The Coros Vertix 2 has superb battery life and very accurate dual-band GPS but can’t quite match the Fenix 6 series for features
- Fantastic battery life
- Big screen with sapphire glass
- Super-accurate dual-band GPS
- No turn-by-turn routing
- Lacks ANT+
The Coros Vertix 2 belongs to a genre of sports watches that’s been gaining in popularity in recent times. Tracking extreme activities such as climbing, ultra running and multi-day expeditions, it’s aimed squarely at outdoor enthusiasts and it comes loaded with features to match.
You don’t have to be an extreme sports lover to fall in love with the Coros Vertix 2, though. With a rugged, comfortable design, fantastic battery life and accurate GPS and heart-rate monitoring, it’s among the best all-round sports watches I’ve tested and although it won’t suit everyone, it’s one to put on your shortlist alongside the likes of the Garmin Enduro and the Fenix 6 series of sports watches.
Coros Vertix 2 review: What do you get for the money?
Rather unnecessarily, the Coros Vertix 2 comes in a chunky plastic flight case. This gives the feeling that you’re getting something extra for your money but, in truth, once you’ve extracted the watch from its case, attached its silicone wristband and strapped it to your wrist, you’ll probably never need to touch the case again.
The watch itself is a bit of a beast, too. It weighs 89g and it’s super chunky. I didn’t find it particularly uncomfortable, even when wearing it in bed, but if you plan on using this as your all-day watch as well as your fitness companion, be aware that you may have difficulty squeezing it under a shirt cuff.
If you’re okay with that – or you don’t wear a shirt all that often – you’ll find it a pleasure to wear and use. The wide silicone wristband supplied with the watch is slightly stretchy, and its closely spaced buckle holes make it easy to get a snug fit. I’m a big fan of the bold styling, too, and the fact that the watch body is built from tough titanium and topped with a sapphire crystal is a nice touch, ensuring it will stay looking its best for some time to come.
Although it’s not cheap, at £600 it’s reasonably priced when you consider what you’d have to pay to get a similar level of features from a Garmin. Indeed, in order to get a 1.4in screen, sapphire crystal glass and a titanium body on the Fenix 6 series, you’re looking at a price tag of £750.
The Coros Vertix 2’s main attractions, however, aren’t just its design and build quality, but its incredibly long battery life and its dual-band “all systems” GPS radio. General use battery life is quoted at 60 days, just five days short of the incredibly long-lasting Garmin Enduro, and GPS battery life is a hugely impressive 140 hours of continuous use – that’s 60 hours longer than the Garmin.
This increases to an absurdly long 240 hours in Ultramax mode, where the watch uses the GPS radio for 30-second bursts every 120 seconds, and it falls to a still perfectly adequate 50 hours when you have the dual-band GPS, all-systems GPS mode running.
In this mode, the Vertix 2 can “see” and use all the main satellite navigation systems (the all-systems part), including GPS, Galileo, GLONASS, Beidou and QZSS, and it can also connect to signals from two different satellites simultaneously (the dual-band bit), in theory increasing accuracy. This is something that’s especially helpful in built-up areas or in mountainous areas, according to Coros, where line of sight is especially important and satellite signals can reflect off vertical surfaces, causing inaccuracies.
Other features are as you’d expect from a high-end sports wearable. The Coros Vertix 2 is waterproof to 10ATM (100m), comes with an optical heart-rate monitor that tracks your heart rate 24/7 and can measure blood oxygen content. It has the ability to carry out ECG measurements too, although all this does is give you an indication of your recovery status. It doesn’t, as other ECG-capable watches do – the Apple Watch Series 7, for instance – attempt to detect possible AFib in your heart-rate rhythms.
The Vertix 2 can also track your daily activity and sleep. It supports music playback and has onboard maps with route synchronisation available via both Strava and Komoot. And although the choice of sports profiles isn’t quite as extensive as it is on Garmin’s multisport watches, it covers most of the important areas and then some, including pool and open water swimming, triathlon and track running.
Coros Vertix 2 review: What do we like about it?
The best thing about the Vertix 2 is undoubtedly its battery life. At the time of writing, I’ve been wearing and training with the watch for 32 days without needing to charge it and it still has 6% left on the battery gauge.
Thanks to the watch’s Battery Usage menu, which breaks down exactly what’s been consuming your battery, I know this has included 15hrs 54mins of GPS usage in the most battery-sapping, dual-band all-systems mode. The menu also informs me that the remaining 6% will deliver four further days of general use and three more hours of GPS, so I probably don’t need to panic too much about it running out by the end of the day.
The accuracy of the GPS on the Coros Vertix 2 is very impressive as well. To test this, I compared distance and pace from the Coros Vertix 2 with data recorded from my Stryd footpod across eight different runs and I found it short by a mere 0.83% on average.
For reference, the Stryd is the most accurate device I’ve come across for measuring distance and pace while running. It doesn’t rely on GPS and isn’t affected by tree cover or GPS signal reflections, so this is a very impressive result for the Coros.
The heart-rate monitor is a touch less impressive, with a deviation of 3.68% over the course of the same eight runs when compared with data from a MyZone MZ-Switch chest belt. I’d always expect an optical, wrist-mounted heart-rate monitor to be less accurate than an ECG-based belt but, overall, the Coros’ results are pretty good.
Unlike other wearables I’ve tested this year – the Apple Watch Series 7 and Fitbit Luxe, for instance – it rarely struggled to latch onto my heartbeat and hardly ever confused it with my running cadence.
These aren’t the only things that are great about the Vertix 2, however. The implementation of maps and routes works really well now that Strava and Komoot routes are both supported. Initially, the only way to get a route onto the watch involved you having to download it to your phone in GPX format, then to open it in the Coros app and finally, to synchronise it to the watch. Now, you can simply link the Coros app to your Strava or Komoot accounts to view and sync routes.
Note, however, that neither approach is free. With Strava, the routing features require a premium subscription. The cheaper option is to use Komoot, for which you only have to purchase maps in the area in which you want to run or walk.
I’m a fan of the Coros mobile app, which is nice and simple and presents loads of information clearly and sensibly. Individual workouts get a thorough breakdown of data, with graphs for things such as heart rate, pace, power, cadence and more.
Perhaps more importantly, it provides a really good overview of your performance over time and gives you a good idea if you’re improving or not. In particular, you can look at trends for various metrics over a period of 30 days, 90 days, six months or a year, and these include VO2 Max, threshold pace, resting heart rate and threshold heart rate. The app also provides an overview of your training load and whether that falls within its recommended limits, your base fitness and fatigue.
There’s also plenty of support for third-party fitness platforms, including Strava, Training Peaks, Adidas Running, Final Surge and Apple Health, although slightly bizarrely, there’s no support for Google Fit.
And, at long last, Coros fans will be delighted to discover that the firm is launching a web-based platform to go alongside the app where you can more comfortably view your metrics and trends and set up workouts and training plans. As yet, Coros hasn’t put any preset plans in place here so you can’t pick a distance, and a target event – 10km, half marathon, marathon for instance – and have it create a plan for you, as you can with other platforms. However, it’s a start, and there’s plenty of data to dig into with both athlete and coach views available.
Called the Training Hub this makes setting up workouts and training plans yourself much easier than on the app, however, and if you’re desperate to save effort there’s a selection of training plans on the Coros platform you can import by scanning a QR code with the app. It’s clear there is still a bit of work to do here and it’s still in public beta until the launch on 31 December but it’s certainly an encouraging development.
Coros Vertix 2 review: What could it do better?
Good though the Vertix 2 is, there are still some things that it could improve on. For instance, while the maps implementation works well, and I found it fairly easy to follow uploaded routes, it doesn’t support turn-by-turn routing instructions, which cyclists might find a pain.
And while it does support the connection of accessories such as heart-rate chest belts, footpods and power meters via Bluetooth, its lack of support for ANT+ could be a deal-breaker for some.
I’m not a huge fan of some of the spindly fonts used on the watch’s workout display, either, which can make it difficult to tell whether you’re looking at your power, distance or pace while exercising. The music function also isn’t much use, because it only works with files you copy into the memory – there’s no support for Spotify playlist downloads as there is with the Garmin 6X Sapphire.
Despite the niggles, however, there’s no doubting that the Coros Vertix 2 is a brilliant sports watch, especially if you value battery life and GPS accuracy above all other things. It lasts nearly as long as the Garmin Enduro in regular use and it beats it for GPS longevity, plus it’s as accurate a GPS watch as I’ve ever used.
The heart-rate monitor is good, too – although if you’re training to heart-rate targets, I’d still advise buying a chest belt – and its mapping function works well, although it does lack turn-by-turn instructions.
The question is, do you buy this or a Garmin Fenix 6? If you want a sports watch with the best battery life possible and luxury touches such as sapphire crystal screen and a titanium body, then buying the Coros makes sense.
If those things don’t matter so much to you, and you don’t mind dropping down in screen size and build slightly, then the Garmin takes over as the multi-sport watch of choice, with its better music features and more comprehensive mapping and routing.