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Polar Grit X Review – High End, Outdoors Watch + unique features

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Polar Grit X Review

Despite the wholly new name, this Polar Grit X Review finds an effective, new addition to Polar’s mid- to high-end GPS sports watches – the VANTAGE series. With only a few subtle exceptions, there is no need for existing Polar Vantage owners to move to the Grit X for their sports usage.

Interestingly; a few new, focussed features and slightly reduced pricing on the new Polar Grit X are taking the Vantage series into a brand new market segment for Polar, namely ‘Outdoor Enthusiasts’, which cover MTB, Trail Runners and, perhaps to a lesser extent, hikers. Are they offering the right people the right product? Let’s see…

Polar Grit X Review – What’s NEW?

There are several notable changes and additions but let’s start with what has been removed from the Vantage V as that’s a MUCH SHORTER list

What’s been removed from Vantage V?

All that has been taken from the Polar Vantage V is the Recovery Pro and Orthostatic Test. Also missing is the custom strap of the Vantage V. That’s it…kinda.

What You Still Get

Cardio Load appears after about 5 days of workouts

The full low-down on the existing Grit X/Vantage common features are here in the highly-detailed Polar Vantage Bible/Review. You haven’t got an hour spare to read that so here is the summary with links to detailed discussions of each feature should you wish to learn more

 

 

New Specs, New Features

Comparing to the lower Vantage M model, you get EVERYTHING that the Vantage M offers plus Polar’s own running power, plus STRAVA Live segments, barometric altimeter plus basic route guidance. Don’t forget you now get AUDIBLE alerts which the Vantage M does not have.

Then you get all these totally new goodies on the Polar Grit X which neither the Vantage M/V has.

Oh yes. These too 😉 These are the new features appearing on a Polar watch for the very first time

 

Here is a link to a detailed look at Polar’s Hill Splitter.

 

Polar Hill Splitter – All you need to know and more

 

 

Here are screen images of the Grit X showing some of the new features, most of which are self-explanatory.

Polar Grit X Accuracy

Despite the modified Precision Prime sensor, I haven’t noticed any material difference to the accuracy from the Vantage running the latest Vantage firmware.

The following post gives some accuracy feedback with the latest production firmware. Perhaps the most interesting thing in there is my first formal test with GPS+GALILEO which had normal-good results (Garmin-equivalent accuracy)

Polar Grit X Accuracy

 

Polar Grit X Specifications & Resources

Here are the Polar Grit X specifications which are mostly hardware-related, plus a link to the manual once it goes live.

Note the initial specs on Polar’s site are not fully correct.

ie It’s a Polar Vantage V on caffeine.

Note that the Grit-X/Sony GPS chip also supports and uses better positioning from SBAS and Galileo, even though it’s not yet mentioned on the official specs.

All sensible BLE sensor types are supported. I’ve not checked this but I would assume that dual-sided bike power meters still support LR balance (not the case with Suunto). STRYD is supported via BLE and STRYD running power overrides Polar’s own power calculations if present. STRYD can accept a manual calibration value. Polar still always automatically pairs nearby BLE sensors, even if you remove them it pairs them again.

Resource: Polar Grit X Manual

Well, I Never Knew That

Here is a whole post full of Polar Grit X and related trivia. You will learn something new in there somewhere.

Polar Grit X – I never knew that

 

 

Competitor Price Comparisons

RRP prices are about right, perhaps even on the ‘good’ side of right at US$429/GBP379/Eu429 incl. 30-days free Komoot premium. Compare this to $499 for the Vantage V and $279 for the Vantage M

With the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro coming in at $700rrp and the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus at $750rrp then they, perhaps, represent the next step up in terms of bundled mapping features. The F6 Pro/F5+ have onboard MAPS and I wouldn’t recommend the earlier Garmin Fenix 5 ($499) which is perhaps more of a directly-comparable device to the Grit X with no onboard maps. Garmin is simply more expensive.

Perhaps at the other end of the scale, you could consider the Sigma Sport id.FREE which also has breadcrumb route guidance and links to Komoot for around $150 or the uglier Garmin Instinct.

The sensible choice, if you can afford it, is ‘somewhere in between’. The Garmins are well-featured but too expensive and the Sigma Sport id.FREE/id.TRI just doesn’t have the durable hardware format and platform as offered by Polar.

Somewhere in-between‘ includes the Suunto 7 (or any Wear OS watch) or the Apple Watch 4/5. You DO get full maps on those watches when there is an appropriate app installed but the plummeting battery life will always be on your mind and further decimated whilst displaying a map AND simultaneously navigating.

That leaves Coros and also the Suunto 9 ($499 currently reduced to $349) or 9-Baro ($549) or maybe even the smaller Suunto 5. I really like the Suunto 9-Baro but you might bemoan Suunto’s new, improving app platform despite being impressed with its superior hardware package. Polar simply delivers more on the sports-insights than Suunto and it does that on a better platform. So Finally we have to consider the Coros Vertix at $599, which is perhaps priced too high but worthy of your consideration.

So, Polar Grit X is priced sensibly compared to the competition. If you haven’t already bought the Vantage will the new features convince you to try the Polar Grit X?

Polar Grit X Review – My Thoughts

Grit X: It’s impressive. I like it. For my personal usage I’ll stick with the Vantage M/V which suits me as a triathlete. If you buy one you probably won’t regret it for the money.

In some ways, I am glossing over what Polar has already delivered with the Vantage series. There is much AWESOME, existing functionality that is now on the Grit X too. The unspoken advantage of the Grit X is that it seems better-powered and more smooth than the Vantage.

The new features are generally nice with scope for further enhancements. I think the issue with them will come from existing Vantage owners asking “Why can’t the Vantage V Titanium show me today’s weather on my road bike ride” and “Why can’t the Vantage V Titanium show me nutrition alerts in my race“. Those are good questions that Polar need to answer, although buying the Grit X is an answer in itself. Vantage owners should note that they already get Komoot support (just not TBT), so that should keep everyone partially happy and similarly, whilst interesting, the post-workout hill-splitter stats bring little new to the in-exercise experience in reality.

Impressive-looking Precision Prime sensors that your training buddies rarely get to admire

Many reviewers underestimate the importance of battery life to Ultra Runners. I probably underestimate it too…but Polar clearly have listened to that target market and we’ll have to wait for ultra runner feedback on the Grit X to see just how good the extended battery life modes are in real-world usage. Tentatively their spec looks good.

Many reviewers also over-hype the full onboard maps on competing Garmin watches. In my opinion, they’re not as handy as you might expect. I wish I could entirely disable the maps on my Garmin 945 but even when I try to use them, it’s difficult with relatively poor (free) maps on a small watch format. Thus Polar’s Grit X compromise with STRAVA breadcrumb routes and KOMOOT TBT routes is probably a fair one that will be useful for some. If you have the Strava/Komoot apps on your phone in your pocket then you can get a new route to your Grit X if you NEED to. Although, having said all of that, the beauty of a routable map on your watch is that it can route you back on course…Grit X can only do that via the /Strava Komoot smartphone app.

I also am reticent to recommend ANY watch-based solution for navigating on an MTB, a dedicated LARGER-FORMAT bike computer on the handlebars is clearly better. However, the Grit X is a nicely-durable and good-looking watch that certainly complements the trail biking experience.

Polar Grit X Review
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Polar Grit X Review - Summary

Polar Grit X Review Provisional

So there we have it. The Polar Grit X nicely supports serious athletes and committed adventurers, perhaps not extreme explorers. That description fits MOST of us. Go on…you know you want to try one 😉 The Grit X looks great on the wrist and the Polar FLOW platform is great for athletes and active people alike.

Buy Polar Grit X | Discounts

You can buy the Polar Grit X for US$429 / GBP379 / Eu429. General availability to buy from Amazon, Wiggle, REI and others.

 

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