Coros Apex 2 and Apex 2 Pro evaluation: barely wanting nice


I first noticed a Coros watch on TikTookay. In the video, an ultramarathoner strapped on a bunch of multisport watches for an absurdly long term to check which had the very best battery. I’d anticipated Garmin to take the cake, however to my shock, it was a Coros watch — by a good margin, too. Curious, I dug round on the web and located Coros watches had a popularity for additional lengthy battery life, affordable costs, and a few quirks you’d anticipate from a comparatively new model discovering its footing. That’s largely been my expertise with the $399 Coros Apex 2 and the $499 Coros Apex 2 Pro. 

While this isn’t the flashiest replace, there are some important enhancements over the first-gen Apex and Apex Pro, together with longer battery life and extra correct GPS and coronary heart charge monitoring. Coros added a devoted backlight button, and the straps now resemble Apple’s nylon Sport Loop. Those are all good updates, however a number of points I had with the Coros Vertix 2 are nonetheless current. There’s nonetheless no turn-by-turn navigation or music streaming, and the digital crown is annoying to scroll with. For some athletes, these sorts of tiny inconveniences could be a dealbreaker.

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Virtually equivalent

The Apex 2 and Pro are principally the identical watch. I’ve been testing each for the previous few weeks, and I depend on the totally different colours of my evaluation items to inform them aside. The expertise and software program are equivalent. The Pro is greater and has barely higher specs — however not by a lot.

The Apex 2 has a 43mm case and a 1.2-inch always-on LCD show, which is frequent for health watches, because it maximizes battery life and is seen in direct daylight. (Though that does imply it’s much less vibrant.) The Pro has a 46mm case and a 1.3-inch show. The Apex 2 is 12.8mm thick, makes use of 20mm straps, and weighs 42g with the nylon band, whereas the Pro is 14mm thick, makes use of 22mm straps, and weighs 53 grams. The Apex 2 has 8GB of onboard music storage to the Pro’s 32GB. The Pro is clearly greater, however you’ll be able to see from the notification textual content on this photograph that it doesn’t make an enormous distinction in readability. The button controls are equivalent and simple to study: the highest button is to activate the backlight, the underside is the again button, and the center crown is for scrolling and accessing the principle menu. The solely gripe is I hold forgetting to long-press the dial to unlock the display screen.

It’s the identical story for wearability. Both had been light-weight and didn’t snag on my winter coat sleeves. I might put on each for sleep monitoring with no issues. I most popular the smaller Apex 2, however solely as a result of I pressured myself to consider it for this evaluation. The Pro is greater and thicker, however it’s barely noticeable.

At a look, you’ll be able to’t see many of the design variations between the Apex 2 and the Apex 2 Pro (proper).

Here’s what else they’ve in frequent: sapphire glass shows, touchscreen assist, titanium bezels, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, 5ATM of water resistance, the power to concurrently join with 5 satellite tv for pc positioning techniques (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou, and QZSS), the optical coronary heart charge sensor, “EKG” sensor (extra on this under), SpO2 sensors, 3D compass, thermometer, barometric altimeter, gyroscope, and altimeter. They even have the identical coaching options and sensible options. Both assist the identical third-party apps, like Strava, Komoot, and Adidas Running. You can see the place I’m going with this.

Compared to that lengthy checklist, listed here are the notable variations except for measurement:

  • The Pro has multiband GPS assist for extra correct distance monitoring in difficult environments
  • The Pro has preloaded world offline maps. On the Apex 2, it’s important to obtain them.
  • The Pro has one additional sport profile: multi-pitch climbing.
  • The Pro has longer battery life.

Even so, many of the Pro’s additional options aren’t that a lot of a step up. Multiband GPS is nice, however I don’t take into account it completely crucial until you frequent areas the place you wrestle to get a dependable GPS sign — city facilities, for instance. It’s not an enormous trouble to obtain an offline world map if you wish to save an additional $100. (If you need topographical maps, you’re going to should obtain them anyway.) If you don’t already know what multi-pitch climbing is, I doubt you’ll use that sport profile anytime quickly.

The sensors are practically equivalent. The solely edge the Pro (proper) has by way of {hardware} is battery life and multiband GPS assist.
Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge and Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

The most important distinction is battery life. The Apex 2 has an estimated 17 days of regular use to the Pro’s 30 days. It will get 45 hours of normal GPS in comparison with the Pro’s 75 hours. That tracks with what I obtained in testing. It’s been greater than two weeks since I first fired up the Apex 2 and Pro. My Apex 2 died on day 16, whereas my Pro remains to be kicking at 52 %. No matter the way you take a look at it, both watch will seemingly outlast the competitors. Garmin and Polar watches, for instance, get someplace between seven to 14 days, whereas Fitbits get 5 to 10 days.

This isn’t a standalone watch 

To get that glorious battery life, Coros made a number of tradeoffs. The most evident instance is the show. Multisport watches usually go for memory-in-pixel LCDs as a result of they require a lot much less power, however it means you don’t get a snazzy OLED display screen. Although they’re very readable in direct daylight, the dimmer screens generally is a problem indoors. Thankfully, each watches now have devoted backlight buttons, in order that’s much less of an issue.

When you stuff a bigger battery right into a watch, you’re sacrificing room for different parts. Neither watch has a mobile radio or an NFC chip for contactless funds — two essential components for those who’d slightly go away your telephone at dwelling. They additionally lack emergency SOS options, which means you’ll should hold your telephone on you if that’s a priority.  

But the true kicker for me is music. I don’t know any runner who doesn’t take heed to some sort of audio to get within the zone. (Runners who can go for hours with out any podcast, music, or audiobook are to be feared.) Both watches have onboard storage for MP3 information, however that’s not useful in 2022, quickly to be 2023.

Close up of Coros Apex 2’s screen

Using a memory-in-pixel LCD is a method to make sure longer battery life, although it means a much less vibrant show.

I don’t bear in mind the final time I curated an MP3 library, although if I needed to guess, it’s been about 13 years. These days most individuals stream their music or obtain offline playlists from Spotify or Apple Music. Most main smartwatches — together with Garmins — have adopted swimsuit. Coros doesn’t assist any music service. Unless you actively preserve an MP3 library — or are actually hooked up to no matter you had been listening to in 2004 — that’s the identical as not having onboard music. Coros says the {hardware} within the Apex 2 and Pro might someday assist streaming by way of an over-the-air replace. That may occur, however I wouldn’t financial institution on a function which may not come for months or years, if ever. 

A terrific coaching software, however it’s not “smart”

Like many fitness-first watches, the Apex 2 and Pro are gentle on sensible options. You get the fundamentals like notifications, alarms, timers, and smartwatches. You may discover your telephone by way of the watch and vice versa. That’s it. You can see calls, however you’ll be able to’t take them from the wrist, and there are not any fast replies. Forget about digital assistants, third-party apps, or the aforementioned contactless funds or music streaming. It’s not essentially a con for the Apex 2 and Pro’s supposed viewers. Some may even view it as a professional. But in order for you a watch that’s equally good as a productiveness software, these watches ain’t it. 

On the flip facet, the Coros app has loads of coaching metrics to ooh and ahh over. That consists of staples like elevation, common coronary heart charge, time spent in coronary heart charge zones, tempo, energy burned, and temperature. For runners, Coros consists of stride size, operating energy, and cadence. The Coros EvoLab tab within the app gives training-specific metrics like your VO2 max, threshold tempo and coronary heart charge, and operating efficiency. The Apex 2 and Pro additionally add a “new” metric known as effort tempo, which is successfully grade-adjusted pace. That’s additionally the place you’ll discover your fatigue, base health, and coaching load knowledge to assist gauge whether or not you have to take some restoration time. If you actually need to get into it, the EvoLab tab has a muscle heatmap, shops your private information, and gives race prediction instances.


The Coros app has one of many higher approaches to power coaching.
Screenshots by Victoria Song / The Verge

Most health watches have these metrics or variations on them, however there are two areas the place the Coros app stands out. First, it’s much less chaotic than the Garmin Connect and Polar Flow apps. Those apps are nice however could be troublesome to navigate for newcomers. The Coros app provides a a lot gentler introduction to coaching metrics with a way more streamlined design. Second, Coros permits you to create customized power coaching exercises. (You can program your individual operating, biking, and swimming exercises, too.) Lots of multisport watch apps gloss over power coaching or are clunky at recording reps. This helps you to specify your objectives for every transfer, the burden used, and the size of your relaxation interval. Plus, you’ll be able to hold observe of which muscle tissue you labored out with the muscle heatmap I discussed earlier. The preloaded train choice has plenty of frequent workouts, however you’ll be able to add your individual in the event that they’re absent. I did it for the yoga-inspired power and mobility coaching plan I’m on, and it labored effectively.

Still, Coros’ platform is greatest for runners. Not solely is there an emphasis on operating metrics in EvoLabs, Coros’ coaching platform, however it’s important to complete a few road runs to get your preliminary metrics. Other actions received’t rely, regardless that you need to use EvoLabs knowledge for different actions as soon as it’s unlocked. Both these watches have eliminated assist for ANT Plus. Many equipment assist each Bluetooth and ANT Plus, however some cyclists could be aggravated since a ton of biking equipment are optimized for ANT Plus. Another factor I used to be stunned by: I couldn’t observe my yoga flows. Yoga isn’t an “outdoorsy” exercise, however it’s a well-liked energetic restoration train. (I don’t need to be a runner with hamstrings so tight I can’t contact my toes.) I can observe it on each different multisport watch I’ve just lately examined. This isn’t to say the Apex 2 and Pro are horrible for different actions. It’s not! It’s simply greatest for runners.

Let’s discuss GPS and coronary heart charge

One of the main complaints with the first-gen Apex and Apex Pro was wonky coronary heart charge knowledge. This time round, Coros addressed that by including a beefed-up optical sensor. They even have a second EKG sensor, however it’s not used for detecting atrial fibrillation. It’s there to document coronary heart charge variation — the time between heartbeats — with better precision.

I examined each watches in opposition to the Apple Watch Ultra and Polar H10 chest strap. All my coronary heart charge knowledge was constant throughout platforms, no matter whether or not it was a gradual state or interval run. Zero wonkiness detected. (Though, in order for you the most correct coronary heart charge knowledge, nothing beats a chest strap.) 


The Ultra was essentially the most correct. The Apex 2 Pro and Apex 2 did alright, however each struggled with sure areas.
Screenshots of GPS goofs from the Apex 2 Pro and Apex 2 in comparison with the Apple Watch Ultra.  

GPS was extra of a blended bag. Quick refresher: each watches have an improved GPS antenna, however solely the Pro has multiband GPS. I examined each on a number of runs in opposition to the Apple Watch Ultra, which additionally has multiband GPS. The Ultra was essentially the most correct, adopted by the Pro after which the Apex 2. In my screenshots, you’ll see the Coros watches struggled at any time when I ran across the neighborhood lighthouse, whereas the Ultra had no downside. Both watches additionally botched the beginning of my runs, however the Apex 2 actually had me occurring a hilariously twisted journey. 

It’s humorous as a result of, for these runs, I had the $99 Coros Pod 2 paired with each watches. The Pod 2 is a tiny Bluetooth sensor that you just strap onto your shoe (or waist) to get you extra instantaneous operating metrics, akin to tempo, gait, ambient temperature, floor time, stability, and stride. Foot pod sensors additionally supposedly improve GPS accuracy, which Coros claims the Pod 2 does in cities.

It clearly didn’t. Or at the very least I didn’t discover any distinction between runs with or with out the pod. The Pod 2 might be extra useful to treadmill runners, however in any other case, it didn’t add a lot to my expertise. At least it was simple to arrange with each watches, particularly because it solely works with Coros units.

Coros Pod 2 on an orange Hoka shoe that’s being laced up by someone wearing a Coros Apex 2 Pro

The Coros Pod 2 is a Bluetooth foot pod that supposedly enhances GPS, too. While simple to arrange, it solely works with Coros watches.

Even if my GPS maps had been wonky, total distance monitoring was good. My telephone, each Coros watches, and the Ultra had been typically inside a number of hundredths of a mile. The most notable exception was a 3.7-mile run recorded by my telephone. The Ultra logged that as 3.76 miles, whereas the Apex 2 logged 3.88 miles. This occurred to be the run the place the Apex 2 began me off on a wild goose chase, which in all probability explains why. If GPS accuracy is a precedence, the Pro is the higher selection. 

What I missed most was turn-by-turn navigation. As a directionally challenged particular person, I really feel extra comfy exploring new areas with turn-by-turn navigation than with out. But for those who’re good with maps, it’s not the worst factor for the reason that Coros watches have back-to-start steering, deviation alerts for if you veer off route, and the power to mark checkpoints. It’s higher than no offline maps — cough Apple Watch Ultra cough — however it’s one thing to ponder when comparability procuring.

Coros vs. Garmin 

At $400 for the Apex 2 and $500 for the Pro, these watches are on the dearer finish for midrange GPS watches. It’s a bizarre spot to be in, given the competitors. Garmin’s Forerunner 255 prices $50 lower than the Apex 2 and has multiband GPS, lengthy battery life, nice coaching metrics, and contactless funds. The Forerunner 955 is identical worth because the Pro and has extra strong navigation, nice coaching metrics, multiband GPS, lengthy battery life, contactless funds, and emergency security options. Both Forerunner watches assist offline Spotify playlists, too. They principally fill within the Apex 2 and Pro’s gaps for a similar worth.

Person wearing Apex 2 while holding a dumbbell

The Apex 2 and Pro are good watches that fall barely wanting nice.

For me, I’d go together with Garmin since you’re getting extra for a similar worth. But perhaps you’re sick of Garmin’s platform and need one thing a bit totally different. Coros watches profit from a simplified app, higher power coaching monitoring, and longer battery life. Whatever the explanation, I’d choose the Apex 2 for those who worth consolation and financial savings. The Pro is best in order for you the absolute best accuracy and battery life. 

These are good health watches, and it’s simple to see why Coros has its followers. But they fall barely wanting nice. Hopefully, future updates will get all of them the best way. It’s particularly spectacular if you keep in mind that Coros has solely been within the biz for 4 years. These are second-gen units, and but they’re mentioned in the identical breath as merchandise from firms which were round for many years. You simply should be the type of athlete who’s prepared to miss rising pains. 

Photography by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Agree to Continue: Coros Apex 2 / Apex 2 Pro

Every sensible system now requires you to conform to a collection of phrases and circumstances earlier than you need to use it — contracts that nobody truly reads. It’s unimaginable for us to learn and analyze each single considered one of these agreements. But we began counting precisely what number of instances it’s important to hit “agree” to make use of units after we evaluation them since these are agreements most individuals don’t learn and positively can’t negotiate.

To use the Coros Apex 2 or Apex 2 Pro, you should pair it with an iPhone or Android smartphone. That consists of the telephone’s Terms of Service, Privacy Policy, and some other permissions you grant.

By organising Coros Apex 2 or Apex 2 Pro, you’re agreeing to 2 necessary agreements:

You may grant extra permissions to the Coros app to entry your location, Bluetooth, digicam, digital assistants, notifications, background app refresh, mobile knowledge, and doc storage. Additionally, for those who combine with any third-party service — like Strava, Apple Health, or Komoot — you should additionally conform to that app’s phrases of service and privateness coverage.

Final tally: two necessary agreements, no matter your telephone requires, and 9 optionally available agreements or permissions.


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