Coros Pace 2 – Key Specs
Weight: 29 grams with nylon band
Battery capacity: 220 mAh
Battery life: 30 hours in GPS mode, up to 20 days considering average usage
Features: water-resistant, running power, ABC sensors, night mode/backlit screen, triathlon mode
Coros Pace 2 review TL;DR: glitchy GPS performance cast a shadow on this otherwise great multisport watch with a great screen and lightweight body.
Coros has been on the heels of Garmin for a few years now: Coros products always try to deliver a bit more for a bit less than the corresponding Garmin watch models. In the case of the Coros Pace 2, the Garmin equivalent is the Garmin forerunner 45 and indeed, the Pace 2 offers a larger display, way longer battery life and a lighter body for just a fraction more of the Forerunner 45's price.
There is only one hindrance, but that's a biggie: the Pace 2 struggles to pick up GPS signal in urban environments and also loses it fairly easily. That aside, the Pace 2 has a lots to offer to runners and will have even more once the firmware has been updated, including running power measured on the wrist, training plans and more.
Coros Pace 2 review: price and availability
The Coros Pace 2 is available to buy at Coros. First units will be shipped before the 4 September.
The recommended retail price of the Coros Pace 2 is £179.99/$199.99.
Coros Pace 2 review: what's new
As the name might suggest, the Coros Pace 2 is the second iteration of the Pace watch which was released almost exactly two years ago, an eternity in fitness wearable years. Since then, fitness tech went through a lot of changes and the top running watches come choke-full of casual and hardcore features, not to mention all the sensors on board that get more and more sophisticated as time goes by.
Thankfully, the Coros Pace 2 doesn't feel forced like many fitness watches nowadays but a legitimate update of the original Pace. The Coros Pace 2 has a smaller case width than the Pace (42mm vs 46mm, respectively) all the while retaining the same screen size (1.2 inches). The Pace 2 also has a bigger 'brain'; the 64MB flash memory is four times bigger than the Pace, ready to receive and store any future firmware updates.
However, it is the battery that received the biggest update: the Pace 2 can last up to 30 hours in GPS mode and 60 hours in UltraMax mode as opposed to the Pace's 25 and 50 hours, respectively. This is most likely due to the more efficient GPS chip as the standby battery life has actually decreased: it went from 30 to 20 days. Not like anyone will buy a fitness watch for its great standby battery life, GPS performance is way more important.
Coros Pace 2 review: ergonomics
One thing is for sure: the Pace 2 won't weigh your arm down. Coros claims that the Pace 2 is the lightest GPS running watch on the market right now and I think they might be right: the Coros Pace 2 weighs a mere 29 grams, 3 grams lighter than the already highly portable Garmin Forerunner 45S and Polar Unite, both of which weigh 32 grams.
The silicon strap is flexible and has a hinged connection to the watch so it adapts to different wrist sizes better. Even if the strap breaks, since it uses a quick release mechanism, swapping them in and out won't be much of hassle. The buttons have a similar layout as what I've seen on the Coros Vertix: there are only two of them on the right side of the case, one push button and one dial.
The dial is used for mainly navigation and for unlocking the screen and the bottom one is to move back into the previous screen and to access the 'toolbox' menu (by long pressing it). The watch even cater for lefties: in the settings, you can decide which side you want the buttons on and the watchface will be displayed accordingly.
Flicking through the menus as easy as turning the dial and in all fairness, this is a pretty intuitive way to navigate the Pace 2. The direction in which the dial moves the widgets can also be changed in the menu so there are plenty of ways to customise the Pace 2 in a way that suits your preferences.
Coros Pace 2 review: battery life
I already touched on battery life above but just to reiterate: the Coros Pace 2 significantly improved its GPS battery life over its predecessor and can now last for up to 30 hours in GPS tracking mode and up to 20 days in smartwatch mode. There is also an UltraMax mode where in which the battery life extends to up to 60 hours.
In Ultramax mode, GPS data is only collected for 30 seconds every two minutes and the extrapolated from there using motion sensors, machine learning algorithms and individual running model for the remaining 90 seconds. Basically, in UltraMax mode, the Pace 2 switches the GPS on and off and does some calculations in the background to determine your speed and position.
This is obviously not very accurate but this power saving option might come in handy for some. I can see a better use of this mode on trail running/adventure watches but surprisingly, Coros is very clear that the Pace 2 was not designed for trail runners, so much so that all trail running/off-road sport modes were removed from the watch.
Not saying the UltraMax mode can't be used elsewhere given the GPS signal issues (more on this later), this mode might become preferred to urban runners living in densely packed city centre environments.
Coros Pace 2 review: screen
The Coros Pace 2 has an amazing screen, hands down one of the best features of the watch. It is bright, sharp, clear and easy to read even during runs. What I noticed is that the display feels closer to the lens as it does on other running watches. The Pace 2 uses Corning Glass so even though the lens feel thinner, it probably provide more than enough protection to the display under iu.
The display is 1.2" and has a resolution of 240 x 240 pixels and is capable of displaying 64 different colours. The Coros Pace 2 has an always-on memory pixel display which definitely helps saving on battery life but also looks rather okay too.
Coros Pace 2 review: features
Coros has always been very clear its wearables are not for casual people: you won't find any features in the Coros Pace 2 that has nothing to do with running training. Apart from sunrise/sunset times, but I guess that has something to do with training so we let is slide for now.
The widget view is pretty straightforward and thanks to the brilliant screen, all sensor data looks decipherable, even on the wrist, no need to open the app to check temperature and all. Not like the Coros App is not good: I spent a few weeks surfing the options as I was testing the Pace 2 and it is a decent running watch companion.
You can change/add watch faces in the app and of course, analyse your performance using map views and charts and diagrams. All key info about your runs are fed into the Coros App, including pace, cadence, stride length, elevation, heart rate and lap data. All this data can be viewed individually or overlaid on top of each other to see where you struggled/shined on your runs.
One good thing about Garmin watches is that they tend to receive a ton of updates all the time, giving them the competitive edge over competitors. Coros is not releasing updates that often but the Pace 2 has already been given a bit of TLC in the form of firmware update so there is hope more updates are coming in the near and distant future.
Coros Pace 2 review: sensors
We talked about all the good things, it's time to move on to the slightly less stellar features: GPS signal. The Coros Pace 2 struggles to pick up and keep the GPS signal in urban areas where there are buildings around. I live almost right next to a park and in an area where there are no high rises or tall buildings, yet the Pace 2 could only pick up the GPS when there was literally no obstruction around me in a 100-meter radius.
Truth to be told, the watch does say you need to stand in an 'open field' in order to pick up GPS signal but I thought standing outside a building or on the street will do (I was wrong). Due to the lack of GPS signal, the pace of the Pace 2 is off until the signal is actually acquired. I assume some further firmware updates will doctor this issue.
Even more interestingly there is an option in the toolbox to check satellite signal and also, the Pace 2 uses a GPS/QZSS+Glonass tracking system so it should be able to pick the signal up everywhere. Again, I assume this will be dealt with in due course.
Apart from the currently under-performing GPS, you also get an optical heart rate sensor which is as accurate as optical heart rate sensors in 2020 should be, a barometric altimeter, an accelerometer, a compass, a gyroscope and a thermometer. So you get the full ABC sensor treatment and some more.
I don't see much point including ABC sensors in a watch that was so clearly intended for city and track runners. I mean, how often will you check the altitude on your daily runs? Oh, surprise, I still live on the exact same altitude where I did yesterday! Not complaining for having more sensors than just two but might as well include more sport modes on the watch and let people use the Pace 2 for whatever purpose they want.
Coros Pace 2 review: verdict
All things considered, I enjoyed using the Coros Pace 2, despite the glitchy GPS performance. The screen is so nice to look at I often caught myself pursuing the widgets for no reason whatsoever. The Pace 2 is comfortable to wear and since it can't track sleep or recovery, you won't feel the need to wear it for your sleep either. If you want a good sleep tracker, check out the new Fitbit Sense.
The Coros Pace 2 is a good GPS running/multisport watch that will get even better soon: the Pace 2 will be able to measure running power on the wrist without any external sensors, much like the Polar Vantage V. As well as this, the first firmware update will also include a training plan and a calendar view of your workouts. Please note that these features were not tested in this review.
What was tested, however, is the battery life and the Pace 2 delivers on it big time. Make sure you dust that charger cable off every now and then as the Coros Pace 2 won't need to be charged more than once every other week. The battery life is not 'indefinite' like in the case of the Garmin Instinct Solar but pretty good for a watch so light and compact.
Should the GPS performance be amended soon, I will wholeheartedly recommend the Coros Pace 2 for all runners but especially beginners and those purists who don't care about arbitrary casual features and would like to use a running watch for sports and not as an ornament on the wrist.