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COROS VERTIX Adventure GPS Watch: Hands-on with their new premium watch

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Today COROS announced their new VERTIX multisport GPS device, which adds in SpO2 measurement for high-altitude adventures, while also bringing with it a more premium feel that apparently demands an equally premium price – from $599 to $699 depending on exact model. The company has adopted quick release style bands as well as an even longer battery life than the APEX watch from earlier this year. The company claims they’ve got the longest GPS battery life on the market at 150 hours in UltraMax mode. Though, the new 60 hours in regular GPS mode is equally impressive and beyond anyone else.

The VERTIX matches other premium watches in using sapphire glass screen with a titanium DLC bezel, all while being waterproof to 150m deep – more than anyone else on the market. With that super quick overview, let’s get handsy on the watch. Note that this is a beta/prototype device, as the final units aren’t expected to start shipping till June.

Further, note this is not a review. It’s simply a hands-on post. My reviews are typically done on final devices with final firmware. Those have longer test periods. As noted later in this post, I ran into some trouble with my first test unit that required a new unit be sent out. I’m not holding that aspect against them at all, just as I don’t for any company/device still in beta/prototype phases (that’s the point of those phases: To work out bugs/issues).

Hands-on with the VERTIX:

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While the vast majority of the VERTIX features and user interface is almost identical to that of the APEX I reviewed a couple of months ago, there’s one big difference you’ll notice: The case.

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Yes, that beast of a drop it off the back of a semi-truck on a highway case is actually what it’ll ship in. Except, the final version is more of a grey color than the black prototype case seen above. But either way, they went full-on nuclear football for this unit.

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I’m all for stunning cases and unboxing overkill. But this is taking overkill to an entirely different level. Inside you’ll see the straps sitting off to the right, while the watch hangs out on the left. Below deck are the charging cables and paper bits. Personally, I wish there was also a bag of Peanut M&M’s in there. That’d change my mind entirely.

I mean – can you imagine how awesome it’d be to just be unboxing your new watch and find a bag of M&M’s inside? Seriously. I should patent that idea somehow.

In any case,  the device starts with the button layouts: Three buttons all along the right side, one of which is a digital crown. The idea with the digital crown is that you can use it in place of dedicated up/down buttons. Also, sorry there’s some dried salt on there. I had finished a run shortly before.

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While I get the concept, I’m not sure it really works in an adventurer/hardcore watch. Just like I didn’t really love it in APEX either. I found I often overshot on the menus, and had to double-back a bit. The other two buttons on either side of the digital crown are used in a variety of situations, including as a ‘back’ button.

Flipping the watch over you’ll find two new things. First is the new quick-release bands. These snap on/off in a virtually identical design to that of Garmin and their Fenix series watches (a theme you’ll find throughout the COROS lineup). Just like Garmin’s iteration, these work great:

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Next, you’ll notice the updated optical sensor package, which includes an SpO2 sensor, for measuring pulse oxygen levels. It’s a feature we’ve seen multiple companies introduce in the last year, starting with Garmin on the Fenix 5X Plus, and then Fitbit on their Charge 3. Since then, Garmin’s added it to a myriad of wearables, both inexpensive and pricey alike.

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In addition there’s the charging port. This is only for charging, and not for USB download of workouts. Workout download occurs via Bluetooth Smart (no WiFi).

With the VERTIX you’ll access the SpO2 function by long-holding the lower right button, which brings up the rotary toolbox menu. It’s here that you can measure your SpO2, which is shown against your current altitude. Note that the altitude in the below photo was showing as –561ft. While I did have GPS lock shortly before it, it didn’t seem to update this value. Likely a beta/prototype bug.

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In addition, when you’re higher than 8,250ft (~2,500m), it’ll show a small gauge that gives you some clarity on whether your SpO2 reading is concerning or not. I haven’t had any reason to be above 8,250ft, so I haven’t seen the gauge. But I did go in an airplane last week, which the altimeter said was pressured to about 6,800ft, so I went ahead and measured it there.

The measuring process took substantially longer than Garmin’s SpO2 sensor, and also took three attempts to get it to take (on both flights). Whether it was correct or not, it’s hard to say (just like knowing whether Garmin’s value is correct or not). I’d say it was a wee bit low, but not totally unheard of. Garmin on the FR945 came in at 94% a few seconds later.

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The challenge here is that these values aren’t saved anywhere to the app, though it is saved on the wrist in widgets. Contrast this with Garmin’s SpO2 tracking where you can plot this over time (useful for longer periods at altitude), this is less useful beyond the immediate/last readings. That said, one area that COROS is doing which Garmin isn’t is alerting based on SpO2 values, if the altitude is above 2,500m. So if it’s doing background reading of your SpO2 values and detects a value above the below noted thresholds (a PDF guide they sent along), then it’ll give you an alert.

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Next, switching to start a workout, the watch has all the individual as well as triathlon modes you’d expect from a multisport watch: Running, Cycling, Swimming, Multisport (Triathlon) mode – the indoor/outdoor variants of most of those, as well as hiking and ‘mountain climbing’.  All of these sports are accessible using the digital crown button:

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After you select a sport it’ll go off and find GPS as well as ensure a lock on your heart rate via the optical HR sensor on the back. You’ll see status shown along the bottom, including battery life.

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If you’ve got ANT+ accessories like power meters or speed/cadence sensors (or external HR straps), you can pair them in the settings menu.

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Additionally, while you wait for GPS to acquire satellites you’ll find the three structured/focused training options.

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These allow you to create an interval workout with multiple steps using time or distance, as well as two Training Effect focused workouts for aerobic and anaerobic training:

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Once out in a workout, the data pages can be changed by scrolling the digital crown. And you can lap by pressing the lower right button, while the upper right button is start/pause/stop.

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After your workout is complete you can save it, and it’ll sync to the COROS app, which allows you to analyze the workout as well as sync it to platforms like Strava, TrainingPeaks, and Apple’s Health Kit.

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You can further connect to the device for configuration of settings like the watch face or even updating the firmware.

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In addition, on the smartphone app you can customize sport modes as well as data pages.  In fact, this is the singular area where they do something Garmin doesn’t: Smartphone configuration of data fields.

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You can choose from a number of metrics, even running power and running efficiency metrics like leg stiffness, vertical vibration, and ground contact time.  Though at present those features aren’t available yet. Both the running efficiency metrics and running power are slated to arrive via future firmware update.  But hey, at least unlike Garmin you can pull it in as a legit running power data field. Thus, it’s three versus one on that front (as both Suunto and Polar also have that capability).

The app also allows you to create routes and add them to the watch. This functionality is identical to that found in the COROS APEX. Note that while the VERTIX will allow you to see a breadcrumb trail, there are no maps on the device itself.

Let’s warp up by chatting about accuracy (GPS & HR). I would normally do a deeper dive into accuracy, but things didn’t quite work out. Shortly after my first run with the unit (but before I contacted COROS), they e-mailed to say that some early prototype units may be having GPS related accuracy issues, which they believe was a hardware problem. In looking at my GPS tracks, it’s clear my unit was one of those with issues. In general, the tracks weren’t awesome. You can see this run below where I compare it to both a Garmin Forerunner 945 as well as a Polar Vantage V Titan (with the latest GPS updates).  It’s often in the trees or buildings when I’m not. Ironically, all of these units use the same GPS chipset, so you can see the impact of things like antenna design and other firmware aspects (here’s the file to dig in):

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This was most notable when it didn’t properly pick up GPS again for nearly 90 seconds after exiting a tunnel.  The company has sent me a new unit, but it didn’t arrive in time for today’s post. I’ll be digging into that new unit prior to final release/availability, which is slated for early June.

From a HR accuracy standpoint, my understanding is that piece is working as expected. So let’s take a super quick look at that run anyway.  In this case it’s compared against an HRM-DUAL chest strap:

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As you can see, things aren’t bad at all. One brief moment when I did a short sprint that the COROS seemed to bobble, but then again, this was a pretty easy run from an optical HR standpoint being relatively stable. Once I get the final unit, I’ll definitely be diving more into accuracy aspects of both.

The Summary of All Summary’s:

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With the VERTIX, COROS is clearly aiming for Suunto and Garmin, though, that was honestly always the case. We’re seeing COROS add features far faster than Suunto or Polar though, which could prove challenging for either Finnish company if COROS can get traction in the marketplace. To that end, one has to credit COROS for throwing plenty of developers at the watch lineup to get them where they are from an on-device standpoint.

I guess the challenge I have here is how exactly one would want me to phrase my final thoughts on the unit. After all, I think you come here for the ‘tell it like it is’ honesty, something that’s harder to find in magazine or ambassador reviews.  So, I’ll give you two options for you to ponder what I think of the unit. Like a choose your own adventure story.

Option A: If you met me in a bar somewhere, I’d tell you (even without drinks) that the COROX VERTIX was essentially a Fenix 5 (non-Plus edition) knockoff, except, not a very good one. I’d tell you that while the exterior shell/fonts/etc match what they copied, the underlying features and platform aspects just don’t exist.  I’d also note that the adoption numbers I see from various training platforms show that COROS simply isn’t achieving even Kickstarter-type metrics.

Option B: On the flip side, if you wanted me to be overly positive, I’d tell you that the COROX VERTIX has stepped up in looks from the COROS APEX, and that they’ve incorporated new functions that the company could take advantage of down the road with better integration between the device and the smartphone. I’d point out that the quick release bands are a nice addition, while the SpO2 function could be handy if you’re at high altitudes often and for long periods of time. Additionally I’d note that the SpO2 alerts is a feature not found on any other GPS watches to my knowledge.

I guess my challenge is that while COROS jumped out of the gate very well with the COROS Pace about a year ago, we’re now on their third device in that timeframe. That unto itself wouldn’t be an issue if they had the backend platform (both mobile app and site). But they don’t. And more importantly, yet again like previous products – the price doesn’t match reality. At $599-$699, it’s just crazy talk. Seriously, it’s nuts. Go pick up a fancy Suunto Spartan series watch for a portion the price and enjoy more features and deeper platform connectivity. Or pick up a Garmin Fenix 5 for less, with even more features.

See, the whole point of “knockoff’ products is to pay less for them. That’s why they’re knock-offs. They’re not as good as the original, but we as a society mostly don’t care and we will happily pay a portion (or fraction) of the price. Be it sunglasses, apparel, or even action camera batteries. But somehow that pricing message got lost in translation. If this watch was $349, then I’d be like: Boom, tell me more!

But at $599? Nope. Pass.

That said, if for some reason you really do still want to pick up this unit – then you can do so using the linkage here via Clever Training – a partner which helps support the site.  And heck, you can even save 10% too with the DCR Coupon Code DCR10BTF.

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84 Comments

  1. Raymond Wright

    I agree with Option A. I just watched the release thing on YouTube and was under whelmed.

    I also watched Desfits video and I am thinking he is of the same mind set as you.

    $599 NOPE and I really wanted to like this.

  2. JD

    I love the competition for Garmin and Suunto. But… as it’s quite clearly a Fenix knock-off, I’m curious if Garmin will ever pursue legal action against them.

    • JR

      “Copying” your competitors isn’t illegal. Intellectual property protects only specific things like trademarks (e.g., logos) and patented innovations (typically these are like the building blocks of new technology, not just general elements of consumer design).

    • JD

      I was referring to and patents Garmin may have. I haven’t looked into it too much.

  3. Paul S.

    No maps? With the 5+ series Fenix and the 945 now all having maps? No thanks. When I go on an “adventure”, I want to see a map.

  4. PMaC

    When are companies going to realize that wasteful use of plastic packaging doesn’t make their product look better, it just suggests they couldn’t give a toss about baby whales.

  5. Tom

    Firmly on the Garmin train here, and this obviously hasn’t changed my mind, but WHEN are they going to let us configure data fields with the smartphone app? Or at least via computer? 🙁

  6. David E.

    Darn it. Was hoping from previous reviews that Coros might be on track to provide a viable, competitive alternative to Garmin. The gap between Garmin and its competitors seems to be widening rather than shrinking (and that’s before we see whatever kind of integration Garmin and Tacx come up with).

  7. Zlatko

    Guess it’s becoming harder and more expensive producing cheap knock offs? 🙂

    • AW

      Not a cheap knockoff…I’d like to see Garmin or Suunto implement a facebook group where they gather users requests straight up and implement it within a few months…Coros is doing some amazing stuff in the ultrarunning and trail running world right now

    • I agree, I’d love to see Garmin do a better job at user feature requests. Perhaps some sort of voting system or such. On the flip side, most companies that implement that ultimately fail to achieve what users want – mostly because what users want isn’t often practical from either a business or product standpoint.

      It tends to work better for software-only companies that are more about the platform, than selling hardware.

    • gingerneil

      Sporttracks are pretty good with this, but don’t promote it much.

    • John

      Hard pass on FB groups, thankyouverymuch.

  8. Alex

    As left handed, so wearing my watch on right hand, I can only say that this button layout with the crown is NOT going to work at all.

    • AW

      Except you can switch the watch around just like you can with an apple watch so you can wear it on either arm and the screen will rotate.

    • David Walker

      Same problem that I had with the Apple watch as a left hander with the watch on my right hand- using the crown with my left hand means that my left hand is either in front of the watch or in a awkward position to use the crown.

    • To be fair, I think most watches have this problem in one way or another. I’ve used the unit on both my left and right wrists, and really haven’t had an issue from that perspective.

    • Alex

      OK. I didn’t see this functionality.
      Flipping the watch will work, like with some of my mechanical watches which actually manufacture left handed versions 😉

      However, I am still not convinced to the crown, especially when need to operate it with sweaty fingers.

    • Ganabu

      Exactly what I was going to say… You can’t see the screen as you scroll… No go for the lefties… No matter what brand.

    • Ganabu, as has been pointed out above, the software is being updated to support flipping the display for wear on the right hand, so the crown can point towards your wrist whichever arm you’re wearing it on. (Source: New Features At Launch section of this review )

  9. It amazes me Garmin hasn’t been able to take legal action against Coros. These watches are damn near clones! I always saw Coros as kind of the “value option” this watch looks cool but it’s just too close to the “flagship” price point. And with the lower price of the Fenix 5 Plus and the new 945 around its hard to justify going with the 3rd party option. Nice write up!

  10. Tom

    Wow, harsh words. The material, the weight, the battery, the low price for such premium materials! 60 hrs battery!
    Garmin should be worried

    • The same materials are offered by competitors at the same or lower prices. That’s sorta the point of what I’m saying. Titanium DLC isn’t new or really all that special.

      Right now (and until mid-June), the Fenix 5 Plus is on sale for $150 off. That puts it down to to $499 – with music, maps, and contactless payments. Suunto’s are 30% off starting from Thursday, including the Suunto 9. I get these are sales, but even without them – the pricing just doesn’t work.

    • Tom

      Where do I pick up a Sapphire Titanium Garmin Fenix Plus for 599?
      Right, you mention Garmin Pay and music but not the battery time. Say no more…

    • Sure, Fenix 5 Plus Sapphire with Titanium for $649 right now: link to clevertraining.com

      If you don’t want the titanium you can get it for less. As for battery time – I didn’t realize I was supposed to list every spec on a device in a comment. But sure, the battery life for those is 32hrs GPS, 70hrs UltraTrac.

    • tom

      Almost as cheap, fair enough. No not every feature but you sure chose selectively for a mountaineering watch. Lol

    • I keep seeing folks trying to spin this as only a mountaineering watch. Which is funny, because in all of the PR/etc materials COROS has prepared, they note comparisons to the Fenix 5 Plus and Suunto 9.

      This has no more mountain features than the Fenix 5 Plus, except longer battery life. Which, isn’t really a complaint I hear often to be honest. There’s lots of things people rightly complain, but for the vast majority (like overwhelming majority) of even Ultra runners today, they aren’t going beyond the specs of most current generation watches, which are floating in the 30-40hr range for regular GPS. Certainly, if you’re doing UTMB and you want to do it in 1-second recording the entire time, then yup – the Vertix may allow that (we’ll have to see on battery per claims – but I mostly believe them based on what I see).

      Outside of battery life, the landslide of features from the other direction is huge. As I said before, COROS has a compelling option – they really do. Just not at this price point. I’ve seen some folks/reviewers say they want to ‘not discuss price’, which is a bizarre thing to say when talking about something you have to buy. Not saying you’re saying that – but seeing some people that are.

    • Robin

      Price is always part of the equation – that’s something I have trouble convincing my wife about….

  11. Pedro

    Check the wording in the summary “…and we pay happily pay a portion “.

    • giorgitd

      So, what price would be appropriate (i.e. an equal value proposition wrt competition). Or, another way, at what price point is this the item that just starts eroding Garmin/Suunto/Polar sales in a real way? Looking over your review (but never holding/using a device, of course), I’m guessing that the ‘fair’ price is $299 +/- $50 USD? A $200-$225 USD price might be the right range for enough adoptions to wake the competition up? Just interested in where you think this might fit, price/features/etc.-wise.

    • Yup, I’d agree, $299 is where it erodes Garmin/Suunto/Polar sales very quickly. At that price point they pull a Polar M400.

      For the brief history lesson, a few (5) years back Polar released the M400 GPS running watch. At the time, Polar was in a bit of a funky, and not really making much progress on market share. But they decided to throw a hail Mary – and priced this at $179, almost half the cost of Garmin’s mid-range running watch at the time. Not only did Polar match everything Garmin had, but they did it at half the price.

      The watch did incredibly well, and Garmin even admitted later to me it was a key driver in them changing directions on their mid-range running watches and pricing. Which we saw a few months later. In fact, I’d argue there’s no competitive offering that’s had as big an impact on Garmin pricing and long-term running watch product plans than the M400 did. It kinda shattered Garmin’s world.

      That’s ultimately what COROS needs to do here. They need to get themselves out of the mindset of thinking they can sell meaningful unit volumes at these prices. I think $299 does it really well, but so would $349 with those materials. $399 is OK, but it’s not a slap in the face like the others are. The other price points say “Just buy me today, don’t even look at Garmin”. Whereas at $399 you start to play the features game, especially when Garmin and Suunto go on sale (like this week).

      Now, it’s a bit different here because COROS doesn’t have the same feature parity that Polar did. They simply don’t (despite some people thinking they do, or thinking it doesn’t matter). In the real world, people buy based on features. There will always be fans of any brand that will ignore features, but I’d guess that they make up less than 1% of sales (if that) in this market. The Wahoo ROAM is proving that out in real time for us.

    • Andrew M

      I agree. Price at $299 (skip the titanium and sapphire if they have to meet this price point), spend a year or two building user numbers, brand familiarity and credibility, then start to move up-market to compete with Garmin and Suunto’s premium offerings.

    • Em

      Ray, you keep mentioning a sale, where are the SUUNTO 9’s going on sale this week, everywhere?

    • Everywhere, starting Friday. Well, at least US based. I need to check on Europe.

  12. Ray, should be:

    “Summary of all Summaries”

  13. Smith

    A bit sad while reading the post. All I see is Ray’s hatred on COROS and praise Garmin and Sunto. I believe one company release new gadgets must with purposes and upgrades certain functions. There is nothing wrong when showing your thoughts or personal opinions. However, this is a review. It should be fair for any products. This post is pretty bias and trying to drive the consumers’ mind to one side. I normally read couples before making decision on purchase. Hopefully, there will be another review with neutral language.

    • It’s not a review. That’s clearly stated at the top.

      But, even if it were a review, people come here to read reality. Not some marketing fluff, ambassador praise, or magazine uselessness distilled to keep brands happy and buying ads. I’ve always called it like it is from my very first review to my latest review. Be that today, or tomorrow.

      If you didn’t see me calling out Garmin in this post for items as well, you didn’t read this post.

      Cheers.

    • I’ve tested a lot of these devices too, and until you’ve actually used devices from all of the brands it’s hard to understand the frustration of seeing unfulfilled potential. I’ve said a lot of mean things about Garmin over the years, but testing Polar and Suunto really puts those comments in perspective. Garmin definitely don’t understand UI design. At all. But the features are there and these days they are generally stable and accurate. That’s the bar of entry right there, if you want to take this market then implement the basic features, make them work and make them accurate.
      Ray isn’t biased, he’s experienced. Or to put it another way, yes Ray is wildly biased based on his vast experience! I’m actually surprised how many good words he’s saying about Suunto right now given the mess their products and platform are in. I can only assume he’s testing the 5 (and a preview of the app that actually supports workouts etc.) and is impressed, because the 9 lacks so much stuff it’s ridiculous.
      If you read the post though, he seems to have fully explained what’s missing. The only question for me is whether Coros have the same software on all watches and plan to bring them all up with features as time goes on or will drop support for older devices Garmin style. If they work like Wahoo then maybe there’s a future for these watches after all.

    • Stan

      Thank you for honest review with no sugar coating. As a frequent reader I value your opinion and look for more than simple list of features as the product needs to be compared to other offerings to allow making an informed purchase. Keep up the great work!

    • Rui Pereira

      I agree with Ray’s assessment (based on his first hand account), but I also thought the tone was bit off to be honest, damning with faint praise I think that’s the expression. Anyway, at that price point it’s dead on water, unless they somehow have a different way of unloading them on the market.

  14. Smith

    Nothing but it is just sad about the way that you talk. I actually read 3x before I commented in public. I don’t judge things at the really first place because I could be wrong.

    Peace.

    • likepend1

      it’s a hands on ….. & where is he judging??

      jesus people, chill!!

    • Karel

      If there is one guy and one blog that has a very objective look from an athlete’s point of view with no bias or hatred against any brand, it is DC Rainmaker. You might not like what he writes, you can and may of course disagree, but it is really unfair to suggest he “hates” a brand or prefers any other brand.
      The guy runs, bikes and swims (and other activities) around with more sport gadgets to review and compare them among each other. And not only that, he always talks with and gives feedback to the companies making these gadgets trying to make them do a better job. And we all benefit from this and totally free as well. (unless you decide to support his site or use his very useful dcanalyzer tool)
      Please disagree with his findings based on your own experiences or comparisons, but be fair and don’t make it personal.

      Karel

    • Mitch W

      Plus… I would hardly say he’s ever hated on Coros. From their first helmet offering Ray has been propping them up, despite admittedly using the actual feature of the helmet (bone induction btle connectivity) less over time (at all?). There are a number of android offerings and Chinese watches (cough amazfit cough) out there that Ray has passed on and not reviewed, but he’s always made room in an obviously busy review schedule for Coros’s stuff.

      This is a clearly honest review. There is no objective way to look at the Vertix and say that (besides the battery life which Ray points out) it is competitive at the price point it was released at.

  15. Steven Olander

    This post only, would be my supporter fee worth every penny, it would be a solid “story” A. Thank you for making me smile and giggle over my breakfast. I am sure it will make me laugh again doing your talk with GP Lama.

  16. likepend1

    to be honest i don’t get the numbers they are providing on their website.

    battery life:
    1) 45 days of regular use? – must be oHR & BT off rigth? what’s regular use? 🙂
    2) 60 hours in Full GPS mode? with oHR off/on??

    • giorgitd

      I’m curious about battery life claims, too. What would allow this device such a long battery life vs the Garmin it’s been cloned from? I thought that perhaps the GPS chipset was lower powered, but there is a figure in Ray’s hands on that mentions that all three of the devices in that test had identical GPS chipsets. A bigger battery could do it, but the size is the same as others, so that seems unlikely. Screen? That is often a big power consumer, so a more efficient screen (or dimmer, or different auto on/off settings, etc.) might impact battery life? Just wondering how this magic trick is done…

    • I don’t doubt the 45 day figure at all. Seriously, COROS does some magic when it comes to battery life. I’ve got various COROS units sitting in bins that stay alive for months – MONTHS! Granted, I’m not using them or moving them, but if I do a BT scan right now, I guarantee you I’ll find the COROS PACE and APEX I haven’t charged since like February. It always blows my mind when they show up as pairable devices in Zwift.

      As for how they do it…I’m curious as well. Like you said, there isn’t aspects that Garmin or any other major company doesn’t know or what-not, so I suspect there’s probably some quirks to how those numbers are achieved that may be tough to test.

      Though, I did get my turn-table in for battery testing. Turns out though it’s like Dollhouse sized. Way smaller than the picture said…

  17. Frank-enstein

    Love when the Chinese knockoffs even ape the tiny tiny details. The bezel appears to be the F 5 plus exactly. The circular identification text on the underside of the case. (Great photography as always btw).

    It’s the little things.

  18. Joey

    Prusa includes a bag of Haribo with every printer. It’s a big hit. (And a fabulous printer.)

  19. Ivan

    Ray thanks for the candor this has been the best review and more importantly summary I’ve ever read. Done. Ready to pass on these guys.

  20. workonsunday

    I will wait for wahoo to coming with something if im willing to drop that kinda money on a watch.

  21. SAM W COOK

    I have had the Apex for 3 weeks and it is excellent. I would not have chosen Vertix because of cost, but Apex is everything I need.

  22. Pascal Rem

    Happy Apex owner too 🙂
    Bought it @349€ ,
    good deal for a Sapphire watch, great autonomy ( 35h+ and similar to greater accuracy vs Fenix 5, Suunto9
    though not with fancy NFC and the like feature (who care 🙂

    So now Vertix
    is ~ Apex with :Titanium DLC, SpO2, 60h+ autonomy .. and huge/funny case
    should be priced 299$ .. less than Apex

    Is this fair ?

    • Mitch W

      Curious… You can purchase a Fenix 5 right now for $349 from REI/amazon. What reason could there possibly be to buy an Apex for $349?

    • Pascal Rem

      That was 3 months ago
      Still now, Fenix 5 Sapphire more on 500€ here in Europe
      (Sapphire matter for me / outdoor
      GPS chipset better(sony vs mediatek
      Autonomy much better(up to 40h+ in best mode
      Ergonomy simple and efficient

  23. Florin

    Thanks for your honest review.

  24. Eric Mills

    Great review. I agree enthusiastically with that assessment. At a lower price, at least maybe some interest, but as is, no freaking way. Still, good for Garmin to at least have the suggestion of competition.

  25. Don

    The 150m meter waterproof rating doesn’t really make sense without dive functions.

    • For the most part, waterproof ratings in general above 50m for non-dive units are mostly a masculinity measuring contest (by everyone). Practically speaking – they’re meaningless since divers going to 50m+ by and large simply aren’t using these watches at those depths (as you noted, they’re meaningless there).

      It’s actually really hard to kill a 50m+ waterproofed unit. Heck, it’s even hard to kill less units than that. I’ve got a waterproof testing chamber where I can bring units down to depth on full automation. I haven’t even been able to kill a cheap Walmart watch (even pressing buttons). One of these days…

      …and don’t even get me started on the whole ‘you need 100m because 50m means it’s only good for snorkeling BS’. That’s 1980’s thinking and not how watches are actually designed/tested these days.

      (Note: This isn’t anything against COROS – as Garmin and others do the same thing on their higher end watches)

    • AmW

      Ray and Don, I would like to share some thoughts behind making a watch in 150 meter waterproof. This is not to encourage users to dive deep in the water. It’s simply a way to indicate the toughness of the watch.
      Yes 50 meter waterproof works for most of the conditions when it’s fresh out of the factory. However, sport watches are made for multiple years’ use. It is very likely a watch will face scratch, drop, hit or shock impact during the life, especially when it is designed for hardcore outdoor use. When a watch is only 50 meter waterproof, the buffer is very limited and your watch may ended up with not waterproof at all. With 150 meter waterproof, VERTIX is built for more complicated tasks in the extreme mountain climbs and maximize its life than any other GPS watches on the market.
      And yes, I work for COROS.

  26. Chris

    Ray
    Battery Life Review:
    Sad about the turntable, but it would be awesome if you could produce some sort of meaningful comparison between brands focused on whether they can be used ACCURATELY (1 second GPS) for long endurance events with the features turned on that athletes will actually use. So, for example, GPS (1 sec), chest strap connection, bike power meter, Stryd footpod. Maybe phone too (for safety tracking) – though it isn’t technically allowed in some events. I find making battery life comparisons the most tricky between the brands. Of course, maybe we are at the stage that they will all do every usual event aside from extreme ultra runs – but it would be very useful to know.

    Generally
    Excellent post, as ever. I don’t think you got the tone wrong at all. I want competition in the market to drive down the ridiculous Garmin pricing – but they will need to do better than this. If only Apple would produce a watch with a proper battery life – and clean up the obvious software flaws….

    Best
    Chris

    • Yeah, battery life testing is tricky – primarily around the optical HR. I’ve been doing longer battery life testing on cycling units recently, including ANT+ sensors and 1s GPS. But most GPS units (now even Garmin cycling ones) will quietly power off/set to lower power the GPS module when no movement is detected. So I have to keep the units moving/vibrating the entire time. I picked up a turn-table for that, but need to start dorking with getting everything set up.

  27. Funny tidbit: Someone had shared my review on the COROS Users FB page, plenty of ‘lively’ discussion on it the last two days – I think it was up to 50+ comments. Looks like a bit too lively. It’s been deleted overnight.

    I’m always surprised when brands think I don’t notice this type of stuff. Of course I notice.

    • Timo

      I am the Admin of the Coros FB user group, I think we met in this post and shared opinions.
      The post was apparently deleted by the user who originally posted it, which is his granted right.

      The Coros FB user group is independent of the company and every discussion is always welcome, as long as it does not harm anybody (personally).

      I think we have a great talk culture in this group, you are always welcome!

    • Thanks for the clarity Timo!

  28. The Real Bob

    This was an odd comment section to read. The difference in peoples perspective of the written word is so bizarre. I read review and thought, wow, Ray is being pretty nice to what seems one of the worst products for its price I have seen in years. Yet others are going nuts on him for being to “mean”. 600 for a product that doesn’t over the same features as devices for much less the cost. Yea, he was mean alright. facepalm

  29. skyrun

    Wow, this is one hideous watch. Sorry, not sorry.

  30. NC

    So we were all ‘inspired’ by Casio? Suunto in 2007 and Garmin in 2015. btw why smart phones look identical?

    • Merely having a silver colored bezel doesn’t mean you copied another. I think we’re all adult enough to know that.

      However, when you copy the bezel markings, the exact fonts, the watch face design, the band, the band quick release mechanism, the charging port connector, widget designs and plenty more…then we need to be realistic enough to call it what it is.

      Which, isn’t actually that big of deal per se – if the pricing was appropriate to that.

    • NC

      Looks like we are getting serious into details.

      1. Bezel – the style of Fenix bezel with the classic four screw design, is exactly starts from CASIO Pro Trek in 1990s. If we use your terminology, Fenix 2 is exactly a style copy from CASIO while Fenix 3 started copying Suunto.
      2. Font – there are only a handful of slim fonts which allows watch companies to fit more characters in the small screen. You can criticize IF someone didn’t pay for a font. All fonts are for people to use for their purposes, per se if two newspapers print in same font, I wouldn’t call one ‘copied’ the other, if it serves the purpose it serves the purpose. I don’t see a problem here.
      3. Watch faces – pretty sure it can be customized. If you mean the info is displayed in circles, pretty sure some people will criticize if they use triangles.
      4. Band – right, in order to release the strap, they all have a GAP. Not sure how to release it without it. Being having some engineering background, designing snug and tight fit isn’t something you can mold from, it’s no copy and paste on keyboard, it’s serious mechanical and material engineering and tedious testing. Unless they literally steal Garmin’s injection mold, I find it hard to criticize.
      5. Charging port – I don’t have to be a professional reviewer to notice the COROS charging port comes with three pins and Garmin has four. Last time I check I still count three. I don’t know how hard to accomplish one less pin but on gadgets like this, isn’t smaller the better? Perhaps the valuable interior space could better used.
      6. Regarding widget design, I guess we have a very different eye. You and I have very different perspective.

      Anyhow, when I see a product I’d see if it fits my needs and if there is anything I need but not there. Comparing with competitor’s product is a good way to do review, however I found your review focused on similarities instead of differences to frame it as a ‘knockoff’.
      As you stated, the performance of the prototype you are holding may not prove much, unfortunately I found that’s the only thing you are really reviewing. As a runner and mountain climber myself, I enjoy active life style and competitions, a fair competition on the market is what I’d respect too. I hope when some people say they welcome competition, they really mean it, especially if they offer an unbiased review.
      Perhaps it’s more urgent to get some sort of review up when everyone else does, even being informed it’s a prototype doesn’t function to the standard. Perhaps Coros has their reason sending you the prototype before everyone else and you have a good reason call it out like that. Fair criticism is as welcome as competition, that’d help a new brand to grow. You are a respectful reviewer that’s why I’m following, hopefully we are both after a better market for active people.

    • I’m not really sure what to say. I’ve reviewed a lot of watches over the years, and none of them have looked near-exactly like another in terms of all the things I just said. Every watch maker has found other fonts, other widget designs, other watch faces, other band/strap designs, other…other…other.

      Not Suunto, not Polar, not Apple, not Soleus, not Fitbit, not Timex, not Casio, not Mio, not Samsung, or any others. Not even one of those specific elements I just discussed is the same between those watches over the course of a dozen years I’ve been doing this. Yet COROS comes along mirror 6-10 elements in such a design in a single watch?

      I guess that’s what I find funniest. Just own it, price accordingly, and move on. I’ll certainly review all the other features on their own as I always do, but pretending the design isn’t what it is, is far more biased (for a company, like an ambassador would) than calling it in the honest and straight forward way I’m doing.

    • Eni

      Amen! 😉

      Couldn’t agree more Ray. To copy a watch design is one thing (and even in this Coros goes a tad too far), but the widget/app list design? Fonts? Ecc… It’s like the FR735XT copy all over again.

  31. Michi

    Hi, how many ANT+ Bike Sensors can be paired and calibrated at the same time? Can you only pair ANT+ or Bluetooth also?

  32. Carlos André

    Hello, is it possible to download a gpx track to coros vertix and navigate?