Coros Vertix Review
Cons: Expensive, slightly bulky
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Its outstanding battery life, accuracy, and ease of use make this one the across-the-board winner.
We found this watch to have accurate altimeter readings in a variety of situations including coming out of steep-walled canyons and under tree cover. It can be calibrated using GPS or by entering your known elevation, but we didn't find ourselves having to do it very often.
There are always some discrepancies to be expected with altimeter watches, but in general, the Coros was consistent. Hiking and running the same trails multiple times brought nearly identical readings that were always very close to predicted elevation based on hardcopy maps and websites such as CalTopo.
Simply put, the battery life is outstanding. With up to 45 days of regular use, 60 hours in full GPS tracking mode, and 150 hours in Ultratrac, it blows the other GPS watches out of the water and almost negates the "better battery life" argument for choosing a non-GPS watch. It charges quickly, within a few hours, and if needed, you can extend battery life by turning off Bluetooth or by not enabling GLONASS.
We took this watch to Iceland for a couple of weeks of backpacking and trail running and never had to charge it in spite of how many activities we tracked. If you're doing long backcountry days or weeks, this one can handle it. Unless you need the full year of life that you can find in a non-GPS altimeter watch that uses a standard watch battery, such as the Suunto Core Alu, the Vertix should have more than enough longevity.
With three responsive buttons (scroll/select, back, and light) and a large, clear screen, the Coros is easy to get started using. The bright display functioned well in both bright daylight and at night. From your home screen, you can view daily data such as current altitude, heart rate, air pressure, and more by scrolling through the different screens. The colorful graphs under each category were appreciated. Tracking activities such as hiking, mountain climbing, and trail running can be accessed by clicking the scroll button. Additional features including timers, alarms, compass, blood oxygen monitoring, navigation, and general settings can be found by holding the back button.
We loved that you could customize the different data and the number of screens during each type of activity. It usually took less than thirty seconds for the heart rate and GPS to register and allow you to begin tracking, and afterward, the upload to the accompanying app was lightning fast. The Coros app has a clean design and is straightforward to use, which is pretty much all we want in an app!
While the watch face is substantial and has some heft, it didn't feel overwhelming for any of our testers. The band is comfortable and easily adjustable for a variety of wrist sizes, and the silicone felt durable without feeling too thick.
Although it tracks fewer activities than a Garmin, taking into account the ABC features, fitness and sleep tracking, the ability to read texts via the watch, and the heart rate and blood oxygen monitoring, we think the Coros still has nearly all the features you could want.
Altimeter and Barometer
The altimeter and barometer both display graphs of the previous 24 hours, with them each taking an automatic reading every ten minutes. You can scroll back through the increments and view the exact altitude and air pressure for any point in your day, and it also gives you an average reading for the past 6 hours.
The compass calibrates quickly by rotating the watch in circles. As always with ABC watches, when there is high consequence, bring a map and compass as well. This is a solid, simple feature.
This watch has all the standard timekeeping features including a stopwatch, timer, and the ability to set numerous alarms. The time and date can be set manually or by having it automatically sync when connected to your phone via Bluetooth. You can also choose whether to have a digital or analog time display on your home screen.
Fitness tracking is another area where the Vertix shines. Along with VO2 measurements and training intensity and resting recommendations, similar to what you'd find in some Garmin and Suunto models, it also offers 24/7 blood oxygen monitoring to let you know how your body is adjusting to extremely high altitudes and when you can safely go higher. While most of us won't be using this feature every weekend, it's a pretty incredible tool.
Heart rate is also tracked every 10 minutes, and you can scan through a graph of the previous 24 hours of readings. This is also the main feature that enables sleep tracking, and together the two can be useful to determine how you're recovering from hard efforts. As with all watches that offer wrist heart rate monitoring, remember that they can vary in accuracy between users and will never be as accurate as a chest strap heart rate monitor. These types of tracking functions are great for giving you insight into general trends in your fitness, but remember to take it all with a grain of salt.
This watch offers both GPS and GLONASS, with the default being just GPS enabled. Using both will increase accuracy, but slightly lower battery life. During testing, we found this watch to be highly accurate with its distances. When comparing the tracked routes after activities to satellite maps, they were also very precise.
We loved being able to upload GPS files before heading out in order to follow a precise path and know exactly what the elevation changes looked like in the upcoming terrain. Traveling in areas where trails meandered or were easily lost, we appreciated the setting that vibrated whenever we got more than .1 mi off course. (This was the standard setting, but that number can be customized.)
At its price point, this is definitely an investment, but we think it's a worthy one. It's actually not as expensive as the highest-end Garmin or Suunto models, and we'd still pick the Coros for its functionality and accuracy. There are a number of features that many wearers won't be using on a daily basis, such as blood oxygen monitoring, but if battery life, durability, and cold weather performance are important to you, treat yourself to the Vertix.
This watch seems to tick all the boxes- comfortable, easy to use, highly accurate, and a battery that just won't quit. With Coros releasing firmware updates all the time, including adding more activities to track, this one seems like it will just keep getting better. This watch is stylish enough and has the right blend between smartwatch features and serious mountain capabilities to make it transition from the office to the alpine. Whether you're trekking in the Himalaya or getting your vert in post 9-5, the Vertix is our Editors' Choice for best altimeter watch.
— Paige Klugherz