1. Verdict
  2. Design, comfort, and wearability
  3. Dual-frequency GPS
  4. New ECG sensor
  5. Health and fitness metrics
  6. Smartwatch features explored
  7. Battery life testing

Coros Apex 2 Pro review

A solid multisports watch that does now come at a greater cost
Wareable Coros Apex 2 Pro
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Coros Apex 2 Pro
By Coros
The Apex 2 Pro is another excellent multisport watch from Coros that offers reliable tracking, lots of metrics and great battery life. As an upgrade from the original Apex Pro, it's not a huge one unless you're desperate for improved GPS tracking or ECG. However, the Garmin Forerunner 955 is a more complete sports watch at this price, and notably gives you a much better mapping and navigation experience.

Hit
  • Improved GPS battery life
  • Lots of metrics for runners
  • Rich sports tracking support
Miss
  • Music player lacks streaming service support
  • More expensive than Apex Pro
  • Not a huge update

The Coros Apex 2 Pro is the follow-up to the company's Apex Pro multisport watch and offers a new design, more sensors, and a better battery.

It also promises more accurate GPS tracking and the ECG sensor that debuted on the Coros Vertix 2.

The new Apex Pro comes in more expensive than the original and costs more than the Apex 2, which mainly misses out on the new dual-frequency GPS support and the bigger boost in battery life.

But its chunky price tag puts it pretty close to the excellent Garmin Forerunner 955.

On paper, the Apex 2 Pro has a lot going for it. But is it a worthy upgrade to the first Apex Pro? We've been putting it to the test to find out.

Design, comfort, and wearability

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When Coros launched the Apex Pro, it shifted the design away from the more streamlined and sporty feel of the first Apex to something more outdoorsy.

The Apex 2 Pro sticks to the same design while making some improvements in the display and durability departments.

It features a smaller 46mm case, compared to the 47mm one on the original Pro. It's got chunkier in the process, going from a 13.4mm thick case to 14mm. It's not a heavy watch to wear, but it's certainly not as light and wearable as Coros' cheaper Pace 2 watch.

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The design is dominated by the bezel, which is made from Grade 5 titanium, but now has an added PVD coating to offer better protection when it's put to rigorous use.

On the side of the case, you have three physical buttons and a twisting digital dial.

Front and center is a 1.3-inch, 260 x 260 resolution, always-on LCD screen that once again offers touchscreen support. You can scroll through screens and maps, and use a tap gesture for some features like music controls. 

Coros has boosted screen resolution, but ultimately the display changes aren't radical enough to make a difference day-to-day. It's certainly no match for AMOLED displays, such as the Apple Watch Ultra or Garmin Epix 2 but it's comparable to the likes of the Garmin Forerunner and Fenix series watches.

The LCD does offer strong visibility indoors and outdoors and in the water. The top button turns on the backlight, which is essential at night.

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You still have your pick of a silicone or a nylon 20mm strap, which thankfully is nice and easy to remove. Our nylon strap maybe isn't the same league of softness as an Apple Watch nylon band, but it's been comfortable to wear and the velcro clasp hasn't shown any bad signs of wear.

It's hardly a stunning example of design, but it's a sleek and lightweight watch that feels comfortable for workouts of all types. 

Dual-frequency GPS

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One of the biggest features is a dual-frequency chipset. This is something Coros first included on its pricier Vertix 2 watch and has featured on watches from the likes of Amazfit, Huawei, Apple, and Garmin with varying success.

It's designed to improve the accuracy of GPS data when you're out for a run, hike, ride, or any outdoor activity.

Single-frequency chipsets can encounter issues around tree cover and tall buildings.

Selecting dual-frequency will demand more from the battery, but in return, you should get an improvement in tracking accuracy.

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Coros Apex 2 Pro (left) and Garmin Epix 2 (right)

In our testing, it performed well – better than Huawei's dual-frequency setup.

However, it wasn't immune from issues, and dual-frequency tracking on the Apple Watch Ultra and Garmin Fenix 7, Epix 2, and Forerunner 955 perform slightly better.

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Coros Apex 2 Pro (left) and Garmin Epix 2 (right)

We used the Apex 2 Pro on a bunch of runs with the Garmin Epix 2.

As you can see above, there were some issues with GPS wandering in built-up areas. 

That will affect accuracy, and if you do plan to spend time running in forests, or city centers, you may want to opt for the Garmin Epix/Fenix or Apple Watch Ultra for better performance.

However, distance/average pace stats were largely unaffected – so it does come down to personal opinion on how much this stuff matters.

New ECG sensor

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Another new addition that also drops down from the Vertix 2 is an ECG sensor, which is tied to what Coros calls its HRV index.

Electrodes built into the digital dial button will deliver that HRV index through a one-minute measurement of heart rate variability, and aims to offer an indication of the physical and mental stress on your autonomic nervous system.

Crucially, you need to take measurements from the wrist you specified during the setup process.

The index goes from 0-100, so a score of 1-20 would indicate high physical stress, while a score of 81-100 suggests you're in a relaxed state.

Your HRV Index scores won't become personalized until you've established a baseline by taking three-morning measurements in a row. We've been using it alongside the Training Readiness feature and HRV status features on Garmin's watches to see if they'd dish out similar data. 

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After some longer, more strenuous workout days, we compared readings and found there was around a 10ms difference in HRV readings, which got closer over time. That's to be expected, as most wearables will monitor HRV during sleep, while this is a manual process.

The concept of using HRV to indicate a level of stress being put on the body isn't new to sports watches. It's a useful metric – and the idea of using an ECG sensor for those measurements instead of an optical one seems like a smart move.

However, regardless of the sensor used to estimate HRV, we do feel that Coros needs to continuously monitor HRV (like Oura and Whoop) to make it more useful and reliable. 

Health and fitness metrics

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Coros essentially takes the same sports tracking features it included in the Apex Pro and places them inside the Apex 2 Pro.

That also includes the same mapping and navigation support that was added to the Pro in a recent software update that also appears on the Apex 2 and Vertix 2.

The sports tracking experience overall is very good. Whether you're running, swimming, working out indoors, or going for a hike, this is a watch that performs well. 

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Coros Apex 2 Pro (left) and Garmin Epix 2 (right)

There are areas to build on and improve here. For starters, mapping and navigation support could be slicker, offer more detailed maps, and some native turn-by-turn navigation support. 

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But one thing you don't have a shortage of here is metrics. Especially if you're a runner.

Core metrics such as pace, cadence, elevation running power, and heart rate are naturally present.

 In testing, we found that average heart rate readings were worryingly divergent from our MyZone heart rate monitor chest strap. However, max HR readings tended to be spot on. 

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Coros Apex 2 Pro (left) and MyZone heart rate monitor chest strap (right)

For runners, the Effort Pace metric appears as an alternative to running power. This tries to inform you when to push and when to come off the gas to make running more efficient. 

Coros says that in the future, temperature, humidity and altitude will also be taken into account to measure the effort levels of your run.

Coros also has its EvoLab platform where you'll find further insights such as recovery, fatigue, and VO2 Max along with training load, and training effect status. 

If you like to drill deep into your workout data, there's scope to do that. 

We found elements like the race predictor, fatigue scores, and marathon levels interesting to track, though didn't pay a huge amount of attention to things like load impact or threshold pace.

Smartwatch features explored

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Adding more smartwatch features to its watches has been a priority for Coros, so the Apex 2 Pro is getting more of the smarts that were added to the Pace 2 and the Vertix 2.

The most notable one is the addition of a music player, which gives you part of the 32GB of onboard storage to pile on your music.

However, sadly that process requires plugging the watch into a computer and dragging MP3s into a folder. We're not sure how many people still have MP3s of their current music, but the Coros army is crying out for offline syncing of the popular streaming services – as we've seen on Garmin and Apple.

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Outside of the music support, you can view notifications, and there are the same find my phone, alarms, timers, and stopwatch functions as well.

This certainly isn't a fully-fledged smartwatch in the same way Garmin Forerunner watches have evolved, but if you want something to view notifications, then the Apex 2's smartwatch support might be just enough for you.

Battery life testing

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The first Apex Pro battery powerhouse and hasn't changed with the Apex 2 Pro.

Coros claims 30 days of daily use between charges for the Apex Pro.

The full GPS battery life has jumped from 40 hours to 75 hours.

All Systems tracking will come in at 45 hours. If you opt for dual frequency, then Coros promises up to 26 hours.

We took the Apex 2 for an hour run using dual frequency and saw the battery drop by 5%, which would work out to around 20 hours of battery life. That's a little shy of battery estimates, but still a good showing.

In terms of daily usage, we managed to get around 18-20 days and that's with notifications enabled and predominantly using that dual frequency mode, for daily outdoor workouts. That tracks to around Coro's 30-day estimate.

The battery usage monitor is also worthy of a shout-out and is one of the best examples of making it easier to manage what's sapping your juice.

That battery usage mode is tucked away in the menu screen but is worth hunting out just to see the breakdown.

TAGGED Sport Running

How we test



Michael Sawh

By

Michael Sawh has been covering the wearable tech industry since the very first Fitbit landed back in 2011. Previously the resident wearable tech expert at Trusted Reviews, he also marshaled the features section of T3.com.

He also regularly contributed to T3 magazine when they needed someone to talk about fitness trackers, running watches, headphones, tablets, and phones.

Michael writes for GQ, Wired, Coach Mag, Metro, MSN, BBC Focus, Stuff, TechRadar and has made several appearances on the BBC Travel Show to talk all things tech. 

Michael is a lover of all things sports and fitness-tech related, clocking up over 15 marathons and has put in serious hours in the pool all in the name of testing every fitness wearable going. Expect to see him with a minimum of two wearables at any given time.


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