The Coros Pace 2 is the best entry-level deal on the GPS watch market these days. It features a lightweight design (only 1.2 ounces), nice features, and accuracy akin to the highest-profile watches available. The battery life is exceptional (lasting 20 days in smartwatch mode and 30 hours in GPS mode) and built for distance athletes that need extra juice for long escapades. There are minimal adventure-specific profiles and features such as navigation and bread-crumb mapping aren't available, but the screen is excellent and one of the best we tested. If you're looking for an entry-level watch, especially on a budget, this is the one for you.Editor's Note: This review was updated on November 18, 2022, to include recent firmware update testing. These new thoughts can be found in the 'Features' metric below.
Coros Pace 2 Review
Cons: Minimal activity profiles, no navigation features, plastic construction
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Coros Pace 2
$200.00 at REI
$399.99 at Amazon
$300.00 at REI
|$249.99 at Amazon|
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$200.00 at REI
|Pros||Low profile design, great battery life, very accurate, low cost||Good battery life, comfortable, easy to use, great value||Excellent quality, accurate, simple design, very easy to use, great feature set, very long battery life||Great design, responsive interface, inexpensive||Simple, inexpensive, lightweight|
|Cons||Minimal activity profiles, no navigation features, plastic construction||Lacks some toolset functions, scroll wheel has unintended clicks||Backlight isn't bright, heart rate monitor accuracy is a little off||Minimal navigation, shorter battery life, lack of tool widgets||Lacks premium health stats, shorter battery life|
|Bottom Line||A fully functional and incredibly light GPS sports watch boasting great battery life at an incredible value||A fully-featured GPS watch at a great price makes this one of our top recommendations for all user types||A well-constructed and accurate watch with a minimalistic design, excellent battery life, and all the right features||A premium-looking watch with loads of features and health metrics for a great price||A basic GPS watch that will be perfect for those looking to track their activities without the advanced features of premium models or extended battery life|
|Rating Categories||Coros Pace 2||Coros Apex Pro||Coros Apex||Polar Vantage M2||Garmin Forerunner 55|
|Battery Life (20%)|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|Specs||Coros Pace 2||Coros Apex Pro||Coros Apex||Polar Vantage M2||Garmin Forerunner 55|
|Watch Face Material||Corning glass||Sapphire glass||Sapphire glass||Hard-coated PMMA laminated lens||Chemically strengthened glass|
|Bezel||Fiber reinforced polymer||Titanium Alloy||Stainless steel bezel||Stainless steel||Stainless steel|
|Case||Fiber reinforced polymer||Alumnium||Alumnium||Glass fibre reinforced polyamide||Glass fibre reinforced polyamide|
|Strap Material||Silicon or nylon||Silicon or nylon||Silicon or nylon||Silicone||Silicone|
|Tools Required to Change Band?||No||No||No||No||No|
|Size Tested||One size only||47mm||42mm||One size only||One size only|
|Measured Main Body Size (diameter)||43mm||47mm||42mm||46mm||42mm|
|Measured Screen Width||32mm||33mm||33mm||30mm||26.5mm|
|Measured Weight||1.2 oz||2.0 oz||1.7 oz||1.55 oz||1.31 oz|
|Measured Charging Time||80 min||80 min||70 min||78 min||111 min|
|Battery Type||Rechargable lithium ion||Rechargable lithium ion||Rechargable lithium ion||Rechargable lithium ion||Rechargable lithium ion|
|Measured Battery Life With GPS On||29 hours||36 hours||24 hours||38 hours||19 hours|
|Manufacturer-Reported Battery Life||Smartwatch mode: 20 days;
GPS: 30 hours;
Ultramax mode: 60 hours
|Smartwatch mode: 30 days;
GPS mode: 40 hours;
UltraMax mode: 100 hours
|Smartwatch mode: 25 days;
Full GPS mode: 25 hours;
UltraMax GPS Mode: 80 hours
|GPS: 40 hours||Smartwatch mode: 2 weeks;
GPS: 20 hours
|Navigation Built In?||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Satellite Networks Used||GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, BEIDOU||GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, BEIDOU||GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, BEIDOU||GPS, GLONASS||GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO|
|Maps?||No||Yes - basic||Yes - basic||No||No|
|Back to Start Navigation?||No||Yes||Yes||No||No|
|Water Resistance (max depth)||50m||100m||100m||30m||50m|
|Daily Fitness Tracking?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Main Software App||Coros||Coros App||Coros App||Polar Flow||Garmin Connect, widgets for other features|
|Can Software Cross Over to Different Software Ecosystems?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Coros Pace 2 is accurate, lightweight, and packed with just the right features. Whether you're training for your next marathon or just getting into working out, this easy-to-use watch has all you need. The low cost is the biggest selling point — a sleek design and extensive feature set make this our best-valued model.
At this price point, we are impressed with the feature set of this model. The essentials are provided and offer all that you truly need out of a GPS watch. Health monitoring, GPS activity profiles, and access to the Coros mobile application make this model a standout. Focusing on mountain activities, our team was thrilled that this model included ABC (Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass) functions. We are not aware of another GPS watch at this price point that has these features.
The Pace 2 comes with 14 activity profiles built-in, but these are geared more towards basic sports and urban-type outings. If you are looking for ski modes, for example, with dedicated vert/descent modes, you should jump up to the next model. That said, there is the ability to change some items in the settings. For an easy hack uploading to third-party websites, you can always change the activity type for your friends to see.
Finally, the Pace 2 has a heart rate sensor and an ANT+ connection, which will pair with many sensors, including an HR chest strap, speed/cadence sensor, bike power meter, bike trainer, etc. — similar to other Coros watches. While this model doesn't have all the flashy features of the more expensive Garmin watch options, it comes at a fraction of the price and provides all the details for your data and performance tracking needs. Unfortunately, back-to-start and breadcrumb mapping aren't available, but you can't have it all at this price point. While this isn't the most feature-packed device, we would buy it in a heartbeat.
- Several sports profiles
- Heart rate monitor
- Barometric pressure
- Barometric altimeter
- Smartphone notifications
- Fitness tracking (pedometer, stairs climbed, calories burned, distance traveled)
- Water resistance up to 50 meters
- UltraMax mode
- Excellent track features (set the lane you start in)
- Workout planner and notifications (12 supported workouts)
- Sharing between platforms
- Very easy to export data on the app
- Ascent/descent information for most profiles
- Sleep Tracking
To see a full list of how the Coros Pace 2 compares to other Coros watches, check out the features list.
One of the strongest cases for the Coros brands has been their firmware updates which have provided substantial additional features without an added cost. The most useful of these new features in our testing has been enhanced sleep tracking and the ability to find your phone/watch if you've misplaced it. Now REM tracking is available, which has been standard on Garmin models for some time. There are still no scores associated with your sleep tracking, but this additional data is an improvement over the previous Light, Deep, and Awake stages. One of the most helpful features is using your watch to find your phone, which activates the ringer via the application installed on your phone. This was common on other GPS watches and has now been added to the Coros lineup outside of the standard Coros Apex model. This feature can also be triggered via the app to help you locate your watch. Please visit the manufacturer firmware update page for all of the latest firmware updates.
This watch stands out for its excellent battery life. Coros claims 20 days with regular use (i.e., a few GPS-based activities a week and in smartwatch mode), 30 hours in GPS mode, and 60 hours in UltraMax mode. Charging, in our tests, took only 80 minutes. Unlike other watch options, there aren't many battery saver options (i.e., you can't turn off the backlight).
When testing the GPS battery for this watch, we found that the estimated times were actually lower than our results. In day-to-day use with three GPS activities a week, each lasting 1 - 2 hours, and regular smartwatch use, we got about 25 days of use. During our GPS test, where we left it outside and running with GPS access, it kept collecting GPS data for 38 hours — 8 hours longer than expected. During this test, we weren't sure if it automatically went to battery saver mode, but the "fitness information" showed that it collected data the whole time. That said, the manufacturer does claim only 30 hours of battery life, so you can expect that.
This amount of battery should be sufficient for most athletes unless you are doing lots of long-distance events away from a charging source. Of note: Coros watches, while lasting longer, have less accessible battery settings and power modes. Switching to UltraMax will double your GPS recording time, but the accuracy will suffer substantially. We prefer the battery modes offered on Garmin, but it's hard to argue that there is anything wrong with this model or any Coros model. If your top priority is battery life, choosing any Coros model will be a fine choice.
Ease of Use
Thanks to the sleek design, both internally and externally, this is a very simple watch to use. The Coros app is our favorite we tested, and it easily allows you to update settings and control data fields. Setup is a breeze, as with all Coros products, and we experienced minimal to no frustrations when navigating the menu systems.
Implementing the standard Coros scroll wheel navigation is a breeze, although the dial is slightly more delicate than the Apex or Vertix models. Scrolling feels natural, and we didn't have to lock the scroll wheel since it's smaller and protrudes less. This means data fields were easy to scroll while running hard; if you use auto-scroll, this may not matter to you.
For each activity, you also have the choice to optimize settings. You can turn activity alerts on or off (including distances, pace, cadence, HR, nutrition, power, etc.) or turn auto-pause on or off. You can also set up intervals and repeats or optimize other settings for specific activities. The screens are simple to use, and information is easy to find. We still prefer dedicated buttons, but watches don't get much easier to use than this.
The screen is bright and easy to see. We appreciate that the display is crisp and that there is the ability to customize the background color. With the backlight automatically on, you can also easily track your activity while night running without having to press a button to turn it on. Additionally, the Coros integrated mobile application is the best we tested.
GPS accuracy on the Coros Pace 2 is excellent and always seemed to be right on track. While the heart rate monitor wasn't always right on, it was generally pretty close and had a lower range of variability in our tests than most, both while exercising and sitting still.
We tested this watch alongside all the other models on a three-mile remote dirt road and compared the resulting elevation and GPS data. All of the watches were within 0.01 miles of each other. Safe to say today's GPS watches have outstanding accuracy, which makes sense since they are all using the same satellites, and most use a sampling rate of 1 second.
We also tested the Pace 2 while trail running for 20+ mile distances, and the data we got back always seemed to be accurate. Overall, we trust the GPS for longer runs, especially where variations in the accuracy are seen very clearly (i.e., think about a 100-mile distance, where your watch might add or take away a portion of a mile each time…that adds up).
The heart rate monitor works well, with a range of variation in our tests of 1 - 7 bpm, which is pretty good. That said, during exercise, we would note heart rate readings that definitely were not correct (i.e., much higher or lower than expected). However, this could be due to not wearing the watch tight enough or wrist size. Overall, the Pace 2 offers above-average accuracy in all areas, but if you need to monitor your heart rate precisely, invest in a dedicated monitor.
At only 1.2 ounces, the Pace 2 is the lightest fully functional GPS watch we tested, and it felt effortlessly light no matter what we were doing. Premium materials and extended battery life start to add up in weight which is not what you need when performing at your peak.
With a crisp screen, the watch face is large enough to easily see font and text during activities, even in bright and low light. The dial and one-button design are simple, but the dial may not be the first choice for the button lovers out there. Still, for performance running, this model cannot be beaten; there is a reason why the fastest marathoners in the world use it.
The watch materials are also pretty durable. We wore this watch while scrambling and caught it on some rocks without a screen protector. The glass and bezel remained unscratched and still looked like new after months of use. We also appreciate the quick release on the light and airy band, with lots of eyelets to adjust for even the smallest of wrists. The buckle is hardened plastic which could be a point of failure, although we experienced no issues during our testing.
If you are looking for a GPS watch but don't have the budget or don't desire the best, we cannot recommend this model enough. This is the only watch we would consider buying if you're on a tight budget. It's incredible that an altimeter, barometer, and compass are included at this price point. If this is your first watch or one to use for race day, we don't think you will be disappointed.
The Coros Pace 2 is made for people wanting a watch that excels at the basics. Sure, you don't get the latest and greatest, and you may want to upgrade in the future, but the value to dollar ratio is so good. Coros really has made a product that is great for both elite athletes and people who want to start tracking their activities. If you haven't used a GPS watch before, we think this is the perfect place to start, and it's what we'd recommend.
— Matthew Richardson and Amber King
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