Polar reveals the Grit X2 Pro running watch, and it looks like a Garmin Epix Pro rival – but cheaper

Polar Grit X2 Pro
(Image credit: Polar)

Polar has unveiled the Polar Grit X2 Pro premium outdoor smartwatch, described as its “most premium outdoor sports watch to date”. It’s packed with fitness-tracking and navigation features that certainly look worthy of inclusion in our best running watch guide – and best of all, despite its premium tag, it’s still cheaper than many of the best Garmin watches sporting similar profiles.

The Polar Grit X2 Pro is a chunky-looking stainless steel watch sporting a 326ppi 1.39-inch AMOLED touchscreen, 15% larger than the original Grit X Pro. It offers up to 43-hour battery life in performance training mode and up to 10 days in smartwatch mode, and it’s also got an “eco-performance mode”, which presumably cuts some features off while in GPS mode in order to extend the battery life to 140 hours, so you’re good for multi-day outdoors events. 

The improved outdoor performance extends to the navigation features, with “a newly designed signal-boosting antenna” working alongside Polar’s usual dual-frequency GPS. Topographical maps of Europe and North America, which often have to be bought separately on other watch systems, are preloaded here, and are said to be “rich in details of buildings, parks, major road networks, streets, and waterways.” 

A new Breadcrumbs functionality allows you to better retrace your steps – I’ve used Polar’s older Back to Start feature on the Polar Pacer Pro, and it’s a little clunky – and you also get turn-by-turn navigation, just as you do on some of the premium Garmin watches like the Epix Pro. There's also a built-in LED flashlight – again, just like the Epix Pro.

What isn’t like the Epix Pro is the price: starting at $749 / £649 / AU$1,099, it’s a decent bit cheaper than Garmin’s ultra-premium model, which comes in at $899.99 / £829.99 / AU$1,529. A more expensive package bundles the Grit X2 Pro with a Polar H10 heart rate monitor for $799.90 / £689.

Fitness tracking-wise, the watch is packing Polar’s optical heart rate monitor, ECG, SpO2 monitoring, skin temp, so all the usual stuff. For trail runs, hikes and cycling outdoors, a new metric called 3D speed is added to your usual suite of stats. 3D speed will clock your average ascent speed in 30 seconds (VAM) in varying terrains, rather than the top-down approach you get from traditional GPS tracking – this will theoretically provide a more accurate measure of your speed while you're ascending and descending big hills and valleys. 

Pre-orders are available now, and the Polar Grit X2 Pro will hit shelves April 3. 

Polar Grit X2 Pro

(Image credit: Polar)

Analysis: a Garmin-beater?

I love the Garmin Epix Pro – it’s on my wrist as I type this, and I use lots of it features, including ones I can’t get anywhere else, at least not all in one package. When I run at night, I switch the LED flashlight to its soft red, so other pedestrians can see me coming even if I’m wearing darker clothes. 

I load courses and GPX files onto the watch, and use turn-by-turn navigation to take me through my long marathon training runs around central London. I don’t have to worry about where I’m actually going anymore, and I can just focus on the important bit: running.

Alas, my unit is from the TechRadar offices, and it’s a loaner – eventually, it’s going back to Garmin. I couldn’t afford to shell out the full price for all these features, so it’s nice to see a watch that also covers all these bases and which will cost less. If the Polar Grit X2 Pro’s performance can live up to its claims, while undercutting Garmin’s best AMOLED navigation watch offering, Polar may have a winner on its hands. I can’t wait to test it.  

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Matt Evans
Fitness, Wellness, and Wearables Editor

Matt is TechRadar's expert on all things fitness, wellness and wearable tech. A former staffer at Men's Health, he holds a Master's Degree in journalism from Cardiff and has written for brands like Runner's World, Women's Health, Men's Fitness, LiveScience and Fit&Well on everything fitness tech, exercise, nutrition and mental wellbeing.

Matt's a keen runner, ex-kickboxer, not averse to the odd yoga flow, and insists everyone should stretch every morning. When he’s not training or writing about health and fitness, he can be found reading doorstop-thick fantasy books with lots of fictional maps in them.