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Coros Apex 2 and Coros Apex 2 Pro review: Pinpoint accuracy

Our Rating :
Price when reviewed : £419
Coros Apex 2

A design revamp and new hardware deliver a pair of sports watches to be reckoned with – Garmin should be worried about the Coros Apex 2


  • Excellent accuracy
  • Great battery life
  • Nice design


  • Backlight handling at night should be better
  • No course builder in app

It’s been a while since you could call Coros a disruptive upstart but it still holds that position in the eyes of many consumers. Fitness wearables like the new Apex 2 and Apex 2 Pro, however, demonstrate that Coros watches should be considered equals alongside Garmin, Polar and the rest.

Both watches arrive with a tweaked design, heart rate monitor hardware and super-accurate navigation hardware, plus improved battery life for those who hate charging. This means they’re closer than ever to competing with the best that the competition has to offer.

Coros Apex 2 and Coros Apex 2 Pro review: What do you get for the money?

At £419 for the Apex 2 and £499 for the Apex 2 Pro, these two Coros watches are roughly on par with the non-solar Garmin Fenix 7 and the Garmin Forerunner 955 when it comes to price, which is pretty stiff competition. However, they certainly make a good fist of it when it comes to features.

Both have been overhauled from the ground up compared with the original models. They now have three buttons on the right edge, instead of just two. A shortcut/light button is situated at the top, with a back button at the bottom and a rotating, clickable “digital crown” in the centre for selecting items, pausing and resuming workouts as well as scrolling through lists.

The displays, which remain power efficient colour MIP (memory in pixel) units, have also been upgraded to include touchscreen support and each comes topped with tough, scratch-resistant sapphire crystal. The Apex 2 has a 1.2in display and there’s a 1.3in screen on the Pro. The resolution on both watches is 260 x 260, which is sharper than on the original devices.

Elsewhere, both the heart rate monitor and GNSS (global navigation satellite system) hardware have been revamped. The GPS antenna has been tweaked for improved accuracy and both watches have “all systems” satellite support, bringing them level with their Garmin competitors.

This means you don’t have to choose between one satellite system or another. They can see and utilise signals for GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, Galileo and BeiDou systems, all at the same time – although of course, it does depend on where you are in the world. Here in the UK, for example, you’ll only be able to make use of GPS, GLONASS and Galileo.

The Apex 2 Pro goes one better than the regular Apex, too, and comes with dual-frequency positioning, which gives extra accuracy in environments such as city centres or steep mountains or gorges where single frequency watches often struggle.

Both watches also now have offline landscape and topographical mapping (although only the Apex 2 Pro has these maps preloaded). This is a feature that was previously limited to the Vertix line of watches.

Elsewhere, there’s a new blood oxygen sensor and night mode, plus Coros’ new Effort Pace metrics, although this is being rolled out to older watches in the range as well, so it isn’t a feature limited to these two wearables. Effort pace is, essentially, an analogue to Strava’s Grade Adjusted Pace metric (GAP). Essentially, this adjusts the pace readout on inclines to reflect what the equivalent pace would be if you were running on the flat, so you don’t end up running too hard or slow in your training. Coros says this algorithm is now personalised as well, and takes into account individual runners’ efficiency running up and downhill, so it isn’t a one size fits all approach.

Finally, both new watches have improved battery life compared to the original Apex and Apex Pro with the Apex 2 delivering up to 45 hours of continuous GPS usage (in standard, single system GPS mode), and the Apex 2 Pro providing up to 75 hours. Not only is this better than the originals, but both watches also beat the Garmin Forerunner 955, with the Apex 2 Pro handily beating the Garmin Fenix 7, which comes in at 57 hours of GPS and 18 days of general smartwatch usage.

Coros Apex 2 and Coros Apex 2 Pro review: What did we like?

I’ve been using both watches (in the most accurate GPS mode) for a month or so now and performance has been exceptional across the board. Battery life is superb: I’ve barely had to charge the Apex 2 Pro at all in that time and even the smaller Apex 2 has rarely visited the charger.

Accuracy has proven impressive as well. I compared them both with my go-to control devices for fitness watch tests – the Stryd Wind running pod for distance and pace and a Garmin HRM-Pro+ chest belt for heart rate – over 73km (8 runs) for the Apex 2 and the 63km (7 runs) for the Apex 2 Pro.

As you can see, of the fitness watches I’ve selected here for comparison the Apex 2 Pro is the second most accurate on distance (after the Coros Vertix 2) while the Apex 2 is the third most accurate, beating the excellent Garmin Forerunner 955 comfortably. The Forerunner 955 is better for heart rate accuracy but, again, the Apex 2 and Apex 2 Pro remain pretty good, with average heart rate accuracy within a percent of the Garmin wearable and superior to both recent Apple smartwatches.

As I’ve come to expect from Coros, the watches are very easy to use and get to grips with. And, while there aren’t as many exercise modes as you get with a flagship Garmin watch, all the core stuff is there and then some.

Activity tracking modes include hiking, indoor and outdoor running (plus track mode), indoor rowing, cycling, pool and outdoor swimming, plus triathlon and multisport. In keeping with Coros’ focus on extreme sports, there are other modes, too, including mountain climbing, white water rafting and windsurfing. There’s also a comprehensive list of snow sports tracking (snowboarding, skiing, cross country skiing and ski touring).

As for the basics, that’s fairly straightforward but there’s nothing missing here. Both watches will track your steps and calories burned, floors climbed, resting heart rate and sleep. They also keep tabs on your running performance, with race predictions for 5km, 10km, half marathon and marathon distances. You also get long and short term training load and recovery estimates as well.

There’s also plenty of scope for analysis of long-term fitness trends via the app or the Coros Training Hub on the web. Similarly, if you prefer to look at your data via a third party platform, there is impressively broad support there, too, with the big names all covered, from Strava and TrainingPeaks through FinalSurge to Komoot, Stryd and RUNALYZE. You can check out the full list of compatible third party platforms on the Coros website.

Coros Apex 2 and Apex 2 Pro review: What didn’t we like?

There are plenty of areas where Coros could improve its offering, however, and one is the integration of training plans. Coros does offer a number of these on its website, which can be added quite easily to the training calendar, but you can’t do this directly from within the app’s front end or the Coros dashboard. You have to find the plans on the Coros website and click to add them via the Training Hub or scan a QR code to add them with the app.

The other thing I find a little odd is that, you don’t seem to be able to set Effort Pace as a target for workouts in the Training Hub web front end. It works fine in the app, though, and the facility is quite new so I’d expect a fix for this is on its way.

The other thing I don’t like much is the way the watch handles the backlight at night. You have three options here, although none of which are ideal. You can have the backlight activate via motion, which is annoying as it can light up when you’re tossing and turning. Alternatively, you can use Night Mode, which is idiotic as it turns on the backlight permanently until sunrise; it isn’t very bright but it’s enough to light up a dark bedroom in the dead of night.

The third option is that you can turn off the automatic backlight entirely overnight and manually activate the backlight with the top button when needed. That’s the best choice but it’s a pain to reactivate if you then want the automatic backlight back on during the day or evening. There is the option to schedule the auto backlight on between sunset and sunrise but, bizarrely, this cannot be customised to switch off the auto-backlight while you’re sleeping.

The final niggles are navigation related. My first complaint is that you can’t set the map as one of your data screens for a regular run – the map only appears if you select a course to navigate. Second, there’s no course builder available in the Coros Training Hub or app, although to be fair there are plenty of alternative ways to create courses and get them onto the watch. You can either repurpose courses you’ve already run previously, upload GPX files you’ve created on Garmin Connect (or elsewhere) and there’s the option to sync your Komoot and Strava routes, too, although that last one is only available to those with Strava Premium.

Coros Apex 2 and Apex 2 Pro review: Should you buy one?

They’re still far from perfect, clearly, but both the Coros Apex 2 and Apex 2 Pro are strong challengers for Garmin on many fronts. Both watches are robust, nicely designed and easy to use. They have superb battery life, are superbly accurate and come with a highly competitive selection of features as well.

With very tempting pricing – the Apex 2 is £419 and the Apex 2 Pro is £499 – both the Apex 2 and Apex 2 Pro offer superb value for money and give the Garmin Forerunner 955 and Fenix 7 a proper run for their money.

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