Polar Pacer Pro

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This post is also availiable in German

2022 seems to be a good year to get a new running watch. Polar presents two new models that have a very good price/performance ratio.

Sponsored Post: Polar provided me with the products for this review at my request. This had no influence on the content of my post. The article is written indipendently and reflects exclusively my personal experiences.


Polar Pacer Pro

Price

299 Euro

Time Frame

10 weeks



Model classification

With the new Pacer and the Pacer Pro presented here, Polar is launching a new model series. The existing Vantage models are thus not replaced, but rather complemented.

When comparing the models, it quickly becomes clear that the Polar Pacer Pro replaces the Polar Vantage M2. At the same price, the new model offers more functions. Although the M2 is still available in the Polar shop, there is actually no reason to buy the watch anymore.

First Impressions

Polar leaves little to be desired when it comes to the Pacer Pro’s scope of delivery: in addition to the obligatory charging cable, it even includes an alternative-length wristband and the shift adapter.

At first glance, the watch itself makes a high-quality impression. However, it is clear from the plastic case and some of the details of the wristband that the Pacer Pro cannot compete with the Vantage Collection.

The buttons are based on Polar’s tried and tested operating concept. As always, the start/stop button is highlighted in red. A touch display has been omitted.

The optical heart rate sensor seems to have changed to the Polar Unite design. It rests on a larger surface, which could possibly be an advantage.

What’s really new?

All Polar watches share most of the functions with each other. You have to look closely to see the differences.

There is actually only one real innovation in the Polar Pacer Pro: the display. For the first time, Polar has installed a memory-in-pixel display (MIP) that is particularly energy-saving and easier to read in daylight.

Display comparison Polar Vantage V2 (left) and Polar Pacer Pro (right)

What is hardly noticeable in the photos is a noticeable leap forward in reality. The Pacer Pro has by far the best display of the Polar watches. Especially during runs in bright sunshine, the readability has improved significantly.

The various performance tests of the Polar world are now joined by a walking test with the Pacer Pro, which can determine your VO2max by walking fast for about 15 minutes. This can be a good start for determining where you stand if the running performance test still seems too demanding.

Another new feature is that Polar includes SHIFT adapters directly with the Pacer Pro. This allows the silicone straps of the watch to be exchanged with straps for standard lugs.

Polar Pacer Pro with SHIFT adapter installed

A small drawback: the adapters on the Pacer Pro are designed for a 20 mm lug, while the Polar Vantage V2 SHIFT Edition accepts straps with 22 mm. So you can’t interchange them.

Advantages

The profile of the Polar Pacer Pro is otherwise made up of functions that already exist in the Polar Vantage V2 – and which were not found in the Vantage M2.

Navigation and Hill Splitter

The Polar Pacer Pro can import routes that you can then follow during training. This works particularly well with Komoot, as you even receive turn-by-turn directions through the watch.

However, as with the Vantage V2, it remains a pure “worm navigation” without map material. In practice, however, the turn-by-turn navigation is completely sufficient for me.

Sascha from DailyNerdAlert shows quite well how this looks in practice in his video (german):

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The Hill Splitter function is also part of the theme. Thanks to the barometric altimeter, the Pacer Pro can now also distinguish between uphill and downhill sections of the runs and display and evaluate these as sections.

Performance-Tests

The convincing overall system from Polar also includes, for me, the various tests integrated into the watches. The orthostatic test and the leg recovery test are reserved for the Vantage V2, but with the cycling and running performance test, important functions come to the Polar Pacer Pro.

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With the tests, a guided determination of one’s training zones is possible. In addition, there is the new walking test. The fitness test performed while lying down can also provide a good orientation on performance development.

Wrist power measurement

The Polar Vantage M2 was already able to work with watt values, but only when coupled with an external sensor (Stryd). With the Polar Pacer Pro, power measurement is now also possible at the wrist, i.e. without additional accessories.

This is certainly a nice bonus if you want to enter the world of watt-based training. However, the quality of the values depends heavily on GPS reception and is therefore not always optimal. Anyone who wants to get serious about the subject will sooner or later buy a Stryd Footpod.

Polar Flow

While the essential functions of running watches from different manufacturers hardly differ, the ecosystem around it is becoming an increasingly important factor.

For me, Polar Flow is clearly one of the frontrunners. From app to web, you get a consistent system that makes sense to use.

Disadvantages

To be honest: there’s not much to criticise about the Polar Pacer Pro. But where there is a lot of light, there is also shadow. 😉

Case and strap

For me, Polar watches are clearly among the more beautiful of their kind. For example, I like to wear the Vantage V2 in everyday life because it looks very high-quality with the matching strap.

Polar Vantage V2 on leather strap

That’s why I’m a little ambivalent about the Polar Pacer Pro. At first glance it looks quite similar to the Vantage V2, but on closer inspection it can’t keep up. Perhaps the plastic housing is also a concession to the price.

At the same time, the display is slightly better and the Pacer Pro is also 10 grams lighter than the Vantage V2.

Charging cable

I have no fundamental problem with the charging cable: it serves its purpose really well! The magnets hold the cable securely to the watch during charging.

Aber: das war mit dem vorherigen Ladekabel in Tellerform auch schon der Fall. Ist es wirklich notwendig, für jede Uhr ein neues Kabel zu erfinden?

Running experience

As with every new running watch I test, the Polar Pacer Pro was initially only allowed on the second wrist as a “guest” 😉 You never know what teething troubles a new model might suffer from.

The subsequent comparison of the measured data with regard to GPS and heart rate was pleasantly inconspicuous. As with every GPS watch, there are brief small pace conspicuities when transitioning into and out of the forest. This seems to be more pronounced with Polar, but is not a real flaw overall.

The optical measurement of the heart rate on the wrist did not disappoint me once. In direct comparison with the OHR of the Coros Pace 2, the Garmin Forerunner 945 or the Polar Vantage V2, the Polar Pacer Pro did not show any weaknesses. I would even say that the new sensor works better for me than the Vantage V2. Optical sensors work very reliably for me, so I usually do without a chest strap.

Further practical experience: in everyday training, it made no difference at all to me whether I wore the Vantage V2 or the Pacer Pro. I didn’t miss anything. Since I now prefer to use Nightly Recharge instead of the Orthostatic Test, even that was not a factor for me.

I would even say that I would rather go for the Pacer Pro because of the better display and the optical sensor – even if I like the high-quality exterior of the Vantage V2 better.

Conclusion

The better Vantage V2?
The Polar Pacer Pro delivers an unbelievably good price/performance ratio. Compared to the Polar Vantage V2, I didn’t have to make any compromises in terms of quality and features in everyday training. At the same time, the Pacer Pro has a visibly better display and (for me) a slightly better optical heart rate sensor – and that for just under 300 euros!
Quality
Function
Enthusiasm
Price / Performance
4.5

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This post is also availiable in German

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Hi! It’s me, the Harlerunner.

This is where Thomas Pier writes about running and (much more than just the necessary) equipment. I don't run particularly fast or far. But I like to share my experiences as an ambitious recreational runner, curious early-adopter and as my own trainer.

I am happy about every digital contacting - but even more so about every kilometer run together.

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