Polar Grit X vs Polar Vantage V2: one might assume that the best Polar watch will be the one that sits at the top of the model range, and to be fair, I wouldn't blame anyone from making this assumption. After all, there is no point in calling something a 'flagship' model if it doesn't represent the best the brand has to offer. Surprisingly enough, in the case of the two Polar wearables pitted against each other here, the results are not quite as clear-cut as you'd expect.
The Grit X outdoor smartwatch was announced in September 2020 and ushered in a range of new features previously unseen in other Polar watches, including Hill Splitter and FuelWise, making it a serious competitor for other rugged smartwatches such as the COROS Vertix and Garmin Fenix 6 Pro.
The Polar Vantage V2 running watch was announced later, in February 2021, and also introduced some never-before-seen tests for athletes to measure performance and recovery. These were added on top of the already quite extensive feature list of the Polar Vantage V, the predecessor of the watch.
Polar Grit X vs Polar Vantage V2: price and availability
The watch is also available bundled up with the Polar H10 heart rate strap (needed for the Orthostatic test) for the recommended retail price of $549.95/£489/$799.
Polar Grit X vs Polar Vantage V2: main features
The Polar Grit X has loads of features tailored for fans of outdoor exercising. These include the aforementioned Hill Splitter that "delivers detailed ascent/descent performance reports" and FuelWise that send "automatic nutrition and water refuelling reminders". You also get the other Polar watch features on the Grit X such as Nightly Recharge, Training Load Pro, Sleep Plus Stages and even Running Power, measured on the wrist.
You can upload maps to the Grit X and the watch can provide sunrise/sunset time plus inform you about upcoming severe weather events (e.g. thunderstorms). This latter function requires connection with the phone.
The Polar Vantage V2 also has an abundance of unique features and tests. Among these you'll find the running, cycling and leg recovery tests – all can be performed without any external sensors – as well as the Orthostatic Test, a returning feature that does require a compatible Polar heart rate monitor, such as the Polar H10.
Unlike the Grit X, the Vantage V2 can measure blood oxygen levels and has a cadence sensor too.
Both watches have built-in GPS and, of course, heart rate sensors.
Polar Grit X vs Polar Vantage V2: design
The Polar Grit X weighs 64 grams which is 12 grams heavier than the Vantage V2. Both watches are dust- and waterproof (water rated to 100 ATM) with the construction of the Grit X "Tested against military standards (MIL-STD-810G)." The touchscreen displays of the watches are protected by laminated Gorilla glass lens.
The navigation is the Polar-standard five button plus touch screen variety which can be confusing at times. The navigation menu is also very similar to each other but also other Polar watches in general (e.g. Polar Vantage M2).
Polar Grit X vs Polar Vantage V2: battery life
Both watches have the same 346 mAh Li-pol battery that enables users to use the watches for up to 40 hours in training mode (GPS and wrist-based heart rate) or up to 7 days in watch mode with continuous heart rate tracking. This is not too shabby considering the size of the displays but it's worth mentioning that the Polar operating system is quite barebones looking so it probably don't consume a lot of battery power.
Multiple power save options available.
Polar Grit X vs Polar Vantage V2: accuracy
Both watches use Polar's Precision Prime sensor fusion technology which combines LEDs with skin contact sensors. In theory, this ensures that the watches only read heart rate when they're worn correctly (all skin contact sensors are active). IN practice, the Polar Precision Prime tech is not flawless but does a good job in not measuring heart rate when the watch is not on the wrist, something that happens often with certain running watches.
Similarly, both the Polar Grit X and the Vantage V2 have an integrated GPS chip and uses a multi-system to track outdoor position. They have access to GPS, GLONASS, Galileo and QZSS data and also have an assisted GPS so it picks signal up fast. No major issues were encountered no while testing the watches in an urban environment (e.g. watches dropping GPS signal or route clipping through buildings).
Polar Grit X vs Polar Vantage V2: verdict
As you can tell, both the Polar Grit X and the Polar Vantage V2 are very similar to each other. The Vantage V2 has the slight competitive edge if you're serious about improving athletic performance and it also has the Hill Splitter and FuelWise features so if you're happy to pay the premium for the extra tests, you are best off with the Vantage V2.
However, if you want to use your Polar watch for hiking/outdoor running, the map and weather alert features of the Grit X might appeal to you more than the 'Leg Recovery Test', for example. Thanks to the rugged construction, the Grit X is also well suited for activities that involves falling a lot (e.g. skateboarding).
For everyday activity tracking, we'd recommend the Vantage V2 as it's lighter than the Grit X and has most of the features of the latter watch. That said, using either for 'just' fitness tracking is a bit of an overkill and you might be better off with a fitness tracker instead. The Vantage V2 would perform better as a triathlon watch too.