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Tech & Wearables

Unboxed: New Polar Grit X Smartwatch

Polar's new Grit X smartwatch is a trail-running triathlete's dream in a compact package that won't weigh you down or make your wrist look ridiculous.

Lately smartwatches have become as powerful (and sometimes as expensive) as laptops—with literally hundreds of sport modes, recovery programs, reasonably accurate on-wrist heart rate, excellent GPS and battery life, and onboard mapping and coaching, there’s not much you can’t do with a smartwatch. That trend continues with a new “outdoor focused” smartwatch, the Polar Grit X. While “outdoor” might be a little extreme, this is a fully featured multisport watch with a focus on running (on-board power, for instance, and some very cool hill/fueling features) while still retaining the swimming (lap and open water) and cycling features that triathletes prize.

Check out our video above for the full unboxing, or scroll down for some quick takeaways.

First Impressions

Polar Grit X: Starting at $430; Polar.com

What I Like About Polar’s Grit X

  1. On-board running power is awesome, and coupled with their new “Hill Splitter” feature and uploadable route planning, this is probably the most trail-runner specific watch I’ve ever seen.
  2. A small profile coupled with tough materials and a massive battery life (seven days in watch mode; 40 hours with GPS training) makes this the best-of-both worlds between something like Garmin’s Forerunner series and their Fenix series.
  3. A reasonable amount of powerful features makes this watch less intimidating in terms of settings and functions.

What Makes Me Worried With Polar’s Grit X

  1. Though it’s not something I use often, the lack of music connectivity and contactless payments put this a few features behind comparably priced smartwatches.
  2. The price is good but not a category killer like Polar’s Vantage M. Since Polar is still playing catch up to Garmin and Suunto in terms of market share, I was hoping this would be a less expensive venture.
  3. This is just picky, but no “Brick” sport profile or “Swimrun” profile is odd given that they have “Finnish baseball” and “Floorball” as options.

Final Thoughts

  1. I’m super excited to put some time in with this watch because as someone who runs on trails a lot, but still bikes and open-water swims, this is exactly everything I need without the stuff I don’t.
  2. There are more complete smartwatches, in terms of lifestyle functions, that might be better for all-day wear, but for training this looks like an excellent choice.
  3. I think this is a better stab at the “outdoor” multisport watch than some other brands have tried, and it gives a viable alternative to those who were considering a Garmin Fenix-series watch.