Coros Apex 2 Watch Review

Coros Apex 2 Watch Review

I’ve been excited for the Coros Apex 2 watch to come out. When I tried the original Apex in January 2019, most people hadn’t heard of Coros. Now they’ve built their following and have competed with Garmin, and Apple watches. It’s been fun to watch the company grow.

I’ve written a few Coros posts, including:

When I opened the Coros Apex 2 box, I realized it was much closer to the Vertix than the original Apex. I had the original 42 mm Apex and now, they only offer the 46 mm Apex 2. I hope they eventually offer the 42 mm again. 

Coros Apex 2 Watch Review

What has been updated for the Coros Apex 2?

  • 1.3-inch screen
  • new optical heart rate sensor
  • Added blood oxygen sensing
  • Added GNSS option
  • music storage for MP3s
  • Online maps
  • Touchscreen
  • Wifi and Bluetooth
  • HRV readings
  • Increased storage by 8 GB
  • New nylon watch band versus silicone
  • Sapphire Glass watch display

So Let’s Dig Into the Coros Apex 2 Watch Review:

Usually, my watch reviews are the longest blog posts I write. They take forever because there are so many details in running watches. Even after spending a month with the Apex 2, I still don’t feel like I’ve learned everything it does. Heck, I’ve spent years with the original Apex and probably not learned everything it does.

For me, I like having a GPS watch. I like knowing how far I go, the pace, distance, and occasionally heart rate. I want a look that records running, swimming, and occasionally biking. If that’s all you want and need, you are better off with the Coros Pace 2.

Coros Apex 2 Watch Review

Coros Apex 2 Look and Feel:

This year, the Apex 2 comes with a Nylon band. I was worried about how the Nylon band would hold an odor or if it would irritate my wrist. It hasn’t. I’ve said in previous posts, one of my favorite parts of Coros watches (other than they are accurate watches) is they look good. I don’t want to wear a big, bulky, GPS watch to work. I want something functional and cute that isn’t $1000. (LOL, don’t we all). The Coros Apex 2 does look the best of any current GPS watch (in my mind). I am really hoping they bring back the smaller 42 mm because that size is my favorite.

Coros Apex 2 Watch Face: 

The Coros Apex 2 has three buttons. The middle is both a rotating crown and a button. This is different than the original Apex, which had one rotating crown/button and a lower button. It took me a while to figure out how to start/stop the watch, and I still don’t know if I’m pretty there.

The crown allows you to scroll through choosing workouts, heart rate, training status, sleep calories, steps, flights of stairs, altimeter data, and so much more.

Me, I don’t love the spinning crowns. I think they are tricky to use while running, and sometimes it takes me a good 20-30 seconds to pause.

Coros Apex 2 Watch Review

Coros Apex 2 Battery Life:

Probably one of the most well-known features of the brand Coros is how long their watch battery life is. The Coros Apex 2 has a full 45 hours of GPS battery life. That is a lot. I find it to be about accurate. As someone who often forgets a GPS watch charger, having such a long battery life is wonderful. The other bonus is the Coros Apex 2 goes from 0 to 100% of charge in 2 hours.

Coros Apex 2 Health and Wellness Features:

Steps: 

The steps have usually been very consistent with other watches. If you are looking for a step counter, the Coros Apx 2 is not the first watch I would choose (there are so many cheaper step counter options!). But if that’s important to you, it counts steps well.

Floors and Elevation Tracking: 

These are related, and I find the Coros Apex 2 not the best for elevation tracking. I’ve seen every Coro’s watch I’ve used to be off on elevation by 100-ish feet. Not every time, but over half of the time. You can easily see this if you look at people’s Strava races. Coros users almost always have more.

I get around this by adjusting the elevation on Strava. I’ve mentioned this a few times, but I’ve had the same issue across every Coros watch I’ve tried. This isn’t a big deal, but I wish they could update the accuracy of elevation.

Coros Apex 2 Watch Review
heart rate sensor

Sleep:

When I’m not testing watches, I don’t sleep with a watch. Honestly, either you sleep well, or you don’t. While it’s nice to know the exact minute you fell asleep, I like to take my watch off. Unrelated, but I usually don’t wear GPS watches all the time during the day. It follows when I put in/take out my contacts.

Anyway, the Coros Apex 2 is pretty accurate when I fall asleep. I’ve read various articles saying that sleep data is only about 75-80% accurate so I don’t really put a lot of stock into any of them.

HRV Data Gathering: 

I wanted to spent a little more time on HRV data because it was knew to me. What is HRV data? Honestly, I had no idea. HRV index stands for Heart Rate Variability. You are going to do an HRV test manually. The test is easy, and you sit still and hold the watch’s bezel with your other hand.

Usually, this is how you do ECGs on smartwatches. When Coros launched the Vertix 2 last year, they still called it ECG. Apparently, since they hadn’t gotten approval from regulatory bodies, they needed to change the name for legal reasons.

Supposedly HRV is an accurate measurement to evaluate the status of your autonomic nervous system (ANS). ANS consists of two branches:

  • sympathetic: fight or flight
  • parasympathetic nervous systems: rest or digest

The HRV index gives a value ranging from 1 to 100, which indicates the status of both physical and mental stress on your autonomic nervous system. It measures your last 7 days. The Index score is a proprietary evaluation model which may include but is not limited to, your previous 7 days of HRV measurements.

But what does those numbers mean? Per Coros…

  • 81-100 (superior) Ready for peak performance.
  • 51-80 (high) Ready for hard training.
  • 21-50 (medium) Ready for moderate training.
  • 1-20 (low) Limit intensity, focus on recovery.

Coros Apex 2 Watch Review

Smartphone Notifications:

When I first got the Coros Apex 2, I forgot to turn off my smartphone notifications. I have turned them off on every smartwatch I’ve owned. Why? I don’t need text messages while I run.

But you can decide which kind of notifications you want to receive on the Coros app, from texts to Twitter, Instagram, and more. I always appreciate that feature because I know many people

Music:

A big update from the Coros Apex to the Coros Apex 2 is the ability to load MP3 files onto the watch manually. Important to note you can’t stream music. There is 8 GB of storage for music. One issue I find, relevant to me too is that not many people are downloading MP3s and putting them manually onto a watch. Occasionally I did this with the Shokz Swimming headphones, but truthfully, it’s time-consuming. So this is something I would likely do for a race!

Bonus GoPro and Insta360 Control:

I had no idea how many people owned GoPros or Insta360 cameras, but the Coros Apex 2 allows you to control both of those cameras from the watch.

Coros Apex 2 Sports Modes:

Let’s be honest here. If you buy a Coros Apex 2, it’s likely because you want a GPS for sports. Of any GPS watch, the Coros Apex 2 supports the most sports.

What sports does the Coros Apex 2 track?

Sorry, this is long…

  • 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/XC Ski/Ski Touring
  • Snowboard
  • Multisport

To start a workout, you need to unlock the watch. Honestly, I turned the unlocked off because it takes forever to pause. I found it added anywhere from 20-30 seconds to open the watch and then wait for a workout. Does ti really matter? No.

After selecting your workout, you’ll wait for the satellite and heart rate to unlock. This typically takes about 30 seconds. It’s about the same as other GPS watches including Garmin and Apple.

Coros Apex 2 Watch Review

Coros Apex 2 Watch Face:

You can customize your watch face to have several different fields. I prefer distance, pace, and total time. It’s easy to customize the watch face in the Coros app. They even have different designs and unlock other GPS watches, you don’t have to pay for different watch faces.

Maps:

Something I haven’t played around with a ton is the maps feature. You can send maps from Strava as well as upload GPX files. Surprisingly, there isn’t a way to build your maps in the Coros app. You can add up to 10, and it seems like this might be updated shortly.

Unlike many other watches, you aren’t going to get turn-by-turn directions (TBH, this would be the biggest draw to me with the map feature). But if you end up off course, the Coros Apex 2 will beep and let you know. I’ve used the Coros Apex 2 maps on a few trail runs, and it’s been helpful. I do like that it tells me if I’m going off course.

Coros Apex 2 GPS Accuracy: 

For most runners, GPS accuracy is probably the most critical to running. I mean, why have a GPS watch if it isn’t accurate? Is the Coros Apex 2 GPS correct? How does the Coros Apex 2 GPS compare to Garmin? We will take a look. Mayble I should have added is the Coros Apex 2 GPS good to the front of the post.

The short answer is the Coros Apex 2 watch GPS is not bad. While I’ve found a few times it might be within .05 from Garmin, I find it accurate for the most part. But keep in mind Garmin is not always accurate either, and they are usually about .05 within each other on a 10 mile run. You can purchase the Coros Pod 2 to enhance the GPS, but the Coros Apex 2 is acceptable as it is.

The different modes of the Coros Apex 2 make it special. The track and trail mode are more accurate on each. If you use the regular run mode, you might find it’s less accurate on the trail or track. You can callibrate the Coros Apex 2 to the lane you’re running in so you have full accuracy.

I’ve mentioned in the elevation section, but the one thing is the Coros Apex 2 watch doesn’t do well (and none of the Coros watches do) in elevation. I consistently find the height to be around 100 feet off.

Coros Apex 2 Heart Rate:

What about heart rate? How accurate is the Coros Apex 2 heart rate monitor? We know that wrist-based heart rate is not accurate for any watch. If you want the most precise heart rate, you want to get a chest heart rate strap. But the Coros Apex 2 is as precise as any other high-quality GPS watch.

Other Sports:

For the most part, people who purchase the Coros Apex 2 watch are runners. While yes, it does a plethora of other sports, it does the best with running. These are just a few of the basic big options/

Swimming:

I’ve used the Apex 2 for pool and open-water swimming, and it’s pretty accurate. I do prefer using my silicone watch band. Compared to Form goggles, I usually have the same yardage (or meters) in the pool.

Cycling: 

Riding is not my favorite thing, but I find the Apex 2 accurate with riding. I have not tried indoor riding. I don’t think it will ever compete with the plethora of cycling and riding GPS devices.

Hiking:

I don’t fully understand the differences between hiking and walking, but nevertheless, the Apex 2 is accurate as far as GPS. The elevation (more relevant to hiking) is still off.

Coros Apex 2 Watch Review

Coros Apex 2 Price:

At $499, the Coros Apex 2 is not cheap. But it’s much cheaper than the rival Garmin Fenix. Do I think it’s worth the price? Yes. If you are doing a lot of different activities and want a watch with “all of the features,” the Coros Apex 2 is one of the cheaper top-of-the-line watches.

Coros Apex 2 Conclusion:

While the Coros Apex 2, does have a couple of flaws including elevation tracking, it’s still a great watch. Plus of any GPS Watch, I think it looks the best. (Yes I said it).

You can purchase the Coros Apex 2 here and see all gear reviews here.

Love running? You can subscribe to my weekly newsletter or read more about running shoes in my ebook.

Questions for you:

Have you tried the Coros Apex 2?

Which GPS watch are you using? 

 

Leave a Reply