Recently, I got to try the Coros Pod. After running New York and taking time off, I didn’t explore all of the features the Coros Pod has. It didn’t make sense to review the Coros Pod before diving in and trying out various features.
I learned more about my running with the Coros Pod in a few weeks than the last several years combined.
First and most importantly, what is the Coros Pod?
The Coros Pod provides advanced metrics, including power and form data. This data can help turn you into a smarter and more efficient runner.
How does the Coros Performance Pod Work?
The Coros Pod uses a ratio of speed to power-to-weight measures how much energy is involved in propelling your body forward. For those who don’t know (I didn’t before using the Coros Pod), when your speed increases and power decreases, you improve your efficiency. By becoming more efficient, running becomes easier. Is it ever “easy”? No, but it does become easier.
What kind of data do you get with the Coros Pod?
Stride Height (Vertical Oscillation)
Run Efficiency – derived from running power
So Here is a More In-depth Look at Some of Those Features:
The Coros Performance Pod Calculates Cadence and Stride Length:
Most watches these days will calculate your cadence and stride length, including the watch I already use: The Coros Apex. However, no watch is perfect, not even Coros.
So why use the Coros Pod if your GPS Watch already calculates that? The Coros Pod also calculates Stride Height, Ground Contact Time and Left/Right Balance.
I also learned, when running and by staying closer to the ground, and having a faster cadence running becomes “easier.” I think the left/right balance is one of my favorite features of the Coros Pod.
Using the information from the left/right balance, I learned what I need to work on to run healthier. I never realized my left side was stronger. However, it does make sense since my right side has had more of the injuries lately. While .4 doesn’t seem like a lot, it’s a fairly substantial amount.
The Coros Performance Pod Calculates Power:
The Coros takes into account weight, speed and several other inputs to calculate your Running Power. Not only will the Coros Pod calculate your power horizontally, but it will also do so laterally, vertically.
Do you Need a Coros Watch to use the Coros Performance Pod?
No, but as someone who uses the Coros Apex, I do recommend any of the Coros GPS watches from the Coros Apex Pro to the coros vertix. If you already use a Coros GPS watch, existing Coros users just put the watch in run mode and go.
In fact, you can use the Coros Pod alone if you prefer. To pair the Coros Pod, you just download the Coros App and start running. Running with just the pod will tell you all of the information like heart rate, stride cadence, and running efficiency without feeling tied to a watch. For some people who prefer to run naked and not know the pace, they can tell their information without a watch. I do appreciate that I can know the information without ever using a watch. When you’re done with your run, the Coros pod will sync with the app and track your run.
You can also sync the Coros Pod with third party social media sites like Straa and Training Peaks.
Will I feel the Coros Performance Pod While Running?
No. I’ve run just over 100 miles with the Coros Pod and it’s neer inhibited my run. I even raced with it once and it didn’t fall off or bop around. I highly recommend it for someone who wants the features of a GPS watch but doesn’t necessarily want a watch on their wrist.
If you’re interested in the Coros Pod, it’s available here.
In my quest to find a running 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 Coros Pace. I chose the Coros Apex because it has all of the same features of the Coros Pace but has a “less sporty look.” I wanted a watch I could wear wherever.
Coros designed the Coros Apex GPS Watch 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 importance 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 also does. Coros vs. Garmin is comparable in everything, including GPS Accuracy.
In exchange for an unbiased review, Coros gave me 50% off the watch.
Coros Apex Thoughts:
Right off the back, I liked the look of the Coros watch face. I like the sleekness of white but also the ability to change bands if I want too. Plus, the watch face is not big or bulky. Of any watch I’ve used, it’s by far the lightest.
I’m upgrading from the Garmin Forerunner 220, so the Coros Apex GPS has a lot of features. Garmin vs. Coros is similar, and you wouldn’t go wrong with either. Since I run, I’m most interested in running watch and overall health features as they relate to running. 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 Coros Apex is most similar to the Garmin 935.
Coros Apex Design:
The Coros Apex is available with a watch face in two different sizes, 42mm and 46mm. I went with the smaller Coros Apex 42mm apex because I like a smaller watch face 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. The Coros Apex 46 mm is by no means big. I just prefer something smaller.
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. You are also able to create custom watch faces too.
It’s advertised to go about ten days on a single charge, and I’ve had success with that. In fact, I only charged the Coros Apex once on my entire trip to California. I wore it every day and used the GPS mode for either hiking or running.
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.
Coros Apex Features:
The Coros Apex Watch has a lot of features. Since I upgraded from a Garmin Forerunner 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 running 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 Coros Apex is both easy to use and has a ton of features.
Here are just a few of many features for the Coros GPS Watch:
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)
Training Load and Stamina Level information: Are you training too much?
VO2 Max information including lactate threshold, threshold pace, and aerobic and anaerobic paces.
Ability to display more or less data on the watch face: 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.
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.
For the LOLZ, I decided to get back into the pool just to see what the Coros 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. It’s also waterproof up to 100 feet.
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.
I have found it to be accurate too. When I swim 1000 meters, it says just that.
Coros Apex Heart Rate Monitor:
I used the Heart Rate Monitor, and in comparison to my Fitbit, it’s pretty spot on. Like most fitness trackers and GPS Watches, the Coros Apex uses wrist-based heart rate. There is no strap, and everything is done from your wrist. I didn’t have an issue, and the accuracy seemed right in line.
Coros Apex and 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 barometric altimeter which measures the altitude. The built-in barometer is used for measuring elevation. It’s much more accurate than GPS elevation. Most Altimeter watches use atmospheric pressure as the method to measure altitude. Essentially, the altimeter is a barometer created for a specific purpose (IE: measuring altitude).
I’ve found myself using both regularly, and it’s been an awesome addition to hikes.
Coros Apex 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 your standard activity and sleep monitoring 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 and Fitness Trackers:
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 of the Coros Apex GPS Watch:
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 watches 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.
Coros Apex Pros:
Lightweight and slimmest GPS watch I’ve tried
35-hour battery life and 25 hour battery life on GPS track mode
Built-in wrist-based heart rate monitor
Bonus hiking features including altimeter and compass
So. Many. Features. (maybe too many for me, but there are a lot!)
Coros Apex Cons:
Lack of music ability which many watches have at that price
The Digital Knob: start/stop button for running can be finicky, and it is relatively easy to pause a run accidentally.
In finding a watch, the Coros Apex GPS Watch 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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.