Despite being relatively new to the world of GPS watches Coros has launched 3 different products aimed at 3 different athletes. The Pace, Apex and Vertix will do all the basics we’ve come to expect from our GPS watch these days. The Apex and Vertix each come with a set of additional features but at higher price points. Leaving us with the question of who is each watch for and what’s your best option on the Coros lineup?
Coros Vertix – Tory Shultz
Trail and ultrarunners are often finding a happy medium between minimalism and functionality. When the Coros Vertix arrived at the door, there was nothing minimal about it. The giant marine case appeared daunting, but the easy to use interface and exceptional battery life, The Coros Vertix is simple and an adventurer’s dream. Adventure begins after scanning the watch’s barcode with the Coros app. Pretty simple.
Running means different things to different people, and the watch allows users to customize its sapphire glass screen to show anything from heart rate, distance, elevation gain, average pace, current pace, stamina level, compass, altimeter, time of day, etc. There are five options of screens, all accessible during your run with scrolling through.
For those going really high in the mountains, the Altitude Acclimation System kicks in after watch gets above 2,500 metres. So even if you’re taking risks in the backcountry, the watch will provide a 0-100 score indicating your acclimation in relation to climate. It also recommends whether you should keep ascending or make the call to turn around due to altitude-related symptoms.
It’s simple to download routes, without consulting Dr. Google. Explorers can feel safe and follow their planned adventure on the watch.
Even after days of use, the watch never dropped below 30 percent in battery life, and it charges rapidly. Switch to a lower GPS mode and the watch will last 150 hours. (So, you can conquer Nolans twice if you want).
The watch fits well without being too bulky, but after a long day can agitate wrists. Scrolling through faces can be tough while running, so having a button may be more ideal for when everything feels tired. When downloading routes, Coros gives you a line, rather than a full map, which can be confusing for those directionally challenged.
Battery life: 45/150 hours in full GPS mode
Built-in wrist heart rate and SpO2 sensors
User-friendly: basic functions easy for even the most tech-illiterate runner
Resistance: durable and waterproof up to 150m
Third parties: Strava syncs well, which is really all that matters for some
Coros Apex – Kate Van Buskirk
Coros Pace – Dan Walker
What runners will love most about the Coros Pace is its simplicity and ease of use. Right from the box setup, is incredibly simple. You simply download the app and sync to your phone using a QR code. It was shockingly easy and led me to wonder why don’t more brands do that to pair devices.
But what really matters is how easy is to use. Selecting your activity mode is simple and even in downtown Toronto, I had no problems finding the GPS signal.
On the run the watch was light enough to forget that it was there (weighing just 49g) and even in the sweatiest conditions, the silicon band stayed comfortable and didn’t chafe. The Pace comes with a built-in optical heart rate sensor as well, which works as well as any other wrist-based sensor I’ve used. But if you’re looking to do some more focused training using your heart rate zones a chest strap would still be the way to go. For a general guideline, this wrist-based monitor will do the trick.
If you dabble in triathlon or cycling or your triathlon-curious there’s a lot to like with this watch as well. Swimming, Cycling and indoor variants of the running and biking modes are common at this price point. But a dedicated triathlon mode is not something you’ll often see at the sub $500 price point. While I did not have a chance to race a triathlon during the test period the Triathlon mode was easy to flip through and should be no problem to use even if you are 10 hours deep into an ironman.
The claimed battery life in GPS mode is 25 hours. During our testing period this proved to be accurate and I was often caught scrambling to remember where I had placed the charging cable since the last time I used it since it had been so long. The cable was not the easiest to use however, when you clamped it properly on the charging port there were no issues. However there was room for error when it came to attaching the chord properly. Not a huge deal but if you weren’t paying attention it was easy to think you were charging it when that wasn’t the case.
If you’re a runner looking to dabble in the multi-sports world this watch can be a great entry point. If you’re not the tri-curious type the additional functionalities can be great for cross training and monitoring your recovery during larger training blocks as well. The Coros Pace does all the basics well and gives you a lot more at a competitive price.