Polar’s New GPS Watch Is Probably Perfect For The Outdoor Adventures You’re Not Having Right Now

Polar’s New GPS Watch Is Probably Perfect For The Outdoor Adventures You’re Not Having Right Now

I wonder sometimes how strange it must be to own a company, create a product packed with features that people have long asked for, then try to launch it in the midst of a global meltdown. Polar just launched a $US430 ($683) GPS watch that seems like it will be perfect for outdoor athletes—except everyone is stuck indoors for who-knows-how-long.

Some companies may be rethinking their 2020 launches, but Polar decided to proceed with the launch of the Grit X, the company’s first watch for outdoor athletes. Tom Fowler, president of Polar USA, said in a press briefing announcing the new watch that the device will help athletes train indoors in preparation for the outdoor workouts they’ll be doing again soon. Hopefully. Maybe.

“Everybody is very optimistic and looking forward to getting outdoors,” Fowler said.

I appreciate that optimism, even though I don’t feel much of it myself right now. And I suppose some of the outdoor sports that the Grit X can track, like trail running or mountain biking, are solitary activities that can still be done while abiding by the rules of isolation (keeping six feet of distance between you and other people). The trails and parks in your area are likely closed to prevent folks from excitedly congregating outdoors, but if they’re not, the Grit X’s features may come in handy.

The Grit X’s Hill Splitter feature tracks runs over rough terrain. (Image: Polar)

The Grit X takes all of the features of Polar’s pricier Vantage V GPS watch and adds a few extras for the outdoors: Hill Splitter, a trail-running feature that tracks your ascents and descents; FuelWise, which reminds you to eat and drink when you’ve burned through your caloric resources; route guidance with Komoot, which helps you find a running route after you’ve already hit the ground; and 3-day on-device weather forecasts.

The FuelWise feature, in particular, is interesting, though I’m not sure how useful it will be. After a workout, you’ll see an energy breakdown of the carbs, protein, and fat your body has burned through. The watch will then give you a specific action, like, “Drink 10 grams of carbs,” to help you fuel up again. These tips probably won’t be that mind-blowing for me after my usual 3.5-mile run, but for a runner in the midst of a multi-day ultramarathon, they might come in handy. (Although I assume ultramarathoners already know what they need to survive days of running, so a watch’s advice is probably negligible.)

The new features are in addition to the heart-rate-monitoring Polar is known for (the company’s H10 chest strap is the gold standard for consumers, and we use it to compare fitness trackers’ accuracy). The Grit X also includes Vantage features like FitSpark’s daily workout recommendations, sleep stage breakdowns, and Training Load Pro, which tells you how your workouts are affecting your body.

Then, of course, there’s battery life, which is one of the most important factors to consider when buying a GPS watch. Polar says the Grit X lasts 40 hours with continuous GPS, and is built to withstand the cold weather that can decimate a device’s battery life.

Polar helpfully included images of athletes training indoors, presumably with yoga or stretching, in its Grit X press kit. You might not need a device as capable as the Grit X at this very moment, but it’s now available to order through Polar’s website.