When you run with a running watch, you unlock a whole slew of analytical data to help improve your training. And once you get access to your pace, route tracking and more, it's hard to go back to a non-digital setup. Speaking as a recent convert myself, there's something motivating about seeing your split times and mileage in real time, taking the guesswork out of your progress.
Still, however, running watches have their limitations — namely in lagging metrics at times as well as inaccurate GPS readings when running certain routes. For athletes that want the absolute best analytics and location services, there are wearable enhancers to achieve precise data, such as the all-new Coros Pod 2. Designed to be worn on your running shoe or clipped to your waist, the lightweight, water-resistant Pod 2 promises to bring optimized sensor hardware and intuitive software algorithms to bear to help you get the most accurate, worthwhile readouts for more informed training.
But is this GPS enhancer as powerful as it claims? To test this latest wearable, I laced up and paced through my typical running routines, as well as a recent 8k race in Philadelphia. I looked at how intrusive the device was in-training, as well as its capabilities in monitoring my output both on-road and indoors — Coros claims the Pod 2 can be a great addition to your treadmill running setup, automatically calibrating itself to calculate your stride and distance regardless of covered ground. Would this device be the ticket to better performance? Is it an absolute must-have for any dedicated runner? Here's what I found.
What's Good About the Coros Pod 2?
The Pod 2 easily clips onto your shoe or waistband — and stays there.
One of the first things to note with the Pod 2 is how light the device itself is. While this made for less distractions while wearing the GPS enhancer, I was nervous on my first few runs, thinking the pod might come loose from its clips on my shoe or from around my waistband. I feared I wouldn't notice that the device had gone missing until it was too late.
Thankfully, though, the security of both the waistband clip and shoe clip lock down the Pod 2, eliminating any misconceived fears I had about ditching the wearable along the sidewalks or trailways of Pittsburgh. The tabs on the shoe clip keep the Pod 2 in place across your laces without any jostling, and the silicone waistband clip has enough resistance to remain attached to your frame. These accessories could have been an afterthought, so I appreciate that Coros paid close attention to their design; that way, you don't have to worry about losing your wearable and can focus on the training ahead.
The signal enhancement really does improve you tracking metrics — indoors and outside.
There's no denying the Pod 2's capabilities outdoors. Thanks to its multiple internal sensors constantly correcting GPS disruptions, you feel confident when running under overpasses or through dense cities. I mapped a handful of jogs through downtown Pittsburgh during testing, and the mapping results were very precise, without the normal jagged edges where signals might have been lost for a moment. While this was a good testament to the Pod 2's efficiency, I was more surprised with the device's performance when training indoors.
Because you're essentially running in one standing spot, tracking your metrics while atop a treadmill can be less than accurate at times. Also, if you want to determine how far you've actually ran, you're at the mercy of the treadmill's onboard readouts, which might not be calibrated properly. I was pleasantly surprised with how accurate the Pod 2 was while training indoors, giving me a better depiction of my workout. The device plots the motion of your foot through space on an XYZ plane, according to the brand, which provides better analysis than just charting how many times the track had revolved at a given rate.
What's Less Ideal About the Coros Pod 2?
You can only pair it with a Coros running watch.
This shouldn't be a surprise per se, but the Coros Pod 2 works exclusively with Coros running watches. This means that to unlock all the enhancing features of this wearable, you need to rethink your wrist wear as well. The Pod 2 is compatible with the entire Coros watch lineup outside of the Pace 1, so you do have some variety to choose from (I recommend the all-new Apex 2 Pro), but purchasing another running watch can be less than desirable, especially if you're faithful to another brand like Garmin or Apple.
Data collection type and quality depends on where you wear the Pod 2.
As stated above, you can wear the Pod 2 either atop your running shoe or clipped to your waist. What you need to know, however, is that each location can vary your measured metrics. When worn at the waist, the device caters more to gait analysis, measuring such statistics as Ground Contact Time, L/R Balance, Stride Height and Stride Ratio. Atop your shoe, the Pod 2 can track Cadence, Pace, Altitude, Distance and more while also enhancing your GPS tracking capabilities — a "performance" mode, if you will.
While you don't need to designate your wear location in the Coros app — the Pod 2 automatically detects this while in-use — I would've liked to have all the data possibilities captured all the time, regardless of where I place the wearable. Plus, if you're not wise to this distinction, you could be taking off for a run expecting one reading, then have to ultimately stop and switch housings — which can break up your pace and stall your training. In theory, I think you could circumnavigate this dilemma by wearing two Pod 2s...but admittedly, that might be overkill.
Coros Pod 2: The Verdict
If you're a data hound that enjoys reading through your statistics and gauging your performance through tracked metrics, the Coros Pod 2 is a must-own device.
While the signal boost might not be necessary for every athlete, those looking to improve their accuracy and readouts can greatly benefit from pairing this lightweight wearable to their new or trusted Coros watch. The silhouette practically disappears across your frame, and the clip systems ensure your Pod 2 will stay in-place throughout your treks. Map out a new workout and take your training further into the digital age with this impressive wearable.