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Coros Pace 2 Review

A fully functional and incredibly light GPS sports watch boasting out of this world battery life
Coros Pace 2
Photo: REI Co-op
Best Buy Award
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Price:  $200 List | $199.99 at Amazon
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Low profile design, exceptional battery life, very accurate, low cost
Cons:  No mountain sports or navigational features
Manufacturer:   Coros
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 18, 2021
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80
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#4 of 12
  • Features - 20% 5
  • Battery Life - 20% 8
  • Ease of Use - 20% 9
  • Accuracy - 20% 9
  • Design - 20% 9

Our Verdict

The Coros Pace 2 is the best deal you'll find on the watch market these days. It features a lightweight design (only 1.2 oz), excellent 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. It doesn't have any navigational features or mountain sports profiles (i.e., no snow sports or trail run tracking), but if you wanted to use it for those purposes, you could easily do it in GPS mode. This comes highly recommended for anybody looking for an excellent deal.

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Pros Low profile design, exceptional battery life, very accurate, low costLightweight and thin profile, intuitive, fully featured, very accurateExcellent quality, accurate, simple design, astounding value, very easy to use, great feature set, very long battery lifeBest features tested, excellent storage, easy to use, very durable design, excellent integrations, accurate, great battery lifeLightweight and compact design, storage for 500 songs, great features, easy to use
Cons No mountain sports or navigational featuresExpensive, hidden features that take time to set-up and get to know, blood oxygen sensor has questionable accuracyBacklight isn't bright, heart rate monitor accuracy is a little offHeavy and bulky, expensiveShort battery life with music, long uploads for music, bluetooth connection with headphones is subpar
Bottom Line A fully functional and incredibly light GPS sports watch boasting out of this world battery lifeThis elite watch stands out for its high-end features that boast exceptional accuracy and performance in a low profile designA well-constructed and accurate watch with a minimalistic design, excellent battery life, and all the right featuresIf you just can't get enough of data, features, and cool integrations, this watch has it allThis lightweight contender packs in extensive features including music storage and touchless payment
Rating Categories Coros Pace 2 Garmin Forerunner 945 Coros Apex Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Garmin Forerunner 645 Music
Features (20%)
5
9
6
10
8
Battery Life (20%)
8
9
9
9
6
Ease Of Use (20%)
9
8
9
8
8
Accuracy (20%)
9
8
9
8
9
Design (20%)
9
9
9
6
8
Specs Coros Pace 2 Garmin Forerunner... Coros Apex Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Garmin Forerunner...
Model Tested N/A N/A Standard Standard Music
Watch Face Material Corning glass Corning Gorilla Glass DX Sapphire glass Corning Gorilla Glass DX or sapphire crystal Corning Gorilla Glass 3
Bezel Fiber reinforced polymer Fiber-reinforced polymer Stainless steel bezel Stainless steel or diamond-like carbon coated steel Stainless steel
Case Fiber reinforced polymer Fiber-reinforced polymer Alumnium Fiber-reinforced polymer with metal rear cover Polymer
Strap Material Silicon or nylon Silicon Silicon or nylon Silicone, leather, titanium or nylon Silicone
Tools Required to Change Band? No Yes No Yes No
Size Tested One size only One size only 44 mm 47mm One size only
Measured Main Body Size (diameter or W x H) 43mm 46mm 44mm 47mm 42mm
Measured Thickness 11mm 13mm 13mm 14mm 12mm
Measured Screen Width 32mm 30mm 33mm 33mm 29mm
Measured Weight 1.2 oz 1.7 oz 1.7 oz 2.8 oz 1.5 oz
Measured Charging Time 80 min 75 min 70 min 110 min 75 min
Battery Type Rechargable lithium ion Rechargable lithium ion Rechargable lithium ion Rechargable lithium ion Rechargable lithium ion
Measured Battery Life With GPS On 38 hours 46 hours 31 hours 39 hours 12 hours
Manufacturer-Reported Battery Life Smartwatch Mode: 20 days
GPS: 30 hours
Ultramax Mode: 60 hours
Smartwatch Mode: Up to 14 days
GPS mode w/ Music: 10 hours
GPS without music: 36 hours
Smartwatch Mode: 25 days
25 hours Hours in Full GPS Mode
80 hours in UltraMax GPS Mode
Smartwatch Mode: Up to 14 days
Battery Saver Watch Mode: Up to 48 days
GPS: Up to 36 hours
GPS + Music: Up to 10 hours
Max Battery GPS Mode: Up to 72 hours
Expedition GPS Activity: Up to 28 days
Smartwatch Mode: Up to 7 days
GPS mode with music: Up to 5 hours
GPS mode without music: Up to 14 hours
Navigation Built In? No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Satellite Networks Used GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, BEIDOU GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, BEIDOU GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO
Maps? No Yes, detailed Yes - basic Yes - detailed Yes - basic
Back to Start Navigation? No Yes Yes Yes Yes
Water Resistance (max depth) 50m 50m 100m 100m 50m
Music Control? No Yes No Yes Yes
Music Storage? No Yes - 1000 songs No Yes - 2000 songs Yes - 500 songs
Daily Fitness Tracking? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Touchless Payment? No Yes No Yes Yes
Sleep Tracking? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Blood Oxygen? No Yes No Yes No
Compass? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Barometric Altimeter? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Temperature Sensor? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Main Software App Coros Garmin Connect, widgets for other features Coros App Garmin Connect, widgets for other features 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 Iron Man distance or you've just gotten into working out, this easy-to-use watch has all that you need. The low cost is the biggest selling point, with more features and sleek design points than other contenders at the same price point.

What's new with the Coros Pace 2?
We took a look at the new features found in the Pace 2 versus the original Pace. Here is what to look forward to:
  • Lighter weight (only 1.2 ounces)
  • 1.5x more powerful processor
  • 5x more RAM
  • 4x more storage
  • New digital dial replaces the use of buttons
  • 20% increase in battery life (30 hours in GPS mode, 20 days of smartwatch use)
  • Light is always on during workouts making the display more clear
  • New nylon band
  • New flatwater mode
  • New strength training program (with heatmap technology)
  • New run track mode (best track accuracy so far)
  • Pre-designed workouts for upload

Performance Comparison


The Coros Pace 2 offers the best value of any watch in this review...
The Coros Pace 2 offers the best value of any watch in this review. It boasts over 30 hours of GPS battery life with excellent accuracy and an easy to use interface.
Photo: Amber King

Features


This watch is made for anyone that loves to engage in activities like swimming, running, hiking, and cycling. It omits some activity profiles and offers just the right amount of options for most sports. It's not a feature-packed option which makes it less expensive than the rest while still boasting excellent battery life.


The Pace 2 comes with 14 activity profiles built-in (that we found on our watch) with the option to customize through the Coros app. Its geared towards athletes that are less engaged with mountain sports (i.e., no skiing or trail running profiles are found) and more focused on activities like running, swimming, track training, and more. The activities are more generalized, with the ability to optimize them through the settings.

One unique feature is the track accuracy system that smooths outlines on the track to give you an accurate distance, which other software platforms lack. You start it in the lane you intend to run, giving you a more detailed and accurate overview of your track running experience. Each profile is a little different, providing you with essential data such as distance traveled, pace, time, lap times, intervals, and more. Elevation profiles and a simple track of your location will be found in the activity profile on the app after your activity.

We can appreciate the barometric altimeter which makes it a good...
We can appreciate the barometric altimeter which makes it a good option for any activity in the mountains, even though there aren't profiles specific for it.
Photo: Amber King

Navigational features are not found on this watch. No breadcrumb trails, trackback to start features, or the ability to upload maps. It does, however, come with a compass and barometric altimeter, which will help you determine your relative location. Still, we would recommend a phone app or map and compass if you're looking for navigational capabilities.

The Coros app isn't as complex or integrated as the Garmin or Suunto apps and lacks an ecosystem for sharing activities. It does, however, integrate easily with many other workout ecosystems such as Strava. You can customize training plans, easily review workout data, export tracks in several formats, and regulate notification settings in the app as well.

The barometer is a handy feature for weather prediction and storm...
The barometer is a handy feature for weather prediction and storm tracking.
Photo: Amber King

Finally, it 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 option 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 that you need for your data and performance tracking needs. Overall, this watch has all the features you need to perform most outdoor activities. For any flatlander, gym goer, and most endurance athletes, it's a great choice.

Notable Features:

  • Several sport 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 Coro's watches, check out the features list.

Battery Life


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). Coros claims it will run for 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 a lot of battery saver options (i.e., you can't turn off the backlight). It does, however, give you a look at the battery usage and a graph if you're curious about battery life trends.


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, 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.

On a longer run in the desert, this was a perfect partner. The band...
On a longer run in the desert, this was a perfect partner. The band is nice and airy and the battery life almost seems to last forever. Here our main tester explores the backcountry trails of Moab, Utah while wearing the Pace 2.
Photo: Amber King

We took this watch on several GPS outings, including 20-mile runs. The battery life wasn't noticeably drained after 3-4 hours of activity, which we thought was very impressive. While it does have UltraMax mode, know that you will not get data that is accurate as GPS pings are lowered with the watch deciding when to log information. Overall, battery life is exceptional and one of the best for the price.

Ease of Use


We think this is one of the easiest watches to use on the market. We never had to scour the internet to figure out basic features and all the extras are easy to figure out. The setup is self-prompted and only took about four minutes to learn about the buttons and basic functionality. The app is also easy to use and syncs flawlessly without any notable glitching or issues during our time testing over the last few months.


The easy-to-use design of the Pace 2 hinges on a minimal number of buttons and dials. It has only one turn dial at the top right and a push button on the bottom right. To see your fitness details (i.e., daily calories burned, steps, activity time, heart rate) and location information (i.e., current and past elevation profile, barometric pressure, temperature, sunrise/sunset), simply scroll down. To head back, push the lower button on the right. To see other settings such as the battery, satellite information, timers, and alarms, hold down the lower button. You can also access system settings here. This is one of the easiest menu interfaces that we've come across.

We love the simplicity of a single push dial and a single button...
We love the simplicity of a single push dial and a single button. The Coros Pace 2 is one of the easiest watches to figure out without any experience. Plus it syncs seamlessly with the software.
Photo: Amber King

To start an activity, press the scrolling button to see your choices. Select the activity of choice, then select start. If using GPS or heart rate data, it will prompt you to wait until the watch has acquired a signal. For GPS, this always took less than 10 seconds when outdoors with a good signal. Even in a poor signal zone, it never took more than 20 seconds. You can see signal strength clearly on this screen. If you don't want to wait, simply press start.

A look at the clear and bright screen and the simple fitness options.
A look at the clear and bright screen and the simple fitness options.
Photo: Amber King

For each activity, you also have the choice to optimize settings. You can turn on/off activity alerts (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 quite easy to find.

With the backlight automatically on, you can easily track your activity while night running without having to press a button to turn it on. The screen is bright and ease to see. We appreciate that the display is crisp and that there is the ability to customize the background color.

Prior to starting an activity, the watch shows the level of GPS...
Prior to starting an activity, the watch shows the level of GPS strength and grabs a heart rate. This never took very long to acquire, even in areas of poor coverage.
Photo: Amber King

One gripe that some users have expressed is the learning curve for the rolling dial. We like how large and easy the dial is to use, but some of our testers expressed that it can be difficult to use while exercising. You can turn the auto lock on and off for the dial, but we don't recommend this as the push on the dial will stop and start an activity.

The software and app are also incredibly easy to navigate. We appreciate the use of icons that makes the app more user-friendly. Unlike the Suunto and Garmin apps that have their own dedicated ecosystems, Coros does not. They only have the activity data, watch information, calendars, and other information pertinent to optimizations. Activities from the past are easy to find, and we've never had any problems with syncing or glitches. Finally, the software updates seem to be flawless, introducing new additions with seamless integration. Overall, this is a high-quality software platform.

Accuracy


The accuracy of the Coros Pace 2 is excellent and above average. GPS accuracy always seemed to be right on the nose. While the heart rate monitor wasn't always right on, it's pretty close and had a lower range of variability in our tests than most both while exercising and sitting still.


We tested the accuracy of the GPS receiver by traveling a known distance and comparing it to what was tracked. We tested on a 10.8-mile bike ride on an open road trail that also goes through a canyon (where GPS signal is variable), in addition to many other trail runs and swimming tests. During our bike ride, we measured exactly 10.8 miles (showing 100% accuracy) with an elevation estimate that was off by just 100 feet. The calories burned seemed a little low (only 32 kcal for a one-hour ride?) with speed data that seemed to be pretty accurate. Looking at the map track after the ride, the line hardly deviated from the path, with a sufficient number of data points to keep a very smooth track of the activity.

Here's a look at our track during our bike ride into town. As you...
Here's a look at our track during our bike ride into town. As you can see, the line follows the road almost perfectly and actually tracked the side of the road we switched over to. Overall, we are impressed with the accuracy.
Photo: Amber King

We 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 the size of the wrist. Overall, it offers above accuracy in all areas, but if you need to monitor your heart rate precisely, invest in a dedicated monitor.

A look at the heart rate monitor.
A look at the heart rate monitor.
Photo: Amber King

Design


We love the lightweight and airy design of this contender. At only 1.2 oz, it's the lightest fully functional GPS watches tested, with it hardly feeling like it's on the wrist. The watch face is large enough to easily see font and text during activities, even in bright and low light, with a crisp screen. The dial and one-button design are simple, but the dial may not be the first choice for the button lovers out there.


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 remain unscratched and still look like new after months of use. We also appreciate the quick release on the band that makes changing it out a breeze. The band is quite light and airy, with lots of eyelets to adjust for even the smallest of wrists. Overall, this is a well-thought-out design without any caveats that we can see.

Simple, lightweight, and a clear display. What more could you ask for?
Simple, lightweight, and a clear display. What more could you ask for?
Photo: Amber King

Value


Of all the watches on the market, this offers the best value we've encountered so far. It has most of the same features as many high-end alternatives that cost almost twice as much or more. While it doesn't have any mountain profiles or other super fancy features, it still offers all the same data tracking in a more simplistic design.

Conclusion


The Coros Pace 2 is packed with activity profiles and is an excellent choice for those training for an Iron Man, hitting the gym regularly, or going for their next distance goal. The extensive battery life is attractive for ultra athletes, while the user-friendly design caters to any user. This is an excellent choice for most athletes; it doesn't have any mountain-specific or winter profiles, but regular GPS mode can be used for these activities.

Eddie enjoys the use of the Coros Pace 2 for trail runs and distance...
Eddie enjoys the use of the Coros Pace 2 for trail runs and distance training.
Photo: Amber King

Amber King