Coros Apex 2 PRO Review, and Apex 2
As a user of the Coros Apex 2 & Apex 2 Pro, I can say that these watches are made with high-quality materials and are packed full of sport and smart features. They definitely warrant a serious look for those who are committed to their sports but still want a good-looking watch to wear throughout the day. The Apex 2 Pro boasts refined looks and mimics the workings of the rotating crown and touchscreen used by the Apple Watch.
In terms of accuracy, the Coros watches are comparable to the Apple Watch and Garmin Venu. It’s worth noting that Coros tends to announce new features and new watches separately, so this review is mostly focused on the improved hardware of the Coros Apex 2 with mentions of recent features from earlier this year.
Like Apple, and unlike Garmin, Coros future-proofs their watches by making sure new features work on all previous models where possible. This means there’s no compelling reason to upgrade, but there are good reasons to switch from another brand. The Coros Apex 2 & Apex 2 Pro are also great first-time sports watches for those looking to get into the sport.
Prices when reviewed
Verdict: ⭐⭐⭐⭐ - Apex 2 Pro is an impressive, high quality sports watch. With a better interface and more nuanced features it would rival Garmin.
Build Quality & Design
Features, Including App
Openness & Compatability
Summary - Coros Apex 2 Pro Review
This is a great piece of sporting kit.
The Coros Apex 2 and Apex 2 Pro are top-of-the-line sports watches packed with advanced features and made with high-quality materials. The titanium-based case and sapphire glass, as well as the state-of-the-art GPS and HR sensors, make for a durable and reliable watch. The Pro model even boasts refined looks and mimics the workings of the rotating crown and touchscreen used by the Apple Watch.
The Coros watches offer a long battery life of up to 75 hours and include features such as action camera control, activity alerts, altitude mode, and pre-planned workouts. The partner app also provides more detailed information about recent workouts, access to training plans, route syncing, and a nice one-page summary of your physiology/fitness.
However, it’s worth noting that the app and watch screens may seem dated and lack detailed richness beneath the headline numbers and charts. Additionally, there is a lack of ANT+ sensor support and a lack of a 3rd party app ecosystem. But for athletes coming from other ecosystems, like Samsung or Apple, the Coros watches offer a lot of advanced features that will likely impress them.
Like all these…
- Action Camera Control
- Activity Alerts For cadence, distance, pace, heart rate, power metrics
- Altitude Mode Regular evaluation of SpO2 and fitness
- Basic/Advanced Interval Training
- EvoLab Recovery, fatigue, training load, race predictor, VO2max, threshold zones
- Pre-planned Workouts
- Running Power From The Wrist
- Swipe to scroll data pages during training
- Training Plans
- Underwater Heart Rate
- Virtual Run
- Broad range of features
- Awesome battery life
- Very well made
- Very good accuracy on the Pro model
- No ANT+ support
- No contactless payments
- Legacy music support (2022)
- No AMOLED screen option
- No watch apps
What’s new with Coros Apex 2 PRO and Apex 2?
Compared to the previous Apex models, the new Coros Apex 2 Pro and Apex Pro on review here today are bigger, and faster, with more featured hardware including better battery life. In detail, it’s all of this
- Bluetooth 5.0 music streaming support and support for MP3.
- BLE sensor support is added and ANT+ support removed
- Increased screen size on Apex 2 Pro from 1.2″ to 1.3″ and from 240x240px to 260x260px
- Significant battery life boosts
- The Pro model boosts full GPS-recording time from 40 hours to 75 hours
- The non-Pro model now has 45 hours of GPS time from 25 hours (42mm)/35 hours (46mm)
- 4g extra weight on the Pro. Also, 4g when comparing the non-Pro model to the older 42mm model
- New GPS chipset with all satellites mode.
- Dual frequency/Multiband on Pro only
- New Optical Heart Rate Sensor adds ECG and HRV
- The non-Pro model adds a pulse oximeter for SpO2
- Global Offline Landscape and Topographical Maps added with
- Touchscreen pan
- Digital dial zoom
- Route elevation profile
- GPS coordinates & Distance to destination
- Storm Alert
- WiFi Support added
- Apex 2 (non-Pro) only available as a 43mm case, previously there were 42mm and 46mm models
- Non-pro gets a touchscreen, Pro model still has one
- The bezel remains Titanium but is now coated for extra durability. The back cover is changed from aluminium to titanium
- Silicone staps replaced with nylon
- Reduced waterproofing from WR10 (100m) to WR5 (50m)
- Extra storage 32Gb on Pro, 8Gb non-pro
- Apex non-Pro now has 3 buttons (2 previously)
- Increased prices – the older models had price cuts and the new models essentially reverted to the original launch prices for the previous models. Ostensibly it’s +$100 for the Pro and +$50 for the non-Pro.
Coros – A Potted History & brief look at the future
Coros has progressed significantly from smart bike helmets to high-end sports & adventure watches that offer sometimes compelling alternatives to both Garmin and Apple.
The original Coros Pace (2018) was a plastic, lightweight multi-sports watch. Unremarkable but perfectly fine and in many ways along similar lines to the Garmin Forerunner 235/735XT. Later the same year, we saw the original Apex which very much set the stage for a watch that would compete against both Garmin and Apple in the sense that it had more elegant, rounded looks but still a good set of sports features.
Mid-2019 saw yet another new watch, this time called the Vertix. Coros Vertix was also well-made and this time around the clear target was the Garmin Fenix adventure watch market. Then later in the same year, we saw a Pro version of the Apex.
After all that effort, Coros focused on adding new features for another year. Coros very much tries, where possible, to bring out new features to work on every watch.
Bring on August 2020 as the start to the next iteration of Coros’ products, starting out with the Pace 2. In my mind, and I think DC Rainmaker’s too, Pace 2 changed the fortunes of Coros. This one sells by the bucket load perhaps because it’s super lightweight, relatively cheap and packed full of features like the unique Track Run Mode. At least it was unique at the time! Now there’s an improved Coros Pace 3.
We had to wait a further year for Vertix 2 which seemed to go down especially well with the climbing crowd but the big battery life of all Coros watches seemed to endear the brand to Ultra-like athletes too. Although Coros watches aren’t necessarily cheap they are durable, and they often offer good value when you compare the materials used by competitor brands.
Coros avoids branching out too much into accessories and so far, only has produced a running footpod and a recent second iteration of that.
Unlike its sporty competitors, Coros moved as quickly as it could to support both maps and structured training plans/workouts. Thus it has all the main sporty feature boxes ticked at the highest level. However, it lacks detailed sports features and it might choose to improve further with smart features – we see music support added in 2022 and should see music streaming and a revamped app in 2023. I suspect LTE and contactless payments are not in Coros’ future plans.
The success of Coros seems to rely on these key themes to distinguish itself from Apple and Garmin.
- Quality materials
- Digital crown and button interface
- Big battery lives
- Highish pricing
- The best company at playing rapid feature catch-up with Garmin
Coros Apex 2 and 2 Pro Accuracy
Generally, I’ve been happy with the heart rate from both Apex watches although neither is perfect. Both watches have the same sensor and the lighter non-Pro model should perform more accurately due to its lower weight. However, over several tests, it isn’t as good for some reason. I don’t know why.
Here are some examples. The first chart shows how the non-Pro model just fails slightly to keep up with the Pro model and then the next 2 charts show where the Pro model has a wobbly moment or two, finishing off with a great effort on the 4th test.
Generally speaking, I’m a bad candidate for optical HR so the results here are good for me.
Turning to the elevation, I have one meaningful example of that from a long ride. There don’t seem to be any issues here other than the need for initial calibration.
Finally, there is the GPS accuracy and this is where I had some fantastic results and some downright weird ones.
Let’s start with a link to my standard 10-mile running test over a route that I’ve put every GPS watch (ever!) through its paces. Then this link points to a spreadsheet where you can see all results and this link compares the tracks of Apex 2 and 2 Pro to the Garmin Epix 2 which gave one of the best-ever tracks. I’ll just summarise by saying that Apex 2 Pro scored a magnificent 85% whereas the Apex 2 non-Pro scored a below-average 65%, Epix 2 has the best-ever score at 87% and that’s effectively the same as what the Pro scored.
In a test running around a few suburban blocks, Apex 2 Pro was excellent (Apex 2 wasn’t!). Then through the highish buildings of Kingston City Centre both the Forerunner 955 and Apex 2 Pro weren’t quite as good as the Apple Watch…but not far off.
Here are numerous other snapshots of tracks across a variety of different reception conditions and Apex 2 Pro pretty much nails it most of the time whereas Apex 2 sometimes nails it and, err, then sometimes REALLY doesn’t! Apex 2 is not multifrequency but that should not explain the differences and it should be a lot better. Maybe it’s the aerial design or just something that needs a tweak on the software side of things.
Summary: Apex 2 Pro has market-leading GPS accuracy
Last month, Coros introduced a new running pod and at the same time announced a new metric which they call EffortPace. EffortPace offers Coros a partial replacement for running power although they will continue to support Stryd.
At launch, EffortPace is simply a renamed grade-adjusted pace.
In the months following the launch, it will be progressively enhanced to incorporate the effects of other environmental factors on pace. However, this is essentially the same as how running power works but the clear benefit of EffortPace is that most runners instinctively understand pace or speed more than power. Thus the data is presented in a format that they can work with. If their plan tells them to run at 5:00/km for 20 minutes but the last 10 minutes of that is uphill then the runner always targets EffortPace of 5:00/km rather than reverting to heart rate or ‘running a bit slower‘ on the uphill bit.
Heads Up: Coros continues to support Stryd but is no longer developing the power metric. Coros still supports the calculation of running power from the wrist but all its future product development in this area will be focussed on extending the EffortPace measure.
Coros plans to introduce other factors into EffortPace as it moves forwards. Thus athlete weight, ground conditions, temperature, air pressure and so on will all be added to adjust your actual GPS/Pod pace to what it should be on hard, level ground on a windless, sea-level day.
Deep Dive HRV/ECG
The new HRV test requires you to hold the digital crown during the 1-minute recording and I assume it performs a 1-lead ECG to get the HRV information. This is a lesser-used method and of no extra value when looking at rMSSD and readiness metrics but it might add interesting abilities further down the line. Obviously, it’s more of a faff to use than a simple automatically repeated optical HRV reading.
However, the next thing I saw was that Coros displayed my HRV Index as “43 Stress Level is Medium”…this doesn’t seem right. The algorithm can have no idea what a medium level is for me without a baseline established by a few weeks of readings rather than the 3 days it had at the time. Still, if the Coros algorithm is otherwise correct it should sort itself out soon enough.
Deep Dive Battery
Apex 2 Pro has superior battery life. For example, the 75 hours of per-second, GPS-recording compares favourably to 57 hours on the Garmin Fenix 7. Should you feel the need to compare to an Apple Watch then don’t be fooled by Apple’s marketing, when Apple talk about a 60-hour battery life for the Watch Ultra in Expedition Mode they are talking about taking a single HR/GPS reading every 2 or 3 minutes…NOT every second.
|Battery Performance||APEX 2||APEX 2 Pro|
|Standard Full GPS||45 hours||75 hours|
|All Systems On||28 hours||45 hours|
|Dual Frequency + All systems||n/a||25 hours|
|Daily Use / ‘Smartwatch’ mode||17 days||30 days|
|Charging time||< 2h||< 2h|
Perhaps the one area where Garmin wins here is with its relatively new SatIQ mode which only turns on battery-eating dual-frequency mode when accuracy levels drop. This particular feature would be worth adding to the Apex 2 Pro as GPS accuracy is generally pretty good even without dual frequency. And if you look at the table above you can surmise that dual-frequency mode doubles the battery consumption so only occasionally and automatically enabling the highest level of precision would effectively give near-maximum accuracy for over 40 hours in many scenarios.
Deep Dive Music
With lots of onboard storage and WiFi, Apex’s music feature is ‘streaming ready’ but for now can only play MP3 files you copy manually to the watch from your computer. I quite like that but 99.5% of you probably want Spotify!
I had some issues with the stability of the speaker connection for the Pro model but the non-Pro model worked fine through headphones and desktop BLE speakers.
Apex didn’t seem to display album art and had rudimentary music player controls but the sound quality is good.
So, overall it’s very much a Music 101 feature from Coros. But the first steps by Coros are usually quickly followed by more meaty sets of features. Expect those in 2023.
Coros Apex 2 and Apex 2 Pro versus Garmin and Apple
With a Fenix 7 (47mm) coming in at $699, the Apex 2 Pro is significantly cheaper at $499 and with a superior case and screen. But the Garmin Venu 2 Plus comes in at $449 with LTE and a high-res screen. Apex 2 Pro does tick many of the same high-level boxes as Garmin – structured workouts, maps, music, physiology, running dynamics, support for many types of sensors & running power, basic workout analyses and so on. However, if you’re looking for rarely-used featurettes then the Fenix 7 will have pretty much all of them, the Venu 2 Plus might have them and the Apex 2 Pro possibly won’t. That’s fine for most of you and I suspect that you already know if you are likely to need unusual features or not.
To compare with an Apple Watch 8 you would need to compare to the stainless steel/LTE edition or the new Watch Ultra, these come in at $699 and $799 respectively. Apex 2 Pro has the same or better materials as these Apple Watches and the Apex 2 Pro has significantly more sport-focussed features and massively superior battery life but Apple Watches have an unrivalled app ecosystem behind them and there will be a Watch app somewhere for that niche way you want to use it, it’s just finding it that’s the problem. That said, Apex 2 Pro still lacks LTE, lacks payments, and lacks detailed smartphone integration with calendars, calls, FindMy and many other Apple features. Oh and not to forget that the Apple screens are vibrantly beautiful whereas those on Coros Apex and Garmin Fenix are not.
So those are the broad choices you face.
Ask yourself, do you have an iPhone? do you want a pretty 24×7 watch that you can wear for all occasions including sleep? or are you really in need of a sports or adventure watch for occasional usage? Maybe you like the idea of a more refined aesthetic and that’s where Coros comes in, providing you like the look without compromising too much on sports features.
Coros Apex 2 comparison to Apex 2 Pro and earlier models
There are significant differences inside Apex 2. However, as athletes, what we notice going forward will be the addition of map/navigation, music and removal of ANT+
|Model:||APEX 2 & 2 Pro|
|Case Size||43×42.8×12.8mm (Pro 46.1×46.5×14.0mm)|
|Display Size||1.2″ (Pro is 1.3″)|
|Display Resolution||240x240px (pro is 260x260px)|
|Display Type||Touch Screen Always-On Memory LCD|
|Screen Material||Sapphire Glass|
|Bezel Material||Grade 5 Titanium w/PVD Coating|
|Back Cover Material||Titanium Alloy|
|Watch Band||Quick Fit Band|
|Weight with Nylon Band||42g (Pro 53g)|
|Wireless Connection||Bluetooth 5.0 Dual Mode, Wi-Fi|
|Accessory Connection||Bluetooth BLE|
|Satellite Chipset||All-Satellite GNSS Chipset (Pro adds dual frequency)|
|Sensors||Optical Pulse Oximeter, Optical Heart Rate Sensor, Electrocardiogram Sensor (Heart Rate Variability/HRV), Barometric Altimeter, Accelerometer, Compass, Gyroscope, Thermometer,|
|Wear Detection Sensor|
|Water Resistance||5 ATM|
|Working Temperature||-22°F to 122°F (-30 to 50)|
|Storage Temperature||-22°F to 140°F (-30 to 60)|
|Map/Navigation Support||Global Offline Landscape and Topographical Maps, Touchscreen and Digital Dial-enabled Breadcrumb Navigation. Checkpoint Back to Start|
|Elevation Profile, Distance to Destination|
|GPS Coordinates, Storm Alert|
|Music Support||Internal Storage and Bluetooth Streaming for Offline Content|
|Supported Workouts||Run, Indoor Run, Trail Run, Track Run, Hike, Mountain Climb, Bike, Indoor Bike, Pool Swim, Open Water, Triathlon, Gym Cardio, GPS Cardio, Ski, Snowboard, Cross-country Ski, Ski Touring, Multisport, Strength, Training, Speed surfing, Windsurfing, Whitewater, Flatwater, Rowing, Indoor Rower, Jump Rope, Walk|
Coros Apex 2 PRO Review – Thoughts & Opinion
As a committed and tech-savvy athlete, I have been thoroughly impressed with the Coros Apex 2 Pro and Apex 2 watches. They boast state-of-the-art GPS and HR sensors, long battery life, and ample storage space. The watches are also made with high-quality materials and have a sleek design, making them perfect for everyday wear.
However, while the physical aspects of these watches are market-leading, the app and watch menus do need some polishing. The range of Coros features is impressive, but they could benefit from more niche capabilities and nuances to cater to all needs. Coros is a company that rapidly innovates and amasses new features, and they are now in second place behind Garmin in some measures.
Coros has already done a great job with its online Training Hub, its physiology features (EVO Lab) and many other advanced aspects of athletic training like Track Run mode, BLE sport sensor support, and structured workouts. Its smart features are also pretty good compared to other sports watches, with music, streaming music (coming in 2023), maps, and navigation. However, sports watches like Garmin and Coros will never have the deeply integrated smart features on offer with the Apple Watch.
What will impress me most is a good revamp of the Coros app (coming in 2023) and hopefully, a revamp of the aesthetics of the watch menus which work well despite their looks. Overall, Coros is a company to watch and the Apex 2 watches are both great choices to buy.
Price, Discount & Availability
The $499 price for Apex 2 Pro compares well to the $699 price tag of the Fenix 7 but less well to the $449 price tag of the Venu 2 Plus. It’s a clearer comparison to Apple Watch8/Ultra where Coros Apex 2 and Apex 2 Pro are cheaper and with more sports features
Prices when reviewed
This content is not sponsored. It’s mostly me behind the labour of love which is this site and I appreciate everyone who follows, subscribes or Buys Me A Coffee ❤️ Alternatively please buy the reviewed product from my partners. Thank you! FTC: Affiliate Disclosure: Links pay commission. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.