JUMP TO:

COROS APEX 2 and APEX 2 Pro In-Depth Review

Today COROS has announced the long-teased COROS APEX 2 series watches, including both a base model and a Pro model. While I had considered doing entirely separate reviews for both of these, the reality is they’re virtually identical watches same some minor internal spec differences. Thus, I’ve gone with one consolidated review. And to make things even more fun – I’ve been wearing both watches side by side (well, on opposite wrists) just to see how they handle and differ.

The new APEX 2 series is best viewed through the lens of being a smaller VERTIX 2 (released one year ago). It has virtually all the same software features as the more expensive Vertix 2. Ultimately, COROS sees these two models (APEX 2 Pro vs Vertix 2) differentiated by style/materials, more so than software.

The 1.3” screen COROS APEX 2 Pro includes a revamped optical heart rate sensor, adds multiband GNSS/GPS, adds music storage for MP3s (no streaming service), includes offline maps, touchscreen, WiFi, and HRV readings. It also includes a battery life of up to 75 hours depending on the mode (25 hours for multiband usage though). The APEX 2 Pro comes in at $499, whereas the base APEX 2 slides in at $399, but lacks the multiband GPS and larger battery life, and has a slightly smaller screen.

I’ve been putting both watches through their paces, in a variety of sports from swim to bike to run, plus of course daily usage as a general watch/activity tracker. Both units are media loaners from COROS, and as usual, they’ll get sent back to them once I wrap up here. If you found this review useful, feel free to hit up the links at the end of the site, or consider becoming a DCR Supporter. With that – let’s begin!

What’s New, and How They Differ:

DSC_4394

At a glance from more than a few meters away, you’d be hard-pressed to tell the difference between the COROS APEX 2 and APEX 2 Pro. They’ve got near-identical bodies, and both come with fabric sport bands. However, when placed side by side you can spot the singular external difference – which is the slightly larger screen on the new APEX 2 Pro, which is 1.3”, versus the APEX 2 base unit at 1.2”.

However, let’s back up and talk about what’s changed to the original APEX series (for which there was both a base model and Pro model):

– Added multiband GPS for the APEX 2 Pro (not base though)
– Added all systems GNSS option for both models
– Added WiFi connectivity
– Added Bluetooth 5.0
– Added dimmed night mode on watch face
– New optical heart rate sensor
– Added manual HRV readings support
– Added blood oxygen sensing
– Increased storage to 32GB for Pro (from 3.5GB)
– Increased storage to 8GB for base (from a few megabytes)
– Added preloaded global maps on Pro
– Allows downloading of free global maps on Base
– Unified on a single three-button design (previous APEX-based model had two buttons)
– Nylon strap comes standard on all watches
– Added Sapphire glass on both watch displays
– Used titanium on the upper bezel and back case portion (rest is plastic)
– New sorta-touchscreen mode planned for Nov/Dec firmware update (see details in ‘The Basics’ section)
– Removed ANT+ support (previous APEX units had it)

Now, let’s dig slightly deeper on how the two APEX 2 models are different from each other, which is honestly a bit of a quicker list:

– APEX 2 Pro has Multiband/Dual-Frequency GNSS support, whereas the APEX 2 doesn’t
– APEX 2 Pro has larger battery life (see chart below)
– APEX 2 Pro has 32GB of storage versus 8GB for the APEX 2
– APEX 2 Pro has maps pre-loaded, whereas APEX 2 requires computer download
– APEX 2 Pro has a 1.3” screen versus 1.2” for the APEX 2
– APEX 2 Pro has a 260x260px screen vs 240x240px screen for APEX 2
– APEX 2 Pro has multi-pitch climbing activities, whereas the APEX 2 doesn’t

In a nutshell, the main one that really matters for most people here is probably the multiband-GPS support. Though, I’d caution you to see my GPS accuracy section down below. Or, if that sounds like a lot of work, the spoiler is that it doesn’t seem to matter much. Both units performed the same side by side, and the APEX 2 Pro generally fell short of other multiband GPS watches from an accuracy standpoint. To be clear – it wasn’t bad, but it’s not at the same level as some of their competitors. Anyways, that’s all discussed in that section.

Here are those battery numbers:

APEX-2-ModelsBatteryLifeV2

If I were to overlay the Vertix 2 on there, it’d get 140hrs in standard, 90 hours in all systems, and 50 hours in dual-frequency, and 60 days smartwatch. Keep in mind as you’ll see later, COROS across all their watches is basically trading some GPS accuracy for longer battery life.

DSC_4395

Obviously, you can see the Vertix 2 has a larger screen than the COROS APEX 2 series, plus different styling, which COROS says is where they plan to keep many of the differentiators.

The Basics:

DSC_4398

This section of the review will focus on basic usage, including daily activity tracking (things like steps/sleep/etc…), as well as smartwatch-related features like notifications and music. Additionally, I’ll cover aspects around the widgets and other non-workout areas.

First up, is how you interact with the watch. While both APEX units boast a touchscreen, at this point that’s really only used in the mapping areas. In a future firmware update COROS plans to expand that to scrolling through widgets/lists, but choosing things in the menus is still planned to require pushing buttons. For most users of a watch in this realm, that’s probably perfectly fine. Mapping is about the only area I tend to want touch for an endurance-focused watch.

Anyways, on the side you’ll see three buttons, with the middle one being both a button and a rotating digital crown:

DSC_4396

As you might remember, the original COROS APEX only had the single rotating digital crown plus one lower button, but the 1st gen APEX Pro had the secondary button and matches what the COROS APEX 2 has (both models). While I’m still no fan of digital crowns (from any company, Apple included), as I find them finicky to use in sport settings, having the extra buttons here means I can avoid using the digital crown a bit more. About the only scenario where I find the digital crown useful is zooming on maps.

DSC_4399

Starting off with the watch face, you’ve got a new default watch face available on the APEX 2 series. You can tap the lower right button to iterate through the data points in the middle of the screen. While the COROS APEX 2 units have been largely bug-free for me, this is one area that seems full of bugs – with numerous mislabeled data metrics (COROS says those fixes are slated for the next firmware update).

DSC_4400

If you aren’t a fan of this watch face, you can choose from a few others using the COROS smartphone app. There isn’t a watch face store like some other companies.

From the watch face, you can use the digital crown to rotate down through the different widgets. These widgets cover areas like calories, steps, stairs, sleep, training status, heart rate, altimeter data, and more.

DSC_4341

In general, the steps have been fairly consistent for me with other devices. However, the ‘floor’ tracking seems to undercount the number of times I do flights of stairs by a fair bit. Living in a skinny-tall rowhouse in Amsterdam means I’m an expert at going up and down flights of stairs, though, the COROS APEX 2 units seem to think I’m pretty lazy.

If we look at steps for example, we can see steps for the day, as well as tap into widgets to see more details about either that day, or other recent days. This pattern is true for all widgets.

DSC_4402 DSC_4401

All of this data is synced to the COROS app as well. For example, you can see your 24×7 heart rate, steps, and all other activity tracking metrics. For instance, here’s the same steps data seen on the COROS smartphone app:

IMG_9465 IMG_9466

Another example being sleep, here’s sleep data on the watch:

DSC_4355 DSC_4354

And then again, on the smartphone app:

IMG_9468

In my testing, I’ve found the COROS APEX 2 Pro and APEX 2 units equally nail the specific times I fall asleep and wake up, usually within 1-2 minutes. It’s spot on, though so are most other watches these days in that realm.

Where they are a bit more iffy (like everyone else), is in sleep stage/phase data. Given the most accurate consumer comparative data sources in this realm are only about 80% accurate, I don’t put too much faith in this information. And in fact, one really good example is simply showing these two watches side by side from the same night of sleep (one watch worn per wrist). As you can see, the charts for each sleep phase are vastly different:

DSC_4383

Again, I put approximately zero faith in any of these metrics not just from COROS, but anyone else. They are inconsistent at best, and outright useless at worst. Regrettably, this data is fed into numerous other metrics around recovery on most watches.

Next, there’s the HRV data gathering. This data is manually gathered by completing a 60-second HRV test. This test simply requires that you sit still and hold the bezel of the watch with your other hand. This is actually how you’d typically do ECGs on smartwatches, and in fact, when COROS first launched this concept on the Vertix 2 a year ago, they called it ECG (and it still shows a little ECG graph). Except, then they realized that got them in all sorts of hot water with regulatory bodies (since it lacks approval/certification), and it’s just an HRV feature now.

As noted, all of this data, including HRV data, is tracked in the COROS app individually, but also collectively in a daily view that shows what you did that day:

IMG_9470 IMG_9469

Now before we leave the widgets realm, we’ve got the barometric altimeter widget, which goes along with the ambient pressure widget:

DSC_4404

While I’ve got no issues with the design of this widget, I will note that I’ve seen consistent offsets for the barometric altimeter on the APEX 2 Pro that I don’t see on the APEX 2. The APEX 2 Pro seems to consistently have me about 50 meters below sea level, while the APEX 2 seems to float me between 0 and 20 meters. The real answer is about 0m (+/- 5m depending on exactly where I am in the city). The unit will theoretically ‘correct’ itself each time it gets GPS, but in my testing, the APEX 2 Pro doesn’t do that, while the APEX 2 base goes from being correct to being incorrect.

DSC_4403

You can manually override these settings, which I’ve done, and that helps for a bit, and then it slowly drifts away again.

Ok, now changing topics entirely, we’ve got smartphone notifications. You’ll set these up using the COROS app, and you can use filtering to decide which ones to display. These will chirp and lightly vibrate. It’s not the strongest vibration motor nor beep, so I do sometimes miss it if I’m actively moving. But by and large, it works.  When a notification comes in, you can open it up to read more detail, or dismiss it. If you dismiss it on your watch, it’ll dismiss it on the phone as well.

Next, there’s music support. This allows you to manually load (using a computer) MP3 files onto the watch, and then connect/pair Bluetooth headphones to it. And yes, this does work, and with 32GB of (potential) storage on the APEX 2 Pro, and 8GB of storage on the APEX 2 base, you could load a fair bit of our Napster collection.

DSC_4405

The only problem is that it’s 2022, and very few people are manually loading MP3 files onto anything these days. Virtually the entire population (minus the 7 people that will comment down below) has shifted to streaming services like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, etc… And while COROS talks about adding a streaming service at some point, I just don’t see that as realistic (at least for any of the aforementioned ones). Those castle gates have long since closed, and getting them to even have a discussion about opening realistically requires tens of millions of active users at this point. Even worse, not only are those gates closed, but the streaming services seem to be fortifying that enclosure too. This obviously sucks for smaller companies like COROS, Polar, Suunto, Wahoo, and others. I’d love to see a change in that stance, but I think you should be realistic about those chances being approximately 0%, if music streaming services are important to you.

Finally, for lack of anywhere else to stick it, COROS does have both GoPro and Insta360 camera control, which is pretty darn cool. I’ve got a previous post discussing it here, and it’s nice to see. While Garmin has their VIRB action camera control on most watches, with the VIRB product line discontinued years ago, that’s basically a useless feature for 99% of users. So it’s cool to see COROS support 2 of the 3 main action cam companies (the 3rd being DJI, but I don’t believe DJI has an API for action camera control).

Sport Modes:

DSC_4406

Now, if you’re buying a COROS APEX 2 series watch, it’s almost certainly for its sport usage purposes. And the APEX 2 series supports a number of sport profiles, with the APEX 2 Pro supporting slightly more profiles (listed below).

To start a workout you’ll unlock the watch, and then tap the middle button (digital crown). This will bring you to a sport listing that you can scroll through with the digital crown. Once the planned touch firmware is released, you’ll also be able to scroll through this list with your finger/touch, though selecting a sport will still require a button press:

DSC_4408

Once you’ve selected a sport mode, you’ll see the satellite status (if a GPS activity), as well as the HR indicator icon for HR lock. Additionally, you’ll see any sensors being connected for that profile (such as a heart rate strap, COROS Pod, or cycling sensors). Further, there’s the ability to add a workout or navigation (more on that in a second).

DSC_4407

In my testing, GPS lock typically happened within 5-10 seconds, though, in almost every case HR lock took oddly longer (upwards of 20-25 seconds). This is likely because one of the things COROS does to save battery life compared to most of their competitors is reduce the heart rate sampling frequency and intensity. As such, when it comes time for a workout, it takes a bit longer for that to lock. I don’t think this is a big deal, but mildly notable.

Now before we start that workout, here’s a quick look at the available workout modes on the watch, including both the APEX 2 Pro and APEX 2. As a spoiler, the only difference is the APEX 2 Pro has ‘Multi-Pitch’ climbing, whereas the APEX 2 base does not.

APEX 2 Pro Workout Modes: Run, Indoor Run, Trail Run, Track Run, Hike, Walk, Multi-Pitch, Mtn Climb, Bike, Indoor Bike, Pool Swim, Open Water, Speedsurfing, Windsurfing, Rowing, Indoor Rower, Whitewater, Flatwater, Triathlon, Strength, Jump Rope, Gym Cardio, GPS Cardio, Ski, Snowboard, XC Ski, Ski Touring, Multisport

APEX 2 Workout Modes: Run, Indoor Run, Trail Run, Track Run, Hike, Walk, Mtn Climb, Bike, Indoor Bike, Pool Swim, Open Water, Speedsurfing, Windsurfing, Rowing, Indoor Rower, Whitewater, Flatwater, Triathlon, Strength, Jump Rope, Gym Cardio, GPS Cardio, Ski, Snowboard, XC Ski, Ski Touring, Multisport

Next, another distraction before we start, would be sensors. The APEX 2 series supports Bluetooth Smart sensors, there is no ANT+ sensor support here. The sensor types supported are: Heart rate sensors, cycling power meters, cycling cadence sensors, cycling speed sensors, cycling trainers (FTMS), COROS POD 1/POD 2, and Stryd.

You can pair sensors via the sensors menu by searching for nearby sensors. You can save multiple sensors of the same type, and some sensors have configuration options:

DSC_4409

I’ve done workouts now with pairings to a few different sensors including a Quarq power meter, PowerTap power meter pedals, COROS POD 2, and Favero Assioma power meter pedals. I’ve also done some test pairings with Garmin HRM-PRO Plus chest heart rate straps. I had no issues pairing to any of those devices. The only minor downside is that since the APEX 2 series only supports Bluetooth Smart, and many (if not most) Bluetooth Smart accessories only support a single concurrent connection, you might not be able to gather the power meter data you want if you have another app (like Zwift or TrainerRoad) already connected to your trainer/power meter.

Ok, back to the workout we were about to start umpteen paragraphs ago. Once ready with all the GPS/HR/sensors set, we simply press the start button and it starts recording. At this point you’ll see the data fields you’ve configured via the app. Here are a few different ones from a recent run:

You can customize these data fields using the COROS app:

IMG_9473 IMG_9471 IMG_9472

The only minor downside is that you can’t add the map as a data field in your ‘loop’ of fields. It’ll show up if you’re navigating a course, but not otherwise. You can still access it via either diving into the menus, or by adding a hotkey for it. And while those are fine workarounds, it’s just handy having the map page somewhere in the list of scrollable pages.

Speaking of that map, let’s talk navigation and maps. I’ve previously written a bunch about navigation on COROS devices that’s probably worth checking out. In short though, you can send courses from platforms like Strava and Komoot to COROS, as well as load up GPX files. At this point there isn’t yet a course builder within the COROS app. Once you’ve got the course you want in the COROS app, then you can send it to your watch (manually):

IMG_9475

There’s currently a limit on the number of courses you can have loaded concurrently (10), and additionally there’s the requirement to manually complete these sync steps. It sounds like a bigger revamp of the entire mapping/navigation thing is on the near-term horizon, so I’m not going to stress too much about this now – other than to say that in general, while yes, COROS has maps on these watches, the navigation experience is subpar compared to most of their competitors. It’s too early to say how that might change with the planned revamp.

Once a course is sent to your watch, you can load it up on the watch. You’ll see a quick overview there before you get cookin’:

clip_image001

COROS provides maps for free for both the APEX 2 and APEX 2 Pro units, only the APEX 2 Pro has them pre-loaded (since it has more storage). Whereas the APEX 2 base unit requires you download the maps using a computer first. COROS had promised easier WiFi downloads since a year ago with the Vertix 2 launch, but that hasn’t materialized yet. Perhaps in the future.

While navigating, you’ll see your route atop the map, and you can use the digital crown to zoom, and your finger to move the map around (or buttons if you want). This all works just fine. There’s a bit of lag on updating the maps, but that’s frankly normal for most endurance-focused wearables. It’s a trade-off to save battery life by lowering processor power.

clip_image001[5]

While using the course, you won’t get turn-by-turn prompts like most other watches, instead, you’ll need to keep an eye on the map page, or the compass bug (arrow) on the other pages. However, it’s important to note that if you go off-course, then COROS watches alert you, but otherwise simply point you in the compass direction of how to get back to the route.

clip_image001[7]

No COROS watches today support routable maps, meaning, the COROS watch doesn’t actually know that you’re on the “Pacific Coast Trail”, but rather, it just knows you’re not on the line loaded from the route. Thus, it can’t re-route you onto another trail if you go off the wrong way. In a nutshell, there are basically three levels of functionality when it comes to watches:

Level 1: Breadcrumb trail only, no map: This is how most watches until the last few years worked. It’s how almost all Suunto & Polar watches are, as well as Wahoo watches, and the Garmin Forerunner 255 & Garmin Instinct series are. In many cases (Polar/Suunto/Garmin), you’ll still get turn-by-turn notifications, so you won’t miss the turn.
Level 2: Breadcrumb trail atop non-routable map: In this setup, think of the map as a projector slide with the route written on it using a marker. Yes, to the human eye they look intertwined, but from a computer standpoint, they have no awareness of each other. If you go off-course, it simply knows you’re not on the line anymore, it doesn’t know what street/trail you’re on though. This is how the COROS APEX 2/Vertix 2 series watches work, except that critically, you do not get turn-by-turn notifications – you have to always be looking at the watch map or directional arrow.
Level 3: Routable trail with routable maps: In this scenario, the watch actively knows that you’re on Main street and turning onto Maple street. It knows that you then missed the turn for Maple and will automatically re-route onto Cowbell street instead, and soon. This is how Garmin’s Fenix/Epix/etc series, as well as the Garmin Forerunner 945/955 series work with maps.

The point of this is to simply understand the levels. To be clear, I’ve successfully navigated complex courses with all three levels of watches over the years. Even in a Level 2 scenario, having the contextual awareness of the terrain around you (as COROS has, though missing turn prompts), is helpful – even if it can’t re-route you. I would suspect eventually COROS will get to a ‘Level 3’ watch, but industry history tells us that once they roll out that type of feature, you’re looking at 2-3 years of messiness until it’s reliable. Live routable maps is incredibly challenging technologically. The world is a complex and messy place.

Now, continuing to circle back to that workout we were doing. Except, now I’ll just end it – at which point you can swirl that dial through all the summary pages. Additionally, you can see all the same data on the COROS companion app:

After a workout, if you’ve paired up 3rd party platforms like Strava or TrainingPeaks, it’ll automatically sync your workout to those as well, usually within a few seconds.

IMG_9484 IMG_9485

Aside from the individual workout pieces, you’ve also got training load and recovery stats shown on both the watch and the app. You’ll see recommended timed for recovery, as well as fatigue and other elements. All of this is under their Evolab banner.

DSC_4410 DSC_4411

While it’s every endurance athlete’s favorite pastime to second-guess watch manufacturers’ training load and recovery metrics, the reality is that the industry is improving. I’ve previously written about the COROS platform and metrics here, and for the most part, all of that remains true today. Which is to say that the COROS metrics are almost entirely runner-focused, and specifically, flat-runner focused. In order to unlock the EvoLab features (which includes training load metrics), you need to do a number of baseline flat-ground runs (literally, you have to run). That’s different from other training load/recovery platforms which aren’t runner-dependent, but rather HR effort driven. Of course, if you’re not a runner, then your efficiency in running (or lack thereof), will negatively impact your scoring.

Of course, I think it’s pretty fair to say that while COROS makes a good running watch, I can’t foresee recommending it to cyclists as a cycling watch. Sure, it tracks cycling just fine – but it’s not really competitive with cycling-first watches or bike computers.

Finally, in the ‘things that didn’t fit’ category, it’s worthwhile noting that the COROS APEX 2 series will broadcast both your heart rate and running pace metrics from the watch to apps like Zwift. For example, you can pair a Peloton bike to the APEX 2 for heart rate data, or you can pair Zwift Running to the APEX 2 series for not just heart rate but also pace from the watch on a treadmill.

GPS & HR Accuracy:

DSC_4414

In this section I’ll take a look at the GPS & heart rate accuracy of the COROS APEX 2 series. In these tests, I’m comparing them against a ‘known good’ chest strap (the Polar H10 or Garmin HRM-PRO Plus), as well as one or more other watches or optical heart rate sensors. In these tests, only one watch is worn per wrist to ensure optical HR accuracy is still valid. Additional sensors may be worn on the upper arm (Whoop or Polar Verity Sense), the finger (Oura), or the chest (various chest straps).

For all these tests, the COROS APEX 2 Pro was set in multiband/dual-frequency mode (highest mode), and the COROS APEX 2 (base) was set in All Systems (highest mode it has). All other watches were set in their highest respective modes (multiband/dual-frequency for Garmin, and all systems for Suunto).

First up we’ve got a run that includes a bunch of different terrain from tree-lined paths to bridges/underpasses, to city buildings, and more. Here’s that data set. Here’s the overview of this circuit:

APEX-Run1-GPS1

Starting off with one of the theoretically easier sections, I’m on a tree-lined path, but both APEX 2 units have issues staying exactly on the path, and that gets worse when I pass under an overpass. Both APEX units significantly cut the corners putting me in the canal multiple times/ways. The FR955 nails it perfectly.

APEX-Run1-GPS2

Next, looking at a section that’s got one underpass, but is otherwise open, and you see the COROS APEX 2 units aren’t bad, but they aren’t exactly on the path. If you wanted to sum up this entire section right now, it’s basically that. Rarely are the APEX 2 units horrific, it’s just not as good as the like-priced Forerunner 955 (or FR255).

APEX-Run1-GPS3

As we dive into the city, we see the same pattern. This back-and-forth sweep of the downtown district is challenging for sure, but that’s the way city running is. Which isn’t to say the Garmin was perfect here, but it was the best of the bunch if you average how far each one is from where I actually ran. Though, for these first two sweeps the APEX 2 Pro was a close second.

APEX-Run1-GPS4

But then we get into the upper half of the city portion, and the APEX 2 units make some solid mistakes. Note in particular the section where the COROS units cut across a small retaining pond, and just generally seem a bit off. I mean, not as off as the Suunto 9 Peak Pro, but off.

APEX-Run1-GPS5

Now, I brought this up to COROS and asked what they thought. They said that one solution to improve accuracy in the city section would be to pair the new COROS Pod 2 ($100) with it, which includes assistive GPS features that basically use an internal compass/gyro/accelerometer (and altimeter) to smooth out the data, and also produce more accurate GPS tracks by leveraging that compass as a counterweight to tricky city sections.

So, I went out again and did this same section, this time pairing the COROS Pod 2 to the APEX 2 Pro (it can only pair to one device concurrently, so the APEX 2 Pro was the chosen one). I still brought with me the COROS APEX 2 (non-Pro), a Vertix 2, and the Forerunner 955. As you can see, not only were the results not improved, but actually made it worse in some areas. Here’s the data, and note, that I run multiple passes, so each side gets ‘equal’ time in case there are quirks from one side to the other. Note: The colors have changed on this chart. Sorry!

APEX-Run2-GPSCityPod

Now, on one of the streets, I’d agree the POD did improve the stability of that line, but not so much on the others (worse). It’s hard to know whether that one street was the pod, or just luck. Like before, the Forerunner 955 wasn’t absolutely perfect either, but it was (by a wide margin) the closest to where I ran (if not exactly where I ran), and made no major corner-cutting errors.

There was one area that was improved with the pod and matched the Forerunner 955 (and my actual track), where I crossed the street here. Again though, it’s plausible that it was going to get that right anyways.

APEX-Run2-GPSGood

And, to the pod’s benefit, it did then correctly get my distance (assuming the FR955 had roughly the right distance). Whereas the COROS Vertix 2 and APEX 2 (non-Pod) were ~250m short:

APEX-Run2-GPSCityStats

Still, it’s hard to justify having to spend $100 to add a pod to a $500 watch (making it $600) to get still less than accurate results.

In any case, what about HR on those two runs? Well, on the first run, which included sprint intervals every 2KM for 30-60 seconds, the COROS watches did great. It only messed up once, in the final section where I did some shorter/harder intervals:

APEX-Run1-HR

Meanwhile, on the second pass run, it was relatively steady state. It’s hard to know whether the chest strap or optical HR sensors were correct for that first section, though, I’m reasonably certain I wouldn’t have hit 160bpm in 60 seconds at an easy pace. So the chest strap is more plausible. Nonetheless, I’ll temporarily turn a blind eye to that, and instead focus on the substantial error at 4 minutes at a stop-light, where the APEX 2 Pro simply didn’t recover for another 2 mins.

APEX-Run2-HR

Next, we’ve got another HR-focused workout, this time a hard indoor trainer interval workout, with clearly defined hard and recovery sections. In this case, it completely and totally nailed this. No caveats:

APEX-RideIndoorsHR

So, what about outdoor riding? No problem, here’s how that looked on a windy outdoor ride. Well…that’s a bit rougher, but also kinda in line with what I typically see from wrist-based optical HR sensors – especially on cooler days like this. It was mostly in the ballpark, save for one gigantic loss which basically dropped HR for 5 minutes on the APEX 2 Pro…which is non-awesome (and did it again later for 3 minutes):

APEX-RideOutdoorsHR

Meanwhile, the GPS track here should be a walk in the park, kinda literally:

APEX-RideOutdoorsGPS1

And indeed, looking closely, it’s about as perfect as you’re going to get. Though frankly, if any GPS unit screwed this up, I’d be surprised. The majority of this route had little to no tree cover with wide open blue skies:

APEX-RideOutdoorsGPS2

But even in the forested/tree-covered sections, it did well enough. Though again, road cycling is pretty easy for most GPS units, helped by the higher speeds and stability.

APEX-RideOutdoorsGPS3

And now, for something completely different – an openwater swim. Yes, on Halloween the scariest thing I did was jump in the chilly waters, sans-wetsuit, for your voyeuristic GPS benefit. As usual, I had a third GPS on a swim buoy floating attached to my waist to record the ‘true’ GPS track. And then on each wrist I had one of the two COROS APEX 2 series units. As you can see, it almost pulled off a perfect track:

APEX-OWS-GPS1

Unfortunately, it failed one of my treading water tests. These are tests I do at semi-random points along the course where I briefly tread water for 5-15 seconds, just as any openwater swimmer would do waiting for a swim buddy to catch up, clearing their goggles, or even in a mass-start race around a crowded swim buoy. This is a great way to see how well a unit recovers from full GPS loss, and unfortunately in one of these tests both COROS APEX 2 units failed, though interestingly, in different directions:

APEX-OWS-GPS2

Then, after that, we see the COROS 2 (base) unit also started creating a GPS track offset that remained till the end of the workout:

APEX-OWS-GPS3

Having done a number of openwater swims with the Vertix 2 over the past year, these APEX 2 results don’t surprise me too much. I’ve seen oddities in virtually every single Vertix 2 openwater swim I’ve done. Most of the time they aren’t deal-breakers, but they certainly aren’t industry-leading either.

Which, ultimately, kinda gets us to the summary of the COROS APEX 2 Pro and APEX 2 units when it comes to GPS accuracy. They’re good, but they definitely aren’t great. And I simply don’t see any meaningful difference between the multiband of the APEX 2 Pro, and the non-multiband of the APEX 2 non-Pro. They’re both so-so in accuracy. When COROS talked about a redesigned GPS antenna on the COROS APEX 2 series compared to the Vertix 2, I was optimistic they might have stumbled into some of the learnings that set Garmin (and to a similar extent, Apple) apart in the multiband accuracy race – who continue to produce largely industry-leading GPS tracks. Unfortunately, that simply isn’t the case. Whatever secret sauce Garmin (and a slightly lesser extent, Apple) is doing for their GPS accuracy on their new 2022 multiband units apparently remains a secret to them.

Meanwhile, on the heart rate side, the new sensor in the COROS APEX 2 series is definitely an improvement over the Vertix 2 (and previous APEX units). No doubt about it. Most of my workouts are pretty good. That said, in the rare scenarios where it does lose tracking, it loses it for a pretty long time. Unlike most watches that usually figure it out within a few seconds (maybe 30 seconds at worst), when the APEX 2 does lose it, it loses it hard – for a number of minutes. But thankfully, those seem like somewhat rare scenarios, albeit, also unpredictable ones. The failure points were never hard moments, but rather more casual moments (a stoplight in a run, and a light acceleration during a ride).

(Note: All of the charts in these accuracy portions were created using the DCR Analyzer tool.  It allows you to compare power meters/trainers, heart rate, cadence, speed/pace, running power, GPS tracks, and plenty more. You can use it as well for your own gadget comparisons, more details here.)

Wrap-Up:

DSC_4416

The APEX 2 series units are good watches that largely do all the fundamentals well, and can easily be used to track your workouts. Their heart rate accuracy has improved over all their previous models (including the Vertix 2), as has their GPS accuracy with the new antenna design (again, also over the Vertix 2). However, neither unit’s accuracy was ‘great’, it was simply ‘goodish’. The addition of larger storage is great, and of course so is the battery life.

I know tech reviewers often like to try and avoid talking about price, but price is everything in a product. There’s a features for price trade-off that occurs, be it within a brand or compared to others. Pretending it doesn’t exist is silly.  As I’ve said before, COROS is most deadly when they’re trying to undercut the competition on price for value. The COROS Pace 2 being the pinnacle example of that – an incredible value for the money and consistently my top pick. However, when they try and match their competitors’ prices without also matching features or accuracy, it doesn’t hold water well. For example, the Garmin Forerunner 955 is $499 also and is essentially just a plastic Fenix 7. And every tech reviewer (or just an inspection of features and/data) would agree it has far more features, far better maps/navigation, music streaming services, and battery accuracy – all with roughly the basically the same battery at the higher accuracy modes. Meanwhile, the APEX 2 base at $399 is $0-$50 more than the Forerunner 255 or Instinct 2, and again, lacks the accuracy, features, and more of those. It does however have maps, which Garmin lacks at that price point, but inversely COROS lacks multiband which Garmin does have there in the FR255 (plus has legit turn-by-turn navigation).

I asked COROS why they had two APEX modes. My reasoning being that if they had basically put all their APEX eggs in one basket at $399, it’d have put the COROS APEX 2 back into the dangerously interesting camp. They noted the main reason was having two different sizes, including a better size for smaller wrists, and that further, they didn’t see any outdoors-focused competitor at the $399 price point for the APEX 2 base.

Anyway, as I said earlier, the COROS APEX 2 series is a good watch – and easily the best watch that COROS has produced to date in terms of accuracy. Their next challenge is extending and polishing the features on the APEX 2 series units to match the price they’ve set for it. I think in time they’ll probably do that, but then again, so will their competitors. Nonetheless, I’m looking forward to seeing the map-focused revamp later this year.

With that – thanks for reading!

Found This Post Useful? Support The Site!

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

If you're shopping for the COROS APEX 2 Pro or COROS APEX 2 (Base) or any other accessory items, please consider using the affiliate links below! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. Even more, if you use Backcountry.com or Competitive Cyclist with coupon code DCRAINMAKER, first time users save 15% on applicable products!

And finally, here’s a handy list of accessories that work well with this unit (and some that I showed in the review). Given the unit pairs with ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart sensors, you can use just about anything though.

The POD 2 is only compatible with COROS watches, but is a great way to improve pacing and distance accuracy either indoors or in tough GPS conditions (e.g. cities or dense tree coverage).

This is a dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart cycling cadence sensor that you strap to your crank arm, but also does dual Bluetooth Smart, so you can pair it both to Zwift and another Bluetooth Smart app at once if you want.

This is one of the top straps I use daily for accuracy comparisons (the others Polar H9/H10 and Wahoo TICKR X). It's dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, and in fact dual-Bluetooth Smart too, in case you need multiple connectons.

This speed sensor is unique in that it can record offline (sans-watch), making it perfect for a commuter bike quietly recording your rides. But it's also a standard ANT+/BLE sensor that pairs to your device. It's become my go-to speed sensor.

This is a great strap, especially if you're going to the gym. It's dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, but it also supports the 5kHz analog heart rate transmission for older gym equipment. Note that it only accepts a single Bluetooth connection, versus dual-connections for the Polar H10.

The Wahoo TICKR is their baseline dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart chest strap that includes basic broadcasting of heart rate data to apps. If you don't care about all the fancy features of the TICKR X, this is one of the best straps out there. The 'just works' factor is high.

And of course – you can always sign-up to be a DCR Supporter! That gets you an ad-free DCR, access to the DCR Quarantine Corner video series packed with behind the scenes tidbits...and it also makes you awesome. And being awesome is what it’s all about!

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!

Found This Post Useful? Support The Site!

Hopefully you found this review useful. At the end of the day, I’m an athlete just like you looking for the most detail possible on a new purchase – so my review is written from the standpoint of how I used the device. The reviews generally take a lot of hours to put together, so it’s a fair bit of work (and labor of love). As you probably noticed by looking below, I also take time to answer all the questions posted in the comments – and there’s quite a bit of detail in there as well.

If you're shopping for the COROS APEX 2 Pro or COROS APEX 2 (Base) or any other accessory items, please consider using the affiliate links below! As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. It doesn’t cost you anything extra, but your purchases help support this website a lot. Even more, if you use Backcountry.com or Competitive Cyclist with coupon code DCRAINMAKER, first time users save 15% on applicable products!

And finally, here’s a handy list of accessories that work well with this unit (and some that I showed in the review). Given the unit pairs with ANT+ & Bluetooth Smart sensors, you can use just about anything though.

The POD 2 is only compatible with COROS watches, but is a great way to improve pacing and distance accuracy either indoors or in tough GPS conditions (e.g. cities or dense tree coverage).

This is a dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart cycling cadence sensor that you strap to your crank arm, but also does dual Bluetooth Smart, so you can pair it both to Zwift and another Bluetooth Smart app at once if you want.

This is one of the top straps I use daily for accuracy comparisons (the others Polar H9/H10 and Wahoo TICKR X). It's dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, and in fact dual-Bluetooth Smart too, in case you need multiple connectons.

This speed sensor is unique in that it can record offline (sans-watch), making it perfect for a commuter bike quietly recording your rides. But it's also a standard ANT+/BLE sensor that pairs to your device. It's become my go-to speed sensor.

This is a great strap, especially if you're going to the gym. It's dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart, but it also supports the 5kHz analog heart rate transmission for older gym equipment. Note that it only accepts a single Bluetooth connection, versus dual-connections for the Polar H10.

The Wahoo TICKR is their baseline dual ANT+/Bluetooth Smart chest strap that includes basic broadcasting of heart rate data to apps. If you don't care about all the fancy features of the TICKR X, this is one of the best straps out there. The 'just works' factor is high.

And of course – you can always sign-up to be a DCR Supporter! That gets you an ad-free DCR, access to the DCR Quarantine Corner video series packed with behind the scenes tidbits...and it also makes you awesome. And being awesome is what it’s all about!

Thanks for reading! And as always, feel free to post comments or questions in the comments section below, I’ll be happy to try and answer them as quickly as possible. And lastly, if you felt this review was useful – I always appreciate feedback in the comments below. Thanks!

Post a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked.
If you would like a profile picture, simply register at Gravatar, which works here on DCR and across the web.

You can click here to Subscribe without commenting

Add a picture

*

98 Comments

  1. Neil Meyerowitz

    Suunto 5 peak pro or you mean the 9 peak pro?
    Also
    …and battery accuracy…better accuracy?

    Anyways, thanks for the write up and endless testing you do

    • It’s always funny to me, sometimes when I write things, a small thing in my brain goes “that seems quirky”, to which I double-check it and think it’s correct. In this case, I wrote Suunto 5 Peak Pro, that little alarm went off, and I’m like “Ok, did I mess up Peak Pro vs Pro Peak or whatever?” Nope, ok, alarm disabled. Sigh.

      Thanks!

  2. Martin

    Totally agree with the wrap-up. It’s hard to compete with FR955 at the same price point.

    I really like Coros app and their ecosystem and also their approach to SW upgrades even for older models. Generally I’d love to have a Coros watch – but I’m also all about getting the most for my money, I had Coros Pace 2 and it is a great watch for the money. Unfortunately, I need some navigation features. And I just can’t justify buying any of their more advanced models due to their pricing strategy.

  3. Xabra

    Hi Ray,

    the “quantified scientist” on his youtube channel checks with professional sleep equipment the sleep stages accuracyn of thousand of smartwatches.
    The only one smartwatch models are the Aplle watch series (6,7,8,SE,Ultra) calculate the sleep stages accurate.

    • Yup, he does good work – always enjoy it! However, be aware that the specific/exact system he’s using for sleep stages is only rated at 80% accuracy (in a best case scenario). We’d never accept 80% accuracy in power meter or heart rate sensors. Thus, it’s kinda tough to accept it for sleep data.

    • Leo

      No one could ever tell me why sleep fases are important to know.

      Yes, If you drink quite some alcohol you have more deep sleep, but you feel like shit the next day anyway. No need for your watch to confirm.

      Except for some basic things, there isn’t much you can do to change sleep fases.

      Well, some people just like the extra data to collect, I guess.

    • greyarea

      You don’t have a deep sleep after consuming a significant amount of alcohol, that is a common myth. You might sleep quicker but sleep quality suffers.

    • Leo

      Even more reason why “knowing” sleep fases is just bullshit.

    • Tommy Enryd

      Could you please be the first reviewer that compares how well Corps handled maps vs Garmin? I don’t mean from a feature point of view, but usability when not following a route to actually find out which heading you’re traveling. I have a Vertix 2 and ny setting is to heading up. But whenever I glance at the watch, it is rotating a lot, sometimes telling me my heading is anything from. 180 to 90 degrees wrong. Yes, if I hold the watch steady for quite a long time, +10 seconds it stabilizes but can still be off quite a bit. Does Garmin behave tje same way?
      I used to have Polar Vantage. Very limited breadcrumb only and not even a magnetic compass. But it could always instantly tell me my heading when glancing at the watch while running. I would love your insight about this

    • Unfortunately, it’s largely the same here.

      What you described is something I and others noted in our Vertix 2 reviews, where basically the compass heading is kinda wonky on route-following until it stabilizes. For the APEX 2, it’s about 5-7 seconds in my testing in more open areas (in theory openness shouldn’t affect the compass, but I haven’t done any mountain testing with it).

      But yeah, the Garmin is far faster (almost instant). I suspect the reason is that Garmin likely cross-references your direction of travel or previous direction of travel with the compass data, while also likely using the gyro to know that the watch is not at your side. Or, maybe they just have higher quality/faster compass and gyro.

      Ultimately, it’s one of those things that, when combined with all the other navigation limitations on the COROS watches, is really tough to see it as a true ‘outdoors’ watch. You really can’t easily navigate with it in the same way you can navigate with a Suunto/Polar/Garmin, due to the lack of turn-by-turn (or, compass update speed). Yes, COROS has maps, and yes, those are useful for context, but I’d trade maps for functional TBT most days.

    • Tommy Enryd

      Thanks for the reply! Yeah, I agree there are other ways than compass to find the heading. My old Vantage V did that by simply using the GPS to calculate heading based on the last 5-10 seconds of readings. That would be a great help to the compass.
      As for features, Coros will get there eventually or rather too fast. They should hold up with new features for a while and focus a bit on polishing what they already got

    • tfk,the5krunner

      @ray @xabra the quantified scientists does some amazingly good work.

      i think he knows a lot about sleep science/sleep stages and even used to have access to a sleep lab. So I would assume he knows the limitations of the tests/methods/products he used in that particular video.

      so, as ray says, the jury is definitely still out on the supremacy of the apple watch for sleep stages.
      that said, i seem to remember that apple has conducted a rather large study on the sleep accuracy of their product and i heard it validates their algorithms however I’m not quite sure where the person who told me that got the info as i don’t believe the study’s findings are (yet) public.

  4. Nick K

    So, from a quick mention when talking notifications, the haptic feedback hasn’t improved from Vertix 2?
    The vibration is still fairly weak and easy to miss? As is the quiet beep?

    Thanks a lot as usual, Ray, for your valiant service to our community of GPS track and HR graph voyers.

    • Yeah, still pretty weak/low on both. I’m often missing it. The beep is pretty quiet, unfortunately.

      Thank Nick for being a DCR Supporter! New quarantine corner episode is uploading as we speak, and should be available very shortly!

  5. Rui Pereira

    “For example, the Garmin Forerunner 955 is $499 also, and the FR955 (essentially just a plastic Fenix 7).”

    955 and…?

  6. John

    Thanks once more for the thorough and objective review. It’s always such a joy to read! I guess my question here at the end of the day is, would you think that the Apex Pro that recently has a price drop and the addition of maps, is a bargain for it’s price (while it’s still in stock), or would you recommend to bite the bullet and go for an Apex 2 or Apex 2 Pro?

    • No, I wouldn’t get the original APEX at this point. COROS has been pretty clear that it’s basically a dead-end watch in terms of updates.

    • Martin

      Hi,
      I agree that Coros Apex is basically dead (no more memory available for future features). But what about the Coros Apex Pro? That was originally designed with some extra computational power so they could add maps (as they did) and they might be still future-proof enough.

  7. ARSENIO MARRERO

    Hi, great review as always. It seems to me that Coros has made a mistake if he was looking to compete in the price range of the F955/F255 right now I think the Garmins are far superior and with the new beta 13.15 that I am testing these days, which already allows you to have power on your wrist and several more things (Gap), I think Coron can not do much in that price segment.

  8. Victor Reid

    Thanks for another thorough test. I am curious why none of the fitness brands has an LTE watch in their lineups for calls or texts. Garmin in particular seems to have enough mid-priced watches they could offer 1 with LTE for calls and texts on the go.

    • Vicent

      I also don’t understand it!
      I’m still using my vintage suunto ambit3 because with the hope that a nice lte sports watch will be released soon
      I would have bought a garmin right away if they had it, but the 945 lte is very limited. I think i will wait next year and buy the apple watch ultra 2 that will be a bit better.

    • tfk,the5krunner

      i suspect that only watchOS and Wear OS will see true LTE functionality ie neither garmin nor Coros. so maybe maybe maybe suunto might answer your prayers with a Suunto 7 LTE (pure speculation…i dont think it will happen)

  9. s

    Ray, thank you for the last little bit about price being everything, it’s definitely a huge consideration for me. I really enjoyed apex1 42mm, but definitely because i got it for about half the price of the forerunner 945 at the time. when mine died after 2 and a half years the 955 had just been released and it doesn’t look like i’ll be regretting buying one of those then.

  10. Leo

    Great review! I think your opinion is spot on.

    I can live with not so great accuracy. My old 935 is still a accurate enough.
    I can live with not having all the features. Most garmin features are kinda gimmicks and I don’t use all of my 935 features.

    Batterylife is great. Long softwaresupport (with new features!) is great with Coros.

    But not at this price point.

  11. Dinaminjo

    No dimensions in the article and no size comparison?

  12. M

    One of the strangest things to me about the Pace 2 is that I can only push/pull my workouts through their phone apps and thus their cloud. Plugging in the computer via USB shows nothing whereas with a garmin, I see fit or gpx files. Is that also the case with the Apex 2? (Fingers crossed they opened this up when they did the mp3 thing)

  13. Bob

    No ANT+, unbelievable

    • giorgitd

      Yup, this is the deal killer for me. Well, plus the lack of a better performance/price than the FR255/FR955.

    • Zoltán

      I also have at least 10 ANT+ only sensors (speed sensors, cadence sensors, footpods and Tempes), but I fully understand Coros.

      They feel they became big enough not to finance Garmin through using ANT+ protocol.

      The real question is whether they are big enough to do that. See the original philosophy of Suunto and Polar, the early big birds of this playground.

  14. Still waiting

    Still waiting for that Suunto 9pp review though.

  15. Dr J

    You stated that the Vertix 2 was on sale all of October for $499. Do you mean the original Vertix. As far as I can see and remember the Vertix 2 has never budged from $699—about $400 less than the top end in the Fenix series. I do remember though that you stated it was worth $499 on your original Vertix 2 review.

    One final comment. While Garmin makes pretty good watches it is certainly value judgement to argue they are good value for money by comparing unlike products —Apex 2 Pro vs. forerunner 955.

    • Nope, meant the COROS Vertix 2. You can see the price history here, showing the dip down to $499 since Sept 27th, till about two days ago: link to camelcamelcamel.com

      As for APEX 2 Pro vs Forerunner 955 not being like products, I don’t understand: They’re literally the more direct products you could possibly imagine.

    • inSyt

      Maybe Coros priced it “competitively” to go up against the Fenix? But like the accuracy and mapping, the Apex is severely lacking in the looks department. A $499 watch with a black bezel, (dustbin) green case and a comfy looking nylon band? The silver/grey models do look better, but 255/645 better, not Fenix better. Or maybe I just have weird taste…

    • Yeah, I suspect it might have been them testing the waters on it somewhat quietly, as I don’t remember any official sale mention. I actually noticed it last week, and then forgot about it again till earlier this week. Companies often do quiet test sales to see how it impacts buying patterns.

      It’s always plausible it was an Amazon-led sale, but given the end-date just the day or two before the APEX 2 series was announced, that seems unlikely.

    • Dr J

      Thank you for the link. I can see how you might have thought that the Vertix 2 was $499 during the month of October. You are looking at the used price. The new price of the Vertix 2 has always been $699. If you look on the Waybackmachine and look on the Coros website you will see that it agrees with your link You probably should reflect that in your post as it is misleading.

      As for comparisons. If the forerunner was titanium with a bulletproof screen then you could start comparing it with the Apex 2 Pro without making a judgement call. It does not have this so it just depends on what the consumer values more—-hardware vs software.

      And no I don’t work for Coros. I am just an amateur runner who is currently on the DL.

    • Ahh, interesting. I didn’t catch that on CamelCamel link, though odd because it was showing as legit new from the Amazon search on the site itself (it doesn’t look like CamelCamel has inventoried that). I’ll do some digging in some other reports.

      Ultimately though, Sapphire simply isn’t bulletproof. I’ve long argued I think it’s mostly a gimmick, be it on COROS, Garmin, or otherwise. In real-world usage, I can manage scratches on both sapphire and non-sapphire screens alike. But for the most part, gorilla glass screens hold up exceptionally well (which is what the FR955 has). And while Sapphire glass tends to be slightly more scratch resistant than Gorilla Glass, it’s not as durable from a breakage standpoint. So it’s a slight trade-off – either way, I don’t think it’s much more than marketing.

      As for making a judgment call, I’m always going to say what I think – and I think that’s what the vast majority of people want to hear. I know a lot of review sites like to just hold the marketing/PR party line and pretend every product is always great, but I don’t see that as super valuable for consumers long term. Nor is it good for the industry, which in turn gives us consumer choice. If it’s good, I’m going to say it’s good. And if it’s bad, I’m going to say it’s bad. And if it’s meh, then I’ll say that too.

    • Hoot

      Thanks for saying what you think….I don’t get the feeling your are biased towards a certain brand and you give everyone a chance to proof their mettle in the cauldron of unforgiving testing! I hope that the companies read your articles too and get motivated to iron out the issues you have discovered IOT stay competitive.
      As for sapphire vs gorilla glass, you just have to go the the Garmin related reddit blogs. There is always someone asking for help with a scratch on sapphire glass….and you always find people who tell you to not put a screnn protector on the glass because it is absolutely indestructible. If you want to protect your investment and want to sell your watch at some point IOT get something new, get a protector for a few $/€ and relax. Of course sapphire is not as easy to scratch but there is enough proof on the internet that you can and once its done, you are screwed. I own an Enduro 2 and an Epix 2 and both got one! And I agree with Ray, sapphire is mostly marketing. I would be happy to pay less for my next watch if it came with gorilla glass instead of sapphire.

    • Brian Reiter

      Sapphire is much more difficult to scratch than gorilla glass. It makes a huge difference. I have plenty of experience with scratched gorilla glass and also cracked gorilla glass watches in my circle.

      Damage to sapphire is rare in my experience.

      I would be someone that says don’t use a screen protector on sapphire.

      I have however scratched the crap out of a Garmin bezel when scrambling. The titanium is softer and easier to scratch than the steel. The DLC doesn’t prevent scratches because the underlying material is relatively soft.

    • Leo

      Isn’t that showing 3rd party used price? I would hope it sells for less than retail 3rd party used.

  16. Gino Van Belleghem

    Suunto 9 Peak Pro review is coming? Same price as the Apex Pro 2, so i’m curious who’s the better buy? Do you expect soon any upgrade from Polar side with Polar Grit X Pro 2? Next month i have a 100 miler and have no decent watch…so i’m in a hurry…🤣 Thanks Ray for all the hard work! 👍

  17. Bryan

    Any legit concerns that using a Coros product is a data/security risk for Americans a la Huawei?

    • I mean, I think there’s a simple factual reality that any company that’s based or effectively based in China, has that as a reality. No amount of corporate PR hand-waving will make that go away, since ultimately, authorities can relatively easily ask and get access to data.

      Now, whether or not that’s of concern to someone individually is up to them. For me personally, I use products from various companies based in China, notably DJI and COROS, without much concern – base on the specific data types I’m giving them.

      In the case of Huawei, most of the concern is really more tied to their networking devices and phones, since those have effectively unlimited access potential to the data flowing through them. Whereas a fitness platform is more limited to the data you give it. Obviously, again, it depends on what you were concerned about.

    • Bryan

      Thanks for the take, makes sense and that’s what I was thinking. Can’t really imagine how my max HR number could be leveraged against me, but something to consider nonetheless.

    • tfk,the5krunner

      I’d be interested to know if UK/US/EU military personnel are allowed to use Coros or Huawei kit.

    • Brian Reiter

      I don’t think there is a policy other than Hwawei generally not being licensed to import in the USA. Fitbit was banned at one point after the the Pentagon gave a bunch of them out and then thought better of it after the Strava location leak incident. But I think it was just Fitbit that got the axe.

      I doubt that very many of the senior military and foreign service officers who make these decisions have even heard of Coros.

      At one point the Navy was giving out Fenix 3 to naval aviators because an admiral thought that the Russians wouldn’t block GLONAS and the pilots could use the watches to navigate in a pinch. And I believe someone use the f3 to find their carrier and land a plane with an avionics malfunction.

      I know people take Garmin fenix and instinct watches into the field — and presumably tactix.

      I think people aren’t supposed to have their fitness devices auto-upload to Strava when deployed to sensitive areas anymore.

    • tfk,the5krunner

      I’m thinking more of the inherent security of the app/cloud service of the watch manufacturer rather than 3rd parties like strava

      as a Brit I would be generally happy with my military wearing a Garmin watch.
      If the Pentagon steals location data from Connect then it probably won’t be the end of the world.

      Other world powers? less so.

    • Brian Reiter

      I get it.

      I don’t know the policies for the UK. I know that Hwawei and ZTE are banned from US government procurements and cannot be used by the USG directly or by contractors without a waiver. This is really about telcom strategy and security stuff. This is a result of the “Secure Equipment Act of 2021” passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden.

      Zoom was temporarily banned by use in USG when it was discovered that all of the data transited China. They now have a Zoom for Government version that is entirely operated in the Amazon US GovCloud by an American subcontractor at arms’ length.

      Obviously TikTok is an ongoing drama whether ByteDance is in cahoots with the CCP to corrupt the youth and steal all the data.

      I have not seen anything to suggest that Coros is on the naughty list — at least publicly.

  18. Richard

    Hey.
    Thank you for the excellent and professional review.
    To your observation about waiting a long time for HR fix when starting an activity, I will mention my experience I observed on my Apex Pro, Pace2 or earlier on Samsung Watch. The time to HR fix is (perhaps only subjectively) reduced when I use a watch face with a permanently displayed heart rate.
    The Apex 2 Pro is not a defensible upgrade for me after less than a year of using the Apex Pro with the Stryd Wind. I’m looking forward to the Stryd NextGen though.
    Good luck

  19. Ryan

    The Pro model is one ugly looking watch in my opinion. Looks like a kids style G.I. Joe watch I would buy in the toy section at Walmart. The standard Apex 2 looks like a normal sports watch.

  20. Matt

    It’s what you prioritize. I switched from Garmin to COROS since they add features as they grow to every watch that can utilize them. Unless things have changed at Garmin, they do not do this. You usually had to buy a new model even though pre-existing hardware would allow for the new software. Battery life also considerably better than the Forerunner. Also, the build has a sapphire crystal face, whereas you would have to get the Fenix line to add that. The utility of the sapphire face becomes more realized when you are in the backcountry.

    These add to my decisions. Does Garmin have features I want that COROS doesn’t? Certainly, and I’ll have to weight those in my decision making. Mostly small things, like being able to update REP count on weightlifting. (Really odd you can’t do that on COROS.) Garmin has NFT pay, which I think would be great.

    The only reason I comment to compare the two specifically is that your reviews are being compared to Garmin instead of leaving the decision to the reader; creating biases. The enumeration of potential benefits of COROS is made because they add to an informed decision. I listen to books while I run too. I know, I’m mad. Maybe someone will add Kindle.

    • “Unless things have changed at Garmin, they do not do this.”

      Simply put, things have definitely changed. One only need to look at the new quarterly update schedule (with the next massive drop coming up in the next day or two), but even before that, things changed about a year or two ago. There’s 29 new features slated for this next update, and that’s ignoring the 50+ new features that came in the last update in August.

      As for comparing products in categories, I think that’s a critical part of being a reviewer. In fact, I’d go as far as saying any review that doesn’t compare products within competitive categories is basically just a marketing arm. The point should be to educate ones audience on all their options, good or bad.

    • Matt

      Thanks for the response. It’s good to know Garmin is approaching their updates a bit differently as their business model towards wearables made last years watches feel obsolete. I switched companies after the 935 particularly for that reason. COROS does a great job at updating all there watches and ecosystem so everyone has the same stuff so long as the hardware supports it. They also have a two year warranty and in a lot of cases catch the fault and send you a new watch before there’s an issue. It’s quite amazing. That said Garmin more polished and well rounded, catching a more diverse demographic than the ultrarunning community. It seemed I was stuck between great policies or a great watch.

      The periodic updates will certainly weight more heavily on any decision that I make so I’m glad I was informed differently than what I believed.

    • Eric

      One gps point every seconds is recording by coros ?
      We have to compare gps but with the same environment and setup
      Multi gps and canals is not only the setup to compare betweeen 2 watch’s ?
      Garmin play with the processor and it sacrificing the battery
      Most probably coros preferred to save battery. But lose some precision

      So we
      Can compare ,but with the same setup …

    • Tom

      Yes, Coros will update every second and still have a great battery. As for the accuracy, there are many reviews saying Coros is better as far as accuracy is concerned. It honestly has gotten to the point it doesn’t matter anymore. If you run with each watch a 1000 times, they will all more or less be equal. What’s more important is instant pace, really

    • Correct, both watches can be set for 1s recording (and both were here).

      I haven’t seen any reviews, especially independent ones, that have said COROS Apex 2/2 Pro GPS tracking is equal, let alone better. I don’t even think I’ve seen any sponsored reviews yet and say that either. There are things COROS does better, but GPS tracking isn’t one of them.

    • Tom

      the5krunner measured Pro 2 to be the 2nd best accuracy ever, only slightly beaten by Garmin Epix 2.
      So I beg to differ – Coros accuracy is up there with the others. Period.
      Damn, I miss the good old days when Fellrnr did these tests.

    • The problem with percentages, is that they’re all manually assigned. It’s the same reason that I don’t assign a review ‘score’ – it’s very hard to assign scoring to many things, but especially GPS tracks. Beacuse you don’t actually know precisely where you went each run, unless you load that in, and that doesn’t scale. Either way, he also included the track, and the unit is literally in the water or buildings for half the run. And as he noted, if we dare look at the base Apex 2, it was below average (just like I saw).

      However, 5KRunner was kind enough to include plenty of screenshots from those data sets, and they clearly demonstrate that the Apex 2 Pro wasn’t great. So does all of my data, and DesFit’s data, and others. It’s not bad, but as noted above, it’s certainly not equal to other devices priced the same.

      Again, data doesn’t lie here – that’s what’s so cool/fun about GPS tracks, and why myself and others share the actual data. It makes it really easy to look at.

    • Tom

      There are also some data that clearly shows how great Apex Pro 2 did. Thing is for an empirical test to say anything, you would have to repeat the same test several times. I’d say at least a 100 times before you can draw any conclusions. One device may also be better at certain circumstances so it quickly gets really complicated. I’ve fot a dense forest track with sharp turns. Each loop is 10k and I’ve ran it 2 x 28 times with Vertix 2, 28 times with Grit X and 28 times with Vantage V. After 280k it’s less than a kilometer in difference between all those watches (well Vantage V was a tad more off). So really, accuracy is at the same level for all watches – so far.

    • Growing up I ski raced pretty competitively, on track toward Junior Olympics levels (before I basically burned out trying to ski 4-6 days a week in high school). While I was lucky enough to have a few ski coaches who either competed in the Olympics or the trials, one, in particular, that didn’t make it had a quote. In this particular event, you get two runs, that’s it, there are no do-overs.

      During the Olympic trials, he was the favorite to snag a spot, and also had a solid lead after the first run. On the second run, he fell: It was over. He had a saying that’s long stuck with me, “You only get so many runs.” It’s true of a lot of things in life, in a lot of different ways.

      In GPS testing, a single bad run might be one-off, but multiple bad runs on multiple days in multiple conditions by multiple people…is probably more than not having enough runs.

    • Tom

      Lol, Shiffrin had a very bad season with several falls but everyone still knows she is the best. This is a weird analogy.
      As I said before – I miss Fellrnr.

    • Yeah, I was trying to point out in a nice way that basically that doing something a 100 times doesn’t matter if it can’t do it more than twice correctly.

      Further, using the total distance on a run as the barometer for success isn’t good at all. You can cut a corner in one spot, and then overshoot another, and end up with a total distance that’s the same. That doesn’t mean it’s right. You can literally be wrong the entire time and still end up with the same total distance (same with power meters).

      Anyways, I don’t really have much more to say here. The data – mine, and everyone else’s pretty clearly speak for itself.

    • Tom

      You should study some probability theory.
      I little tip: If you roll a dice two times and get a 1 both times, it isn’t broken.
      Nah, I have nothing more to add either. Except that I miss Fellrnr 🙂

    • Brian Reiter

      Fellrnr only ever analyzed deviation from a calibrated total distance and repeatability in his definition of accuracy. His scoring rubric had numbers assigned to each category but he didn’t explain how the numerical scores were derived. They seemed arbitrary.

      The more the merrier for testers but his methodology was not perfection.

      A sophisticated numerical analysis of GPS accuracy might be checking the deviation of every 1s point from the actual correct point and doing some kind of a regression analysis on that. Nobody does that kind of analysis for public use. The cost would be prohibitive and very few consumers would understand it anyway. (Maybe the chip vendors and manufacturers do?)

      On the other hand people are pretty good at spotting patterns. You can look at the position data plotted over a map and see that some tracks are obviously a better approximation of where the person was than others.

      It seems pretty clear that there are performance differences and Coros even is making a pod to remediate their GNSS responsiveness — which is kind of admitting there is a difference. If you don’t see any significant performance difference there they’re worth justifying a price difference, then fair enough.

    • Tom

      You really like bashing Coros. The pod is for better pace and assist when gps data is not available. It is your interpretation that Coros created a pod for fixing gps accuracy? Wow, really wow. And yes, I know you didn’t approve of fellrnrs methodology but it’s a fact that he knew what he was doing and showed the true color of Garmin back in the days.
      Anyway, the5krunner is clearly showing that Coros Apex Pro 2 did well. A lot better than Fenix 7. It’s data and its a fact.
      This is making me more convinced than ever that you in fact are unable to do testa like this objectively. It’s sad, considering you are the biggest reviewer out there.

    • At this juncture, I’ll point out that the last comment was from Brian, not me.

      That said, Brian’s point about COROS releasing a pod to fix its GPS isn’t Brian’s point. It’s literally what COROS wrote in their media presentation deck:

      “Although GPS tracking generally is amazing, it also has limitations, even if you’re wearing the best GPS watch in the world!…The POD 2 solves GPS watch technology’s most common problems during running, including data lag, weak signal, and satellite disruption.”

      Also, 5KRunner didn’t use the Fenix 7 on any of his tests against the COROS APEX 2.

    • Tom

      You read their comment as the devil reads the bible. And we’ll, the5krunner, who does the most careful tests of accuracy of all current reviewers, did a previous test with Fenix 7. It is certainly ranked lower than the Coros Pro 2. What is so hard with accepting that? It’s the best data we have to rely on. Fact.

    • it’s impossible for one person to do any kind of GPS accuracy ‘science’. even repeating the same run two hours later will have the satellites in quite different places. so readers who are especially interested in accuracy should read the opinions of several reviewers and make their own minds up.

      as @Tom say further above, accuracy is now probably irrealvent in the top-end devices with multiband as they are all similar enough to reality to produce a pretty picture. so yes, it’s the instant pace where the effects of corner cutting and the like come in but, for the squillionth time, if you want consistent accuracy then a footpod and chest strap HRM are the way to go.

      FWIW: I too always quite liked fellrnr’s conclusions mainly because they often agreed with my conclusions even though his method differed.

      My tests didn’t use the coros pod.
      the percentage figure I give in my tests relates solely to performance on the best run over a given course (often one run only). I hopefully add other more rounded comments about my accuracy experiences from my normal training.
      The larger coros apex model (1 46mm and 2 pro) have noticeably better GPS
      I usually only compare accuracy at or around lAunch time…if manufacturers can’t release an accurate product that’s their problem (it’s nice to know how fast a running watch has you running at! kinda critical). Epix 2 seemed to nail that…maybe it’s even better now #shrug.

  21. Jan

    How does the Apex/Pro 2 compare in terms of readability of data fields with Pace 2? That’s one of the important things for folks with older eyes like mine, and it’s sometimes overlooked in product reviews. The font certainly appears thicker compared to my to Pace 2. I use either one or two data fields max, with large font enabled. Any chance you could post a snapshot comparison with this kind of setup on Pace 2, Apex 2, Apex 2 Pro?

  22. Marvin Freeman

    I love my Pace 2. Thanks for pointing me to it. One of the reasons I like it is the crown selector. Works great, particularly with cold weather gloves.

    One thing I don’t understand is why Coros hasn’t put all the sports modes on the Pace 2. I’m in favor of jumping rope but alpine skiing is a PITA with the Pace2.

  23. SkyRunner

    Commenting just to be among those 7 people who listen to mp3s.

  24. Marvin Freeman

    Perhaps you’ve covered it elsewhere, but the Coros “training hub” is very much a work in progress. I didn’t think Connect was a masterwork of engineering but. . . . Maybe not important in a watch review?

  25. Pascal Rem

    Thanks a lot for this in-depth and fair review as usual.
    I’m surprise though that you compare these vs 955 or even 255 while target competitor seems clearly Fenix line.
    And if apex 2 pro at 599$ is not well positioned from your view , what about Fenix sapphire solar at 899$ !! , while 2 pro offer more battery(75h), like if routable nav , nfc, and streaming music worth +300$..?

    • inSyt

      The Fenix 7 Sapphire Solar also has better accuracy, solar, garmin pay, climbpro, pacepro, satiq, golfing with courses, and, and, and. It also looks way better than the Apex 2 Pro. The Apex 2 Pro looks more like a Forerunner 645.

      The Apex 2 Pro at $599 is actually making the ridiculously priced $899 Fenix 7 SS look cheap. A real pity, as the Pace 2 was the watch that forced Garmin to rethink their Forerunner pricing.

    • Brian Reiter

      The fenix 7X in favorable conditions claims 73 hours. Coros in favorable conditions claims 75 hours for the Apex 2 Pro.

      That’s roughly the same. Coros wants that compare and I think probably does better in unfavorable conditions.

      The differences a start with that Garmin supports everything and is the incumbent. Garmin have staked out the top of the market and fill in SKUs to capture different segments. You can have the Marq or the fenix 7 or the Epix or the f955 all with the same feature set but different materials and price points. The Apex 2 Pro is competitive with the fenix 7 on materials but the f955 on price. Garmin swamps Coros on features — some of which may or may not be important.

      Ray mentions this but I think it is important to be clear, Coros does not have magic battery technology. They achieve superior range in the market by sampling the sensors at a lower frequency than Garmin and others.

      It is most clear on the oHR outside of activities where they just sample far less frequently than Garmin and that is why they have much longer standby life. But also it is why they do not have overnight HRV metrics and things like stress and body battery.

      Coros and Garmin use the same multiband GNSS chip but Coros is slower to detect pace changes and is slightly worse at keeping your precise location. That might be partially antenna design but I believe that is also due to their engineering emphasis on battery life.

      Garmin’s navigation is clearly much more advanced. And Garmin has a better music implantation with all the steaming musing app partnerships except Apple. Garmin has the contactless payment support and agreements with most banks. ConnectIQ. It’s a lot of functionality pieces. Part of what you buy into with Garmin is the expectation that everything you might want to do in endurance sport and every conceivable accessory is going to have a compatibility story with Garmin.

      That’s a big moat.

      Coros does the core stuff competitively but not the best at anything except range. Coros is close to the gold standard with some features but not with others and fundamentally they do significantly less stuff.

      I think Coros is not 100% clear on if they are going for Clayton Christensen business theory low-end disruption or building a premium brand to compete head-to-head with Garmin.

    • Brian Reiter

      > The fenix 7X in favorable conditions claims 73 hours. Coros in favorable conditions claims 75 hours for the Apex 2 Pro.

      Doh. Correction fenix 7 not 7X is 73 hours range in GPS with solar:

      The fenix 7 solar in favorable conditions claims 73 hours. Coros in favorable conditions claims 75 hours for the Apex Pro 2.

  26. Nejc02

    Well if they managed to produce less bugs than Garmin did with FR955 it may be better value for this reason alone.

  27. Dear DC Rainmaker,
    Thank you for the dipe review on these new wearable.

    I have a P1 (Power Tap Pedals); and I am interested in the Apex Pro 2. But I am concerned about the only Bluetooth Smart connection; and the missing ANT+ connection.

    You mentioned:
    “I’ve done workouts now with pairings to a few different sensors ………., PowerTap power meter pedals, ….”.
    Even you shown a picture with the Left pedal connected through bluetooth.

    If I do so through the bluetooth connection with my current Apex Pro; I only can see the power from my left pedal, and not the total.Do you have any “special procedure” which allows you to see the total power with the bluetooth connection on the Apex Pro or Pro2?
    Thank you in advance.Best regards.Sergio.

    • Interesting, in my case, that was on a Peloton bike and it’s on my to-do list for today to change the right pedal battery (it went kaput).

      That said, by design, PowerTap funnel the total power across between the pedals behind the scenes, even when you connect to just the left pedal.

    • Sergio

      Thank you for your quick answer!!!!

      I am in love with my P1 (since 2013….. I think), for this reason this is a critical feature for any future purchase on my side.

      And I see that you still use them…. weekly I use them for 8 hour (in the trainer and outside); and they are the best.

      I will investigate why i only have the left power (half); and I have battery in both of them (recently change) and correctly shown power in my Stages L50..

      Thank you again for your quick answer; and to bring us the most interesting info for our sport gadgets… 🙂

    • Hi Rainmaker,
      I have tried again with several configurations, and I am still only reading the left power; when I connect the P1 Left pedal through Bluetooth.

      As you said, “PowerTap funnel the total power across between the pedals behind the scenes”; but I always thought that this was true only in ANT+.
      When you connect these pedals through Bluetooth, it is the responsibility of the Head unit or watch to “ADD” both power values…. and provide to you the cycling dynamics values…

      Even, in the next forum (link); it is mentioned that this issue is a know issue for the P1 pedals: link to support.wahoofitness.com

      They mention that the “Assioma Uno and Duo Power Meter – Half Power” solved this issue allowing doubling the power with the APP……

      My Firmware Version is 30.029 (27029); please, which one do you have installed on your P1??
      Thank you in advance!!!

  28. Jon

    As someone who only runs, reading this review helps reinforce my belief that the Coros Pace 2 really is an incredible watch.

    • Will

      Pace 2 is a solid watch.
      Depending on features you’re after look at Garmin 245 Music. Similar money, but music and breadcrumb maps. This is Coros’ challenge, the feature rich Garmin.

  29. Alex Liem

    I’ve been waiting for Coros Apex 2 base, but now it seems very thick. Does the thickness noticeable? Does it bother you?

    • Doesn’t honestly seem to bother me, but, I’m also kinda used to all sorts of watches. But this felt in-line with other lightweight watches.

      I’ll see if I can find a few mins later today at the office/cave to shoot some comparison shots, to add to the unboxing section I need to upload.

  30. M Banduk

    Am getting the apex pro at a good price or should I buy the apex 2 . From the review besides the new heart rate sensor and music i cannot seem to find any significant upgrade. My concern remains whether the apex pro will get outdated with no software updates . What do you advice.

  31. Tomas

    Thanks for the review. It’s getting harder to pick an outdoor watch now – fr955 vs Peak pro vs Apex 2 pro. Nearly same price, one is better build, the other has better maps and so on. It would be great to compare those 3 watches.

    Do you think/know if the widget glances from new Coros watches also be available to the older models – pace2 for example.

  32. TIm

    Proud one of the 7 (2nd one it appears) that still load mp3 files on my watch. Why? Because I created a playlist of songs that match my cadence (176 per minute) exactly, even adjusting some songs using Audacity. This obviously cannot be done using streaming services, at least until they create Spotify OCD version!!

  33. Sipke Bijlsma

    I remember your first review on a Coros watch was also a somewhat like, nice but not at Garmin level. Despite that, and because I have had 2x Garmin watches that suddenly broke down without any hint or warning, I purchased the Apex pro. In windsurfing and MTB, the gps tracks have always been spot on for me. And I really like the sapphire front, the digital crown, the app and most of all, the endurance.

  34. Chippycyclist

    I’ve been following you since buying my 1st Garmin, struggling with their incomprehensible instructions. At 73 I cycle 2/3 times per week and walk with wife on Sundays approx 10k. Currently use Garmin instinct which has all the functions I need, but its bulky for everyday and battery now seems to drain quickly. Also use a Garmin F45 for every day but a bit quirky but is thin. So ?? Is a smart watch with Instinct functionality, better battery life and more slender. What would u recommend. Also got an apple 4, but very underwhelmed.

  35. Trisha

    Interested to know how the elevation data on the Apex Pro 2 compares to other watches, namely the Garmin Forerunner 955 since that seems to be the most similar watch and, according to what you wrote, has more accurate GPS. Having accurate altitude data for mountaineering is an important piece I’m considering when purchasing a new watch. Thanks!

  36. Nathan

    I’d love to see a feature, a bit like Coros’ track mode, where you can upload a GPX of your race and it uses GPS to show how far along you are, and also calculates your pace and distance, based off the course. Sure, it might not be true pace or distance if you’re not actually running 100% on the course path, but I want to know how I am going by reference to the race course. I don’t really care that I’ve run an extra 300m because I’ve gone a little off course or because my GPS is wonky. Is there a watch that has this feature??

    • What you describe is basically what Garmin’s Pace Pro feature is.

      Suunto has one that kinda splits the difference on their units as well, in terms of loading a course and snapping to it and showing remaining distance.