I was excited to try the Coros Pace 2. It’s my second type of Coros, and I was an early adopter of the Coros Apex. In early 2019, not many people had heard of Coros. Back then, Garmin was king, and few things could compete with it. That’s no longer the case, and Coro’s watches are cheaper and many have more features. But cheaper with more features doesn’t necessarily make them better. Are Coros watches good?
What makes the Coros Pace 2 Great?
- It’s the lightest GPS watch in the world (29 grams)
- Includes features such as native running power with no extra accessories
- Night workout mode (not that I need that, LOL)
- Inexpensive: $199
Coros Pace 2 Intro:
The Coros Pace 2 has features of higher-ended watches without the price. You can use modes such as ski, run, and track run, trail run. Coros has opted to allow older units to have the same software as the hardware. This means if Coros updates the Coros Pace 2 to the Pace 3, the Pace 2 will still have the same updates.
What is new with the Coros Pace 2?
I never ran in the original Pace, but there have been some significant updates. Coros has reduced the weight from 48 grams to 29 grams (this is HUGE), and the Coros Pace 2 has become the lightest GPS watch on the market.
- Processor capabilities are 1.5x faster.
- Storage capacity increased from 16 MB to 64 MB
- Addition of running power without the need for an accessory
- Addition of stryd running power support
- Better running platform metrics
- New training plans
- Added “running power” targets to structured workouts
- Night Mode: Enables blacklight during activities in the dark
- Increased battery life from 25 hours to 30 hours of GPS and 50 to 60 hours in UltraMax mode
- Addition of quick-release bands
- Watch face now has four buttons and a digital dial
- Watch size decreased to 42 but screen size remained somewhat the same
- Still a full multisport watch with triathlon mode
- Supports external sensors including ANT+ and Bluetooth
- Training plan with structured workouts
- Barometric altimeter
- Water-resistance at 5 ATM
Unpacking the Coros Pace 2:
There is nothing extra with the Coros Pace 2 which doesn’t come with a sweet box. It’s a simple watch box. It also doesn’t need it, because really who cares about packaging. Sorry, I don’t care if the packaging is bland as long as what is inside is good.
Basic Features of the Coros Pace 2:
We that get GPS watches are just watches. Can they tell the time? Does anyone use GPS watches to tell time anymore?
Buttons: Unlike the original Pace with five buttons, the Coros Pace 2 has 2.5 buttons. There is a button on the lower right and a dial on the upper right crown. You use the dial to go through the menus, but it can also be pressed. Rotating the crown will give you daily metrics such as calories, steps, and stairs. The stats are even graphed over the last 6 hours. You can also access data such as your heart rate, altitude, barometric pressure, temperature, and even sunrise and sunset. There is plenty of data to scroll through.
Screen: The Coros Pace 2 is a not-a-touch screen. I’ve never been a fan of touch screen GPS watches because I think sometimes they mess up or can be accidentally paused during a workout. You can also change the watch face to whatever looks best for you. I prefer having the time of day, steps, and heart rate.
Battery: One of the huge draws to the Coros Pace 2 Watch (and any Coros watch) is the battery life. Coros even provides many details about what features use most of your battery. The Coros Pace 2 has roughly 20 days of battery life and 24 hours of GPS data. The battery life of Coros is what sold me at first anyway because I often forget to charge my watch the number of times I’ve started a run on less than 5% of the battery is probably record-setting. In fact, typing this review made me remember I need to charge my Pace 2.
Sleep Data: I don’t think any GPS watch is accurate with sleep and GPS data. The start and stop sleep times are pretty precise in the Coros Pace 2 watch, but I think the middle of the night can not be as accurate. I’ve found this with every GPS watch. For the most part, I don’t sleep with a watch anyway because I’ve found the data to be so skewed and my body knows either I’m sleeping or not.
Resting Heart Rate: You can specify if you want an every 10 minutes heart rate or a 24X7 heart rate (all day every day). Both are faily accurate. Choosing every 10 minutes is going to use less battery life and if you sit at a desk for hours (like me), it might be beneficial.
Watch Settings: There are a ton of different watch settings you can choose,e and you can customize them to your watch how you feel. You can also allow certain apps to send you notifications or none. I don’t want anything coming to my watch, so I have them all turned off. But you can allow certain ones such as Twitter, Instagram, text, etc.
What does the Coros 2 Pace Watch lack?
It doesn’t have music, 3rd party apps, or NFC payments.
Coros 2 Sport Settings:
Most people want a Coros Pace 2 GPS watch for sports settings. What good is a GPS watch if you can’t use it for workouts? The Coros Pace 2 does have all the core functions you want in a running, swimming, biking, and triathlon watch. It also has a lot more.
How to start a workout: To create an activity on the Coros Pace 2, you’re going to tap the right button and open the menu. From there you can choose what sport you are doing. Running? Cycling? Pool? Tri and strength training? Gym cardio? GPS cardio? You can also set up a training plan if you prefer.
Once your start your GPS, you’ll see heart rate, GPS, and battery. When the heart and GPS icon stays lit, you’re connected and good to go. It’s easy to just want to “go” before letting it sync. Don’t because like any GPS watch, you will miss some of your run. You can update the settings as you prefer, including the minor locations and distance alerts.
During the workout: You can go through the data pages using the digital crown, but there is no live tracking. The upper right button acts as the start/stop button, and the lower right button is the lap function (but you can also choose auto lap). With any watch digital crown design, I’ve noticed it’s hard to use with gloves.
Once you’re done with the watch, you stop and save. Then you’ll get a bunch of graphs and a summary screen. It is a more detailed graph than Garmin. They also give recovery scores that you can use to see when you’re best recovered. After that, your Coros Pace 2 data syncs to the after app. The app is easy to use and there are plenty of features. You can see your running map, etc.
But: another con is there is no web-based Coros app. It’s all done on your phone.
Some other modes besides “Run”:
Swimming: I had no issues with it calculating laps for swimming in the pool or open water. I waited for it to count GPS and then went. I also used it for an open water swim and it did pretty well there. You have to lift your arm out of the water constantly (which means if you do breaststroke for 1000 meters, you might have an issue).
Track Mode: Admittedly, I am not a massive track mode user, and didn’t start using track mode until recently. Despite knowing “how good” the track mode is, I often just use the regular run mode…which has also been fine for me. The Coros Pace 2 (and Coro’s watches) do the track better than any other GPS watch.
How does the Coros Track Mode work? It configures your watch to the shape of the track and a specific lane. Then it makes certain distances round numbers like 400 meters, 800, etc. Track Mode is a separate workout like running, trail running, swimming, etc. Once you initiate it, all you have to do is run. Typically it takes 1-2 laps before it completely calibrates, but it will give you a notification that the track is recognized.
You can also change the lane, but you’d have to only be in that lane (you couldn’t alternate lanes 1 to 2 and back to 1, etc. That can become a problem when I share the track with military PT and find myself on several streets. After you finish, you’ll notice how nice your map of the track workout details are. It is not 100% perfect, but much better than any competitor.
I had no idea what the UltraMax feature was, but it increases the battery life. It turns GPS tracking into 30 seconds every 2 minutes. It will still track pace, distance, etc., and buses use less power. This makes the GPS watch last substantially better. I am not running extreme or ultra-long races, so I haven’t needed this.
First, what is running power? Power is the rate of effort used in the running. For instance, running uses more power than walking. Running uphill at the same pace as a flat terrain requires more uphill. Running power helps determine workout intensity and is a great tool to measure your training. You calculate your power against various workouts, and while the hill pace might be different, the power and effort might be the same.
There isn’t a standard for measuring running and power, and many watches do it differently. One of the updates in the Coros Pace 2 is measuring running power natively. This means they’ve also stepped up their support. You can also connect to the Coros Pod or Stryd.
What does Coros Pace 2 Running Power measure? It will give you ground Contact, L/R Balance, and more details. If you are looking for the primary metric of running power, you don’t need a pod. I’ve noticed the Coros Pace 2 is pretty accurate in measuring running power. Sometimes the data is a little slow or lagging, but typically, it’s correct. Of any watch to track running power, the Coros Pace 2 does it the best.
Coros 2 Training Plans:
The second prominent new feature in the Coros Pace 2 GPS watch are the Training Plans. Training plans allow you to create and share your plan. I like the idea of being able to share your plan too; I don’t know of other watches that make it that easy. You can even communicate with a QR code.
You’ll go into settings and select training plans. Click add plan and create a strategy. Once you’ve begun a program, you can add already made workouts for running, cycling, swimming, and strength. You can add simple activities or complex. Then sync it to your watch, and you are good to go. You’ll go to the training plan menu instead of the sport you do to start the training plan. One negative is you can only have one training plan. This is a negative, especially if you want to do multiple sports training plans. For instance maybe you want to follow a running training plan and a swimming training plan. For now, you can only have one on your Coros Pace 2. But in all, it’s been great, and it’s easy to use.
Coros Pace 2 GPS and Heart Rate:
Is there anything more important in a running watch than GPS? . Maybe…maybe not. In short, no GPS watch is perfect, but the Coros Pace 2 does a good job.
How accurate is the Coros Pace 2 GPS? I’ve found it’s been reasonably precise for most races and distances. If you zoom into maps, you can see it follows the route for the most part. A few times, my Coros Pace 2 has logged me as running in a giant body of water. It starts to get finicky if you stop for whatever reason (say, the bathroom or block light). It occasionally takes a little bit to come back. I usually let it sync back up for 5-10 seconds before running again. If you stop five times on a run, it can be enough to make .1-.2 of a difference (it logs that much less and connects to satellite). I’ve had this experience with a few Coros watches. That’s fairly nitpicky though and for the most part the Coros Pace 2 is one of the most accurate GPS running watches.
GPS in Different Running Modes: The Coros Pace 2 and all Coros watches shine with trail and track runs. They have unique settings, and I’ve found them to be much more accurate.
The Track: As mentioned above, in track mode, you can set it for different lanes and it’s been highly accurate.
On Trails: It’s more likely to follow the exact path and figure out where you’ve run.
The wrist-based heart rate of the Coros Pace 2 is decently accurate. Chest straps will always be the most accurate; the Coros Pace 2wrist-based works well. Sometimes it does take the Coros Pace 2 some time to warm you, but for the most part, I’ve found it to be accurate. I don’t always pay attention to heart rate but it does read fairly well during hard workouts as well as resting heart rate.
This is the only significant flaw I’ve found in the Coros Pace 2 and any Coros watch. I’ve seen the Coros elevation overestimate on about 50% of runs. Sometimes I’ve found while doing a track workout; that, it’s said, I’ve run 400 feet of elevation gain. Realistically, I’ve run 100 feet with a warmup.
The elevation recording is more accurate on roads, but sometimes, it’s overestimated elevation for 100 feet or more. I usually change my elevation gain to whatever the Strava default says to get around this. While Strava is not perfectly accurate, it’s usually more accurate than Coros. That’s not to say Coro’s elevation is a dud. 50% of the time, it measures within 20 feet—the other 50% overestimates the elevation gain. I have yet to have a run (in probably about 1000 runs) that has underestimated elevation gain.
I’ve used Coros for over three years with several watches, which is usually the case. I’ve used sea level, other conditions, and altitude. I’ve reset all my eyes, used them in their settings, and had this problem. If you run a race and look at other people who ran, you’ll notice Coros watch users usually have more elevation than anyone else despite running the same course. I don’t say this to deter you because this is a fairly easy thing to get around but just something to be aware of.
Coros Pace 2 for Swimming:
As a big swimmer, I alternate between using Form Goggles and Coros Pace 2 for swimming.
Pool Swimming: Coros Pace 2 measures pool laps well. I’ve used it dozens of times for swimming and never had a time it has inaccurately counted.
Open Water Swimming: I’ve also used the Coros Pace 2 for open water swimming,g and it’s pretty accurate. Who knows precisely how far you swim in the ocean, but I’ve found it to be close and I believe correct. For open water swimming, it does indicate you need to lift your arms out of the water often to get an accurate reading. This seems daunting but if you do freestyle, you should be fine. If you swim breaststroke.
Like running, the biking GPS feature is pretty accurate. I don’t use my GPS watch a lot for biking (mainly because I don’t bike much,) but I’ve found it to work well and measure accurately.
Coros Pace 2 Conclusion:
The Coros Pace 2 is one of the best GPS watches out now. It’s cheaper than many competitors but has more features. It isn’t a perfect watch, and I hope Coros gets elevation more accurate, but the GPS is correct, the battery life is incredible, the heart rate is good, and it has a plethora of sports you can do. Overall, I think it’s the best watch for the value. But it’s also just one of the best GPS watches out there.
Coros Pace 2 Pros:
- Cheaper than most GPS watches with more features
- Lightest GPS watch on the market
- Battery life cannot be beat
Coros Pace 2 Cons:
- Inability to have two different training plans at the same time
- Elevation recording can be wonky sometimes
You can see more gear reviews and purchase the Coros Pace 2 here. Using the Code Coros-Hollie gets you a free watch band.
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Questions for you:
Have you tried the Coros Pace 2?
What is your favorite GPS Watch?