Grit X Pro test: what is the best performing Polar smartwatch worth?

Polar Grit X Pro - Cadran Boussole 1 © Johan Gautreau

One year after the Grit X, Polar launches its first technical refresh with its new Grit X Pro. If the design does not change, the Finnish brand promises us a more robust sports smartwatch than ever, as well as software improvements for outdoor enthusiasts. Does this justify the €70 price increase? That’s what we propose to check in this test.

Polar Grit X Pro

Polar Grit X Pro

  • Reinforced design with a sapphire screen
  • Easy to access Polar OS
  • Improvement of the navigation part
  • Practical and efficient elevation graph
  • Good accuracy of sensors
  • No SpO2 sensor
  • The navigation can still be improved
  • Relatively heavy watch
  • Limited utility functions
  • Slowdowns from time to time

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The Grit X Pro is the new high-end reference in the Polar catalog. Or rather as the equal of the Vantage V2
that we tested at the beginning of the year. Indeed, both connected sports watches are sold at the same price, i.e. 499€. They also benefit from the same software improvements.

In the end, the Grit X Pro stands out from its sister with the addition of a sapphire crystal, more resistant to shocks. It also has the MIL-STD-810G certification of the Vantage V2, guaranteeing increased resistance to extreme temperatures.

It is thus to the amateurs of trail that the Grit X Pro is addressed, the Vantage V2 wanting to be more urban with its rounded look and the absence of a reinforced screen. Let’s see now what beauty has in the belly!

Polar Grit X Pro: technical specifications

During our review of the Vantage V2, we criticized Polar for having too many similarities with the Grit X. The Pro version sets the record straight by bringing with it many new software features. It is the Vantage V2 that will ultimately inherit the contributions of the Grit X Pro with a software update that will be deployed by the end of the year.

In addition to a sapphire crystal, the beauty improves the navigation part with the addition of a “breadcrumb” function. New dashboards have also been added, as well as a visual display of the altitude difference in real-time for pre-recorded routes.

This whole range of tools dedicated to outdoor sports enthusiasts is of course completed by the new features deployed at the time of the release of the Vantage V2: music controller, physical tests, customization of screens …

All this seems very attractive. We note, however, the cruel absence of a SpO2 sensor that would have made sense on a watch designed for trailers. Forget also the cartography. Polar goes to the essential, adopting a philosophy quite close to that of Suunto
and the opposite of what we see at Garmin.

Design and finishes

For this test, we had the chance to get our hands on the Grit X Pro Titan. As the name suggests, this watch has a titanium body in addition to the sapphire crystal of the classic edition. The total weight of the Finnish smartwatch is thus reduced from 79 grams to just 53 grams (with the leather strap, otherwise it remains at 73 grams). However, the price increases accordingly: expect to pay €599 for the Titan version. We let you judge the relevance of such a purchase…

Let’s focus on the design of this Grit X Pro. It hardly changes compared to the Grit X of 2020. We remain on a case mixing plastic and metal of 43 mm in diameter and 13 mm thick. The case itself weighs only 41 grams, against 44 grams previously. In the end, it is the straps that drastically increase the weight, the models in fluoroelastomer FKM being particularly heavy. However, you can change them without any problem. Note that the Titan version has a leather strap in addition to the FKM model.

Once the Grit X Pro is on your wrist, you can only appreciate the quality of its finishing. Polar undeniably offers us a very beautiful watch, just like the Grit X in its time. It is however less discreet than the Vantage V2, due to a more “mastoc” look. It is quite difficult to forget it, especially during the night when its overweight is particularly felt.

Polar Grit X Pro - Boutons © Johan Gautreau

As always with Polar, there are five navigation buttons. They are also made of metal with a grainy touch that makes it easier to press, no matter what the circumstances (mud, water…).

Polar Grit X Pro - Dos © Johan Gautreau

The back of the Grit X Pro features the new Precision Prime Plus optical heart rate sensor, an evolution of the one found on the Vantage V2 and Grit X. It should be able to ensure a good accuracy in all circumstances. This one works permanently, just like on the Garmin sports watches.

Although it is heavier than the Vantage V2, the Grit X Pro remains a magnificent connected watch. Its imposing look and especially its great resistance to shocks should have no trouble convincing extreme sports enthusiasts!

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Screen

As for the visual aspect, Polar does not change the screen of its new watch. So we find a 1.2” transflective panel with a standard definition of 240 x 240 px. The borders are still as thick, it’s a pity…

Polar Grit X Pro - Écran © Johan Gautreau

However, readability remains perfect in direct sunlight. As with Garmin and Suunto, the transflective screen works wonders outdoors. It is less good indoors but the backlighting compensates for this. The icing on the cake is that the screen remains permanently lit.

Polar Grit X Pro - Écran soleil © Johan Gautreau

There is nothing new on the hardware side, but the Grit X Pro inherits the new dials launched on the Vantage V2 earlier this year. There are six of them in a dozen different colors. This will allow you to personalize the Finnish watch according to your taste.

Operating system

No big news on the operating system of Polar. The latter is still as easy to access as ever, unlike Garmin’s which is a real gas factory.

The navigation is done ideally with the five buttons placed around the box. Only to access the quick settings or notifications you have to use the touch screen. Strangely, Polar’s OS is very slow in these cases, while it remains responsive when accessing any other screen. This defect does not seem to have been erased since our test of the Vantage V2…

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Polar Grit X Pro - Cadrans © Johan Gautreau

On the customization side, the Grit X Pro inherits the capabilities of the Vantage V2. You can remove or add the dials you want from the settings. Nothing revolutionary, but it allows you to make the watch a little more your own by adjusting it to your tastes and needs.

To learn more about how Polar’s operating system works, we invite you to read our tests of Polar Ignite
and Polar Unite
which explore it in depth.

Polar Flow App

So far, the Grit X Pro doesn’t bring any stunning new features. That doesn’t mean that Polar hasn’t done anything in the last few months, quite the contrary!

The Polar Flow mobile application has undergone a major makeover. It is now separated into five tabs:

  • Agenda
  • Start
  • Calendar
  • Sleep
  • More

Polar Flow - Agenda 1 © Johan Gautreau

Polar Flow - Agenda 2 © Johan Gautreau

Polar Flow - Agenda 3 © Johan Gautreau

The main menu showing the activity circle is replaced by a chronological display, a bit like Withings. It is in this menu – awkwardly named Agenda – that you will see all your metrics for the day: min/max/rest heart rate, sleep, sports activities, training status… As always, pressing on a data item gives you access to more precise graphs, as well as a few tips provided by Polar.

Polar Flow - Cercle 1 © Johan Gautreau

Polar Flow - Cercle 2 © Johan Gautreau

This new display is more intuitive than the circle of activity to which the Finnish brand had accustomed us. It is now confined to a section in the settings, accessible via the More tab.

Polar Flow - Activité © Johan Gautreau

Polar Flow - Sommeil © Johan Gautreau

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The rest of the app doesn’t change, which is good news. So you’ll still be able to schedule your workouts, check your workout load or keep an eye on your sleep quality. All these features are described in detail in our Vantage V2, Unite and Ignite.

Sport functions

It’s time to move on to the most interesting part of this Polar Grit X Pro: the sports tracking!

It is in use that we notice the many improvements made by the Finnish brand. The first is the addition of new dials and their dedicated dashboards.

The compass dial is now available. It permanently displays the altitude calculated by the barometric altimeter as well as your current azimuth in relation to North. Pressing the center button gives you access to the altitude dashboard. This shows a graph of the altitude reading for the last six hours, as well as your coordinates and a full-screen compass. This is also where you can calibrate the barometer if necessary. The latter is relatively accurate. It is just a pity that it does not give the atmospheric pressure. It does not allow you to be alerted in case of a sudden drop in pressure announcing the arrival of a storm. On this point, the productions of Garmin and Suunto have a length ahead.

Polar Grit X Pro - Cadran lumière © Johan Gautreau

The second dial that lands on the Grit X Pro is the daylight dial. As the name suggests, it gives you an overview of the dawn and dusk times for the current day. The dedicated dashboard adds the length of the day and sunrise/sunset times.

These new dials are complemented by a few new features during outdoor sessions. The main one is the addition of a hill splitter graphic. It replaces the Hill Splitter screen and displays in real time the slope percentage and elevation profile of each climb/descent remaining on the route. In use, this graph is much more concrete than the simple Hill Splitter score. You can see in advance how far you have to go on your programmed route and adjust your efforts accordingly. A good way to compensate for the lack of mapping on the Grit X Pro.

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Polar Grit X Pro - Navigation © Johan Gautreau

Still on the subject of navigation, we recover the possibility of transferring to the watch routes created via the Komoot application. The watch will guide you in point by point mode with visual indications on the screen. So far, nothing new, the Grit X and the Vantage V2 do the same. It’s by digging into the parameters of the sports activities that we realize the addition of a mode Back to the starting point. Polar finally erases this recurring defect of its watches and catches up with the competition. From now on, you can return to your starting point either by retracing your route backwards or in a straight line. This is not revolutionary, most sports watches do it. We can even regret the impossibility of saving POIs so that the watch can guide us if necessary. Polar just makes up for its delay – which we can only appreciate – while keeping a certain margin of progress.

Polar Grit X Pro - Retour © Johan Gautreau

So much for the new features. They will be deployed on the Vantage V2 via an update by the end of the year. As for the rest, we are pleased to find the Fit Spark training coach, physical tests (most of which can be done with external sensors), the Nightly Recharge recovery score, Strava Live Segments and other functions that have made Polar watches successful.

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In the Grit X Pro test, we found that it is undoubtedly in the top tier In terms of accuracy. The heart rate sensor and GPS do a good job, rising to the level of the Fenix 6 and other Suunto 9 Peak of the same price. More than 130 sports profiles are available, including triathlon. As always, you can create your own and customize the data fields easily from the Polar Flow application. Remember that this platform is also accessible from the web. It’s just a shame to see that Polar once again omits the SpO2 sensor. This is the biggest drawback of the Grit X Pro, especially since it is aimed at trail runners…

Utility functions

Like Suunto, Polar is a brand that focuses its products on health monitoring above all. The Grit X Pro is therefore very sparse in terms of utility functions…

The beauty still benefits from the music controller launched on the Vantage V2. This one even has a dedicated dashboard screen, which makes it more convenient to use than before.

Other than that, you’ll just have access to the weather and the display of your smartphone notifications. No contactless payments, no ability to install third-party apps or even new dials. The Grit X Pro just allows you to set an alarm for waking up or use a stopwatch, as well as a timer.

This minimalist feel allows you to focus fully on tracking your athletic progress. It remains to be seen whether this will penalize you on a daily basis compared to more complete smartwatches…

Autonomy

Despite its screen always on and its heart sensor working permanently, the Grit X Pro knows how to remain enduring. It must be said that its operating system remains quite light. The Finnish brand promises up to 7 days of use. Is it a good bet?

Yes, rather. During our Grit X Pro test, it lasted about 6 days with about 2 hours of sport during this period, GPS and cardio activated to the maximum of their possibilities. We also received dozens of notifications, used two timers during the day and the alarm clock every morning.

Polar Grit X Pro - Energie © Johan Gautreau

Once again, Polar’s connected watch is in the middle of the pack, without making a big splash. It will accompany you for several days without worry. And if necessary, the various energy-saving modes will allow you to last between 40h and 100h in sport mode.

For the recharge, count on two good hours. Here again, it remains in the average. However, we would have liked to see a fast recharge like on the Suunto 9 Peak, which fills up in just 1 hour.

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Polar Grit X Pro: TechMarkup’s verdict

A technical update of the Grit X from 2020, the Grit X Pro from Polar is undeniably a good connected sports watch. The addition of a sapphire screen to the MIL-STD-810G certification guarantees that we will have a watch on our wrist that will withstand the worst conditions. So much the better, that’s the objective of any good outdoor smartwatch.

Nevertheless, we can regret that this Grit X Pro lags behind the competition. Most of the software additions made by Polar are found on many competitors, often less expensive. The absence of a SpO2 sensor does not play in favor of the Grit X Pro test which is aimed at trailers.

Should we, therefore, ignore the Finnish watch? No, not at all. We still appreciate its ease of use, as well as its relatively advanced sports capabilities. The Grit X Pro can be an excellent choice for people who find Garmin watches too complicated or Suunto watches not advanced enough for training preparation.

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