With GPS technology pulled from aviation, plus a first-of-its-kind ‘Multi-Pitch’ mode and mega battery life, the COROS VERTIX 2 is ready for the vertical world.
Multiple ideal smartwatches already exist for athletes in most sports. Watches for measuring output, routes, etc. are ubiquitous in running, cycling, swimming, and pretty much any other terrain-based sport.
So why not climbing? COROS proposes the answer with the VERTIX 2, the first watch designed with rock climbers in mind. It uses dual-frequency GPS to generate better claimed tracking in vertical terrain. It also introduces Multi-Pitch mode, the first climbing-specific sports watch mode, which measures distance pitch by pitch and records difficulty.
The VERTIX 2 even gets a stamp of approval from Tommy Caldwell, who’s new to the COROS team this year.
Whether you rock climb or not, the VERTIX 2’s battery life is impressive. COROS already enjoys a reputation for long life in its watches across the industry, but the VERTIX 2’s 60 days of regular use, or 140 hours of full GPS tracking per charge, are first rate.
Other, more typical features like an optical display for oxygen saturation and an ECG (similar to Apple Watch) complete the watch, which is the brand’s first to be capable of playing music.
COROS VERTIX 2 Climbing Features and a Shortcoming
The watch’s centerpiece is its dual-frequency GPS, which uses all five major satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and Beidou) in its attempt to deliver the most consistent results possible.
Theoretically, that puts it a step ahead of competitors like Garmin and Suunto. It might make the most noticeable difference in and around steep terrain — namely, rock walls.
Once you get on the wall, you can use Multi-Pitch mode to measure your progress. While you crank out the pitches, it counts them one by one, recording time elapsed, vertical gain, and even difficulty. It’s not yet clear how much of the recording process is automated — as of the latest news, the company is priming it for release sometime this month.
The 140-hour full GPS/60-day total battery life is comparable to the similarly priced Garmin fenix 6 Pro’s 36 hours in GPS mode and 48 days total life. While any endurance athlete can get excited about that, those who pair various monitoring devices to their watches should take note that the VERTIX 2 does eschew ANT+ support.
That means Bluetooth is the only option for pairing. Therefore, when you use a device with an app (like a cycling trainer or a power meter with Zwift or TrainerRoad), you won’t be able to pair both the device and the app to the watch at the same time.
I know plenty of climbers, and athletes in general, who won’t care — but the decision to leave out ANT+ could turn some buyers off.
VERTIX 2 MSRP and Last Word
The price tag could seem worth it if its GPS proves to be significantly better than its competitors — especially in complicated vertical terrain, where the difference between descending safely and cliffing out can be a matter of meters.