Polar Grit X Pro full review
The Polar Grit X Pro is “the toughest Polar watch to date”, according to the Finnish fitness equipment maker, which is pitching its latest multi-sport watch squarely at those who prefer to exercise in the great outdoors.
Featuring scratch-resistant sapphire glass lenses, Polar claims the Grit X Pro is water-resistant up to 100 meters and can work in temperatures between minus 20 degrees and 50 degrees Celsius.
Despite this focus on ruggedness, however, Polar has crammed the Grit X Pro with fitness tracking features designed to suit practically every workout routine; so whether you’re into trail running or more likely to be hitting the treadmill, the Grit X Pro will have something to help you track progress and smash your PBs.
As with other Polar devices, the Grit X Pro is, at its heart, a fitness tracker. While there are nice features like the ability to control music playing on your phone from your wrist, pick up mobile notifications and check the weather, mobile payments aren’t supported, and there’s no smart home integration.
While third-party app support exists, it’s for things like Strava, MyFitnessPal, Adidas Running and Nike Training Club. The Polar Grit X Pro is about tracking your heart rate, monitoring your sleep patterns, and offering you a granular health profile and tailor-made workout recommendations. The Grit X Pro might look like a smartwatch, but really, it’s all about keeping fit and healthy.
Costing £449/US$499.90/AU$749 – or £519/US$599.95/AU$899, if you go for the titanium-clad Titan edition – the Polar Grit X Pro is not cheap, but for your money, you’re being offered a fitness tracker that’ll work in just about any climate, rain or shine, and can be turned towards just about any outdoor activity.
Design & build
- Updated from the original Polar Grit X’s design
- Available in stainless steel and premium titanium versions
- 240x240 1.2-inch circular display with sapphire glass cover
The Polar Grit X Pro is a tough cookie and is primarily sold on durability and features, rather than aesthetics. It’s essentially a refresh of last year’s Polar Grit X which, while not horrible to look at, was a bit on the plain side. This time around, Polar has jazzed things up a little by adding some red and white cardinal and ordinal markings on the bezel.
There are three colour versions of the standard Polar Grit X Pro available, Black DLC (all-black, and the version I was sent) Nordic Copper, (coppery bezel, dark brown strap), and Arctic Gold (gold-coloured bezel, white strap), while the titanium-clad Titan edition features a black and red fluoroelastomer band and perforated leather straps.
Although the standard non-titanium Polar Grit X Pros have stainless steel bezels, the undersides are fashioned from plastic, whereas the Polar Grit X Pro Titan’s body is all-metal. As well as appealing to fitness goths, the Black DLC version also features a “diamond-like” layer of carbon, for extra protection.
While the strap is textured plastic, which has the tendency to both look and feel cheap, that is not the case here. Measuring 47 x 47 x 13mm, the Polar Grit X Pro is thicker than the likes of the Polar Vantage M2 (12.5mm) and Polar Ignite 2 (8.5 mm), which is not the end of the world, it just means that for times when you’re not exercising, some shirt sleeves might not slide over it very easily.
Polar says that the sapphire glass cover for the 240x240 display gives the Grit X Pro extra resilience, and while that may be true, it doesn’t change the fact that the 1.2-inch diameter touchscreen is not terribly responsive. Fortunately, as with the original Grit X, there are physical controls, which cause the Grit X Pro to emit a pleasing confirmatory haptic buzz when pressed. This means you’re not condemned to just flailing away ineffectually at the touchscreen when you’ve just finished a run and you’re all sweaty.
Software & features
- Altimeter, dawn and dusk timer and HR tracker
- Music controls and phone notifications
- Dashboard can be customised to suit your needs
The top and bottom controls on the right cycle through menus and effectively remove the need for you to swipe through menus and watch faces using the touchscreen.
There are a total of 13 watch faces to cycle through on the dashboard, letting you summon a number of menus, including an altimeter and compass, a dusk-dawn timer (useful if you’re not keen on running outside at night), a weather monitor, as well as a general activity monitor, and the HR tracker. Not everything here will be of use to you, but you can pick and choose what you want to appear on the dashboard from the settings.
The large red button in the middle largely acts as a confirmation key, although pressing this button when you’re not browsing menu options will also bring up the Cardio Load Status screen, which tells you how active (or not) you’re being.
Tapping the top right button engages the backlight if you need an at-a-glance view of your heart rate or something mid-workout. Generally, brightness is good enough to not need to do this, but there will be times when it’s either too bright or too dark out for you to be able to do this. Holding down the top right button locks the display, so if you only want to have one thing visible while you’re exercising, or you don’t want to accidentally toggle another setting, then you can lock everything down.
The bottom left button acts as a ‘back’ key in most contexts, but when you’re on the main dashboard, pressing it will call up the main menu, which lets you dive into various training modes, as well as launch things like orthostatic tests, leg recovery tests, and breathing/meditation exercises.
From here you can also set alarms and reminders for things like fueling – if you need to carb load before a big run – and also set up for sync cycling and running routes to Strava Live Segments; if you’re a Strava subscriber. You can also have the Grit X Pro play and control music on your phone if you need to quickly toggle between tracks on your favourite running playlists on Spotify. There’s no capacity to store any music on the device itself, though, unfortunately.
As with the Polar Ignite 2 and Polar Vantage M2, there’s an exhaustive list of sport and training monitoring profiles available: from yoga, cross-training and trail running, to cycling, strength training, and even skiing, as well the more nebulous ‘Other Indoor’, and ‘Other Outdoor’ options, which will record your heart rate, but won’t engage any other features, like GPS recording.
If you are heading out on a run or a bike ride and you want the Grit X Pro to track your exact route, you’ll need to wait a few seconds for the satellite connection to lock in. If you need to take a break in your session for whatever reason, tap the back/menu button and the Grit X Pro will pause the workout; when you’re done, press and hold the same button to finish recording.
Apps & performance
- Polar Flow desktop and mobile apps record your progress
- At-a-glance 'looks' and deep drills on fitness and sleep tracking available
- Can import GPX and TCX files for route planning
Once you’re done exercising, you can sync everything to Polar's Flow software, which you can check from desktop and mobile (iOS, Android) devices.
While the Polar Flow mobile apps are good for syncing workout data and daily sleep data, they’re not as useful as the web-based desktop interface, which gives you a much wider and deeper look at your stats and, crucially, allows you to import routes by uploading GPX and TCX files, like the ones found here. Downloaded routes can be added to your profile by heading to Favourites > Import Route. Otherwise, you can plan runs via third-party services like Komoot and Strava.
When embarking on a run or bike ride, in addition to the Grit X Pro recording your time, distance, and heart rate, it’ll also log your route. In the Polar Flow desktop interface, you can review your routes and save these and export them (as either CSV, TCX, or GPX files) if you wish. In addition to logging your heart rate, data on distance, time, cadence, pace, is recorded and stored.
That’s OK though because you’ll not only need to be wearing the Grit X Pro for at least ten days before the watch has enough data to start sending workout prompts in your direction, all of which gives you plenty of time to get invested in and acquainted with the Polar system.
In addition to tracking your physical exertions, the Polar Grit X Pro is also designed to be worn when you’re sleeping, to get a handle on how well you slept the night before. All this is intended to ensure that FitSpark – Polar’s smart personal training algorithm – recommends appropriate fitness suggestions; there’s no point in FitSpark telling you to go for a two-hour bike ride right after work if you didn’t get a wink of sleep the night before, so it’ll prompt you to do something a little less demanding instead.
As well as allowing FitSpark to get to know your personal routines, you can also review your sleep data, if you’re interested in monitoring that as well. Sleep data is broken down into three main sections: light, deep and REM (with any interruptions in your sleep recorded too).
Polar Flow gives you a lot of data to sift through, and newcomers may well find it baffling. The best approach for people who are full-time Parkrun enthusiasts would be to take it easy, figure out what works for you and ignore the many, many extra features offered to you until you’re ready to make use of them. As the Polar approach is all about figuring out what works best for you, chances are, there will be some features here you’ll never avail yourself of, and that’s fine – just don’t be overwhelmed by the sheer volume of stuff that’s put in front of you.
- 346mAh battery offers seven days of power
- Fully recharges from flat in under two hours
- Only a charging cable is supplied – bring your own brick
Polar says that the Grit X Pro will give you a weeks’ worth of juice off of a single charge, and having tested this out for a couple of weeks now, I can say that this is just about true.
That’s better than Polar's Vantage M2 and the Ignite 2, both of which give you roughly five days of wear per charge respectively, thanks to their 230mAh and 165mAh batteries – the Grit X Pro’s battery is a bit bigger, at 346mAh.
I’m not a huge fitness fanatic, managing three half-hour runs a week, with some extra weight and cardio sessions at home in between. That’s not quite enough for me to say whether or not Polar’s claim of being able to give you 40 hours of battery with constant HR and GPS tracking is true.
What I can say is that for people like me, who observe a relatively light fitness regime, you will easily get around seven days. On the last day of my first week, the Grit X Pro’s battery hit 12% and the watch kept on pleading with me to put it on charge.
Sportier types who rarely leave the gym or the biking trail will almost certainly burn through the battery more quickly than I did, but the good news is that the Grit X Pro charges back up pretty quickly too, so it won’t be off of your wrist for too long.
Using the USB charger and sync cable, a totally depleted Grit X Pro took an hour and 45 minutes to fully recharge from a 2013 MacBook Pro’s USB-A port. If you don’t have time to fully recharge, it’ll get up to around 75% full after one hour, and around 40% full after half an hour. As only a charging cable is supplied, you’ll need to have something to connect to – either a laptop or a mains adapter charging brick – to keep power topped up.
Price & availability
The Polar Grit X Pro is available to buy now and is available directly from Polar’s site.
The official RRPs are £449 for the standard Grit X Pro in black, copper and gold, and £519 for the Grit X Pro Titan titanium version. In the United States, the standard Grit X Pro costs US$499.90, while the Grit X Pro Titan edition comes priced at US$599.95. Buyers in Australia can expect to pay around AU$749 for a Polar Grit X Pro, and AU$899 for a Polar Grit X Pro Titan.
All colour versions of the Polar Grit X Pro can also be snapped up from Amazon UK for a bit less at £439 (at the time of writing), but currently, no Grit X Pro Titans were available from Amazon.
If stock isn’t available on Amazon or you’re after a second option, First Class Watches are also selling the Polar Grit X Pro in all colour variants, and they’re selling Polar Grit X Pro Titan edition as well.
Along with picking up a Grit X Pro direct from Polar, buyers in the US can get all of the main colour variants from Amazon, for $499.95, although the Titan edition is not currently listed.
Buyers in Australia can also get the Polar Grit X Pro from Amazon in all variants, for AU$784.33, except for the Polat Grit X Pro Titan.
The Polar Grit X Pro is a powerful and pliable fitness tracker which can be used to track and augment almost any exercise, and it’s powered by a long-lasting, quick-charging battery.
While it’s great that the Grit X Pro is filled to bursting with features, not everyone will need such a heavy-duty tracker, and so something like the Polar Vantage M2 or the Polar Ignite 2 would be a better option.
Likewise, the Polar Grit X Pro is an exercise assistant, and while you do get some third-party app integration here, support is generally limited to fitness-based services. In other words, it is not a smartwatch. If you’re after one of those, then you might be better off looking at the Apple Watch Series 7 (if you’re an iOS user) or the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Classic (if you’re an Android user) as both of these are smartwatches which feature some fitness tracking features.
But if you’re in the market for a dedicated fitness device, are likely to venture into the great outdoors to exercise and you’re serious about tracking your progress and maximising gains, then you’ll love what the Polar Grit X Pro has to offer.
Polar Grit X Pro: Specs
- 47 x 47 x 13 mm
- Water resistant 100m
- 1.2in LCD screen, Resolution 240x240, 282.84ppi
- Sapphire glass
- 130-190mm/145-215mm fluoroelastomer or perforated leather straps
- A-GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS
- Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE)
- 346 mAh Li-pol battery
- Magnetic charging USB cable
- Typical usage – 40 hours of continuous training time
- Basic watch mode – 7 days
- Supports iOS 13.0 or above, Android ‘Varies with device’
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