Coros Pace 3 Sets the Mark for Other GPS Watches to Beat [Review]

The lightweight Coros Pace 3 GPS smartwatch boasts enviable battery life, accurate tracking, and delivers more ride and fitness data than most mountain bikers will ever need.

The recently released Coros Pace 3 GPS smartwatch bundles a raft of premium features and hardware that was previously limited to the brand’s most expensive offerings. This lightweight watch boasts enviable battery life, accurate tracking, and delivers more ride and fitness data than most of us will ever need.

Coros Pace 3 specs

  • Sensors: heart rate, altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope, optical pulse oximeter, 3D compass
  • Location: dual-frequency chipset; GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou, QZSS
  • Battery life (claimed): 24 days of daily use; 38 hours of standard GPS tracking
  • Smartwatch features: GoPro and Insta360 camera controls, music player, notifications
  • Weight: 29.8g
  • Price: $229.99
  • Buy from Coros and Amazon.

I’ve been testing the Coros Pace 3 with the nylon, hook-and-loop band. My sample weighs 29.8g which is a third the weight of the Coros Vertix I tested last year, and 75% of the weight of the Garmin Forerunner 235 I normally wear. It’s noticeably lightweight, and with the flat nylon band, it sits low on my wrist for a streamlined, comfortable feel.

With the band at its maximum it’s hard for me to fit my large hand through the loop. The nylon band does seem to be a good fit for small to medium-sized wrists, though the 1.2-inch face may be too large for some.

Despite not having a lot of room for a big battery, the Coros Pace 3 doesn’t need to be charged often. I found the Apple Watch Ultra to be more hassle than it was worth for mountain biking and fitness tracking due to the need for constant charging. In contrast I’ve been going a week or more between charges on the Pace 3. Coros says the watch can go 24 days in between charges based on regular, daily use or up to 38 hours of continuous GPS tracking. The latter is more than many much larger bike GPS head units can boast.

The Coros Pace 3 is waterproof enough for surface diving so there’s no need to take it off in the shower or otherwise baby it on a wet ride or run. I’m not a fan of the proprietary charger cable that attaches at the back of the watch, mainly because I’m sure I’ll lose track of it eventually.

The Coros Pace 3 display

The Coros Pace 3 has a 240x240px screen resolution, and is capable of producing 64 colors. None of that sounds like a lot to me, but as you can see in the photos, it looks pretty dang good. The screen is easy to read in full sun, and at night a smart backlight illuminates the display when you turn your wrist to look at the watch.

The screen is touch capable, though there aren’t a lot of scenarios where it actually comes into play aside from controlling music and interacting with the breadcrumb navigation. Most functions and menus can be accessed using the crown or secondary button. The crown in particular makes scrolling intuitive and fast. Left-handed watch wearers will be stoked to know you can flip the display so that the buttons stay on the hand side of your wrist.

Navigation and ride tracking

It’s unusual to see mapping — even basic breadcrumb navigation — on a wristwatch at this price point. I was able to a load GPX file onto the watch and then follow a track while riding. The Pace 3 doesn’t display a basemap (the more expensive Vertix has this feature) so you won’t see roads or any placenames. What you do get is a red line to follow with directional arrows, and the Pace 3 can alert you if you get off course and displays the distance to your destination. It won’t let you know about upcoming turns, and its ability to get you back on course using roads and trails is limited, but for basic navigation it’s pretty handy.

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The Coros Pace 3 is capable of dual frequency GPS tracking, a feature the previous Pace watches did not include. Dual frequency receivers are able to filter out GPS signals that have been reflected off things like trees, rocks, and buildings for improved accuracy. Most of the trails I ride have thick tree cover, and the Pace 3 seems to be more accurate than others I’ve tested. The map image at right above shows that while the yellow line tracked by the Coros isn’t perfect, it’s more closely aligned than the route recorded by a Garmin Forerunner 235.

Riders can also see an elevation plot of their rides on the watch, as well as charts tracking heart rate, temperature, and more.

Coros Pace 3 fitness data tracking

The Coros Pace 3 is especially popular with runners, though it’s designed to be a true multi-sport watch capable of tracking any activity from open water swims to skiing and jumping rope.

The built-in heart rate monitor monitors your ticker throughout the day, and during rides and workouts to analyze your performance. For most of my mountain bike rides I use a bar-mounted GPS unit, which is linked to the Coros heart rate data using broadcast mode.

The Coros Pace 3 gains a pulse oximeter sensor, which the Pace 2 did not include. Climbers will find SpO2 readouts useful, and the data can be helpful with high altitude training and acclimatization.

In addition to monitoring vital signs, the Pace 3 has a built in sleep tracker and an algorithm that tells you how much recovery time you need after a ride or workout. Coros even offers free training plans through the app and watch, though most of the plans are currently geared toward running and not biking.

One metric I’d love to see included is hang time or related bike jumping data. This is one of my favorite MTB-specific data points the Garmin GPS units collect, but the Coros Pace 3 does not.

Smartwatch features

Coros offers a free smartphone app that connects to the Pace 3. Within the app you can perform more detailed analyses of your rides and configure watch settings. With the watch paired to your phone you can get message and app notifications on your wrist.

The Coros Pace 3 can also be used to control a GoPro or Insta360 action camera. You can store music files on the watch and listen to them using a pair of bluetooth headphones. This is a handy feature for running and riding without a phone.

Pros and cons of the Coros Pace 3 GPS watch


  • Lightweight and low profile for a comfortable fit
  • Screen is crisp and easy to read night or day
  • Easy to control and navigate menus
  • Excellent battery life
  • Tons of great features for the price point like breadcrumb navigation and SpO2 tracking


  • Proprietary charging cable is annoying. Wireless charging would rock!
  • No free MTB-specific training plans or workouts (yet)

Bottom line

It’s hard to find fault with the Coros Pace 3. It’s a lightweight, easy to use, and fully featured GPS watch at a great price.