To help us provide you with free impartial advice, we may earn a commission if you buy through links on our site. Learn more

Coros Pace 3 review: A lightweight wonder

Coros Pace 3 close up
Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £219
inc VAT

The Coros Pace 3 is a brilliant sports watch with high levels of accuracy and long battery life – go buy one


  • Accurate HR and GPS
  • Great battery life
  • Lightweight


  • Music playback is basic

The Coros Pace 3 has a lot to live up to. Its predecessor, the Pace 2, won our coveted Wearable of the Year award in 2021 and I’ve spent the past two years recommending it to anyone who asks me what the best budget sports watch is.

A tough act to follow, then, but the Coros Pace 3 doesn’t put a step wrong. It’s even better than the model that preceded it: it’s more accurate, lasts longer on a single charge and beats its key rivals in all the areas that count.

Check price at

Coros Pace 3 review: What do you get for the money?

The only thing that disappoints, at least initially, is that the price has been increased to £219 (the Pace 2 was £200 at launch). A quick survey of its competitors, however, reveals that this is still highly competitive. The Garmin Forerunner 55 may be cheaper but it can’t match the Pace’s range of features, while the Garmin Forerunner 265, which more closely matches its specifications, is nearly double the price at £430. Even the older Forerunner 255 is significantly pricier.

And there are plenty of upgrades here to soften the blow, too, none more significant than vastly improved battery life. A quoted 38 hours of continuous standard GPS usage (or 24 days of “regular” use) is phenomenal. That’s eight hours longer than the Pace 2, 18 hours longer than the Garmin Forerunner 55 and 14 hours longer than the Forerunner 265.

Coros Pace 3 optical heart rate sensor

If that wasn’t enough, the GPS chipset has seen a significant upgrade and now offers dual-frequency, multi-satellite system support, a feature that is normally reserved for watches in the upper echelons of other manufacturers’ ranges.

Other improvements include blood oxygen level monitoring, breadcrumb navigation and route planning directly in the Coros app, There’s now music playback capability and a host of new sports modes, including skiing, cross country skiing, snowboarding, hiking and trail running. Note, though, that Coros is bringing these new modes to the Pace 2 before the end of 2023.

The watch itself looks very similar to the Pace 2, is water resistant to 50m (5ATM) and just as comfortable to wear on the wrist. Coros has actually improved things here as well, however. It says it’s improved the toughness of the fibre-reinforced polymer case while increasing the weight by only a gram, and it has reduced the bulge of the optical heart-rate monitor housing on the rear in another nod towards comfort.

Finally, the display has been upgraded. As before, it’s a 1.2in memory-in-pixel panel with a resolution of 240 x 240, making it ideal for outdoor activities, but it now supports touch controls.

Check price at

Coros Pace 3 review: What did we like about it?

I love pretty much everything about the Coros Pace 3, but its biggest strength is its accuracy. To test it, I wore it on my regular morning runs, comparing distance against that recorded with my Stryd footpod, and the heart-rate accuracy against a MyZone MZ-Switch heart rate chest belt. I put the Coros into its most accurate “Dual frequency” mode to give it the best chance of competing on accuracy.

Coros Pace 3 accuracy chart

Across 11 runs and 96km, I found the Pace 3 to be absolutely spot on for distance, with an average difference of 0.9% per run versus the Stryd footpod. That’s superb, and it was almost as impressive on average heart-rate readings, too, with an average difference of 1.8% per run. That’s competitive with the very best sports watches I’ve tested over the past year or so and exceptional for what is a very reasonably priced sports wearable.

It’s a big thumbs up for the new GPS and heart-rate sensors, then, but you can’t ignore the battery life, which is also incredibly good. Coros claims you’ll get up to 38 hours of continuous GPS usage in standard mode, 25 hours in all-systems mode or 15 hours in dual-frequency mode, and up to 24 days out of it if you don’t use the sleep tracking or GPS at all.

READ NEXT: These are the best running watches to buy right now

To give you an idea of how that translates to real-world use, I found a single charge was good enough to last me 16 days, which included 5hrs 8mins of outdoor GPS activity tracking in dual-frequency mode. In fact, in the three weeks I’ve been using the Coros Pace 3, I’ve only had to fully charge the battery once. That’s exceptional performance for a sports watch in this price range.

I’m also a huge fan of the way the new navigation features work. You don’t get full background mapping as you do with the Apex 2 and Apex 2 Pro, or Garmin’s high-end sports wearables, but as long as you plan your route beforehand, you’ll find that full maps aren’t usually necessary anyway. I found the routes easy to follow, despite the small size of the watch’s display, and I also like that it beeps loudly if you veer off route.

Coros Pace 3 barometer

Even better, planning those routes is made super simple by Coros’ superb new in-app mapping tools. It’s amazing how difficult most other platforms make this process, but Coros seems to have nailed it first time. Simply select the type of route you want to plan – run or ride – tap away on the map to add waypoints and the tool will fill in the gaps, plotting the most appropriate route according to your preferences. If you don’t like the selected route, tap erase and you can simply drag the route back to the point at which you’re happy with it. It’s simple, quick and fuss-free.

Coros Pace 3 app screenshots

Coros’ training analysis tools are mostly on point, too, with everything you need covered in one place, from VO2 max, resting heart-rate trends and race predictions to training load over time and recovery advice. Coros also supplies training plans for common distances on its website that you can import into your calendar with a couple of clicks. And I love the simplicity of the watch’s UI; it’s just very, very easy to use. Even if you’re completely new to Coros watches, it won’t take long to get to grips with.

Coros Pace 3 app screenshots

The final positive point is that there’s plenty of support for third-party app synchronisation, which is not always a given. These include popular services such as Strava, Apple Health and Komoot, alongside more serious platforms such as TrainingPeaks, Final Surge and V.O2. There are too many to detail here, but you can check out the full list of supported apps and services on the Coros website.

Check price at

Coros Pace 3 review: What could it do better?

There aren’t any major problems with the Coros Pace 3, but there are a few areas where it could improve. One of those is music playback, which despite being a new feature is rather basic. All you can do is play locally stored MP3 tracks, where music-playing wearables from Garmin can cache and playback playlists from Spotify and Deezer.

The other new feature I’m not super keen on is the touchscreen. It works, sure, but it feels a little clunky and slow compared with most modern smartwatches, and, to be honest, I’m really not sure how much it adds.

Coros Pace 3 settings screen

And, while you can use the Pace 3 to keep you up to date with your notifications, there isn’t much in the way of true smartwatch functionality here. You can read your messages as they arrive, for instance, but you can’t reply, summon your smart assistant or take phone calls over Bluetooth.

Finally, there’s the odd frustration when it comes to using Coros’ training platform, specifically when adding training plans. What it should do is ask you for the date of the run or race you’re training for before adding it to your calendar. Instead, the app asks you when you want training to start, leaving you to figure out the details yourself. That’s just plain daft.

READ NEXT: The best smartwatches to buy right now

Coros Pace 3 review: Verdict

These small annoyances aren’t really enough to put a serious dent in the Coros Pace 3’s overall appeal, however. This is a watch that does everything it needs to, does it well and does it at a highly competitive price.

It’s a simply superb sports watch, combining high levels of accuracy, comfort and ease of use with impressively long battery life, and I have no hesitation in recommending it. If you’re in the market for a reasonably priced sports watch, you can’t buy anything better.

Check price at