Coros Apex 2 Review
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Coros Apex 2
$399.00 at REI
Check Price at REI
$224.93 at REI
$200.00 at REI
$200.00 at REI
|Pros||Amazing battery life for size, unique color-ways, great mobile application||Ultra-lightweight, thin profile, good for smaller wrists||Great design, responsive interface, inexpensive||Low profile design, great battery life, very accurate, low cost||Simple, inexpensive, lightweight|
|Cons||Loop strap less desirable, scroll wheel requires screen lock, music is mp3 only||Less premium materials, potentially less durable, tool requires straps||Minimal navigation, shorter battery life, lack of tool widgets||Minimal activity profiles, no navigation features, plastic construction||Lacks premium health stats, shorter battery life|
|Bottom Line||Combining premium materials and a great design, this 42mm case boasts the longest battery life on the market||This fully featured running watch is perfect for those who want the lightest equipment for the track and trail||A premium-looking watch with loads of features and health metrics for a great price||A fully functional and incredibly light GPS sports watch boasting great battery life at an incredible value||A basic GPS watch that will be perfect for those looking to track their activities without the advanced features of premium models or extended battery life|
|Rating Categories||Coros Apex 2||Garmin Forerunner 955||Polar Vantage M2||Coros Pace 2||Garmin Forerunner 55|
|Battery Life (20%)|
|Ease of Use (20%)|
|Specs||Coros Apex 2||Garmin Forerunner 955||Polar Vantage M2||Coros Pace 2||Garmin Forerunner 55|
|Watch Face Material||Sapphire glass||Corning Gorilla Glass DX||Hard-coated PMMA laminated lens||Corning glass||Chemically strengthened glass|
|Bezel||Titanium alloy||Fiber reinforced polymer||Stainless steel||Fiber reinforced polymer||Stainless steel|
|Case||Titanium||Fiber-reinforced polymer||Glass fibre reinforced polyamide||Fiber reinforced polymer||Glass fibre reinforced polyamide|
|Strap Material||Silicon or nylon||Silicone||Silicone||Silicon or nylon||Silicone|
|Tools Required to Change Band?||No||Yes||No||No||No|
|Size Tested||42mm||One Size only||One size only||One size only||One size only|
|Measured Main Body Size (diameter)||42mm||46.5mm||46mm||43mm||42mm|
|Measured Screen Width||27.95mm||33mm||30mm||32mm||26.5mm|
|Measured Weight||1.5 oz||1.7 oz||1.55 oz||1.2 oz||1.31 oz|
|Measured Charging Time||98 min||120 min||78 min||80 min||111 min|
|Battery Type||Rechargable lithium ion||Rechargable lithium ion||Rechargable lithium ion||Rechargable lithium ion||Rechargable lithium ion|
|Measured Battery Life With GPS On||44 hours||41 hours||38 hours||29 hours||19 hours|
|Manufacturer-Reported Battery Life||Smartwatch mode: Up to 17 days
GPS-only mode without music: Up to 45 hours
All-Systems GNSS mode plus Multi-Band with music: Up to 7 hours
All Systems GNSS mode plus Multi-Band without music: Up to 30 hours
|Smartwatch mode: Up to 15 days
GPS-only mode without music: Up to 42 hours
All-Systems GNSS mode plus Multi-Band with music: Up to 8.5 hours
All Systems GNSS mode plus Multi-Band without music: Up to 20 hours
Ultratrac mode: Up to 80 hours
|GPS: 40 hours||Smartwatch mode: 20 days;
GPS: 30 hours;
Ultramax mode: 60 hours
|Smartwatch mode: 2 weeks;
GPS: 20 hours
|Navigation Built In?||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|Satellite Networks Used||GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, Beidou, QZSS||GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO||GPS, GLONASS||GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, BEIDOU||GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO|
|Maps?||Yes||Yes - detailed||No||No||No|
|Back to Start Navigation?||Yes||Yes||No||No||No|
|Water Resistance (max depth)||50m||50m||30m||50m||50m|
|Music Storage?||Yes||Yes - 2000 songs||No||No||No|
|Daily Fitness Tracking?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Main Software App||Coros App||Garmin Connect, widgets for other features||Polar Flow||Coros||Garmin Connect, widgets for other features|
|Can Software Cross Over to Different Software Ecosystems?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Our Analysis and Test Results
With smaller GPS watches, you can generally expect to sacrifice features and battery life due to the smaller body size. However, the Coros Apex 2 competes with watches much larger in size. With 45 hours of GPS recording and new dedicated function buttons, this is one of the best 42mm watches on the market. The older version of the Coros Apex in the 42mm size was lacking when compared to the more featured Apex Pro; however, in this iteration, there are far fewer differences between these 2nd generation models.
If you are in the market for a fully featured 42mm watch without spending top dollar, this is a model you should consider. This watch contains all of the features we consider must-haves, like sleep tracking, ABC (Altimeter, Barometer, and Compass), and sports tracking. Navigation maps have been added, but we find the smaller screen less useful for extensive navigation. New metrics like HRV (Heart Rate Variability) have also been included. This new model also adds helpful items in the toolkit like 'find my phone' and 'find my watch.' These were previously provided via a software update that did not include the Apex 42mm series, so we are happy these features have come over to the smaller case size.
One of the most compelling features of the Coros brand is the mobile companion app which we find is the best outside of the Apple UI. This Coros app easily displays data and does not feel overwhelming or confusing to operate. You can customize basically all of the settings on your watch and transfer them over via Bluetooth. It's also nice to know that Coros implements great software updates that, in the past, have provided features as complex as navigation. At this price point, we haven't found a more fully-featured watch in the 42mm case size.
As with all Coros watches, the battery life on the Apex 2 is impressive and one of the main selling points. You can expect this model to last almost two full days with GPS tracking; we achieved 44 hours of full GPS tracking before our watch died. This is the highest spec battery life we've found out of any of the 42mm watches on the market. Charging is also fast — we went from a dead battery to a full 100% in 98 mins (USB-A 12W). We just wish the included power cord was USB-C which is easier to integrate into a charging system for expeditions and long events.
We expect this battery life will be sufficient for most athletes; it was for us during our testing. We took the Apex 2 on long outings and multi-day trips to test how it performed in a wide variety of conditions. Testing took place in winter, and we are happy that the battery life didn't suffer from cold conditions, which were sometimes in the negatives. This watch can also record while charging, which is important for those doing events with lots of time on the move.
Ease of Use
As watches adopt a more unified UI and user experience, we often have similar opinions regarding their ease of use. However, Coros stands out for its mobile companion application — it is the easiest to use and most elegant to look at. That said, we do wish Coros would implement some additional descriptions and metrics for its health data.
This new version of the Apex adds a third backlight button, which is a welcome addition. The scroll wheel still feels small for larger hands, but we noticed less wrist bumping and accidental interaction — especially with the wheel on the upward side of the arm. The touchscreen is nice for swiping through data screens, though it's less usable on other features like the navigation screens. The Apex 2 is simply too small to justify using it as a complex navigation tool over your phone. Otherwise, the menu systems are easy, and the toolkit allows for many setting changes without having to dig through menu layers.
With the accuracy of GPS watches being heavily dependent on fit, it makes a lot of sense for people with smaller wrists to trend toward a watch that fits snugly with good skin contact. The Apex 2 received the same updated heart rate monitor as the Apex Pro 2, and the data closely matched the data from our most accurate models and the previous Apex.
The Apex 2 did not receive the latest dual-frequency chip, but it does support all major satellites now, which was missing in the previous version. The antenna is plenty strong and tracked consistently through layers like a shell when ice climbing or skiing. In certain scenarios, this new technology is important, but we did not see a major increase in accuracy performance over the previous Apex. Regardless, we are confident in the metrics provided by this watch, and it closely matched the GPX track and data of our leading test benchmarks.
After using the Apex 2 for a couple of months, we feel this is one of the best-looking 42mm watches on the market. We are impressed with the implementation of solid materials without a super high cost, and we appreciate the option for cool colorways. Coros has designed top-notch buttons and haptics, the best the market has to offer. If you have a smaller wrist or want a watch with less of a footprint, this could be the choice for you. While not the most rugged-looking watch, we still think it looks good in a variety of situations.
The new loop wristband isn't our favorite — we tend to prefer a standard watch strap because it is easier to attach to handlebars, a backpack, or a climbing harness while not in use. The loop band is also harder to index and achieve the right tightness every time you put it on. Because the loop is still attached to the watch, it tightens less evenly than a normal watch band. These are still available as an accessory, but it would be nice to choose which band you want when purchasing the watch like you can with the Apple Watch.
Should You Buy the Coros Apex 2?
If the 42mm case size is your preferred format and you are concerned about battery life, this is the model for you. There are other 42mm watches that are more fully-featured, like the Garmin Fenix 7, but you'll have to dish out quite a bit more money. The Apex 2 excels due to its build quality, battery life, and features that, while paired down, still offer everything you truly need in a day-to-day GPS watch.
What Other GPS Watches Should You Consider?
If you are interested in the 42mm case size but the Coros Apex 2 is still a bit spendy, we'd recommend the Coros Pace 2, which is the same size but at a fraction of the cost. It's a great all-around entry GPS watch and one of the best deals on the market. If you are looking for a few more advanced features than Coros models offer, we'd recommend the Garmin Forerunner 955. This model is 47mm but is extremely thin and doesn't have the same rugged design as some of the flagship models. It also has features we love, like Garmin Pay, Turn-by-Turn navigation, and advanced health metrics that offer more insights than Coros.
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