Polar Grit X Pro Titan review: Informed training, recovery, and testing on a premium watch

Polar released its Grit X sports watch in early 2020, just as the global pandemic sent people home and into lockdown situations. The Grit X was advertised and designed as an outdoor multisport watch with rugged build quality and features designed to help you tackle hills, long runs, and more.

The new Polar Grit X Pro Titan builds upon that Grit X foundation while also rolling in advanced features from Polar’s Vantage V2 watch. Various performance tests from the V2 are present on the Grit X Pro, along with music controls, Recovery Pro, outdoor dashboards, and much more. It’s primarily a design preference when it comes to choosing between a new Grit X Pro and a Vantage V2.

We’ve been running, hiking, biking, sleeping, commuting, working, and playing with the Polar Grit X Pro Titan on one wrist for more than two months. The light weight titanium material makes wearing the larger watch a pleasure, which is one very surprising benefit that we did not expect. I have larger wrists and enjoy wearing large watches, but the 53 gram weight of the Grit X Pro Titan is a significant factor when you look at watches like the 89 gram Vertix 2 or even the 49 grams of the smaller Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE.

Like

  • High quality fit and finish
  • Light weight for 24/7 wear
  • Tactile buttons and touchscreen
  • New outdoor dashboards
  • Full featured Polar Flow service

Don’t Like

  • Limited smartphone notifications
  • Muted color display

Hardware

It has been a couple of years since I tested a Polar watch and I never had a chance to try out the Grit X so I went into this review with no expectations. The default option is made of stainless steel, but for $100 more you can purchase the titanium model that also comes with an extra band.

The retail model ships with both an FKM and perforated leather band, but my review unit just included the leather model. I had to find another standard 22mm silicone strap to take the Grit X Pro outside for exercise so I don’t ruin the leather band.


See also: Best sports watch 2021: Garmin, Coros, Polar, and more


The Polar Grit X Pro is perfectly sized for me with a 47mm diameter shell and a 1.2-inch display that is easily readable in various lighting conditions. I turned up the brightness of the backlighting because my 52-year old eyes are starting to falter. The backlight only comes on when you need it so I haven’t seen any measurable impact on the battery life.

There is a rather wide black bezel around the watch face and this is one area I would like to see reduced in the future or incorporate solar charging like we see on some Garmin watches. The bezel has a compass, which looks attractive and matches the aesthetic of the watch. The display is a touchscreen display that is disabled by default during exercises, which is exactly what I prefer. The touchscreen seems quite responsive too, which hasn’t always been the case for Polar watches.

There are five buttons around the edge of the watch so if you are new then spend some time getting familiar with their functions. Many Garmin watches also have five buttons and that is the brand I have been using for years so it took a couple of weeks to retrain myself to press the intended buttons. The buttons have excellent texture and are easy to manipulate. The center right button has a red dot in the center.

The top left button is for the light, the bottom left button is the back/menu option, the upper right is to move up the screen while the bottom right moves down, and the center right button (with center red dot) is the OK/start selection button. Pressing and holding some buttons also provides other options, such as pressing and holding the top left to lock/unlock the buttons and display as well as pressing and holding the bottom left button to initiate a sync to your phone. Button functions also change in pre-training, training, and time view modes.

A large heart rate sensor, sporting Polar Precision Prime OHR technology, is centered on the back with a host of green and red LEDs to measure blood flow through your skin. Surprisingly, there is no blood oxygen saturation measurement capability on the watch. Given the outdoor focus, I expected to see SPO2 capability for those who climb mountains, run trails, ski, and exercise in higher elevations. We have also seen blood oxygen metrics as key indicators of COVID-19 infections, but I also understand that Polar is focused on athletic performance and its ANS calculation is very advanced and worthwhile.

Standard 22mm watch bands with quick release pins fit right into the Polar Grit X Pro Titan, which is perfect. I was never a fan of the proprietary Vantage V bands, but there is also now a V2 Shift Edition that enables the use of standard 22mm bands. I like to switch bands for work, play, and various exercises.

Specifications

  • Display: 1.2 inch color touchscreen, 240×240 pixels resolution, sapphire glass
  • Materials: Titanium case, fiber reinforced polymer cover, FKM and perforated leather bands
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth Low Energy, GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS
  • Water resistance: 100m waterproof
  • Sensors: 3-axis accelerometer, optical heart rate monitor with nine sensors, vibration motor, barometer
  • Battery life: 346 mAh, for 7 days in watch mode with continuous heart rate tracking. Up to 40 hours with GPS and heart rate enabled
  • Watch bands: Standard 22mm watch strap
  • Dimensions: 47mm diameter x 13mm thick, 53 grams (leather wristband)

Watch software

The most obvious new feature of the watch software is the implementation of the new outdoor dashbards. Dashboards are called widgets by others and are quick glanceable information on the watch face. You can either swipe left and right or use the up and down hardware buttons on the right side to scroll through these various dashboards. Dashboards currently available include altimeter, coordinates, compass, weather, and daylight times. Existing dashboards that you can add to these new options include heart rate, nightly recharge, FitSpark, cardio load status, activity, time, weekly summary, and more.

After selecting one of the available dashboards, press the center right button to view more details and then scroll up and down through the entire dashboard to view details of your data in tables, charts, and various colors. You can spend a lot of time exploring the extensive amount of data captured by the Polar Grit X Pro Titan.


See also: COROS Vertix 2 outdoor sports watch review: Challenging Garmin with longer battery life, lower price, dual GNSS support


Press the lower left button to access another area of the watch. A single press brings up the Start Training option and then a press of the center right button lets you select your exercise and initiate a GPS connection and connection to other sensors. If you press the light button, upper left, when you first choose an exercise then you can access and modify specific settings for that exercise. These settings include power save, backlight, HR broadcast, training suggestion, race pace, interval timer, countdown timer, routes, back to start, and other exercise specific settings and options. Note up at the top of the training screen that Polar provides you with estimated battery life for the specific exercise and settings you select so you can confirm there is enough juice left in the watch to start your training session.

If you then press the up or down buttons after a single lower left button press then you can choose from settings, tests, watch face views, timers, fueling, Strava live segments, and serene breathing options. Press the center right button to choose one of these options and access more information and options.

Settings include general, physical, and watch options. General settings include HR tracking options, airplane mode toggle, backlight brightness, time and date formats, phone notifications, music controls, and more. Physical settings are simply where you enter your body particulars. Watch options include alarm, watch face, time, date, and the first day of week settings.

Orthostatic, leg recovery, cycling, running, and fitness tests are supported on the Grit X Pro Titan. Watch face views support views from the main default watch face, with the exception of the new outdoor dashboards. Strava live segments are synced over from the Polar Flow website, timers are self-explanatory, and fueling is useful for long runs or bike rides where you need to fuel up to keep going. The serene option provides breathing exercise options and also initiates breathing exercises for improved health and wellness.

Smartphone app

Polar has a smartphone app for iOS and Android that captures all of the data from the watch and provides various glimpses of that data. The Polar Flow website is much more comprehensive than the app and the app has always been my least favorite aspect of the Polar experience. Garmin, COROS, Fitbit, and Zepp apps are much more robust and useful. However, in the last few weeks Polar released an updated application that offers a new Diary view that is greatly appreciated due to its glanceable usefulness.

The menu on the left side of the Polar Flow app has options for diary, activity, start, calendar, sleep, nightly recharge, blog, notifications, balance, favorites, shop, feature tutorials, sports profiles, devices, general settings, and support. I am not a software developer, but better organization of the application is worth considering even with the new diary page.

The diary view provides you with your training status, activity status, and sleep status. Tapping on any of these areas opens up further details, such as cardio load and activity view. The activity view give you a 24 hour view of various activities and summary data collected during the day. You can tap on different elements to view more details.

The Polar Flow app can be used to track your workouts too so the start option opens up the display that shows training or testing options. This can be handy if your Polar watch is charging or you want to use your phone to track an activity for some reason.

The calendar options hows your planned scheduled workouts and your history of workouts. Tapping on any workout opens up the full details of that workout. The sleep options shows you all of the sleep details captured by your Polar watch while the nightly recharge option shows you the recharge focused results. The blog option provides links to articles on the Polar website, many of which are guides, tips & tricks, or other useful information about using your Polar watch to its full potential. The balance option shows you all of the details about your weight, but you need a Polar Balance scale for this to be useful.


See also: Polar announces new Grit X Pro, updates to Vantage V2 and Unite: Wearables for the outdoors


Polar Flow website

The Polar Grit X watch experience has improved over the years and the outdoor dashboards help make the Polar Grit X Pro Titan a compelling GPS sports watch. The Polar Flow online service has always been one of the best aspects of the Polar experience and serves as a powerful virtual coach. The website has improved over the years with the main tabs at the top arranged as diary, reports, community, and programs. Over to the far right there are also links to manage your profile, settings, and sports profiles, but after setting these up once they are rarely needed for continued use of your Polar watch.

The diary section is further divided into the diary, training history, activity, recovery status, sleep, and balance tabs. In the diary view you can see all of your workouts on a calendard with red circles, on a scale of one to five, showing you the cardio load level from that workout. Activity and training summaries are found at the bottom of the page. Clicking on any of the workouts opens up the vast details of that workout so you can further view and analyze the workout.

Training history is similar to the diary, but shows you lists of your workouts in one, three, and six month segments with the ability to quickly filter your training history by sport. Summary key metrics are shown to the right of the workout and if you click on a workout you are again taken to the detailed page showing everything about that workout.

The activity view of the diary provides an overall view of the day’s activities, including sleep, sitting, and basic movements captured during the day. Health benefits are shown, along with sleep, and it is very interesting to see how your activity can be improving your life. The activity view is presented only in a daily format, but is very interesting and quite extensive.

The recovery status view under the main diary category provides you with a link to your cardio load, muscle load, and perceived load while presenting your recovery status graphically. The data is viewable by day, week, or month with activity and training summaries at the bottom of the page. Recovery status appears in undertrained, balanced, strained, and very strained zones.

If you wear your Polar watch to bed then sleep data is presented in a timeline view with further details below this plot. You can view one night or a week of sleep data in the view with sleep scores, sleep time, and more provided for review.

Lastly under the diary option is the balance data. A Polar Balance scale is needed to sync weight data to this plot of your weight trend. I currently use a Garmin scale, but have not found a way to manually enter my weight to be able to track my progress in Polar Flow.

The reports section is divided into training, activity, sleep, tests, running index, and cardio load. These reports are developed from the data captured by your Polar watch and offer another view of the data. The training report is similar to the training history, but with the ability to plot bar and line graphs with various metrics. Best sessions, heart rate zones, and sports are also shown below the training history. The activity report is similar to the training report, but has all of the other activity data shown in the plots.

The sleep report can be plotted for one, three, or six months and is useful for seeing longer term trends in sleep scores, various sleep stages, and sleep/wake times. The tests report provides you with graphical results of the various tests that are supported by your Polar watch, including fitness test, jump test, running test, cycling test, and orthostatic test.

The running index report is one of the reports I view the most as it provides you information on your maximal running performance and is calculated each time you complete a running exercise. I’m not sure I believe the elite status that Polar puts me into, but it does motivate me to not fall into the very good category for men of my age.

The cardio load report is very useful for helping you maintain a training level where you keep below the level of increased risk or injury. I listen to my body and to be honest the feel of my body and the Polar results seem to match so that is encouraging.

The programs tab shows you where you are in your current training program. You can shift workouts here, but I found it more useful to do so in the smartphone app since you can move workouts across weeks. I sometimes have work trips or other obligations that prevent me from completing a planned workout. Using my smartphone I can move these around to make sure I complete them some time and the great thing about Polar is that all of this is used to calculate real-life status of your body and progress.

Over the years I have tested a lot of wearables and find the Polar running programs to be the best for me since they let you choose your level of activity, training session length, and intensity while also mixing in body weight and stretching routines. Polar has programs for 5K, 10K, half marathon, and marathon races. Even better, Polar also offers a fantastic season planner option because people like me are not always preparing for a race. With the season planner tool you select the start and end weeks, give it a name, add periods for training, add duration and distancess, and even add themes for the type of workout you are planning. This takes a bit of time to create, but is an awesome tool for the off season and there are even a few examples to help you get started. Once you setup a running or seasonal program, the program is synced to your Polar Grit X Pro Titan so you can then train and record the results.

Daily usage experiences and conclusions

You can purchase a Polar Grit X Pro Titan now for $599.95. The Titan model has a titanium case and is an amazing 24 grams lighter than the stainless steel model while also including a perforated leather band in the package. The Grit X Pro, stainless steel instead of titanium, is available for $499.95 in Black DLC, Nordic Copper, and Arctic Gold.

The Grit X Pro Titan is extremely well made and I still cannot believe how light it is for such a large watch. The GPS tracking, heart rate measurements, sleep stages, and daily tracking are accurate and reliable. Komoot turn-by-turn guidance is supported with the Polar Grit X Pro Titan, but I have not yet had a chance to get out in the mountains to test out this functionality. There is no onboard music, wrist-based payment systems, or advanced smartphone connectivity, but this watch is focused on helping you train and improve your performance rather than serving as a smartphone companion.

The watch does support music controls so if you run with a phone and listen to music, then you can use the Polar Grit X Pro Titan to easily control your music. I don’t run with my phone all of the time, but when I do then music is playing and controlling this from my watch is an essential function so it’s great to see the support here.

I typically charge up the watch once a week, which is perfect for a watch focused on helping you train and track your health and wellness 24/7. The new outdoor dashboards are quite useful and I use them throughout each day to quickly view various pieces of information. It has a touchscreen, but I always forget that and prefer to use the five buttons to navigate the interface.

Sleep tracking failed me a few times and the watch is a bit large to wear comfortably if you happen to toss and turn in bed. There is no way to edit your sleep start/end so it’s a take it or leave it situation when it comes to sleep tracking. It is very light and comfortable, but it is not a small watch either.

The Polar Flow website is amazing and extremely useful for coaching, reports, and viewing the details of your workout. The Grit X Pro captures all of the hills I run and I found this very useful since I live at the top of a hill and every single one of my runs includes lots of elevation changes. You can put in routes and then slope angles and elevations will appear on your watch as you run so you know how you are progressing and what lies ahead.

Unlike smartwatches, you can fully customize the data that is displayed on the Grit X Pro screens for each type of workout you participate in so it is one of the most personal sports watches available. The data is viewable in all environments and helpful for motivating you to succeed.

The Polar Grit X Pro Titan is the best Polar watch I have ever tested and brings just about everything offered by Polar to an extremely well constructed watch with a compelling form factor and design. It is clearly a GPS sports watch with a heavy focus on helping you train and reduce the chance of injury. It’s comparably priced with other high-end wearables, but is limited in its smartwatch functionality and some other advanced features seen in competitors (payment, music).

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