Polar Grit X Review
- Build Quality
The Polar Grit X is a fantastic sports watch. Without a doubt, it can be considered a best-in-class multisport GPS watch with a rugged yet attractive design, good battery life, and a wealth of useful outdoor-specific features. Within this price range, you won’t find a watch that gets anywhere close to it. Highly recommended.
Very lightweight, perfect for running workouts
Track uphill and downhill
A bit expensive
Hill Splitter is a bit underwhelming
Basic navigation features
Lack of smartwatch apps
No music player and contactless payment
Polar Grit X Review
First-Class Multi-Sport GPS Watch
Are you looking for a multi-sport smartwatch that has built-in GPS, compass, altimeter, and other training features? Good news, because Polar is back with its latest model, The Polar Grit X. With its introduction, the goal is to be in line with leading brands in sports and smartwatch today such as Garmin’s Fenix Series. But unlike Suunto 7 that went a little too far into the lifestyle section, Polar’s new watch is loaded with tons of first-class training features in a slim and lightweight package.
Introduction and Specs
After the success of Polar’s Vantage V and M in 2018, The Grit X keeps some of their standard features such as running power and training insights operated by its new heart rate sensor technology. You also get the now traditional features of navigation, route building with extra functions to track hills, continuous heart rate tracking, overnight recovery measurement, training guidance, uphill and downhill stats and a new feature to remind the user to fuel up or to take a water break. And to sweeten the deal even more, if you compare it to other outdoor watches such as Garmin Fenix 6X Pro or Suunto 6, this one is cheaper.
Looks-wise, the Polar Grit X is not your traditional outdoor sports watches, heavy-duty build and big, sometimes too big to be frank. The Grit X is fully equipped to endure heavy workouts such as triathlons, trail running or hiking but it is more similar in looks to the Garmin Forerunner range than to any other high-end sports watch.
After running several tests in different environments, we can confirm that the Grit X is solid and reliable in situations with high humidity as well as extremely high and/ or low temperatures. Its stainless steel casing provides you with all the peace of mind you need, especially when you know that it passed military-grade tests in the conditions mentioned above. However, it is worth mention that Polar warns that temperatures below 14 degrees Fahrenheit (-10 Celsius) can affect battery life and performance. In addition to its solid build and ruggedness, it is currently the highest waterproof rating amongst Polar watches, at 328ft (100 meters).
The Polar Grit X measures 47 x 47 x 13mm and weighs 64g which is the same thickness of the Vantage V yet slimmer than a Garmin Fenix 6 Pro. Its 1.2-inch color touchscreen display is very sensitive, with a 240x240px resolution with 5 navigation buttons.
This five buttons on the side stick out a little bit more when compared to the Vantage V which makes it easier to press. If you are a fan of interchangeable silicone straps you are in luck as it is compatible with standard 22mm quick release straps so you have a limitless range of options available to swap around depending on the situation. You can have a silicone strap for when you do your workout and a smart and fancy leather one for when you have a meeting or corporate event. The Grit X also comes in small and medium-size and you can choose from a black outer casing or silver casing.
Although it undeniably looks like and feels like a sports watch, it is made in such a way that you can wear it in a corporate event and it won’t stand out lout of place. It is actually quite an attractive watch to look at. The display screen works well in bright outdoor light and it also features a backlight, which is best for nighttime or early in the morning. We feel they have done a great job with the look of the watch,
Features and Apps
There is nothing new about the smart features of the Grit X, there aren’t just any. This is a sports watch at its core and as such you get a very, very slim range of them. You basically get phone notification and weather forecast. It does not have contactless payment, a built-in music player, or any additional apps.
Thankfully, notifications don’t just pop out of nowhere, especially during workouts. The weather forecast appears daily or you can set it up to give you a forecast for the next two days that will help you plan your next outdoor activity. These insights are straight from your phone so you don’t need to worry whether you are getting them from reliable sources or not.
They say Grit X is made for outdoor adventures and in that spirit they created several apps meant for sports actions. The first app is called Komoot. Polar has partnered Kamoot, a third-party mapping and route-planning provider to bring route guidance to the watch. You now have the ability to plan a route and directly upload them to watch. Well, there is no sugar coating with this, it is a rather simple app, but few brands offer this kind of functionality for the same price.
To plan such routes, you just need to sync it over to the Polar Flow app, then to the watch. You get a free region when you buy the watch, which is your current region, but to access other places/ regions you have to pay for it. It might sound quite complicated and expensive but it helps explorers who plan for big adventures.
Hill Splitter is one of the Polar Grit X features that differentiates it from the competition. Going up to for a hike, mountain biking? Whether you plan to go to mountains, valleys, or hills, using Hill Splitter gives additional metrics and reports on the ascent and descent performance of your activity.
Using barometric altitude data, your GPS-based distance and speed, it automatically detects uphill and downhill segments in your workout. Hill Splitter is available by default when tracking cycling, downhill sports, or running sessions. In downhill sports such as skiing and snowboarding, it provides you with a pop-up with data about how well you did once you finished a hill. How cool is that?
You can, however, add it for any sports that use GPS and barometric altitude via the Flow app or web service. We thought this was a really cool feature. During your outdoor activity, you will constantly get alerts and notifications to keep you on track.
The last and most interesting app from Polar Grit X is FuelWise. This is made for anyone who plans to hike and spend a lot of time outdoors. The idea is simple, a reminder will tell you to refuel or rehydrate to stay healthy and energized during the whole activity.
Polar has two ways for this app, and the first is through a smart carbs reminder. It sends a reminder based on the duration of activity which is usually a minimum of 90 minutes, intensity, and carbs per serving. The second way is through manual carb and drinks reminder that takes place every 20 to 60 minutes.
The app does not use sensors to detect if you are dehydrated or need to take a snack or drink. It uses your heart rate and length of the workout in order to calculate the reminders. FuelWise is a fantastic feature and one that should be in every sports watch in the market as it provides extremely valuable reminders that every sportsman and woman needs.
If you are familiar with Polar’s Vantage V, the sports tracking features are pretty much the same as Polar Grit X. It has a built-in GPS, Precision Prime heart rate sensor that you can pair up with chest straps or cadence and power sensors, and step counts.
Fitness tracking is also present in Polar Grit X such as sleep monitoring. It has the richest sleep insights to explore how you can recover from a tiring day during sleep. And for core sports, you can pick over 130 different sports such as running, swimming, biking, hiking, cycling, multisport, and other outdoor activities.
There is also a new feature called FitSpark for training guidance. FitSpark is super cool in the way that it will offer you two to four different workouts every day based on your level of fitness, training history, and night-recharge recovery stats.
For Strava fans, you need to subscribe to Strava’s Summit in order to get a Live Segment screen. This is a really cool feature that lets you compete with other people in a leader board for the best time running or cycling or a predefined route.
You can also set up a Smart Carbs Reminder, a super helpful feature that calculates how much carbs you need to refuel with based on your estimated workout duration and intensity, training background, and other personal data such as your age, gender, heart rate, height, and weight. We found this to be very, very helpful.
Test results show that the GPS of Grit X picks up a signal nicely and snappy and gives accurate mapping. Summaries of data are well-done in breaking down your energy lost from carbs, proteins, and fats. But for heart rate readings we noticed that it started very high then slowed down, giving inaccurate or unreliable data. We still feel that for anyone looking at reliable data, it is still highly advisable to use a chest strap.
Unfortunately, this isn’t unique to the Polar, it is the same with every other sports watch manufacturer, from the Garmin Forerunner 945, the 6X Pro to the new Suunto 9, the technology for optical HR monitors isn’t quite there compared to the classic (and proven) chest-strap.
Delivering a strong and long-lasting battery is what Polar is known for, and that is the same promise they give you for Grit x. With GPS and heart rate monitoring on, you can use the watch for 40 hours, and in normal watch mode and heart rate monitoring on, expect a week of usage. There is also a power mode to prolong the tracking time which has the ability to change GPS recording rate and lessen the load on performance.
Upon testing the battery powers, Grit X proves that it can hold its battery well. However, for 30 to 40 minutes of exercises with continuous heart rate monitoring, the battery drops down by 20%. We also tried mild tracking and it only lasted 4 days 3 days short of its estimated timeframe.
The Polar Grit X is a solid multi-sport watch that brings new features to the table. Polar’s very own apps such as Komoot, Hill Splitter, and especially, FuelWise are a success and the company deserves the credit for it. Although there are some features that need some modification, overall, its goal of lining up against top leading brands will not disappoint anybody who buys this watch.
Bearing in the mind the price tag for the Polar Grit X, there aren’t many great watches that offer these features within this price range. But if you got more cash, you can try Garmin Fenix 6X Pro BARO or Suunto 9 BARO. In many ways, Polar Grit X is a better option that offers excellent value for money.