“For COROS it’s all about outdoors, mountains, and a passionate active lifestyle. We combine high-grade hardware with innovative technology to provide endurance athletes with the gear they rely on…when you use a COROS product, you know you are getting a tool that has been designed, tested and perfected for the athlete, by athlete.”
Wearable technology company COROS is a Californian sports tech company founded in 2016 and its been meteoric rise in the ensuing 5 years. Its first product was a ‘smart cycling helmet’ and it now boasts an inventory of products to rival and in many cases better the most established players in the market, including four different premium multi-sport GPS watches, the COROS Pod for all you running data lovers and a host of accessories to customize to your style.
The newest aspect to its award winning line-up is the new PACE 2: Eluid Kipchoge edition. The world’s greatest ever marathon runner has been a partner of COROS since November 2020. In his announcement, Kipchoge revealed that he would be working with their development team to give feedback and insights on the watch to support the improvement in technology to give better insights into our running.
Here at Trackstaa we have partnered with COROS before on the PACE 2 and we set out our initial thoughts on the watch back in February. We’re back again to give you our updated thoughts, but also in recognition of COROS launching the new Kipchoge edition.
COROS have not paid us to write this review, instead they very kindly provided the watch for us to test and review and so I’m going to give my honest feedback after using it every day for around 6 – 8 months. The watch is packed with so much technology that I could write a review that would rival War and Peace in length and scope so, instead, I’ve covered the key points and my favourite bits in order to give you a better idea about this watch.
What’s new in the Kipchoge Edition
Unlike the traditional PACE 2, this new version comes with accents of red and green in homage to the flag of Kipchoge’s native Kenya. It’s got a white bezel, a red Digital dial and a green lap/back button. It is a truly stunning watch and in your EK bundle you’ll also get 2 types of easy-to-remove watch straps, one silicone and one nylon, depending on your preference.
When you buy the EK Edition Pace 2, you also get in the bundle, the COROS POD. POD stands for performance optimisation device to give you more statistics on your running to help you improve your performance.
You are also connected to COROS’ groundbreaking EvoLab which gives you one-of-a-kind special additional data including placing your performance on a special scale relative to Kipchoge’s sub-2 hour marathon performance so you can see how you stack up against the undisputed GOAT.
Let’s take a a look at those all important features of the PACE 2 and the COROS POD which comes in the box when you purchase the special, limited edition EK version.
The COROS Pace 2 includes all of the main features we have now all come to expect from smart watches, including sleep analysis, fitness level assessments, phone notifications, active and rest calories, step counts and much more. In my experience, I’ve found these to be very accurate, easy to use and analyse on the app. In fact and I’m not just saying this, my experience of running with training partners is that the GPS data in the PACE 2 is far more accurate (by in some case 200-300 metres on a longer run) than the watches of other well-known competitors.
Unusually for a watch designed purely for runners, the Pace 2 includes barometric pressure and temperature sensors.
The link to the full list of specifications and technical data is here.
There’s a full customizable option too so you can set your watch face just how you like it. My personal preference has been for a very simple watch face, but you can pretty much have it as detailed as you like, including different colour options too as the Pace 2 has a colour display. With this new edition, it comes with accents of red and green just like the Kenyan flag.
Wrist based HR
Before I talk about some of my favourite aspects, a word on the wrist-based HR. All wrist-based HR monitors suffer a little from being well, on the wrist, and that’s why chest straps are more accurate and reliable. However, my experience of the Pace 2 has been really pleasing and I have now had ample time to test this out over several months. I’ve noticed, in comparison to my previous brand of watch, a far more consistent, accurate and realistic HR reading. COROS claims that this is due to their unique algorithm which differs depending on what activity you’re doing. So far, my conclusion is that they’ve got this tricky part about as good as you could get it. You can also set the option to either ‘every 10 minutes’ or ‘real-time’ which is 24-7 reading, depending on the level of detail you want to see in the app graphs.
In addition to Kipchoge wearing the very same watch, the other main selling point of the PACE 2 is that it is billed as the lightest running watch on the market. With the trademark nylon strap, it weighs a staggeringly small 29g, which compared with the Garmin 945’s 50g, seems very light. If you don’t know what 29g feels like, that might not be much help but it’s essentially less than the weight of the thin layer of insole that comes in most high-end running shoes. Take it from me, you genuinely cannot even feel it on your wrist. Indeed, the moment I first held it when taking it out of the box, and I want to be honest as possible in this review, I was a bit concerned about the durability and quality (I was wrong, more on that later).
Some may reasonably ask, why do I need a running watch that is so light. The truthful answer is of course, you don’t, but when everything to do with endurance and distance running performance is about small, marginal improvements having a featherlight wearable on your wrist makes a difference. We invest countless money in the lightest singlets, shorts and, of course, shoes, but have often overlooked our watches. My previous watch, a Garmin model, was permanently there, I was always aware of it and I often found that distracting in faster sessions and longer runs alike, but since I began wearing the COROS Pace 2, those issues have gone. I’m now a total advocate of lightness – the lighter the better.
Okay, so I’m not going to get mega technical in this review, you can check out the geeky science on the COROS website, but one thing I do want to talk about is the user interface. For those of you still using competitor watches which boast a touch screen, I could not recommend the Pace 2’s “digital dial” function any more which, I’m not exaggerating, has saved me countless minutes. No longer am I bashing the screen with increasing ferocity with a useless, sweaty finger, but with just one button on the side you can access splits, heart rate, calories, pace date, everything. Simple. Seriously, a touch screen watch brings more problems than good.
This is also hugely advantageous if you ever do a pool workout. Touch screens in the pool is a no go. But not only that, it’s just so simple to use, with the spin of the dial and the press of a button you’ve started your run and stopped it with ease. I was particularly impressed with their functionality of their smart-phone app too which, in my view, has hugely impressive data sets in a simple to read and understand format.
When it comes to smart watches, one thing we are all concerned about is battery life. The website claims that it offers an incredible 20 days’ worth of ‘daily-use’ battery time and a. 20 per cent improvement on the previous model. I admit, I’ve not counted and in any event I don’t think I have experienced this personally because I am using it twice, sometimes three times per day to track runs and workouts.
What I can say, however, is even with the amount of activity that I am asking it to track, the battery is astoundingly good. At most, I charge it once per week, in reality it’s probably a little less than that. The battery panel feature on the watch is highly detailed too and allows you to analyse which parts of the watch use the most battery so that you can better use your battery in the future. If you’re really desperate to preserve power, you can select the ‘UltraMax’ feature which adds additional strength; I have never needed to use this feature. For me, the battery life is one of this products most impressive features. Particularly given its weight.
Structured strength workouts
The wonderfully easy-to-use interface is also supported by a vast library of over 200 structured and built-in strength training sessions to target all muscle groups and areas. If you’re like me and you often stand in the gym for the first 10 minutes trying to think of what heavy stuff to lift and how many times, thankfully, the watch takes care of this for you. All you need to do is turn up and follow the watch’s instructions. That sounds scarily sinister…I promise, it’s not telling me what to write. Uniquely, the COROS also tracks the muscle groups you’ve targeted and how many sets. You can then view the effect of your training in the cool ‘heat-map’ function in the app after your workout to make sure you hit all those beach muscles.
So, I know I’ve said this a few times now but this might be my favourite feature of all. All of us track athletes know how frustrating it can be when your GPS watch is 20 metres out or more when you are running on a track. It makes it hard to analyse your performance, check your splits and compare to previous workouts as well it bleeping at the wrong point. Perhaps we should just all be a little more Marc Scott and wear a basic digital watch. Well, fear not, because cunningly, COROS have developed a brilliant feature called ‘Track Run Mode’.
As well as GPS, the Pace 2 uses a separate algorithm, as accurate as a stopwatch to ensure that regardless of the lane you choose – the watch allows you to specify – it accurately tracks your pace and distance. Eureka! Finally, a watchmaker has mastered the track running anomalies which I never really understood given that the majority of tracks are 400m!
Wrist-based power reading
COROS Pace 2 has an integrated power reading taken from your wrist which requires no integration with another app. Like pace and HR, it gives your total running power as well as data fields based on your chosen parameters. Incredibly you can create structured workouts based on these power readings. This is certainly an aspect that beats almost all competitors, particularly at this price point. I’m not as experienced in running based on power data but if you’re a cyclist or triathlete, I’m sure you would find this particularly helpful.
Third party integration
Buying a Pace 2 doesn’t mean you can’t use your third party apps. You can get full integration with apps such as Strava, TrainingPeaks, Apple Health, We Run and more.
In your EK edition box, you also get access to the COROS POD which is the latest device from COROS which when worn during running gives you access to a library of running data. The additional performance metrics include: stride ratio, left and right balance, form power (the amount of power wasted due to inefficiencies in your running form), cadence, stride height, ground contact time and stride length.
Just like your watch, it’s super easy to use which is the great thing about all COROS products. You just chake itto activate it and, pair it with your app and watch and then just clip onto the centre of your waist band at the back of your shorts and you’re good to go.
You can can find out all the details of the COROS POD here.
Now, for the price. Arguably the best bit about this watch is the price. The traditional PACE 2 comes in at £179.99 in the UK and coming in 2 colours but the EK edition is limited to 5000 units GLOBALLY and comes in at $250 inclucing the COROS POD.
Despite being initially concerned about the quality and durability when I first picked up the watch, I have been continually impressed by the Pace 2 over the last 8 months, its running data and metrics which seem unsurpassed for its price range, its incredible light-weight feeling and user friendly operating system. The Track Run feature is so useful and the battery life is phenomenal.
It looked great before in white and now in the iconic Eliud Kipchoge colours, it looks even better. It’s striking and unmissable. To find out more about this iconic, limited edition watch, click here.
There really isn’t any stand out problems. The only one I can think of is easily fixed. The watch automatically has a feature that locks the controls, which would be beneficial in an extreme endurance event. But in an interval workout its a pain having to unlock the watch and then press Start/stop. So I’d make sure you turn the auto lock off within settings.
Another maybe negative is that there’s so many options to choose from, you need to know what metrics you want. Or else you can get lost choosing from the countless metrics. That’s not really a negative, but it took a good amount of time to choose the exact ones I want. But, that is actually a benefit, because it’s completely customisable.