete picture of the two wearables announced today.

Compared to Garmin, Polar is a much smaller company. Nonetheless, sports watches like the Polar Vantage M2, Vantage V2, and Grit X (Pro) are fairly popular among runners. While Garmin tries to attract customers with all sorts of features, Polar primarily focuses on the sporty aspects. You’ll find no colorful OLED displays, onboard music, or NFC payment on Polar’s watches. However, these watches offer numerous metrics and functions addressing runners’ needs to measure and increase performance.

Polar Pacer / Pacer Pro  (Source: Polar via @rquandt)

Polar Pacer / Pacer Pro (Source: Polar via @rquandt)

Polar Pacer and Pacer Pro at a glance

Polar positions the Pacer and Pacer Pro somewhere between the top-of-the-line Vantage V2 and the mid-range Vantage M2. With 45 x 45 x 11 mm the Polar Pacer is smaller than the Vantage V2, resulting in considerably less weight and an apparently smaller battery. This affects battery life: the Pacer Pro lasts up to 7 days in watch mode and up to 35 h in training mode (Vantage V2: 7 days / 40 hours).

Sensor array (Source: Polar via @rquandt)

Sensor array (Source: Polar via @rquandt)

A new microprocessor doubles the Pacer’s performance compared to the Vantage M2. In addition, the new sports watches feature seven times more RAM. We will have to wait and see to what extent the performance affects the watch in everyday life. However, this improvement has been overdue to speed up Polar’s sometimes sluggish operating system.

 Vantage V2Pacer ProPacerVantage M2
Display1.2"1.2"1.2"1.2"
Size47 x 47 x 13 mm45 x 45 x 11 mm45 x 45 x 11 mm46 x 46 x 12,5 mm
Weight52 g41 g40 g45 g
Metal bezel++-+
Battery life - Watchup to 7 daysup to 7 daysup to 7 daysup to 7 days
Battery life - Trainingup to 40 hup to 35 hup to 35 hup to 40 h
Water resistent10 ATM5 ATM5 ATM3 ATM

While the Pacer’s wristband uses a simple spring bar – and thus can be changed at will – the Pacer Pro’s wristband strongly resembles the one of the Vantage V2 with an inserted pin holding wristband and casing in place. Without Polar’s Shift adapter, the wristband can only be exchanged with Polar’s own replacements.

Shift-Adapter for Pacer Pro and Vantage V2 (Source: Polar)

Shift-Adapter for Pacer Pro and Vantage V2 (Source: Polar)

The Pacer Pro will include a Shift adapter, as does the Vantage V2 Shift Edition – however, there are still no separate adapters available from Polar.

Pacer and Pacer Pro with improved MIP display

Even though both Pacer models were rumored to have an OLED display, Polar sticks to a transflective MIP display. While it lacks the splendid colors and high contrasts of self-illuminating displays, it consume significantly less power and thus is always on without draining the battery too much. Both models feature an improved MIP display with better color reproduction and higher contrasts.

Unlike the Vantage V2 / Grit X Pro, the Polar Pacer models won’t feature touch-enabled displays – something that shouldn’t cause much pain for most people.

As neither the resolution is likely to change nor is the display size, the battery will last up to 7 days.

When it comes to features, the Polar Pacer Pro clearly takes its cues from the full-blown Vantage V2. Even the more complex functions like wrist-based running power, as well as performance and recovery tests are likely to be available on the Pacer Pro. Compared to the Pacer Pro the Pacer misses the Recovery Pro, komoot integration and route guidance, as well as the back-to-start feature.

FeatureVantage V2Pacer ProPacerVantage M2
Pace, Time, Distance++++
Running Programs++++
Improved Microprocessor-++-
Running Power++--
Routing / komoot++--
HillSplitter++--
Dashboard - Altimeter++--
Recovery Pro+---

There is a new walking test available to both models. It’s a 15-minute test based where you have to walk at a rather fast pace and the Pacer will determine performance indicators like VO2max and the like based on your pace and heart rate.

FeatureVantage V2Pacer ProPacerVantage M2
Walking Test-++-
Running Performance Test+++-
Leg Recovery Test++--

Prices and Availability

Polar is selling the Pacer Pro for $299.95 and the less complex Pacer for $199.95. These are attractive prices given the facts that you get a lot of features. I am not even sure if Polar canibalizes the sells of the Vantage V2 and Grit X Pro that are a lot pricier but tend to offer similiar functions.

Concerning the colors, the Pacer will hit the shelves in white, black, teal, and purple. The Pacer Pro will be available in gray, white, blue, maroon, and green.

My two cents

Polar is diversifying its sports watches and does well to do so. Based on what we know today, the improvements of the Pacer / Pacer Pro are rather evolutionary, but a slimmer and lighter watch will appeal to buyer groups that haven’t felt addressed so far. Thanks to the reduced weight and dimensions, these are likely to be women in particular, for whom the Vantage V2 and Grit X Pro seemed too large on their usually narrower wrists.

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