Coros Pod 2 first look review: Watch accessory helps runners train

 

Coros Pod 2

$99 at Coros

 

Pros

  • Lightweight and well-constructed
  • Multiple mounts
  • Effort Pace metric
  • Long battery life
  • Five key sensors
  • Affordable price
Cons
  • Doesn’t store offline data

Other sports watch and smartwatch makers have launched new watches with support for multi-GNSS dual-frequency satellite networks in order to improve your outdoor workout tracking, such as the Apple Watch Ultra and the Garmen Enduro 2.

Coros was the first in the world to launch a GPS sports watch with dual-frequency support: the Vertix 2 in 2021.

It turns out that Coros didn’t settle for that achievement and kept working to find ways to improve accuracy for runners.

The new Coros Pod 2 (Performance Optimization Device) is now available for $99.

The Pod 2 is designed as an accessory for your paired Coros watch to provide accuracy in areas with challenging satellite signals, faster response to pace changes, and improved accuracy while training indoors. The Coros Pod 2 tagline is “Run beyond the limits of GPS.”

I’ve had the Coros Pod 2 paired with a Coros Vertix 2 for a few days and have been able to run three times with it mounted on my shoes. We will be evaluating the Pod 2 on more runs in the near future while testing the shoe mount and waistband mount options.

Specifications

Case material Fiber-reinforced polymer
Battery life 28 hours of running, 50 days on standby
Water resistance rating 3 atm
Connectivity Bluetooth
Sensors Barometric altimeter, thermometer, geomagnetic compass, accelerometer, gyroscope
Dimensions 27.1 x 33.9 x 8.6 mm and 5.6 grams

Coros Pod 2 retail package and setup

The Coros Pod 2 comes in a small box with the charging dock, a USB-A to USB-C cord, two shoe clips, a silicone waistband clip, a zippered carrying case, and the manual. The charging dock can charge the Pod 2 up to five times before the charging dock needs to be charged up via USB-C.

The Coros Pod 2 connects to your supported Coros sports watch via Bluetooth. The Pod 2 works with all Coros watches except for the Pace 1, and it does not work with other GPS sports watches. Pair the Pod 2 with the Coros smartphone app, and then it will automatically be paired with your connected Coros watch.

Several metrics tracked by your Coros watch are enhanced by a dual data input configuration with the Pod 2, such as distance, Effort Pace, stride length, elevation gain and loss, and altitude. When worn on your foot, the Pod 2 can track pace, cadence, and temperature. If you wear the Pod 2 on your waistband, then it tracks left and right balance, ground contact time, stride height, stride weight, and temperature.

What is Effort Pace?

The Adjusted Pace feature on Coros watches provides runners with a pace estimate as if all of their runs were on flat ground. Running power is another metric that attempts to give you a measure of your true effort as you run up and down hills. With the launch of the Coros Pod 2, Adjusted Pace is now being named Effort Pace, and Coros said it will continue to develop the algorithms for Effort Pace so that more factors than hills will be accounted for in the metric. Coros also said Effort Pace will be the most advanced training metric available, so we will focus on testing the Pod 2 on this metric.

The charging dock can recharge the Pod 2 five times.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Since I live on a hill, every single one of my runs where I live includes uphill and downhill portions, so I’ve been trying to incorporate running power into my training for a few years. There are very few training programs set up for running power, and I haven’t been able to fully establish power levels for training. Part of this has been due to using multiple watches that have different running power standards. Coros said its watches will continue to measure running power, but the Pod 2 does not provide running power stats. Again, Coros will be focusing its efforts for development on Effort Pace, which is compatible with standard training programs that runners are familiar with that are based on either pace or heart rate.

First few runs with the Pod 2

I’m spending time with my daughter in Colorado, so I’ve been able to run on local roads and trails with lots of hills at a much higher elevation than I usually run in the Puget Sound area. Laying Effort Pace over the top of pace and elevation shows that my Effort Pace significantly increased as I ran up hills. It then dropped quickly as the elevation dropped and then matched up closely with the pace in flat areas.

Choosing to show running power and Effort Pace at the same time on the charts shows that their trends and plot line match up closely with the most significant trend differences at the bottom of hills. Seeing these two match up so well is encouraging, as it is much more intuitive for me to train at pace levels rather than running power levels.

Coros continues to send out updates for the Pod 2 and I need to go on several more runs to assign a score to this new accessory. Initial results are very encouraging and I am excited to get out and run.

Alternatives to consider

The Coros Pod 2’s Effort Pace metric is brand-only and the accessory only works with Coros GPS sports watches. Alternative foot pods that can provide other metrics to help you train include the following:

Stryd

$249 at Stryd
Garmin Running Dynamics Pod
$53.5 at Amazon

 

Zwift RunPod

$39.99 at Zwift
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