ATTENTION: This article is only about the presentation of the COROS PACE 3. If you are looking for the complete analysis and want to know all the details, please contact us, click on the link to go directly to the model's review.
COROS has just announced the renewal of its best-selling model. Three years after the arrival of the PACE 2 on the market, its successor has arrived. And not because the PACE 2 was no longer a current model, because in fact COROS continues to update it (last week received yet another update) and have already announced that it will also be updated with some of the changes of this new watch.
The PACE 3 CHORUS is a direct shot to the waterline of the mid-range of all its competition. The recipe is the same, to offer an inexpensive watch with equally inexpensive materials, but with a lower price than all its competition.
Is there anything new in the COROS PACE 3? None, everything it has we had already seen in other COROS models, but this does not mean that it does not stand out in other things. For example, in becoming the cheapest watch with dual band satellite reception (for the moment).
But it is still a multisport watch valid for road (and now also trail) runners, triathletes, swimmers, cyclists or whatever. With almost all the features of the top models except navigation maps, and in only 30 grams of weight.
The price is slightly higher, but for 249€ it is still a really interesting proposition.
News and specifications COROS PACE 3
Although there are no outstanding novelties, there are quite a few changes with respect to the previous model, which, so that you are completely clear, are those that I indicate below.
COROS PACE 3 vs COROS PACE 2
- New GNSS chipset with dual band and support for use of all constellations simultaneously
- New optical pulse sensor (that of the APEX 2/APEX 2 Pro) including blood oxygen saturation estimation
- Transflective display renewed for a higher quality one, and now offers touch control. Same 1.2″ size
- Same size (or close to it, 41.9mm of PACE 3 for 42mm of PACE 2)
- Reduced thickness (13mm of PACE 3 to 13.6mm of PACE 2)
- Virtually identical weight: With nylon strap 30g (29g PACE 2) and with silicone 38g (36g PACE 2)
- 22mm wide strap with Quick Fit system (20mm on PACE 2)
- Adds WiFi connectivity
- Loses ANT+ connectivity
- 4GB of internal memory
- Supports music playback via Bluetooth
- More autonomy: 38 hours in GPS-only mode and up to 24 days in watch mode (30 hours/20 days in PACE 2). Additionally 25 hours in all systems and 15 hours in dual mode.
- Route navigation with turn warning (recently added to PACE 2)
- Add more sport profiles (trail running, hiking, skiing, snowboarding, cross-country skiing (coming to PACE 2 before the end of the year).
- Available in white or black with choice of nylon or silicone strap; or red with nylon strap (track edition)
- Price 249€.
And let's not forget all that the PACE 2 already offered, which for a 199€ watch at the time was quite a lot:
- Running power estimation, not only for displaying or recording but also for interval training
- A complete COROS platform that has evolved considerably over the years.
- Guided training plans and access to COROS coaches
- Multisport watch with support for triathlon, open water, etc.
- Barometric altimeter
So for the extra $50 that the PACE 3 costs over the PACE 2 we get dual band satellite reception, a pulse sensor with oxygen saturation estimation, WiFi, more autonomy and 4GB of memory for music playback. Seen this way it doesn't seem like a bad deal, does it? Even despite having lost ANT+ connectivity, thus putting it on par with the entire current range of COROS (which don't offer it either).
But at this point you may be wondering where is the APEX 2 CHORUS in all of this... There are still some things in which it is superior.
COROS PACE 3 vs COROS APEX 2
- COROS APEX 2 is titanium with sapphire glass (PACE 3 plastic with mineral glass).
- Maps for route navigation (PACE 3 has navigation, but no maps)
- APEX 2 does not have dual-band satellite reception, PACE 3 does
- APEX 2 has 8GB of internal memory instead of the PACE 3's 4GB.
- APEX 2 has more sport profiles (profiles such as climbing, windsurfing, rowing, still water...).
- APEX 2 has a longer battery life except when used as a watch only.
- APEX 2 has ECG-based pulse variability monitoring
- APEX 2 has a specific button for illumination (PACE 3 does not).
- APEX 2 costs 150€ more
So except for the detail of having dual band satellite reception (which in the test did not make a dramatic difference either), I think the scaling of the range has been fairly balanced with respect to the price differences.
But let's turn our attention back to the model being presented today, the COROS PACE 3.
COROS PACE 3, similar to its older siblings
There are many things that the PACE 3 receives from the top models, making them brand features and not exclusive features of some models.
Dual band satellite and all satellite reception
This is perhaps the most important new feature compared to the COROS PACE 2, at least in terms of specifications.
Dual-band satellite reception is something that can be quite useful in complex reception situations, such as running in a city between tall buildings or in the mountains at the bottom of a valley. This is where you will benefit the most from this feature, but if this is not your usual running environment you won't notice that much of a difference.
The COROS PACE 3 gets the touch screen, perhaps to simplify the task of having a common user interface for all models and save work, or perhaps to leave the door open to other possibilities in the future. But the fact remains that it is present.
New optical heart rate sensor
The COROS PACE 3 receives the brand's latest optical pulse sensor, the same one that was introduced with the APEX 2 / APEX 2 Pro. It has a system of 5 LEDs and 4 photodetectors arranged around the sensor itself.
However, despite using the same sensor, in the PACE 3 we will not find additional functions such as pulse variability monitoring through ECG, something that is present in the higher models.
Route navigation with turn warning
It is something that is not a novelty as such, as it arrived some months ago to PACE 2 through a firmware update, in a remarkable improvement as it added a quite important function that no one had promised.
This navigation was also improved during the past week. by adding the turn warning on the routes, something that had certainly been pending because, beyond warning you that you had left the planned route, the watches did not warn you when we were going to reach a turning point.
Although in comparison with the superior models, it should be remembered that the PACE 3 navigation is point-to-point and does not have a base map.
What PACE 3 does benefit from directly is route management directly from the COROS application, also recently revamped to include a route creation and saving tab.
More sport profiles
COROS PACE 3 comes with more sport profiles, some of them very important ones that were not present in PACE 2. This is the case of the Trail Run and Hiking profiles.
The first one is very important because, after last week's last update, if we want to use the training with ascent target it has to be precisely with that sport profile, it is not possible to do it with the race profile.
Those two are not the only ones to be added, snow sports such as skiing, snowboarding or cross-country skiing are also added.
But I have good news for COROS PACE 2 users: both snow sports and Trail Run and Hiking will be coming to your watch before the end of the year.
In the COROS PACE 3 we now have 4GB of internal memory for poder load MP3 files and listen to music with a headset connected via Bluetooth. This is something that was not present in the PACE 2 but was present in the higher models.
But we are talking about "20th century style" music playback. You will need to connect your watch to your computer to add MP3 files of music/podcasts/audiobooks/etc that you want to listen to, and obviously you must already have those MP3s on your computer.
The difference this time is that COROS has not at any time named the possibility of adding streaming music platforms, something they did slip in the presentation of the APEX 2 and APEX 2 Pro. It is true that at that time they spoke of "throughout 2023" and the year is not yet over, but considering the difficulties of working with the music industry I think it is something that we will not end up seeing in COROS watches.
The physical size of the battery has increased slightly, there are 16mAh more in the COROS PACE 3, but the improvement in autonomy does not come from there. At least not exclusively.
Three years have passed since the launch of PACE 2 and now both processors and satellite chipsets are more efficient and have lower power demands.
Anyway the battery of the COROS PACE 2 was frankly good for its size, weight and segment. And the PACE 3's is somewhat better, so it's remarkable. Obviously it's not "stellar", especially when we go to the dual band option, but we shouldn't forget that it's a 42mm watch and only 31 grams in weight.
For performance comparison, an APEX 2 offers up to 45 hours in GPS mode and 28 hours in all systems mode, so there is not that much difference between the two models.
Opinion COROS PACE 3
At the moment I can only give you an initial opinion of the COROS PACE 3, as my test unit is currently traveling around Europe in the hands of FedEx, as if on vacation, so we haven't had quality time together yet. This is just an introduction, there will be an opportunity for a more in depth review when I have had time to test it thoroughly.
The upgrade from COROS PACE 2 to PACE 3 is modest, but positive. There are no major aesthetic or functional changes, but for the latter COROS is "somewhat to blame". If the PACE 2 had not been upgrading as it has in the three years it has been on the market, the jump between models would have been greater.
But we are already seeing what the manufacturer's trend is: adding features to the watch even though they were never promised. It happened with the COROS VERTIX and COROS APEX Pro when they received navigation maps, or more recently in the PACE 2 with the inclusion of route navigation.
One stops for a moment to think and... "how fortunate that both the VERTIX and APEX Pro were launched with internal memory and touch screen that would allow them to have maps at a later date". It is clear that COROS is not missing a beat.
Which leads me to not rule out as a future option that the COROS PACE 3 may also receive maps in a few years. It will not be today or tomorrow, but it is in the same situation as the VERTIX and APEX Pro when they had the update: touch screen and 4GB of internal memory. It will never be in the short term, as it would cannibalize the APEX 2 and APEX 2 Pro tremendously, but... who's to say that when there are some APEX 3s on the market it won't be a good time to release maps to the PACE 3?
In this model update I have missed that COROS has not taken the opportunity to put an additional button for lighting, just like in the rest of the range. It is perhaps what I miss most in the PACE 2 and now also in the PACE 3.
The lack of ANT+ is also a more or less important loss, but it is becoming less and less conspicuous. It was totally expected and honestly, in a watch of the range of the PACE 3 perhaps it is not such an important absence.
But there is one thing that should not be forgotten, and that is the amount of things that this watch of just over 30 grams is capable of offering. It is without any doubt a real bestseller.
And with that... thanks for reading!