The Polar Grit X is a new multisport watch specially designed for outdoor enthusiasts and comes with a number of new possibilities. I have listed the pros and cons of this robust lightweight.
Polar Grit X.
Polar announced a new sports watch in April of 2020, the Polar Grit X. This watch is aimed at outdoor athletes and features a rugged, lightweight design, long battery life and a number of new Smart Coaching features including Hill Splitter and FuelWise.
In this article I list some good and bad points of the Polar Grit X. Based on that, I base my conclusion on the watch and you can decide for yourself whether the Grit X might be something for you tech largest.
Polar Grit X – the pros
1. Robust and lightweight
When you think of robust, you immediately think of heavy and clumsy, but none of this applies to the Polar Grit X. The sports watch is comfortable and despite its weight it certainly does not feel heavy. In addition, you can certainly be seen with this watch, the device looks beautiful, even if you have narrow wrists like me.
Unlike the Vantage series and the Ignite, the Grit X has a more robust appearance due to the wide stainless steel bezel around the screen. That edge not only looks beautiful, the substantial bezels are partly covered and thus seem a lot thinner.
In addition, the five buttons on the side have a ribbed pattern so that you can easily use them in case of mud or sand. These buttons are also finer pieces to serve as the Polar Vantage M . They respond faster to touch and feel more durable.
– Dimensions : 47 x 47 x 13 mm
– Water resistance : waterproof up to 100 meters
– Weight : 64 grams
– Polar Vantage M weight: 45 grams
– Polar Vantage V weight: 66 grams
The watch is also robust due to its design developed to the stringent military standard MIL-STD-810G standard. This allows you to use the Grit X during extreme weather conditions and it is more resistant to fall damage. For an outdoor enthusiast, this addition is certainly not superfluous, but also not always necessary.
Sizes : S: wrist circumference 130-190 mm – M / L: wrist circumference 145-215 mm
2. Color screen is very easy to read
The Polar Grit X has an always-on color touchscreen that features a layer of Gorilla Glass for extra protection and an anti-fingerprint coating. You can operate the Grit X via the buttons on the side and via the screen and that is especially useful if you sweat a lot or if it rains. Then you can turn to the buttons. I almost always used the buttons because you can switch between the eight home screens much faster.
Screen: 1.2 inch LCD screen with a resolution of 240 x 240 pixels
Unlike the Ignite, this watch has a screen that is always on (Always-on) and that is a plus in my opinion because you do not have to wake up the watch via a strange wrist movement. It is a transflective color screen that does not provide light as standard, but the incident (sun) light. This can save energy and makes it very readable in full sun. In contrast to the Ignite and the Vantage M, the screen is much easier to read both indoors and outdoors. In full sunlight, the screen is even easy to read. Top!
Screen of the Polar Grit X on a sun-drenched day
You can navigate through the menus with the buttons at the top right and bottom right. To open a menu, press the middle button on the right and to go back use the button on the bottom left.
Finally, there is the button at the top left, with which you activate the backlight lighting or to lock the touchscreen. This operation is similar to that of the Vantage series with the addition of the homescreen in which the current weather, a two-day forecast, rain in mm, the wind speed, the wind direction and humidity are shown.
3. Very good battery life
According to Polar, the battery lasts up to 40 hours in full training mode (GPS and wrist-based heart rate) and even up to 100 hours with various power-saving features. That would be perfect for long training sessions such as an (ultra) trail run, but there are not many people who do that with some regularity. I tested the Grit X in full training mode and in training mode without continuous heart rate measurement, so only heart rate measurement during the night.
Battery: 346 mAh
In full training mode (three workouts with GPS), the Grit X lasted four days and in training mode without continuous heart rate monitoring, the battery lasted an average of eight days on three workouts with GPS and three without GPS. The longer the training with GPS lasts, the faster the battery will naturally drain. But with workouts of about an hour to an hour and a half, you can easily get through the week without continuous heart rate measurement.
– Polar Grit X user manual
For multi-day workouts, you can use the energy savings on the Grit X and turn off heart rate monitoring on the wrist. With the energy-saving you increase the GPS interval that is standard at 1 second to 1 or 2 minutes. You can also completely disable the GPS registration here.
4. Accurate GPS measurement
The Polar Grit’s built-in GPS works very accurately. During my test period of a few weeks, I have not been able to find any significant inaccuracy. There is also an automatic start and stop function, so you do not have to press the button on the side to pause the training if you are standing still in front of a red light.
New on the Polar Grit X is turn-by-turn voice navigation via Komoot . Komoot is an excellent tool for planning outdoor routes for (mountain) hiking, mountain biking, gravel biking, cycling, running. I did not know Komoot, but I was immediately impressed by the level of detail on which you can create routes. For example, you can take trips along restaurants and places of interest and view the difficulty levels of MTB single tracks and hiking trails.
These Komoot routes can be synchronized with the Polar Grit X so that you can go out without a phone. Do not expect an extensive map, you will only see a line on the screen that indicates in which direction you should cycle or walk. That takes some getting used to. A mount on your bike on which you can place the Grit X, I can also recommend during mountain biking and cycling. This way you can easily view the navigation and other data about your training without taking your hands off the wheel.
Keep in mind that using Komoot is not completely free. You can unlock additional regions for offline navigation for € 3.99, € 8.99 or € 29.99 for the whole world, but the region where you live is available for free. These are incidental amounts. Then there is also Komoot Premium worth 59.99 euros. This is a subscription that offers various functions for people who want to go a step further, such as comprehensive insurance, discounts, and extra route options for, for example, planning multi-day adventures.
If you do not want to use the turn-by-turn navigation, you can choose the ‘Back to start’ function. This feature guides you back to the starting point of your training session.
6. FuelWise and Hill Splitter
FuelWise ensures that you eat and drink in time during a long workout. Polar indicates that consistent nutrition and fluid intake is crucial to withstand the toughest sessions effectively and with pleasure. With FuelWise you automatically get a reminder when you are behind on drinking water and you can indicate how much time you want such a reminder.
Polar developed the Hill Splitter function for this sports watch especially for outdoor athletes. This feature automatically detects whether you are going up or down hill. This function is not very useful during training, because data such as your average speed or heart rate during a climb or descent are not shown.
After training, you can view this data in the detailed performance information on Polar Flow . This gives you insight into the intensity of your session and how you adjust your speed in various stages for a more structured training. This way you can anticipate the intensity of variable terrain and thus improve your performance.
7. Energy consumption
Polar Grit X also introduces an overview of energy consumption in the Polar app and Polar Flow. The breakdown of the energy sources into fats, carbohydrates, proteins gives you an instant overview of how many different energy sources you have used during your training session and that is valuable information that I previously put under the negatives of the Polar app and Polar web environment due to the lack to it. Unfortunately, this information is only visible to Grit X users, but perhaps Polar will also bring the feature to other Polar watches.
Polar Grit X – the negatives
1. No music control
As with the Polar Ignite and Polar Vantage series, music control on the Grit X is not possible. So if you want to listen to music while exercising, you will still need to bring your phone.
2. Challenges and personal records
Unlike Garmin, for example, Polar focuses purely on sports with the associated very detailed analyzes, graphs and overviews. In addition, the Polar Grit X has a number of well-known functions that can also be found on the Polar Ignite and Polar Vantage series:
– FitSpark : personalized daily workouts and workouts on your watch based on your fitness level, training history and recovery information.
– Nightly Recharge : Nocturnal recovery measurements that show how well you are recovering from your daytime efforts. Receive personalized tips and exercises that help you make better choices for your health and achieving your training goals.
– Training Load Pro : Training Load Pro combines your cardio load, muscle load and perceived load into one insight with which you can prevent over and under training.
– Sleep Plus Stages : measure your sleep cycle and provide detailed insight into the quality of your sleep.
– Running power : measure your muscle load via your wrist while running, in order to exercise at the right intensity every session.
These are all excellent tools to monitor your overall health and athletic performance. Yet I still miss the social aspect that can motivate you as an athlete to go the extra mile as your friends. For example, you cannot add friends to Polar via social networks or your address book. You can only follow people in a very cumbersome way via Polar Flow, in the app that possibility does not exist. The link with Strava makes up for this partly, but then you are stuck with an extra app.
Polar also has no challenges (to challenge your Garmin friends) and the associated badges and personal records (which you can improve). I would really like to see these two options in the Polar app and web interface so you can challenge yourself to push your limits. Garmin does offer these options.
3. Heart rate measurement during mountain biking
During mountain biking, optical heart rate monitors, which the Grit X is equipped with, sometimes fail because you get a lot of vibrations on rough terrain. This is no different for the Grit X and compared to the heart rate measurement via my Garmin chest strap, some changes were recorded incorrectly. In other sports such as running, touring cycling and walking, the Grit X performs the heart rate measurement correctly compared to the heart rate chest strap.
I have enjoyed wearing the Polar Grit X. Not only because of the appearance, the weight, the fine operation via the buttons, the excellent screen and the long battery life, but also because of the new possibilities such as turn-by-turn navigation and the insights via ‘energy consumption’.
These plus points are a reason for me to switch from the Vantage M (279.90 euros) to the Grit X (429.90 euros), but I have to pay an extra 150 euros for that. The difference between the Ignite (199.90 euros) and Grit X is even bigger.
Whether these amounts are worth switching is of course a personal choice for everyone. Owners of the Vantage V (499.90 euros) or V Titan (599.90 euros) will be the switch less interesting. If you are in doubt between one of the three, you can compare the specifications here.
The Polar Grit X can also be compared with Garmin watches such as the Forerunner 645 (349.99 euros) and 945 (599.99 euros), but you can also explore the possibilities of all these watches because there are still a few minor but perhaps very important differences for you.
Are you going for Garmin? Then you can choose from sports watches where you can store music and get started with Garmin’s software that is a bit more accessible than that of Polar. You can take advantage of challenges, earn badges and view your personal records. Polar does not offer these options, although you can also use similar functions via the link with Strava.
The Polar Grit X features the following new features Hill Splitter, FuelWise, Komoot, power consumption and weather forecasts. You will not find this with other Polar sports watches and if you practice sports where these functions come in handy, the Grit X is a great choice.
Do you not like extreme sports and are you alone in the gym? Then the Polar Ignite is a good choice. Do you do cardio, strength training and running? Then you are in the right place with the Polar Vantage M in terms of value for money. The Vantage V offers even more extensive options for runners. Both do not have turn-by-turn navigation.
Buy Polar Grit X.
The Polar Grit X has a suggested retail price of 429.90 euros and is available in the colors black and green (size M / L) and white (size S / M). You can adjust the Grit X as desired via the various wristbands of silicone, textile and leather. These cost 29.95 euros, 39.95 euros and 49.95 euros respectively. You can buy the sports watch yourself via Coolblue , FuturumShop and Polar yourself .