Our look at multisport watches continues today with an outdoor-oriented watch from multisport-wrist giant Polar that combines lots of smartwatch features with excellent training tools.
Our Sports Watch reviews in this series include:
After a few years without a new multisport watch, Polar has been busy over the last few years. A couple of years ago we saw the launch of the Vantage V, which remains a premium multi-sport option for triathletes. Then, earlier this year, Polar launched the Grit X, which the company dubs as an “outdoor multisport watch,” but still offers lots of features that will be attractive to triathletes, especially those who like to hit the trails. At the beginning of the summer Polar launched the new Unite fitness watch, too.
Polar has been a staple in the wearable fitness world for over 40 years now. and that legacy is obvious with the Grit X, especially when it comes to heart rate measurement. Using Polar’s Precision Prime sensor fusion technology you get accurate heart rate info from the wrist sensor. That HR data is continuous, so the watch provides info on what your heart is doing all day long, even while sleeping.
Designed to endure even the toughest of conditions, it features 100 m water resistance and military-grade durability, but the engineers at Polar have somehow managed to keep the weight of the Grit X down to just 64 g. Like the Vantage V, the Grit X’s multisport capabilities are impressive – it supports over 130 different sports.
Getting around the Grit X is a breeze thanks to the generous-sized touchscreen. While you can easily navigate around with the five different buttons, even in wet conditions the touchscreen worked really well.
Triathletes will like the swimming features that include the wrist-based HR info, distance, pace, strokes and rest times. Polar was one of the first companies to utilize Bluetooth connectivity for power meters, so, in addition to the regular speed and distance data there are options to get power and cadence info. (You can get a speed sensor for your bike, too, for those times when GPS isn’t available.) For those who like to gun after KOM titles, Strava Live Segments provides real-time data on while biking and running.
Other running features are extensive. Of course there are all the standards like distance, pace, time, altitude and the like. You also have some high-end training monitoring capabilities, including the ability to estimate your running VO2 max and running power measurement (you don’t need a separate foot pod) so you can keep track of your workout intensity. You can upload routes to the watch, too, which will provide turn-by-turn guidance along trails or roads.
The Grit X also offers a new feature called Hill Splitter, which keeps track of your elevation in real time during a run and can help you pace yourself accordingly for long climbing and descending efforts. The FuelWise assistant uses your activity history to help you keep track of your nutrition needs during long efforts, too, and the Grit X will even analyze your energy usage by carbs, proteins and fats. The FitSpark training guide provide workouts based on your training history and current state of recovery.
Tracking data is a breeze thanks to the easy connectivity to Polar Flow, an app and web service that syncs with the watch and makes it easy to post workouts to TrainingPeaks and Strava.
Polar hasn’t loaded as many smartwatch features into the Grit X as you might find in other watches, but they’ve done an amazing job with the basics that most athletes will look for. You can pair the watch to your phone through Bluetooth to get notifications. The weather forecast feature provides detailed weather info and a two-day look at what’s ahead.
Surprisingly, despite all this watch does, battery life is an impressive 40 hours with GPS, and you can extend that through power saving features to a whopping 100 hours if need be.
While all that potential info might seem overwhelming, in real life the Grit X is nice because you’ll feel like you’re getting lots out this watch even if you don’t keep track of your VO2 max or utilize the FitSpark training guide because you have your own training program. The interface is really intuitive and you’ll quickly and easily set things up to track swim, bike and run workouts. For those looking for notifications, that set up is a breeze and the weather info on the watch is an excellent feature.
Triathletes with a love of trail running and other outdoor interests will want to have a good look at the Grit X – it truly is a multisport watch with a flair for the outdoors that will has enough features to keep even the most demanding techies happy.