Coros Pace 2: A RM1,000 GPS smartwatch for RM899?

The world of smartwatches is one that has grown exponentially over the past few years or so. While customers had a fairly limited range of choices back in the early days, the wearable market now has segments for fitness bands, affordable smartwatches, and even powerful GPS watches for fitness enthusiasts. 

The latter has traditionally been dominated by brands such as Garmin and Polar, although we have a relative newcomer on the scene: Coros. Having launched their first product back in 2016 on Kickstarter, the Coros Pace 2 has just been announced—and yes, Coros’ latest GPS watch will soon be available in Malaysia for pre-order.

At a reasonably affordable price, the Coros Pace 2 is an interesting device to consider if you’re a fitness enthusiast, or even a triathlete. But first: here are some important tidbits to know if you’re thinking about picking up the latest Coros wearable.

1. It’s really, really light.

Coros calls this the “lightest GPS Multisport watch in the world” at 29g, although you’ll need to get an additional nylon band to achieve that number. Meanwhile, the Coros Pace 2 weighs in at 36g with the default silicone strap. This lightweight nature is particularly important for the Pace 2, especially when you consider how Coros is marketing their latest device—one for runners, triathletes, and gym-goers.

2. A dedicated mode for triathlons, built-in GPS, and 5ATM water resistance

A triathlon is essentially a multisport race made up of various activities, including running, swimming, and cycling. It’s known to be one of the most demanding sporting activities and competitions, with triathletes required to regularly train for three different sports. 

As such, a big part of the Coros Pace 2’s appeal is the inclusion of a dedicated triathlon mode. This combines the Run, Swim (5ATM water resistance), and Bike modes into one, and there are breaks between each triathlon segment so you can view some quick stats and catch a breather.

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And off course, built-in GPS is also included, which means that the Coros Pace 2 can track your run/activity without the help of a paired smartphone. 

3. Battery life for the ages

One of the first things I look for when it comes to fitness watches is the expected battery life you get out of a single charge. This is where the Coros Pace 2 really shines—at least, on paper. The company promises some impressive figures: 30 hours in full GPS mode (20% more than its predecessor), 60 hours in UltraMax mode, and 20 days of daily use. 

Daily use, in this case, refers to average usage, including heart rate and sleep tracking, auto-backlight, steps measurement, and of course, notifications and alarms. Part of what contributes to the great battery life estimates is the use of a 1.2” Memory in Pixel (MIP) display. 

MIP displays offer wide viewing angles, and thanks to a built-in reflective layer, the display doesn’t depend on a backlight as much as a conventional smartwatch. Certain static images can also be displayed without consuming additional power, which ultimately contributes to better battery life.

4. A unique Digital Dial to control the watch

One of the first things you’ll notice when you use the Coros Pace 2 is the digital dial on the side of the watch. This is used to help navigate through the menus—basically, this will be the main control method, with the only other being a simple “back” button. 

Coros says that the Digital Dial has been designed to save athletes time when checking on critical stats. Additionally, when a workout or activity is running, the Coros Pace 2 will lock itself, and the Digital Dial then functions as a way to unlock the watch. This helps to avoid accidental button presses (or dial spins) when working out. 

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From first impressions, it’s pretty similar to the Digital Crown on the Apple Watch, and it looks like an interesting idea for menu control. After spending a few days with the Pace 2, however, I found that the Digital Dial was slightly inconsistent in use. Sometimes, it was responsive and easy-to-use, but other times, I needed to spin the dial a couple of times before the watch responded.

5. Support for ANT+ and Bluetooth external devices

This is one for the more serious fitness enthusiasts. The Coros Pace 2—just like its predecessor—supports both ANT+ and Bluetooth external devices. If you aren’t familiar, ANT+ is basically wireless technology that allows your monitoring devices to communicate with one another. 

This means that you can connect a number of useful accessories ranging from heart rate sensors to power sensors, or even speed or cadence sensors. Ultimately, this expands the capabilities of your smartwatch, which is why ANT+ (and Bluetooth) support on the Coros Pace 2 is such a good thing. 

Pricing and availability details in Malaysia

The Coros Pace 2 is available for pre-order from the 31st of August till the 21st of September 2020, with the wearable expected to officially hit Malaysian shelves from the 23rd of September 2020. Pricing has been set at RM899—which is a relatively affordable price, given the competition. 

While the company still has a lot to do if it’s to prove itself against established names such as Garmin or Polar, something that they have going for them is price; something similar spec-wise from a major competitor such as Garmin would easily surpass the RM1,000 mark. However, a big part of a smartwatch’s success is down to the user experience: how accurate the data is, how the UI feels, how the information is displayed during an activity, and so on. 

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And from first impressions, there’s a lot to like about the Coros Pace 2. It’s really, really lightweight, and I’m a fan of the simple aesthetic (for sports watches, less is more). 

I’ve only had the Coros Pace 2 for a couple of days now, so it’s difficult to make a full judgement at this point in time. It certainly has potential—although I have a somewhat love-hate relationship with the Digital Dial at the moment—and it’s interesting to see how Coros’ latest GPS watch fares in the competitive sport GPS watch segment. 

If you’re keen, you can head over to the official Coros store on Lazada to pre-order the Coros Pace 2 from the 31st of August 2020 till the 21st of September 2020. The first 100 customers to pre-order the Coros Pace 2 on the Coros official Lazada store and authorised retailers will get a free gym bag and a 600ml shaker. Meanwhile, a Coros visor will also be given to the first 10 buyers on the Coros Lazada store.

The Coros Pace 2 will officially be available in Malaysia from the 23rd of September 2020. To find out more, click here for Coros’ official site. Coros is also organising a Virtual Run Challenge, with registration to begin from the 5th of September 2020. To find out more, click here.