Polar Pacer Pro review: a watch option for running

Ergonomics and design

With its 45 x 45 x 11.5 mm case, the Pacer Pro is Polar’s ​​most compact watch. It is also the lightest, weighing only 41 g when its cousins, the Vantage M2 and V2, show 45.5 and 52 g on the scale. This format makes it very pleasing on the wrist and it is easy to forget. Composed of stainless steel, aluminum and fiberglass, the case is declared to be waterproof up to 100 m deep (10 ATM). So it is possible to practice swimming, surfing or even snorkeling. However, the case cannot withstand scuba diving using a bottle. The silicone strap is very nice on the wrist.

The full length Polar Pacer Pro.

The full length Polar Pacer Pro.

Despite its small size, the Pacer Pro offers the same screen format as the Vantage, based on a 1.2-inch MIP (Memory In Pixel) LCD panel and displaying 240 x 240 pixels. The color screen is not touch sensitive, but has automatic or manual backlighting. It can be read in most situations, despite some little reflection here and there.

The back of the Polar Pacer Pro case.

The back of the Polar Pacer Pro case.

Editor's Rating: 3 out of 5

Interface

The interface of this Pacer Pro is very similar to other Polar models. Regulars of the brand can easily find their bearings. We are staying here with a non-touch navigation with five buttons: one to activate and deactivate the backlight, one second to return, a third to validate the options and the last two to navigate up and down. Keep in mind that Garmin users will also not be confused by this interface which is ultimately almost mechanical.

The Polar Pacer Pro on the wrist.

The Polar Pacer Pro on the wrist.

Before examining the possibilities offered by this watch, let’s take a look at the new integrated processor. Clocked at 192 MHz and accompanied by 5 MB of RAM, this chip actually makes navigation even more fluid. About the reaction time of the slab that progression is the most surprising. If even high-end Polar models dragged their feet before changing screens, the Pacer Pro reacted in the quarter turn. And it feels good, especially with a much more immersive interface like the one offered by Polar.

One of the Polar Pacer Pro menus.

One of the Polar Pacer Pro menus.

However, this home interface is much simpler and more efficient, offering only about ten features. You can start an activity there, practice breathing exercises, set up your supplies or Strava parts, and even start chronos or timers. Among the non-sports features can only be seen receiving notifications from the smartphone. It is shown to be readable, but lacks information. The source app is not marked, so sometimes it is necessary to guess the context to properly appreciate the message. We noticed that it is possible from Polar Flow to deactivate the receipt of notifications during physical activity. Controlling the music is made for this part easily. However, it is still not possible to hide your favorite songs directly on the watch. To take advantage of it, you need to have a smartphone with you.

Polar Pacer Pro notification display.

Polar Pacer Pro notification display.

There are a few parameters, but very few. They allow you to configure screen lighting, Airplane and Do Not Disturb modes or even notifications. Finally, it is possible to synchronize your run with the Komoot wrist navigation app. During such an exit, the track is displayed in green on a black background and vibrates with changes in direction. Even when cleaned up to the maximum, the system works fine.

The Komoot display on the watch.

The Komoot display on the watch.

Editor's Rating: 4 out of 5

Uses and Accuracy

Dedicated to runners, the Pacer Pro lacks sensors. Its case has an internal heart rate monitor, a GPS, a barometer, a compass and an accelerometer. Combined with the many software features offered by the manufacturer, this paraphernalia seems promising.

Very readable display during the sports session.

Very readable display during the sports session.

Fortunately for a watch with such running ambitions, the Polar Pacer Pro is equipped with an accurate heart rate monitor. Even during a silent or split session, heart monitoring is always realistic and maintains the results offered by a chest strap. Below, an interval session divided into blocks: in green, the data recorded on the chest strap; in pink, that of the watch. All rhythm differences were tracked with precision.

In pink is the Polar Pacer Pro, in green is the Polar H10 chest strap.

In pink, the Polar Pacer Pro; in green, the Polar H10 chest strap. In abscissa, period; to ordinate, the heart rate.

A little advice for the thinnest wrists: don’t hesitate to tighten the watch too tightly. If it has a slight delay, the imposing case may work during the session and the results will be damaged, which happened to us in our first tests.

In the case of GPS, the results are not very prominent, the tracks recorded are no better than those obtained using a smartphone, which also tends to overestimate the distances. If you are participating in an official race, rely instead on terminals that show the actual distance spread over the course.

Finally, the Pacer Pro is able to measure the power dissipated during the session. Before there are tools that allow us to evaluate this function, we cannot judge its accuracy and its relevance. However, this power is calculated using speed and altitude. External factors, such as wind, rain or even landslides, are not considered. Logically, power curves are always superimposed on velocity (see extraction below).

Heart rate, speed, energy and cadence readings taken in one Polar Pacer Pro session.

Heart rate, speed, energy and cadence readings taken in one Polar Pacer Pro session.

Finally, this watch is able to track the sleep of its user. Its results seem consistent and close to reality, although we cannot confirm their accuracy at this time.

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