It might be the cheapest watch in the Coros sports watch family, but the Pace 2 offers the best all-round experience for the money and is a great option for runners, swimmers, cyclists or triathletes that want a strong tracking experience, solid battery life all wrapped up in a workout-friendly design.
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In a sports watch world that’s dominated by Garmin and Polar, Coros has come along in recent years to shake things up. It all started with the Pace and with the Coros Pace 2, it’s offering something that’s going to appeal to runners, swimmers, cyclists and even triathletes that don’t want to spend big on something to track that multi-discipline time.
While the first Pace felt like a Garmin clone, its successor offers a more unique design, the promise of improved tracking and training analysis all while offering strong third party app support and battery life that can last for weeks as opposed to days.
It might miss out on desirable features like navigation support and not be rich in smartwatch features, but what is there makes it a pretty formidable option for anyone that doesn’t want to break the bank for a great sports watch.
Design & build
42mm case only
Silicone and nylon band options
The Coros Pace 2 looks markedly different to the original Pace not just in look but also in stature as well. Coros has dropped from a 43mm case down to a smaller 42mm one. It’s still all polymer, but when paired up with the lighter nylon strap it weighs in around 29g-30g, making it lighter than the similarly priced Garmin Forerunner 55 (37g).
The strap paired up with that polymer case are 20mm sized ones, which use a pin mechanism to make removing them a quick process. Whether you go with the silicone or nylon strap option, the price on the Pace 2 remains the same. If you opt for silicone, you’ll get three case colour options instead of the two you get going nylon. The silicone strap option gets you blue steel, navy or white looks, while the nylon gets you just the navy (pictured) and white options.
When it comes to interacting with the watch, Coros has ditched the four physical button setup from the first Pace for its now more familiar single button and twisting dial button combination. That dial lets you scroll through screens emitting a small haptic vibration as you twist it. The sole physical button is your way to go back a screen, jump into the quick settings menu and can also activate the backlight. Coros also includes a night mode, which will keep the backlight on during workout tracking if you need that constant illumination to check out those real-time stats.
Front and centre is a 1.2-inch, 240x 240 resolution, always on memory LCD screen with Corning Glass offering some extra protection. It’s not a touchscreen display so you can’t swipe and tap on it, but you do get some colour in menu screens and watch faces, but it’s really all about delivering strong viewing angles in bright outdoor light without hogging too much of the onboard power and that is something the Pace 2 does offer.
Flip the watch over and you’ll find the optical sensor array, which can deliver heart rate, but misses out on the SpO2 monitoring that pricier Coros watches do pack. Beside that is the charging port, where Coros’ proprietary charging cable that looks a lot like a Garmin one, plugs in.
Coros does offer tracking for pool and open water swimming here and you’re getting a design that carries a 5ATM water resistance rating making it safe to be submerged in water up to 50 metres depth.
Fitness and sports tracking
Strong tracking for runs and swims
Good heart rate tracking performance
Companion app not the slickest
Coros watches were designed with triathletes in mind so the company focuses on covering the running, cycling, swimming and triathlon bases first, but also includes tracking support for indoor workouts and other outdoor pursuits that can make it useful outside of those core uses.
Pressing the digital dial button gets you into the workout tracking screen where you can twist to scroll through supported activities. For each activity you’ll have additional settings to tinker with. So for pool swims, you can set up distance and heart rate alerts while runners can set up interval training sessions from the equivalent screen.
The Pace 2 uses a pretty standard accelerometer sensor to track movements for indoor workouts and can look to one of the five big satellite systems to track outdoor activity. It’s a single frequency setup, but with GPS, Glonass, Galileo, Beidou and QZSS systems supported, I found that it picked up a signal quickly and distance tracking and core metrics including pace, elevation, split times on the whole was very reliable against a Garmin watch.
Heart rate monitoring performance was surprisingly solid here too, offering similar average and maximum heart rate readings up against a heart rate monitor chest strap. The small design and good fit seems to help generate those good readings, but it wasn’t immune to the serving up questionable data, mainly when upping the intensity in workouts. Coros does offer the ability to pair external sensors via ANT+ and Bluetooth and I had no problems pairing up a chest strap in my testing.
One thing you’re missing out that runners and outdoor lovers might be disappointed by is the ability to upload routes, view maps or use the watch to navigate your way around a location. This kind of support is offered on the more expensive Coros Apex and Vertix 2 watches, but clearly it’s a feature that was sacrificed on the Pace 2 no doubt to keep the price down.
For training indoors, the Pace 2 dished out reliable data for pool swims and for indoor bike and rowing sessions. A big new addition is the strength training mode, which offers automatic rep counting via the included motion sensors while a muscle heatmap in the Coros companion app offers a reminder of just how much time you’ve spent working on that upper or lower body. It’s not the first watch to offer automatic rep counting, but it definitely felt the most reliable in terms of the tracking accuracy even if it did miss the odd rep here and there. If you wanted something to track that strength training time, the Pace 2 doesn’t do too bad a job.
Beyond tracking, Coros does offer plenty on the training and analysis front. Along with the ability to build workouts and training plans, it also includes new Evolab data insights, which delves into the realms of training effect, training load and assessing fatigue. There’s also running-centric insights like assessing your marathon level, scoring your current running performance level and predict finishing times for 5k, 10k, half marathon and marathon distances. All of these insights are reliant on the tracking and sensor data being reliable and while I’d say pair up a heart rate monitor to get the most reliable insights, features like marathon level and the race predictor felt very in tune with our current training.
With that accelerometer on board Coros does also offer the ability to track daily steps and can monitor sleep as well, breaking down sleep stages in a pretty familiar fashion. You can also monitor heart rate continuously and that includes during that time you go to bed. The activity and sleep tracking data felt good on the whole, though if these are the kind of features you care about, you’ll find richer support and insights on other sports watches and smartwatches.
GoPro and Insta 360 cam control mode
Compatible with Strava and Apple Health
Much like that 24/7 activity tracking, Coros doesn’t go big on smartwatch features, focusing on offering somewhere you can view notifications from your Android phone or iPhone, set alarms, switch up watch faces and use find my phone and watch modes. That’s about it though.
If you own a GoPro or an Insta360 action camera, there is support offered to take control of those action cams from your watch, so Coros is adding the kind of smart functionality it thinks will give it more appeal to outdoor lovers.
The Coros companion smartphone app is where you can really dig into your stats, adjust watch settings further and set up workout and training plans. It isn’t the best-looking app out there, but pretty much does the job when it comes to looking over your stats and changing settings. Data syncs nice and quickly post-workout and if you don’t want to spend much time in the Coros app, you can share that data with a host of other apps. That includes Strava, Apple Health, Training Peaks, Adidas running and Stryd along with support for its external foot pod sensor. Data thankfully syncs quickly to those third party apps too once you’ve set up those connections, which is nice and straightforward to do.
Battery life and charging
20 days in daily use
Strong GPS battery life for the price
Useful battery usage mode
The good news is that if you want a sports watch that you can use to track indoor and outdoor workouts regularly throughout a week, the Pace 2 more than lives up to that and has the capacity to go longer.
It’s improved battery on all fronts on the first Pace, whether that’s in the most accurate tracking mode, using it day-to-day or opting for the UltraMax GPS mode, which widens the GPS sampling interval rate to deliver bigger battery numbers.
There isn’t a worrying drop-off in battery when using it with that top GPS accuracy mode and it takes a small dent for indoor workouts as well. The standby performance is great as well with little seemingly happening in the background to quietly drain the battery. Coros also includes a really useful battery Battery Usage feature that offers estimated battery life based on usage, and can tell you when you last charged the watch along with current battery drop-off since that last charge.
When it comes to charging, Coros has effectively modelled its charging cable on Garmin’s one, which sits securely in the rear of the watch and will get you from 0-100% in under 2 hours. There’s no quick charge feature and while it might not be the snappiest charger, its ability to hold battery in general certainly makes up for it.
Price and availability
The Coros Pace 2 might not be the most budget multisports watch option, but at $199/£179, it still sits at the very affordable end of the market and comes in cheaper than a lot of watches from rivals Garmin and Polar.
To put things into perspective, the entry level Garmin Forerunner 55 is priced at $199.99/£149.99 while the Polar Pacer comes in at $199.95/£169.50. So it’s in and amongst Polar and Garmin’s cheapest new sports watches.
The Coros Pace 2 is a multisport watch that offers great features for the price. Runners might be the key focus here, but it’s a watch that will also serve swimmers, cyclists and triathletes well and even covers indoor activities like strength training well too.
Crucially, it tracks those activities reliably and gives you the option to improve that accuracy by pairing up external sensors. The big thing missing here is any sort of navigation and mapping support, which you will get on pricier Coros watches, but if you can live without them, it’s a comprehensive sports tracking experience overall.
It isn’t a watch you grab for smartwatch features, but it does make sure you can fire off your data off to big name third party apps instead, which means you can spend less time in a companion app that still feels like a work in progress.
While it’s slightly more expensive than Garmin’s very impressive Forerunner 55, the extra money you’re paying for the Pace 2 gets you more in both sports tracking and battery departments.