Polar Pacer Pro Review: A Seriously Sporty Smartwatch

Polar Pacer Pro is worn on a man's wrist.

Polar Pacer Pro

Suggested retail price $ 300.00

“Polar Pacer Pro is designed for runners and serious athletes who make sense with its data-rich software and comfortable, slim design, but casual exercise can be overwhelming.”

Strong Points

  • Slim and lightweight

  • Fast and accurate GPS

  • Comprehensive fitness tracking

  • A large amount of data in the clock and app


  • Poor quality screen lacks brightness

  • No Sp02 sensor

Smartwatches are more than just smartwatches, there are different versions that are more suited to different activities and situations. Some fit everyday wear, some have a sporty design for the gym, and some look like a diver’s watch. Next are sports smartwatches such as Polar Pacer Pro, which is the focus of this review. The design is overtly sporty and its functionality is built around sporty people.

But is this level of focus only suitable for those who actually run or do other sports? I wore Pacer Pro for more than 10 days and examined it.


Smartwatches aren’t as simple as PolarPacerPro. The circular case is made of plastic, the bezel is made of aluminum, and the edges have five buttons. It measures about 44 mm in diameter and weighs about 40 grams. Comfortable, highly flexible and mounted on a highly customizable silicone strap. There are two versions of the box, and the longer version is adjacent to the ridiculously long one, so I found that the smaller version was fine for the 6.5-inch wrist. There are multiple holes for tight tightening and two keeper to prevent the edges from fluttering.

A button that appears on the Polar Pacer Pro and is worn on a man's wrist.
Andy Boxol / Digital Trends

Gorilla Glass 3.0 protects the 1.2-inch Memory-in-Pixel (MIP) screen, which is closer to the surface than previous Polar watches, and has improved backlighting. In the severe gray color seen in our photos, Pacer Pro can be viewed anonymously. The Polar Pacer Pro looks so basic that I was a little proud. There’s nothing wrong with that, at least it’s not exciting. However, it was very comfortable and I could wear it all day and all night without sweating or reacting to my skin.

The huge bezel around the screen obscures the design combined with the screen’s low resolution 240 x 240, making the Pacer Pro look like a watch that’s been around for years, rather than the new 2022 model. There is also no automatic brightness adjustment on the screen. You can set it to low, medium, high brightness or manually control it using one of the side buttons. If it is less than high brightness, it will not look very good in sunlight and the viewing angle will be narrowed. However, unless you select the manual backlight setting, it will definitely turn on when you raise your wrist.

Polar Pacer Pro on the man's wrist as seen from the side.
Andy Boxol / Digital Trends

The basic look and screen means I had to force myself to wear Pacer Pro. It’s not the smartwatch that sees and thinks. Wow, I love the design. I also love the beautiful and detailed animations on the screen. It’s generally functional and I personally need more than what I wear. However, compared to many other dedicated GPS sports smartwatches, its slim case and harmless design make it much more suitable than normal wear.

Software and apps

The Polar Pacer Pro software goes back visually. There are lots of simple lines, colors and pixels, but I don’t have a lot of design flair. It’s working well. Use multiple buttons to navigate the menu. The lack of a touch screen adds a retro touch, but it makes sense for run-time ease of use. With additional processing power and RAM compared to previous Polar smartwatches, it’s quick and easy to use on a daily basis. I have no complaints about any aspect of Pacer Pro’s performance.

Polar created the software, so you don’t necessarily have to access the app. Various screens show you all the data you need for sleep, training performance, and even suggestions for the day’s exercise. Choosing these gives you several training options, all at different times, and then gives you simple instructions to follow. It’s easier, much more diverse and interesting to personalize each than a guided workout session on a smartwatch such as the Huawei Watch GT Runner or Tag Heuer Connected Caliber E4.

What is clear from using Polar Pacer Pro is that it rewards continuous use, and if you’re really not that sporty, you can’t benefit from its true abilities. .. Casually active people wonder what it’s been doing for a while, as it requires multiple training and multiple nights of sleep to be tracked before offering much in a detailed analysis method. You will think. When you’re not on track with a sleep or exercise regimen, it also reveals. When you get a good night’s sleep, a “compromise” will appear in yellow on your sleep screen to let you know how much garbage you have. On the training screen, you can count the number of days since your last exercise to motivate or feel guilty.

It’s not a bad thing to leave the app. This is the cleanest and least accessible one I have used. Again, it takes days of data to start displaying meaningful information. There are multiple graphs, lots of details, and lots of information about what that means, but the other motives are relatively light. If you’re serious about sports and health, pouring all the numbers is probably your motivation, but if not, a high-numbered presentation can be offensive.

I used a smartwatch on my iPhone 13 Pro, but the notifications are definitely displayed, the vibration alerts stand out, and there is also the option to control the music from the phone. Don’t expect to use Spotify or similar apps when you go out without your phone, as other apps won’t run.

Training and accuracy

Tracking your training and comparing it to a more standard smartwatch reveals the strengths of Polar Pacer Pro. A 40-minute outdoor walk tracked on the Apple Watch Series 7 shows common information (heart rate, distance, pace, calories) that most people are interested in, but Pacer Pro goes one step further. ..

Polar Pacer Pro heart rate sensor.
Andy Boxol / Digital Trends

Training zones are separated and mapped using pace and heart rate data. Breaks down calorie burning into carbohydrates, proteins and fats. There is a detailed route map and information about heart rate, speed and pace for each lap. After tracking enough training, the app builds a baseline of performance and improvements, and VO2max data also starts to work. Runners have access to many additional features such as training plans, running power measurements, and training load data. All of this shows how PolarPacer Pro is aimed at serious runners and athletes.

All your regular workouts, such as running, walking, cycling and swimming, can be tracked with your watch. In addition, you have the option of weight training or, if you don’t really have the right one, to choose a typical indoor outdoor activity. There are no specific options for activities such as golf, horseback riding or yoga, but the multisport feature may appeal to triathletes. The Polar Pacer Pro has its own GPS that detects the signal very quickly during testing and matches exactly with the Apple Watch as well as the heart rate sensor.

Wear Pacer Pro overnight to track your sleep. It matched the heart rate data collected by my Ouraling, but the pairs differed in the amount of time spent in different sleep stages. But I tend to believe in Pacer Pro data. It provides a night recharge score along with a normal sleep score. This will help you understand how peaceful your night was and whether it should affect your exercise plan. If you’re ready for it, the watch also has training and running plans to follow, some of which appear to be very challenging.

I’m well aware that I’m not the target audience for Polar Pacer Pro, and I don’t have the equipment to personally test its limits. Using the beginner’s VO2Max walking test, it also took a few trials to recognize my “ability”. However, checking the level of detail after completing enough sessions will tell you if you are well trained, too little or too much, set clear goals based on your progress, accuracy, and activity planning. , And common ones are combined. Wrist comfort gives me confidence that it will work very well for those who love running and want to be healthier.

It’s a shame that the Polar Pacer Pro doesn’t have a Sp02 sensor or electrocardiogram (ECG), but both are common in competing smartwatches.

Battery and charging

Battery life is good. Polar’s 7-day quote is a bit conservative if you’re only tracking a couple of workouts and sleep when your smartwatch should last 8-9 days. If you add GPS to your mix more regularly, 7 days is appropriate. Polar claims a total of 35 hours of training time with GPS and heart rate sensors active.

Charging is very slow, it takes about 2 hours to reach capacity from less than 10%. The box contains a unique charger that magnetically attaches to the caseback of your smartwatch.

Price and availability

Polar Pacer Pro is currently priced at $ 300 or £ 259. As you can see in the photo, it’s available in basic black (called carbon gray in Polar), or the more beautiful midnight blue, snow white, or autumn maroon.

Our view

Polar Pacer Pro doesn’t look or feel anything new, and it doesn’t bring anything new to the table. This is consistent with the features of a fitness-oriented smartwatch at a similar price, but does not provide a striking reason to buy, at least in terms of functionality and design. There are no sensors that come standard with other fitness smartwatches or bands.

It leaves Polar software. I’ve only scratched the surface of what it can do, and the data it returns may seem overwhelming to casual owners who want to know a little more about their health and activity. For dedicated runners (yes, mainly appealing to runners), the depth of detail, fast and accurate GPS, and excellent battery life make it very attractive.

Then the design becomes itself. The slim and lightweight case is much more wearable than the thick, rough and tumble GPS watches you’ve seen before. It’s not as stylish as the Huawei Watch GT 3 Pro, but it’s simple and delicate. All the features that an athlete (up-and-coming or otherwise) wants. However, it will not be wrapped in a case of obscene proportions once. You really have to want a Polar software experience, but if you do, Pacer Pro is the ideal way to get it.

Is there a better alternative?

It depends a little on what you want. If you need a comprehensive sports watch, Garmin Forerunner 245 Music competes for the price. In addition, the Garmin Vivomove Sport brings Garmin’s superior software platform to a great looking smartwatch. If you need a smartwatch with a more health focus, check out Withings ScanWatch or ScanWatch Horizon.

If you don’t think really hardcore sports tracking is right for you, the Apple Watch Series 7 is the smartwatch of choice if you own an iPhone, and the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 if you own an Android phone. The strongest option.

How long will it last?

The Polar Pacer Pro has a water resistance of 50 meters and seems to have been tested to “military standards”. Therefore, you can expect considerable durability. If the strap breaks, it can be easily replaced, but it must be purchased directly from Polar due to the special pin system used to secure the strap. The software is unique and updates can be added via the app. Pacer Pro’s overall capabilities mean it’s unlikely to reach its limits anytime soon, and its regular design won’t give in to fashion trends either. It will last for years.

Should you buy it?

yes. However, please be aware that this is a sports smartwatch for sporty people. This is not a replacement for the Apple Watch.

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