The COROS APEX 2 Pro has an incredibly long GPS battery life. And that’s just the beginning of a benchmark-setting watch for athletes, adventurers, and technophiles.
As a slow ultramarathon runner, I’ve been let down by my watches way more than once. In fact, even though I’ve never DNFed on a race, my watches have every time.
I have yet to record an entire 100-mile event on my smartwatch, having the battery poop out a couple of miles from the finish line.
And while the entire market of smartwatches has improved over the last couple of years, COROS just took a huge leap forward with battery life with the introduction of the APEX 2 Pro. (We’ll get into this more below.)
Beyond remarkable battery life, the COROS APEX 2 Pro aims to compete with other premium brands of sports and adventure watches. Launching today, along with a less expensive, but also impressive, COROS APEX 2, the APEX 2 Pro has vast capabilities.
I’ve had a pre-production sample of both watches for about a week, and have barely scratched the surface of all the capabilities.
In short: The COROS APEX 2 Pro ($499) and APEX 2 ($399) are top-shelf watches for athletes and adventurers. They offer a robust and complete toolbox of training and navigational aids, plus a related app that offers workouts, tool management, and health insights.
With benchmark-setting battery life and a great user interface, these watches should be popular with serious adventurers and athletes.
COROS APEX 2 Pro Review: Excellent Battery, Competitive Tools
Seventy-five hours! That’s how long COROS claims the APEX Pro 2 can run in its standard GPS mode. That battery life stands alone in the field of adventure watches.
While some others, like the Garmin fenix 7, can stretch much longer using limited GPS modes, 75 hours of second-by-second GPS connectivity puts the COROS APEX 2 Pro in a league of its own.
I realize I’m talking about a lot of “claims” in this article. And to be transparent, I simply have not had it for long enough to verify things like battery life.
In a week, I’ve taken it running four times and hiking once. My total workouts are about five hours, plus daily wear for a week. And the battery sits at 91% as I write this story.
My takeaway so far? This battery is going to last a very long time. And if I need to stretch it, COROS offers an “UltraMax” mode, which connects to GPS less often and extrapolates the data in between. In this mode, it doubles battery life to 150 hours, or 6.25 days.
The APEX 2 (non-Pro) model, also hitting the market today, has a 45-hour battery life with standard GPS.
APEX 2 Pro Accuracy
GPS watches have gotten really darned good. In my admittedly brief testing, I used the watch both in the city and mountains. And the maps show accuracy down to a few feet. I can even see short deviations off my route where I had to go 10 feet off route and pick up my dog’s poop.
The APEX 2 Pro has an updated optical heart-rate sensor, and from knowing my usual athletic performance, it seems quite accurate.
I noted a few deviations that I would not expect from a chest strap, but for a wrist-mounted monitor, the APEX 2 Pro was very close to my expected exertion rates. I found that tightening the watch a bit eliminated almost all unexpected heart-rate readings.
A Mountain Adventure Watch Toolbox
The APEX 2 and APEX 2 Pro share a comprehensive tool list that competes with the best adventure watches and fitness watches on the market. In my brief testing so far, I’ve given most of them a short spin and found them functional or better.
One notable upgrade for the APEX 2 and 2 Pro is the addition of music. You can load MP3s directly onto the watch for music on the trail — no need to bring your phone. The watch does not yet support streaming services like Spotify, but the brand hopes to find a streaming partner in 2023.
Outside of that, you get all the tools of the APEX watch. That means navigation, maps, ABC (altitude, barometer, compass), plus some great smartwatch functions like Find My Phone (I’ve used this already in the field while duck hunting), camera control, timer, stopwatch, save location, and navigation and maps.
In health tools, you’ll find an optical pulse oximeter, heart-rate monitor, fitness tracking, and a bunch of uploadable workouts. I tested the fartlek workout, and it was easy to follow on the watch (and kicked my butt).
For mountain athletes, you can set a storm alarm thanks to the barometer. There’s even a metronome if running to the beat is your jam.
The new duo of COROS watches seems as tough as any sports watch on the market. With a mode dedicated to multipitch climbing, they better be!
The build specs have top-tier ingredients. Both watches have sapphire glass touchscreens with an always-on memory LCD display. The bezel is Grade 5 titanium with PVD coating, and the cover is also titanium.
And I simply love the nylon-Velcro “Quick Fit Band.” The strap is comfortable, infinitely adjustable, and stays snug. The bands have been one of my biggest grips on some brands, particularly Suunto. COROS nails it with this watch band.
The overall result is a handsome watch that’s ready for anything you throw at it from -22 to 122 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s water-resistant to 5 ATM (atmospheres), equivalent to 50 m in depth.
COROS: A Daily-Wear Watch?
The APEX 2 Pro and APEX 2 make a strong case as daily-wear watches. Paired with a smartphone, it provides basic notifications such as texts, emails, and whatever other alerts you’d like to set up.
Wear it through the day, and it functions as a step counter. Wear it at night, and it monitors your sleep quite accurately.
With the always-on screen, the watch blends well into an office setting. My only gripe is, even with its least “sporty” available face, the COROS system still has a fairly athletic aesthetic.
I’d like to see a few more understated watch faces available in the library. Given the excellent quality of the watch, the faces lag a bit behind the competition in terms of style and fashion.
The COROS also lags when it comes to color and vibrancy in the watch face. Compared with the Suunto 9 Peak or Garmin fenix 7, its colors seem muted, and the display is dimmer. But these are minor gripes, especially when you compare the user interface.
COROS User Experience
Here, I found the APEX 2 Pro shined. It’s the easiest smartwatch to use that I’ve tested yet. The buttons are simple and intuitive. And I really appreciate the locking mechanism, which keeps the watch from starting a workout or ending one without a long press.
I have had many instances of watches recording nothing, or not recording workouts, due to a lack of locks. The COROS lock requires a 3-second press to lock or unlock it. This strikes me as perfect and unlikely to inadvertently unlock while putting on a jacket, for example.
Beyond that, the menus and buttons are simple to navigate and effective. It took me a few hours of use to become entirely fluent in the COROS ecosystem.
APEX 2 Pro Verdict
The APEX 2 Pro is a powerful tool for athletes and adventurers. It has among the longest battery lives of any smartwatch on the market. And outside of scuba diving and flight, it provides tools for almost every outdoor activity you may pursue.
But at their higher price, the APEX 2 and APEX 2 Pro face strong competition from Garmin and Suunto. Fortunately for consumers, COROS proves itself a serious contender even at the higher price range. Beyond battery life, it gives you great accuracy and utility in health, navigational, and fitness toolsets.
So if you’re in the market for a top-tier sports watch, the APEX 2 and APEX 2 Pro should be high on your list. For some, the choice of brand will come down to aesthetics, user interface, related apps, and brand loyalty. For many, COROS will be a wise choice as the wrist-borne tool they’ll go to every day.Check APEX 2 & Pro Price at COROS