Live Science Verdict
The Coros Pace 2 is one of our favorite budget running watches thanks to its great performance and featherlight profile.
Accurate metric tracking
Lack of touchscreen may put novice users off
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In a crowded market where affordable fitness trackers are constantly improving, the Coros Pace 2 manages to set itself apart. Thanks to its lightweight design, readable display and accurate tracking, it's an easy candidate for one of the best running watches.
Software: Coros App
Compatibility: Android and iOS
Battery life: 20 days (30 hours with GPS)
Display and size: 1.2 inch circular display (240 x 240 resolution)
Water resistance: 5ATM
Heart rate: Yes
Sleep tracker: Yes
Step count: Yes
During testing, it was easy to forget we were wearing the Coros Pace 2 at all — and if it wasn't for some mild skin irritation, we may not have noticed until the impressive battery life had run all the way down.
The circular display is easy to read in all conditions, but it's worth noting there's no touchscreen: Navigation is handled through a pair of buttons, one of which doubles as a digital crown like the Apple Watch Series 8. That's not a bad thing, but if you're expecting to tap your way through its operating system you'll need to think again.
The Coros Pace 2 also works using the Coros app on Android or iOS. With the correct permissions, this can work alongside Strava, Nike Run Club, and the Health or Google Fit apps on your device,
Overall, the Coros Pace 2 is an excellent, affordable fitness tracker that's adept across a range of exercises. But keep reading for our full verdict.
Coros Pace 2: Design and display
The most striking thing about the Coros Pace 2 is its impressively lightweight and slim design, weighing just 29 grams.
The 1.2 inch display is clear at all times of day, and it does a great job of mitigating sunlight outdoors. It has a memory pixel display, but the real draw here is just how easy it is to read in the middle of a workout — while many fitness trackers go for an OLED display and place text over a background, the Coros Pace 2 feels like it's bursting with color in comparison.
The Coros Pace 2 has swappable straps, which can be removed with small pins. Our only complaint about the design is that in our testing we started to feel some minor skin irritation after a day and a half of use. While that's anecdotal and allergies to this type of silicone are rare, on the other wrist we wore the Apple Watch Ultra and had no such issues, so it's something to keep in mind.
The lack of a touchscreen may make it a little harder to use for some, too.
Coros Pace 2: Set up and usability
Setting up the Coros Pace 2 couldn't have been easier. Download the Coros app and create an account. Then, pair the device using a QR code displayed on the watch's screen, and you'll be prompted to update it to the latest version.
The whole process, not including the download, took around five minutes. The included Quick Start guide helps soften the blow of the lack of touchscreen — within minutes, new users will be moving between widgets and logging workouts with ease.
Coros Pace 2: Features
The biggest compliment we can pay the Coros Pace 2 is its accuracy. When testing initially, we found its heart rate and fitness data (including the likes of step count and calories burned) to be in line with the Apple Watch Ultra our tester uses daily. That's impressive given it costs around a quarter of the price of Apple's premium watch.
There are plenty of sports available on the Pace 2, with running and cycling likely to be popular. A 5ATM certification means it'll handle a swim, too. Strength training is limited to a single entry (there's no powerlifting entry, for example), but you can note the body part you're targeting which can be handy for tracking leg or upper body days.
With the correct permissions, the Coros app can work alongside Strava, Nike Run Club, and the Health or Google Fit apps on your device, too.
The included GPS is very capable of mapping a route with ease and accuracy. Considering how many fitness trackers, even at this price range, don't have a GPS connection, that's very welcome indeed.
Sleep tracking is also included, with a handy graph view that shows how long the user is awake, and in light, deep, or REM sleep states. The Coros Pace 2 is able to establish when you go to sleep, too, meaning there’s no need to engage a separate sleep mode.
There's sadly no onboard storage for downloading music or podcasts, but it's tough to be disappointed given this isn't a feature on a lot of competitors. On the plus side, you can see messages and notifications on the watch — even if you can't respond without pulling out your phone.
Coros Pace 2: Performance
The Coros Pace 2 has a 20-day battery life in its standard "smartwatch" format, but it's impressively flexible. Activating the GPS provides 30 hours of battery life (ideal for a marathon or even an ultra) but Ultramax mode can double that. This works by collecting GPS data in short bursts at regular intervals, and doing its own calculations to work out where you traveled in between. It's a smart idea, and in our testing (admittedly on much shorter runs than it's intended for), it worked impressively well.
However you use it, the Coros Pace 2 is as accurate as any other tracker we've tested across every metric.
When the battery does run dry, the Coros Pace 2 charges quickly, hitting full battery in under an hour and a half. While the majority of fitness trackers connect to charging "pucks" via magnets, the Coros Pace 2 comes bundled with a USB-A cable that plugs into the underside of the device. Some may prefer this, but we found it tough to interact with the watch without knocking the cable out. However, that's a small nitpick.
Should you buy the Coros Pace 2?
If you're a runner looking to take your training regimen to the next level, the Coros Pace 2 is an easy fitness tracker to recommend. It looks great, it's lightweight and the built-in GPS means you can leave your phone at home. We think it's great for first-time smartwatch owners too, as long as you're happy to forgo a touch screen.
Coros Pace 2: If this isn't for you
If you're looking for a more premium running watch, the Garmin Enduro 2 is great but expensive — so we'd recommend the Fenix 7 instead. The Forerunner 255 is fairly on par with the Coros Pace 2 in terms of features.
On the cheaper end of the spectrum, the Huawei Band 7 is a great pick thanks to its two-week battery life and AMOLED touchscreen. However, there's no onboard GPS.
Lloyd Coombes freelance tech and fitness writer for Live Science. He's an expert in all things Apple as well as in computer and gaming tech, with previous works published on TopTenReviews, Space.com, Dexerto and TechRadar. You'll find him regularly testing the latest MacBook or iPhone, but he spends most of his time writing about video games as Editor in Chief at GGRecon.com. He also covers board games and virtual reality, just to round out the nerdy pursuits.