The Polar Grit X2 Pro is a smartwatch that feels adrift

Polar makes good multisport watches. They’re just not particularly smart. That wasn’t always a problem because there used to be a clear line. Athletes went for Garmins and Polars. Casual users went for an Apple Watch, Fitbit, or Samsung smartwatch. Things are less clear now. There are more casual, stylish Garmins, while Apple and Samsung have their own smart multisport watches — and that leaves the $749.95 Polar Grit X2 Pro stuck between a rock and a hard place.

The Grit X2 Pro is meant to be a premium outdoors watch. It improves on the previous Grit X Pro with upgraded sensors (e.g., heart rate, skin temperature, etc), a bigger display, dual-frequency GPS, EKGs (no atrial fibrillation detection, just more accurate heart rate data), offline maps, and USB-C. These kinds of updates are generally good. The problem is everyone else has made much bigger strides in the past two to three years. The Grit X2 Pro feels a bit frozen in time.

My black Grit X2 Pro looks nice, but it doesn’t particularly stand out compared to the competition.

As far as fitness tracking, this is a capable watch with oodles of battery life. (I got about eight to 10 days on a single charge.) But for $750, there’s a lot you can’t do on this watch. For instance, you get notifications and alarms, but that’s about it. If I want to leave my phone and play my music via the watch, I can’t. Offline playlists aren’t a thing; the most you can do is use your Grit X2 Pro as a media controller. Say I want to pay for a Gatorade after a long run at my local 7-Eleven. Nope, no contactless payments. If I want to make a phone call, use a voice assistant, or feel assured that someone will be notified if I take a hard fall, that’s not happening.

Five years ago, this wouldn’t have been an issue. But in 2024, I can pay $800 for a Garmin Fenix 7S Pro Solar — a fancier-than-standard model — to get pretty much everything the Grit X2 Pro has plus solar charging, offline playlists from Spotify and YouTube Music, Garmin Pay, safety features (though these require your phone), and EKG tracking that does have AFib detection.

An $800 Apple Watch Ultra 2 gets me a much better third-party app ecosystem, LTE connectivity, car crash and fall detection, music streaming, EKGs, and much better integration with my smartphone. When it arrives this fall, watchOS 11 will bring a training load feature, which, while not as robust as what Polar or Garmin offer, gets the job done in a digestible way. Samsung is rumored to be launching a Galaxy Watch Ultra this month — and I’d bet good money it’ll offer a similar experience for Android users. The point is, if you’re going to spend on a premium fitness smartwatch, you have many alternatives that deliver more bang for your buck.

You could argue that Polar isn’t trying to fix what ain’t broke. It made its name with in-depth fitness metrics, great GPS, and long battery life — much like Garmin. So long as it does those things well, who cares? It’s a fair point. If those are the only criteria that matter to you, I have few complaints about the Grit X2 Pro other than it’s expensive and a bit chonky for my liking. In testing, GPS and heart rate accuracy were on par with my Apple Watch Ultra 2, a few Garmins, and a bunch of other Android smartwatches. Sleep tracking and recovery metrics were roughly on par with my Oura Ring. The most novel metric was Sleep Boost, which predicts the times of day you’ll be most alert. (In practice, I find it hard to trust as it’s very hit or miss.)

There’s more sensors now.

There’s preloaded maps offline maps and the usual Polar mapping tools like backtrack and turn-by-turn navigation.

Whatever statement Polar’s trying to make with the Grit X2 Pro, it’s window dressing. You can slap on a more premium design and upgrade a few sensors, but Grit X2 Pro doesn’t meaningfully improve the things that’ve always been annoying about Polar watches. The Polar Flow app still feels horribly cluttered and stuck in 2016. Easily digestible it is not. On the wrist, Polar’s interface is still clunky with finicky swipes and one-too-many button presses to get what you want. This is a matter of taste, but the Grit X2 Pro’s watchfaces are mid at best, don’t make the best use of the OLED display, and don’t convey the elegance warranted from this price tag.


The Polar Grit X2 Pro adds EKG, upgraded sensors, preloaded offline maps, and a more luxe design than its predecessor.

Given what else is out there, I feel only Polar diehards would seriously consider a Grit X2 Pro. And even then, I’d opt for the $599.95 Vantage V3. It gets you about 95 percent of what the Grit X2 Pro offers, but trades the heavier-duty materials and luxe look for a lighter, more wearable design. Frankly, I think that’s something most athletes — Polar’s target audience here — would prefer.

Unfortunately, the Grit X2 Pro’s disparate parts don’t add up to the premium watch that I think Polar was hoping for. For that, it had to be smarter or add something Polar was previously lacking. As it is, this is a competent watch. But for $750, competent just isn’t good enough.

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