Polar Grit X review: heavyweight outdoor watch packed with training and recovery features

A high end military grade multisport watch, the Polar Grit X offers so many features that any athlete, from any sport, will be blown away by the diverse features it offers

T3 Platinum Award
Polar Grit X review
(Image credit: Polar)
T3 Verdict

There are many features and training tools to love on the Polar Grit X, especially the extra insights that trail and mountain athletes are going to benefit from, such as Hill Splitter, FuelWise and WeatherWatch. Weighing 64g, it’s lighter and smaller than you’d think a watch of this capacity is going to be, easy to navigate and boasts up to 40 hours battery life in full activity mode.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Multiple functions that help you navigate training, recovery and relaxation

  • +

    Durable construction

  • +

    Trail-specific features

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    Not the most comfortable watch to wear during the night

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Polar Grit X review in a sentence: Polar's military-grade, feature-packed outdoor watch is a great training tool but some might find it not comfortable enough to wear during the night.

Polar didn't want to feel left out of the outdoor watch market so it decided to create its own version, the Polar Grit X. Under the hood, the Grit X is very similar to Polar's flagship wearable, the excellent Polar Vantage V2, but tailored to people who prefer to spend most of their training time climbing hills and descending rocky mountain sides.

Essentially, by getting the Polar Grit X, you get a perfectly capable running watch in a rugged shell, making this model a very good value-for-money wearable from Polar. And while it's great that you don't have to worry about damaging the watch accidentally when running on bushy forest trails, the ruggedness of the Grit X makes the watch a little less comfortable to wear during the night.

Should you buy the Polar Grit X outdoor watch? Read on to find out.

Polar Grit X review: price and availability

The Polar Grit X is available to buy now at Polar UK, Polar US and Polar AU for a recommended retail price of £379/$429.95/AU$599.

For the best Polar Grit X deals, check out the widgets at the top and bottom of this review.

polar grit x review

(Image credit: Polar)

Polar Grit X review: design

Two sizes are on offer, Small and Medium/Large as well as numerous strap options. Even the larger option is not too bulky. There are two standard colour options, black and olive-green. You can add on a black, white or green silicon accessory band for a little extra dosh. Green, Red and Blue textile accessory bands cost even more and the leather option is the most expensive version.

The Polar Grit X is made to MIL-STD-810 military level durability – the same standard other outdoor watches are made to such as the Garmin Instinct Solar. One might wonder why multisport watch manufacturers choose this standard to measure their watches' performance against; it probably has something to do with the relative flexibility of the non-military application of the standard.

Nevertheless, the Grit X looks and feels rugged and in theory, when you bash this against a rock, fall off your bike, it’s not going to scratch or break and the design reflects this – it’s simple and robust.

Polar Grit X review: battery life

Most important for us outdoor types is battery life, as the more our watches let us explore without having to worry about a charging lead and power output, the happier we are. Even with all features activated expect 40 hours of tracking – take this up to 100 hours if power save is on.

polar grit x review

(Image credit: Polar)

Polar Grit X review: training features

The Polar Grit X has some really nice additional features. One is Hill Splitter, and as a hill runner I love this feature. You’re getting much more specific uphill and downhill stats. When you run with another athlete and take on the same vertical but both end up with completely different elevation on Strava, you will know that your stats are right, theirs are wrong. This feature gives you a display of distance, elevation and speed while you’re on the move. It also ranks you as the watch automatically detects hill segments. 

To make the most of the route planner you will need to download the Komoot app, then you can use this to transfer a GPX file on to your watch to plan your route. It’s a simple swipe on the Komoot setting to connect your accounts, granting you access to routes from other users. There’s turn by turn instructions, as well as  overview of your session when you finish. Having a compass and altimeter are also handy extras. 

Watches are trying to ‘coach’ us more, but not just in training, and a really cool extra is the FuelWise Smart Fuelling assistant. This watch is going to nudge you to rehydrate with a notification, such as ‘drink – take on 10g of carbs’ reducing the chances of you bonking due to being so in the zone that you forget to refuel in longer sessions and races. You can set reminders to take on water and nutrition specific to your health and weight and the intensity of the work you’re doing. 

polar grit x review

(Image credit: Polar)

Polar Grit X review: recovery features

Post training you can see your stats, from your basic plus HR data including your cardio load, showing you how much your cardio system has worked, as well as your heart rate zones showing how much time you’ve spent in each, energy used, pace and power stats. It’s a gold mine. The FitSpark feature will generate personalised training guidance and workouts, relevant to your training history and recovery.  

Talking of recovery, it’s vital to performance, so you can dip in to the Nightly Recharge feature to look at how you are doing, with Sleep Plus adding essential extra insights into sleep quality and length, and body stress. If you’ve had alcohol you can see the stress it puts your body under; there’s no hiding from this feature. Being used to wearing the Garmin Forerunner 945 at night this watch is a little bigger/heavier, but is wearable 24/7, even on a petite wrist.

And even though this watch has been pushed as offering all the features an outdoor enthusiast needs, there are multiple sport modes available for indoor indoor activities, over 130 in total. In fact, most sport features you find in other Polar watches, such as the excellent Polar Vantage M2, can be found on the Grit X too.

It’s the extras that give so much more depth to wrist-based coaching, and I loved the Serene feature, giving you guided breathing exercises that you can just stop and do for a couple of minutes, any-time, any-where, to regain calm.

polar grit x review

(Image credit: Polar)

Polar Grit X review: verdict

Packed full of features, this watch still only weighs 64g. It’s easy to navigate with touchscreen options. Having an hour by hour weather forecast is just one click away, with weather icons on the screen showing  you what to expect. This means the need to take your phone when you’re training is reduced even more. All this watch needs is a camera so you can snap your shots, and then the days of running with a phone will be gone.

You get so much more than training stats with sleep insights, recovery suggestions, workouts (tiny figures animate how to do each exercise) and wellbeing. You even get WeatherWatch, so essential for trails, hills and mountains where micro-climates are always changing. All of this is backed up with even greater insights in the Polar Flow app, so whether you’re a tech-head or mindful runner it’s a brilliant buy.

Polar Grit X review: also consider

The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro further refines the formula already tried and tested in the Garmin Fenix 5 series. With increased battery life, bigger screen and better menu system, the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro is certainly one of the best outdoor watches on the market today. It might be a bit of an overkill for some.

The COROS Vertix might not be cheaper than the Grit X (as a matter of fact, it's way more expensive) but it feels extra rugged yet stylish, has great battery life, plenty of sport profiles, as well as good enough GPS and heart rate sensor. What not to love here?

Tina Chantrey

Tina is fitness editor for Women’s Running magazine and published two books in 2020, The Little Book of Zen and Reflexology: Your Personal Guide. She is a UKA running coach, England Athletics Mental Health Champion and has her own running group, #runTLC. Follow her on Instagram @runtlc.uk