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Which Coros watch is right for you?

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 Scholz

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.

Coles notes:
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

The first thing I noticed about the Coros Apex 46mm was the sleek design. This watch is durable and has the look and feel of a high-end device, yet it is surprisingly lightweight. The watch face is customizable with over a dozen designs to choose from, and the the sapphire glass is virtually scratch-proof.  I did find that the face was somewhat difficult to read in bright sunlight, and from certain angles there is a significant amount of glare. The soft silicone wristband is comfortable and fit my slim wrists very well. It fit securely even when running at high intensities.
Part of the sleek design is the 2-button layout, as opposed to the more common 4 or 5 buttons. Although I appreciate the simplicity of this streamlining feature, I found the main button, which is a rotating knob, to be overly sensitive. This meant that it would inadvertently rotate and change the display screen if I brushed it with my sleeve or against my body. The most frustrating result of this is that if I paused the watch at a stoplight mid-run and accidentally turned the knob in the process, it would hit “finish” instead of “resume” when I went to restart it.
I used the Coros Apex for easy aerobic runs, harder long runs and track workouts. When it comes to high tech watches, my primary needs are reliable GPS and heart rate. The GPS tracking on the Apex is very reliable and achieves signal quickly, even when I’m surrounded by skyscrapers. I never experienced a dropped signal and found the pace readings to be consistent and accurate. The wrist-based heart rate monitor provided feedback that was consistent with my effort output, but I did find that I had to tighten the wristband a lot to get an accurate read. There is an ANT+ pairing option, meaning that you could use a chest heart rate strap for a more precise read. During activity the Apex gives you up to 5 customizable data pages with as many as 6 data fields each, which felt like plenty.
The Coros Apex is paired with a mobile app platform that is user-friendly, although it would be nice to have a desktop or website option. The watch syncs very quickly with my phone via Bluetooth, and the data is easy to review through the app. My biggest criticism is that as far as I could tell, you cannot review lap splits on the watch after you have completed a workout, and must rely on the app for this information.
The area where the Coros stands head and shoulders above its competitors is in battery life. With 35hrs of battery life in GPS mode and 30 days in basic mode, I only had to recharge the watch a handful of times in the several weeks that I wore it.
If you’re looking for a GPS smartwatch that combines strong aesthetics and function, the Coros Apex 46mm is a great option.


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.