One of the world's toughest running watches, the Polar Grit X, has received a major firmware update for 2022 that will let you change your route on the fly during a run, link it to gym equipment for accurate heart rate monitoring during indoor workouts, and more.
The Polar Grit X arrived in September 2020. It was followed by the more rugged and outdoorsy Polar Grit X Pro in October 2021, but this latest software update gives owners of the original watch a hefty set of new features.
Most new running watches allow you to control your phone's music player from your wrist, avoiding the need to stop and dig out your handset when you want to skip a track. It's a useful feature, but one that was missing from the Grit X until now. Once you've downloaded the update, you'll find that you can navigate your playlist and adjust volume during training sessions, or from the watch's time view when you're not tracking an activity.
New training tools
As mentioned, you can now tweak your running route mid-workout, which allows you to change your course if you're starting to feel fatigued and want to cut your run short. Provided you've set up more than one route before heading out, you can switch between them by selecting 'Routes' from your watch's Quick Menu.
The January Polar Grit update adds a new running performance test, which lets you check your current fitness level, and set personal heart rate, speed, and power zones that you can use in future training sessions.
You'll be able to see a weekly summary of your week's training on the watch face, and you can use the Polar Flow smartphone app to create training targets based on power, add a ZonePointer so you can see at a glance which power and speed zone you're currently working in, and add last lap training views.
Finally, you can now turn the watch off, perform a factory reset directly from your wrist, or create a custom watch face featuring your name.
You can download the update now via either Polar FlowSync (opens in new tab) on your computer, or the Polar Flow (opens in new tab) app.
Opinion: do you really need a new watch?
It's refreshing to see watchmakers maintaining their existing products rather than pushing owners to invest in new hardware – particularly when it comes to rugged devices like the Polar Grit X that are built to survive many years of mud and sweat.
Yesterday (January 18) Garmin launched its new flagship running watch, the Garmin Fenix 7. It's an impressive device (we were particularly impressed by its ability to track changes in stamina during a run), but the company isn't pushing its existing customers to upgrade.
Just the day before, the company released a huge firmware update for the three-year-old Fenix 6, which may well have tempted some owners to stick with the older device. Like the Grit X, the Fenix 6 is very solidly built, and it's unlikely that the hardware will have failed in the three years since its release.
That's not just good news for runners, but for the environment too, reducing electrical waste, and limiting demand for materials like lithium and cobalt, which are used in smartwatch batteries. Hopefully both Polar and Garmin will continue to keep their existing devices up to date with new fixes and features for many years to come.
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