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Coros Pace: a triathlon watch at a low price

Coros Pace: a triathlon watch at a low price
 
The Coros Pace is an entry-level, long-range triathlon health smartwatch offering a barometric altimeter, an optical heart rate monitoring that works underwater and tools to help athletes.

Price and availability

The Coros Pace is available on Amazon  at the recommended price of $299. 

Coros PACE GPS Sports Watch with Wrist-Based Heart Rate Monitoring | Includes Running, Cycling, Swimming and Triathlon Features. Barometric Altimeter, Strava Compatible, One Size, Black

COROS APEX Premium Multisport GPS Watch with Heart Rate Monitor, 25h Full GPS Battery, Sapphire Glass, Barometer, ANT+ & BLE Connections, Strava & Training Peaks (White/Sliver|42mm)

Coros Pace in brief

Coros is a Chinese start-up specializing in smart health connected helmets for bikes. It recently turned to sports watches and launched, in 2024, the Coros Pace, a triathlon watch with rather attractive functions for the price offered (around 200 €). It should appeal to beginners and occasional triathletes, runners, cyclists and swimmers.

The Coros Pace is close to a Forerunner 735XT, the entry-level triathlon watch from Garmin which is still worth € 150 more at the time of writing. It is also inspired by it a lot in its almost identical design, functions and displays …

The watch is offered in a 43 mm (therefore relatively small) case with a non-touch color screen with a resolution of 240 x 240 px which can display up to 6 data fields. It embeds a GPS chip compatible with GLONASS, GPS, Galileo and Beidou (the Chinese satellite system), an optical heart rate monitoring on the wrist operating underwater, a barometric altimeter with manual or automatic calibration (rare on a price watch) , a compass, an accelerometer, a gyroscope and compatibility with external ANT + sensors (including cardio belt or armband, footpod, cadence, speed and power sensors for the bicycle). It is water resistant to 50 m.

Coros Pace

Its autonomy is excellent and this is what makes this watch’s major asset: 25 hours in training mode (50 hours in energy saving mode) and 30 days in watch mode with activity tracking! It should be noted that most sports watches only offer one week of battery life at most in watch mode.

It has 11 sports profiles (indoor and outdoor running and cycling, swimming in the sea and in the pool, triathlon / multisports, trail running, hiking, indoor cardio, outdoor cardio). The first version of the Pace offered only 7 profiles for a watch exclusively reserved for running, cycling, swimming and triathlon.

Its sports functions are relatively limited. The watch knows how to estimate, from the performance of the last activities, the running time for a 5 km, 10 km, half-marathon and marathon. It assesses the recovery time. La Pace also offers some physiological measures (VO2max, lactic threshold, Training Aerobic and anaerobic effect, pace at the threshold in particular), the programming of simple interval training but not yet (this could come) GPS navigation (trace tracking, return to departure, recording of GPS coordinates). Recently, Coros has integrated a virtual coach (Coros Trainer).

The Coros Pace manages activity monitoring (steps, calories, climbs, quality of sleep) but does not measure the level of stress. It has alerts (heart rate, cadence, etc.).

It is an affordable sports watch that should appeal to runners, trailers, cyclists, swimmers and triathletes who are just starting out or who occasionally practice their sport and are not looking for advanced tools. Please note, it only works with a Smartphone (no web interface) and its interface is not yet available in French.

 

Detailed review of the Coros Pace

Design: a slightly cheap sporty look

Coros Pace watch

The Coros Pace is a watch with a sporty look offered in 3 colors (red, blue and gray) and with a silicone strap of good looks. The watch, all plastic including glass, seems not very robust but it is very light (48 g) compared to other equivalent watches. It has a case 43 mm in diameter and 12 mm thick. In comparison, the Forerunner 735 XT and the Forerunner 245 offer almost the same format but they are a little lighter (8 to 10 g less). The Polar Ignite, a more fitness-oriented watch, is much thinner (8.5 mm thick) and even lighter (35 g!).

Its silicone strap is interchangeable with a tool provided at the time of purchase.

The screen offers a definition of 240 x 240 px (215 x 180 for the Forerunner 735 XT), the same as the last Garmin shows (Forerunner 245 and 945 in particular). The contrast is excellent and the transflective screen very readable in bright light. The backlight is activated by pressing a button or by moving the wrist. You can deactivate it in the settings (especially so as not to be disturbed at night) but this also condemns activation by the button (in addition to not being very practical). To remedy this problem, Coros recently added the possibility of deactivating the activation of the backlight by movement of the wrist without affecting its activation by the button. To do this, simply indicate to the watch a time slot for sleep.

The Coros screen offers up to 6 data fields. In comparison, Garmin offers 6 to 8 fields (depending on the model) on its very recent Fenix ​​6 but at most 4 fields on its other models. In the first version of Pace, only 5 fields were customizable (the 6th was reserved for the stopwatch and appeared at the bottom of the screen). Recently, the 6 fields are now fully configurable.

The sensors

The Pace is equipped with all the useful sensors for triathlon and its activities including indoor training: heart rate sensor on the wrist operating under water (as in Polar and Garmin), GPS, accelerometer, gyroscope. There is also a compass with azimuth and a thermometer.

optical sensor
Coros Pace wrist-based heart rate monitoring works underwater

The watch is also equipped with a barometric altimeter, a rare instrument for a watch of this price. The icing on the cake: it can be calibrated manually, which enables errors related to changes in atmospheric pressure to be corrected (GPS is not used for altitude measurements). It displays pressure and altitude (instantaneous value, average over 4 h, min and max over the last 24 h) as well as graphs.

The Coros Pace is waterproof up to 50 m (5 ATM). It can therefore be used for swimming but not for diving.

GPS is compatible with the main satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo) as well as the Chinese Beidou system (BDS). GPS can be activated alone or in combination with GLONASS or BDS. But what is interesting about this watch is its intelligent stride algorithm. It is able to “predict” the GPS track in the event of loss of signal (passage through a tunnel, difficult urban area, dense forest, etc.). The algorithm uses “machine learning” to learn the habits of the runner and build a stride model that he will use to guess the circuit covered. On the same principle as Suunto and its “FusedTrack” algorithm, the watch uses its on-board instruments (compass, accelerometer, gyroscope) and the famous stride model to reconstruct the GPS track. The algorithm is also used for indoor running and for UltraMax (energy saving) mode. The accuracy of the measurements is nevertheless based on a good calibration of the compass beforehand.

You can also connect external sensors to the watch using the ANT + protocol, for example a cardio belt or armband, a footpod, speed, cadence and power sensors (Stryd, etc.) for the bicycle. Coros should soon add the Bluetooth protocol. This is currently only used for transferring data between the watch and a Smartphone.

Autonomy: unbeatable in watch mode and activity monitoring!

The Coros Pace differs from other competing watches by its great autonomy: 25 hours in GPS mode and 30 days in watch mode with activity tracking. In comparison, the recent Forerunner 245 lasts 24 hours in GPS mode and only 7 days in watch mode with activity tracking. The manufacturer was able to obtain these surprising results by optimizing the hardware (including the use of an energy-efficient Sony GPS chip) but also the OS (operating system).

The autonomy can reach 50 hours in UltraMax mode. Coros saves battery power by only activating the GPS for 30 seconds every 120 seconds. The rest of the time (90 seconds), the trace is calculated using the “Coros Intelligent Stride” algorithm.

Sports and sports support functions

The Coros Pace originally offered only 7 sports profiles: running (outdoor and indoor), cycling (outdoor and indoor), swimming (sea and pool), triathlon / multisports. We did not find a “free” profile, nor a profile for walking or hiking. But since the end in 2024, Coros has added 4 profiles: trail, hike, indoor cardio and outdoor cardio. The trail and hike profiles evaluate the 3D distance for greater accuracy (the slope is taken into account in the calculation of the distances). Cardio modes use the heart rate but not the GPS. However, you cannot always create personalized profiles. As for the multisport profile, it is not configurable because it uses the other profiles. It allows to link 2 or 3 different activities. We could for example chain swimming, cycling and running (triathlon), or swimming and running (swim-run) but not swimming, running and swimming again.

cyclist wearing Coros Pace

The watch records essential data: circuit covered, duration, distance, speed, pace (running and swimming only), cadence, heart rate (even underwater), calories expended, altitude, elevation gain. For cycling, it also measures the slope and, with an external sensor, the power developed (instantaneous, normalized and average over 3, 10 and 30 seconds). The screens display the instantaneous and average values ​​as well as a graph of the last 4 hours of heart rate, altitude and atmospheric pressure. In swimming mode, it displays the duration, the distance traveled, the pace (speed in open water), the heart rate, the number of movements and the SWOLF score (average, per lap and over the last length) and detects the type of swim. You can program the length of the pool between 15 and 300 meters or yards.

The Pace has a metronome to work on the cadence and has an auto-pause function.

Coros offers, like Garmin, a function estimating the running time over a 5 km, 10 km, half-marathon and marathon depending on physical condition (VO2max in particular). The watch assesses the recovery time after an activity. You can also schedule simple interval training sessions (running and cycling), for example 5 sets of 30 “/ 10”, but no complex training, for example 2 sets of 5 x 30 “/ 10”.

The user can program alerts based on cadence, heart rate (working in zones), pace or speed.

At the end in 2024, Coros added Coros Trainer, a virtual coach who assesses the level of effort and takes into account the user’s history (last 4 weeks of activities) to propose a tailor-made training plan and estimate the recovery time to be respected after a training session .

Finally, there is no GPS navigation tool (no GPS trace, no trace tracking, no recording of GPS coordinates, no return to departure function) but this should come in the next updates of the watch.

Woman wearing a Coros Pace

Physiological measurements

Unlike its competitors Garmin or Suunto who work with Firstbeat, or Polar, leader in this field, which develops its own algorithms, Coros works in partnership with an independent company to provide physiological measurements: VO2max, heart rate at rest, estimation from the lactic threshold, pace at the threshold, aerobic and anaerobic training effect, training load. The watch therefore offers interesting tools to assess its performance and optimize its training.

Activity monitoring

La Pace offers activity tracking that we are used to seeing today on most cardio watches: distance, number of steps, calories expended, quality of sleep and, thanks to the barometric altimeter, number of floors climbed. However, it does not offer the possibility of defining objectives to be achieved.

watch and interface
Coros does not offer any web interface. You must have a Smartphone to use the data from the watch.

smart health connected functions

They are basic. Pace can only manage notifications from Smartphones (SMS, emails, incoming calls) and classic applications (WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, FB, WeChat, FB Messenger). There is also an assistance function in the Smartphone application but nothing on the watch.

The interface

Coros does not offer any computer interface. You must therefore have a compatible Smartphone or use a third-party application such as Strava or Apple Health to use the data from the watch on a computer.

The interface allows you to manage the recorded data, display the route on a map, display activity tracking (sleep graphs, etc.) and personalize the watch.

Coros puts forward a data transfer speed up to twice faster than its competitors, thanks to “UltraSync”, an ultra-fast transfer function based on an optimization of the size of the data files.

watch and interface
Coros does not offer any web interface. You must have a Smartphone to use the data from the watch.

Our opinion: a watch that has yet to mature

The Coros Pace is an interesting entry-level triathlon watch for people who do not have a high budget or who do not need in-depth performance analyzes.

For around 200 €, we have a relatively complete triathlon watch. In addition to the fact that it seems not very robust (all in plastic), the display is of quality, the light watch and the comfortable bracelet. It also offers great autonomy. It has a barometric altimeter, an accessory which is only rarely offered on a watch of this price and which allows precise measurement of altitude, elevation and slope. In terms of design and displays, Coros was obviously very inspired by Garmin, which gives a very user-friendly and practical interface.

 

Regarding profiles, the addition of Trail, Hiking (logic with compass and barometric altimeter) and Cardio profiles makes the watch more versatile even if it is far from competing here (no ski, bodybuilding, yoga profiles , rowing, etc. as we find more and more frequently).

Concerning the reliability of the data, a critical point when choosing a watch for sport, the Coros Pace still needs to make progress. Even if Coros posts tests on its site aiming to demonstrate that the reliability of its GPS track is better than that of market leaders, the reality is not as obvious. According to various tests carried out on the Coros Pace, the layout is relatively good under favorable conditions but can be chaotic in situations where the competition is doing relatively well. The accuracy of the cardio is also good but it can be random with significant dropouts when the heart rate is high or when the pace changes quickly. We can hope to see improvements in future updates since the accuracy here is mainly related to the firmware.

The watch offers interesting tools, such as the aerobic and anaerobic training effect (evaluation of the effects of training on aerobic and anaerobic capacities), the evaluation of the lactic threshold, the prediction of race time or even the evaluation of time. tools, which are found at Garmin in particular. However, that is not enough to match the Forerunner 735XT.

It’s also a shame that the interface is not available on a computer (you need a Smartphone to use the data from the watch) and that it is not yet available in French.

The Coros Pace still has a long way to go to match the leaders’ equivalent watches. It is nevertheless interesting for triathlon if you are a beginner or if you have a limited budget, especially since there are not many triathlon watches as complete at this price level! Aside from the Forerunner 735XT which dates from 2017, Garmin now only offers high-end triathlon watches, such as the Forerunner 945, the ultimate sports watch. At Suunto, we find the Suunto 5 ($ 329) and, at Polar, the Polar Vantage M ($ 279), triathlon watches released in 2024.

In comparison, the Forerunner 735XT, Garmin’s entry-level triathlon watch which it comes closest to, offers running dynamics, more complete physiological measurements, more advanced smart health connected functions (VIRB camera control, control of the music from a Smartphone, LiveTrack to be tracked on the Internet, etc.) and complete GPS navigation functions, not to mention the notoriety and experience of a major brand.

Coros has already made a number of improvements to its watch (addition of the VO2max, a split mode, new sport profiles, ANT + compatibility and soon Bluetooth Smart, Galileo compatibility, French language soon available in the interface and watch). We can also believe that the reliability of the measurements will improve during the next upcoming firmware updates.

We therefore recommend this watch for people who practice triathlon and who do not want to spend too much on a sports watch. If the budget is not a concern, opt instead for the Coros Apex, the model just above. Otherwise, we can turn to the Suunto 5 or the Polar Vantage M. For running and a watch of similar price, our preference goes to the Forerunner 245 (with or without mp3 player).

[wpsm_column size=”one-half”][wpsm_pros title=”PROS:”]

  • A triathlon watch at a low price
  • Its excellent autonomy (GPS mode and watch)
  • The barometric altimeter and its manual calibration

[/wpsm_pros][/wpsm_column][wpsm_column size=”one-half” position=”last”][wpsm_cons title=”CONS:”]

  • A slightly less cheap design
  • GPS navigation functions
  • Reliability of measurements: progress to be made

[/wpsm_cons][/wpsm_column]

 

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