Coros Apex GPS Watch Review

In my quest to find a watch to meet my needs, I decided to try the Coros Apex GPS Watch.  The company, Coros, is a newer company on the GPS scene. They created two watches the Coros Apex and the Pace. I chose the Apex, because it has all of the same features of the Pace but has a “less sporty look”. I wanted a watch I could wear wherever.

Coros designed the Apex as a Multisport Watch for athletes who want to train harder, smarter, and more efficiently. Along with pace, distance, time, you can even create workouts specifically geared towards your fitness level and training needs.

1000s, 400s, mile repeats?  You got it!  (A key imprtance for me)

After a workout, you can easily upload your data to the Coros App. If you use Strava or Trainingpeaks, it will sync to that too.  It does everything a Garmin Forerunner will, and I believe everything the Garmin Fenix does too.

In exchange for an unbiased review, Coros gave me 50% off the watch.

Coros apex gps watch review

Thoughts:

Right off the back, I liked the look of the watch. I like the sleekness of white but also the ability to change bands if I want too. Plus, it’s not a big, heavy, watch. Of any watch I’ve used, it’s by far the lightest.

I’m upgrading from the Garmin 220, so the Coros Apex has a lot of features.  Since I run, I’m most interested in the running and overall health features.  Before researching watches, I was unfamiliar with the brand Coros.  It’s a newer company but well known for running, cycling, and swimming.

As far as features go, the Apex is most similar to the Garmin 935.

Design:

The Apex is available in two different sizes, 42mm and 46mm.  I went with the smaller 42mm because I like a smaller watch that I can wear daily.  It looks sporty but not ultra-sporty.  It’s something I can get away with outside of the fitness world.

One thing I haven’t experimented with (yet), is the removable bands. Once the white gets dirty, I’m sure I’ll be changing bands.  I like pink so maybe that will be next.

Coros apex gps watch review

Battery Life:

It’s advertised to go about ten days on a single charge, and I’ve had success with that.  In fact, I only charged it once on my entire trip in California.  I wore it every day and used the GPS mode for either hiking or running.

Marin Headlands San Francisco

Hiking the Marin Headlands

It can also be in “Full GPS mode for 25 hours (or 35 with the larger 46 mm).  I have no need for that length of GPS, but if you are an ultra runner, I can see a huge benefit to not changing watches.  I appreciate I don’t have to charge it after every workout because I usually forget.

Features:

The Coros Apex Watch has a lot of features. Since I upgraded from a Garmin 220, it took me a while to get used to everything. In fact, I’m not fully used to everything just yet.

The important features to me were the ability to program a workout like 12X400 with 400 jog in between (or any track workout) as well as the essential time, distance, pace.  I liked the look of the Fitbit, but it could not program track workouts.

Seems simple right?  Believe me, the Coros Apex Watch has all of that and far far more.  I’m a basic runner and would prefer an “easy to use” watch versus one with 10,000 features that I didn’t use.  Luckily, the Apex Coros is both easy to use and has a ton of features.

Coros apex gps watch review

Here are just a few of many features:

Running:

  • Distance, pace, and speed (compared to other GPS brands, I’ve found it accurate
  • Entire Indoor/Treadmill Run Feature: I used Coros inside (my first time using a GPS watch inside ever), and the indoor GPS is accurate as well.
  • Heart Rate, Heart Rate Zone
  • Cadence and Stride Length (in real time)
  • Auto-lap, auto-pause
  • Ability to display more or less data on the screen:  Seeing the data is neat, but I personally don’t need to see it every second of my run. You can adjust the data screens to show more or less information.

The only issue, I’ve found with the Apex is, I’ve bumped it a couple of times and accidentally paused the watch (while still running). I wish there was a little more resistance on the side button, but it hasn’t been enough to make me dislike the watch or even be enough.

Cycling

Keep in mind, I don’t cycle. At all! The Coros Apex does all of the cycling data too.

  • Distance, speed, HR, HR zone, and so on.

Swimming

For the LOLZ, I decided to get back into the pool just to see what the Apex did.  Back in my day (omg I’m old…a decade ago), we had no GPS watches to track our collegiate swimming laps. To be honest that was probably good.  Moving forward, it was a whole new experience to get all of this information in the pool.  Like other sports, it did the following:

  • Distance, pace, stroke count,
  • I swam in the pool but you can differentiate between the pool and open water swimming.

Heart Rate Monitor:

I used the Heart Rate Monitor, and in comparison to my Fitbit, it’s pretty spot on. I didn’t have an issue, and the accuracy seemed right in line.

Coros apex gps watch review

Hiking:

While there isn’t a “hiking” GPS, I’ve been using running and it’s been accurate. A couple of cool hiking orientated features are the built in compass as well as altimeter (checking altitude). I’ve found myself using both regularly and it’s been an awesome addition to hikes.

Coros apex gps watch review

Coros apex gps watch review

Daily Factors and Sleep Tracking:

Sleep Tracking was a big feature for me.  I like the ability to track sleep on the Fitbit Versa.  I don’t think Garmin does a great job at it.  The Apex also has you standard activity and sleep tracking features.

I think the sleep tracking is far more accurate and better than Garmin.  I do believe, Fitbit sleep tracking is better.

Other Overall Wellness Features:

  •  Daily steps, active calories, exercise time (all fairly accurate and the steps was within 100 of what other trackers said)
  • Smart Notifications (I like to see texts or phone calls but have stopped notifications on social platforms (which I also do on my phone).
  • Elevation: I’ve enjoyed tracking the elevation for hiking.  When we went out to California, it was a lot of fun to track our climbing.

Overall Thoughts:

I like my Coros Apex Watch. I like the general design and the ability to wear it outside of fitness. I appreciate all of the features in the watch as well as it not being “big and bulky”.  It’s the smallest GPS watch I’ve seen on the market.

I know I don’t use every single feature, but the Apex marks all of the basic things I need (a basic GPS watch, that can be used for complex workouts, as well as being out and about). Coros, in general, flew under my radar until recently but if you are looking for a GPS watch, the Apex is one to consider.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and slimmest GPS watch I’ve tried
  • Long battery life
  • Sleep Tracking
  • Built-in heart rate monitor
  • Bonus hiking features including altimeter and compass
  • So. Many. Features. (maybe too many for me, but there are a lot!)

Cons:

  • Lack of music ability which many watches have at that price
  • The start/stop button for running can be finicky, and it is relatively easy to accidentally pause a run.

In finding a watch the Coros meets all of my needs. From tracking pace, distance, time, and workouts to hiking elevation, I haven’t found a feature it doesn’t have that I need.  Plus the overall look can’t be overlooked as a functional but cute watch.

If you are interested, you can use the code Hollie10 and receive 10% off the watch (which is $30).

Questions for you:

Do you wear a GPS watch? What kind?

What features are most important to you in a watch? 

Fitbit Iconic Review

As most people know, I’ve been searching for a new watch to update my Garmin 220. I’m basically 4-5 watch updates behind with Garmin at this point. I use my GPS for workouts, long runs, and races, but I typically leave it at home for easy runs.

I like going by effort and being honest, a 9:03 mile versus a 9:30 mile doesn’t mean much to me on an easy run.  So finding a watch that has the functionality of a 220, but is nice enough to wear all day has been a challenge. I’ve had to give up a few features in the Fitbit Iconic, which doesn’t make it a perfect fit but it’s a good watch for life.

I bought the Fitbit Iconic and don’t have any relation or partnership with any GPS brand.

Personally, I’ve been looking for a watch with all of these qualities:

  • GPS function (distance, time, pace, elevation)
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Less Sporty Exterior look to wear daily
  • Interval timer and ability to log workouts

To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a watch that has all of those qualities that isn’t $400+.  I don’t use my GPS for every run or workout, but I do use it for measuring mileage in new spots, and for races, and workouts.  I’m not a stranger to either Fitbit or Garmin, as I’ve had both.

GPS:

The primary reason I went with the Iconic versus the Surge, is the built-in GPS.  The older Fitbit models like the Charge 2, lacked accurate GPS. A few years ago, I ran Broad Street 10 miler, and Fitbit said I ran 8.7 miles. The race is literally a straight line down Broad Street.  The Fitbit Iconic is by far the best GPS, Fitbit has come out with.

The GPS connects quickly, and I’ve used it in many places with no delay or lag.

I’ve compared the Ionic’s GPS against the Garmin 220, and my husband’s Garmin D2 and it’s always been within .05. I’m also into elevation and climbing (especially with hiking), and it’s just as accurate.  For a daily run, walk, or hike, the GPS in Fitbit is fairly accurate.  It’s by far Fitbit’s most accurate GPD, and it’s as good as any model of Garmin I’ve used.

The only complaint with the running and fitness logs, is there is no history unless you use Strava. I don’t use Strava, and I don’t foresee myself using it either. This would become more of an issue since I can’t look back a year, from now and see what I did.

Battery Life:

The Fitbit Ionic claims to have over four days of battery life. I’ve used it for over a month now, and I’ve had success with that.  I like to charge the watch every 2-3 days to keep it full. It also claims 10 hours of GPS life, and I find my daily runs don’t take up much of the battery.

Display:

The Ionic’s display is easy to read, even in lower light. I find the Fitbit easier ro read than any Garmin watch.

There are three physical buttons as well as a touchscreen front. The display screen stays off unless you tap the touchscreen or move your wrist.

As mentioned the screen is easy to read which is a huge plus for me.  I want a watch I can use daily for the actual time.  Plus I can see progress towards a goal such as steps and calories (which isn’t something I care much about).  But seeing progress is always nice. 

If you swipe up on the home screen, you can get recent notifications from texting or third party apps.  It’s easy to control which notifications you receive. I like to only receive texts, but if you want twitter, facebook, and whatever else, you can.

 

Music:

To use the music feature of any smartwatch you need Bluetooth headphones. I run with my phone anyway, so this isn’t a feature I look much into.  You can use any Bluetooth headphone you prefer.  Fitbit sells their own headphones, but any will do.

One of the many apps the Ionic comes with is Pandora app.  It also has 2.5GB  of storage for music.  Isn’t that most than the original iPods?

Apps and Notifications:

One of the big draws of the Iconic is the ability to load apps like weather, Pandora, and even Starbucks. This isn’t a feature I use but makes it more comparable to the Garmin 645 with music or the Garmin Vivoactive.

You can also get texts through the phone but can’t respond. I do like the ability to see a text while out. Sometimes it can important, sometimes not, but I do appreciate it.

Wrist-Based Heart-Rate Tracking:

I like to know my heart rate, but the feature isn’t a “make or break” for me.  My heart rate was consistent with that of the Garmin Vivosport.  The 220 doesn’t have the feature.  My resting heart rate as well during workouts was about the same through the two devices.

 

Fitbit App:

In my opinion, the Fitbit App is much more focused on overall health. Garmin Connect, is great for running and that’s it. The Fitbit app is more user-friendly option too. Daily stats are easy to find too. You can see steps, sleep, flights of stairs climbed, calories, and water.  I think it’s a lot easier for someone who wanst ovrall health versus just “how far did I run”. I wish Garmin had a better app with easy to see and use features.

So What Features Is Fitbit Lacking?

Interval Tracking: I like doing 400s, 800s, mile repeats, and any interval tracking. The Iconic doesn’t do it. The lack of this feature is why it cannot become my primary running watch.

History: I know I’m one of the few, but I’m not a strava member. I would prefer to have a watch that you were able to look back at runs throughout time.

Conclusion:

I like Fitbit more for everyday watch wearing.  It’s a watch I can wear around the clock. It’s a great eatch to measure easy runs or even races you just want mile markers, but if you are looking for a “just” running watch, it wouldn’t be the first watch I would recommend.

Two major issues make it not a perfect watch for me, or even most competitive runner.

  • The absence of laps and the ability to program workouts
  • The availability of history only on Strava

If Fitbit added both of these features, it would compete with Garmin and other GPS runner focused watches.

That being said, I’ll continue to use my Fitbit Iconic. I like the app better, daily use, and the look if far better than Garmin.  I’ll continue to use my old 220 for workouts and races until there is a Garmin I like enough to buy that isn’t $500.  I like the rose gold 645 with music, but I can’t justify the price for what I need in a watch.

Questions for you:

Have you used Fitbit?

Which watch are you using? 

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