Coros Apex Pro Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Stellar battery life, nice size and weight, comfortable, easy to use, simple software platform, seamless syncing and updates, touchscreen
Cons: Larger knob is easy to push accidentally, can't be plugged into a computer
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Coros Apex Pro
|Price||$499.99 at Amazon|
Compare at 2 sellers
|$563.72 at Amazon|
Compare at 3 sellers
|$349.99 at Amazon||$199.99 at Amazon||$299.99 at Amazon|
Compare at 3 sellers
|Pros||Stellar battery life, nice size and weight, comfortable, easy to use, simple software platform, seamless syncing and updates, touchscreen||Lightweight and thin profile, intuitive, fully featured, very accurate||Excellent quality, accurate, simple design, astounding value, very easy to use, great feature set, very long battery life||Low profile design, great battery life, very accurate, low cost||Solar rechargeable, good feature set, all functionality is built into the watch without the need for the apps|
|Cons||Larger knob is easy to push accidentally, can't be plugged into a computer||Expensive, hidden features that take time to set-up and get to know, blood oxygen sensor has questionable accuracy||Backlight isn't bright, heart rate monitor accuracy is a little off||No mountain sports or navigational features||Buttons are easy to push accidentally, can't use a screen protector, small screen, can't modularize the features like other Garmin products|
|Bottom Line||With all the right features and monstrous battery life, this watch is one of our favorites for ultradistance events and explorations||This elite watch stands out for its high-end features with exceptional accuracy and performance in a low profile design||A well-constructed and accurate watch with a minimalistic design, excellent battery life, and all the right features||A fully functional and incredibly light GPS sports watch boasting out of this world battery life||A top recommendation for any adventurer heading out on a longer expedition that needs GPS and a rechargeable device|
|Rating Categories||Coros Apex Pro||Garmin Forerunner 945||Coros Apex||Coros Pace 2||Garmin Instinct Solar|
|Battery Life (20%)|
|Ease Of Use (20%)|
|Specs||Coros Apex Pro||Garmin Forerunner 945||Coros Apex||Coros Pace 2||Garmin Instinct Solar|
|Watch Face Material||Sapphire glass||Corning Gorilla Glass DX||Sapphire glass||Corning glass||Power glass with photovoltaic panels built-in|
|Bezel||Titanium Alloy||Fiber-reinforced polymer||Stainless steel bezel||Fiber reinforced polymer||Fiber-reinforced polymer|
|Case||Alumnium||Fiber-reinforced polymer||Alumnium||Fiber reinforced polymer||Fiber-reinforced polymer|
|Strap Material||Silicon or nylon||Silicon||Silicon or nylon||Silicon or nylon||Silicone|
|Tools Required to Change Band?||No||Yes||No||No||Yes|
|Size Tested||47mm||One size only||44mm||One size only||One size only|
|Measured Main Body Size (diameter or W x H)||47mm||46mm||44mm||43mm||46mm|
|Measured Screen Width||33mm||30mm||33mm||32mm||22mm|
|Measured Weight||2.0 oz||1.7 oz||1.7 oz||1.2 oz||1.9 oz|
|Measured Charging Time||80 min||75 min||70 min||80 min||140 min|
|Battery Type||Rechargable lithium ion||Rechargable lithium ion||Rechargable lithium ion||Rechargable lithium ion||Rechargable lithium ion|
|Measured Battery Life With GPS On||36 hours||28 hours||24 hours||29 hours||29 hours|
|Manufacturer-Reported Battery Life||Smartwatch mode: 30 days
GPS mode: 40 hours
UltraMax mode: 100 hours
|Smartwatch mode: Up to 14 days
GPS mode w/ music: 10 hours
GPS without music: 36 hours
|Smartwatch mode: 25 days
Full GPS mode: 25 hours
UltraMax GPS mode: 80 hours
|Smartwatch mode: 20 days
GPS mode: 30 hours
Ultramax mode: 60 hours
|Smartwatch: up to 24 days/54 days with solar*
Battery-saver watch mode: up to 56 days/unlimited with solar*
GPS mode: up to 30 hours/38 hours with solar**
Max battery GPS mode: up to 70 hours/145 hours with solar**
Expedition GPS activity: up to 28 days/68 days with solar*
*Solar charging, assuming all-day wear with 3 hours per day outside in 50,000 lux conditions
**Solar charging, assuming use in 50,000 lux conditions
|Navigation Built In?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Satellite Networks Used||GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, BEIDOU||GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO||GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, BEIDOU||GPS, QZSS, GLONASS, BEIDOU||GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO|
|Maps?||Yes - basic||Yes, detailed||Yes - basic||No||Yes - basic|
|Back to Start Navigation?||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
|Water Resistance (max depth)||100m||50m||100m||50m||100m|
|Music Storage?||No||Yes - 1000 songs||No||No||No|
|Daily Fitness Tracking?||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Main Software App||Coros App||Garmin Connect, widgets for other features||Coros App||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
The Coros Apex Pro stands out for its excellent battery life. Lasting two to three weeks in smartwatch mode (with some workouts in between) and up to 40 hours in GPS mode, this is one to buy if battery life is your top priority. It has most features of a high-end watch, without the extras.
There are several notable features of the Coros Apex Pro that we appreciate and that step up the game from the Coros Apex and Coros Pace 2. Most notably is the touch screen, night mode, enhanced backlight, and 24/7 blood oxygen monitoring (hourly acclimatization profiles). Of the Coros watches in this review, the Apex Pro offers the most features, but not nearly as many as the high-end Garmin watches.
The Apex Pro also has standard features such as GPS tracking, breadcrumb navigation, fitness, sleep tracking, the ability to upload and create workouts, and more. It doesn’t offer any music storage or control, but with every update comes new features. For example, the latest update at the time of writing this article features running performance, fatigue, and recovery assessments. These updates took a few minutes to sync and offer insights into short-term training over a week to see if you’re improving.
- Fitness tracking
- Several workout profiles (Run, Indoor Run, Trail Run, Track Run, Hike, Bike, - Indoor Bike, Pool Swim, Open Water, Triathlon, Gym Cardio, GPS Cardio, Ski, Snowboard, XC Ski, Ski Touring, Multisport, Strength, Training)
- An optical pulse oximeter (24/7 tracking at hourly increments)
- Enhanced track tracking technology
- Optical heart rate monitor
- Ability to upload workouts
- Barometric altimeter
- Night mode
- Touch screen
- Waterproof to 100 meters (10ATM)
- GPS battery life to 40 hours (as per manufacturer claim) with standard settings - UltraMax mode for up to 100 hours
- Options to optimize metrics for your needs via the Coros app
- Several display options
While we give you the basics, a complete list of features can be found on the Coros website.
If you’re looking for a watch that’ll last for your next extra-long endurance event, the Apex Pro is hard to beat. We tested it while hiking, biking, swimming, trail running, and walking in the mountains and canyons of Colorado’s wilderness. In all cases, battery life superseded other options in both Smartwatch and GPS mode. Coros claims 40 hours in GPS mode (with regular sensors turned on), 100 hours in UltraMax mode, and 30 days in smartwatch mode. It charges from zero to full in under two hours (we measured ~80 minutes).
To test battery life, we put the Apex Pro to the test. We handed it out to ultrarunners in the community who used it daily to track fitness, trail runs, mountain bike adventures, open water swimming, and more. Let’s start with regular smartwatch mode. During our testing period, we logged three to four activities a week, lasting anywhere between 30 minutes to four hours. During these training sessions, we noticed the battery life depleted slowly. We had to recharge the watch every two to three weeks with this frequency of activity. Of all our tested GPS watches, this offers the best long-lasting battery life for general use with GPS activities thrown into the mix.
We also tested GPS battery life. This isn't a one-off test, but one that took months to perform. During our first test, we simply laid the watch outside and ran GPS down from 100% to 0%. During this test, we managed to track for 44 hours. Then, we wore the watch during longer activities and kept the GPS going after the activity to see how long battery life would last, running it down further. In this test, we saw a range of times between 32 hours to 36 hours for battery life, with all the sensors on. This variation, we think, is due to differences in terrain and energy required to find satellites. Armed with this information, this is the watch we would recommend if you’re looking for the best when it comes to battery life. In comparison to the rest, it has the longest battery life in both GPS tracking and smartwatch mode.
Ease of Use
Coros watches are notorious for their simplicity and ease of use right out of the box. We were using our watch within 10 minutes, from downloading the app to getting it set to our personal preferences. The software isn’t bogged down with hoards of options and features, and the two-button, one-knob design makes it easy to figure out within minutes.
We love the simple watch face that can be optimized for design and functionality using the app. Using the rolling dial, you can scroll to look at weekly activity logs, recovery data, fitness tracking, heart rate, altitude, barometer, temperature, sunset/sunrise data for the day, and smartwatch notifications. This can be optimized to show what you’d like to see off the bat.
To access activity profiles, you push on the larger rolling dial, which will access over 25 activities. Each profile has a start and settings option to optimize the activity experience as you wish. For example, if you want a metronome while running, you can turn that on. Several workouts can also be uploaded from the app, working as a personal trainer. We really like all these features, and it didn’t take our testers any Googling to figure out how to make it work.
We also like that the software updates are plentiful and seamless, updating from your phone and syncing via Bluetooth. However, we didn’t love that you can’t plug this watch into a computer requiring the use of a smartphone only. Additionally, the Coros software isn’t nearly as comprehensive as Garmin or Suunto. While it does cross platforms, it doesn’t have its own dedicated social network. That said, we are pleased by its ease of use. It’s a no-frills option with simple features.
We love the GPS accuracy of the Apex Pro, earning it a high score in this category. We also tested the accuracy of heart rate and the optical pulse oximeter. These sensors provide good insight into the ups and downs your body might go through while exercising, but the actual numbers seemed to be a little off, which we've found to be true for most GPS watches out there.
To test the accuracy of the Apex Pro, we tested it on the trail while hiking, trail running, and biking. We took known distances and compared the metrics to what we observed. Overall, we found this watch to be quite accurate. During a 10.8 mile bike into town, the watch showed 10.75 miles with an elevation drop that was pretty dead on. We also tested while trail running and hiking through spotty service areas. During these explorations, the GPS stayed connected and offered metrics that seemed to be similar to the marked distances and elevation changes.
The heart rate accuracy is similar to other Coros watches. While it offers a look at the trends that your body is experiencing (i.e., ups and downs, relative zones of effort), the numbers weren’t always dead on. When testing, we compared our heart rate to that of a more accurate chest heart rate monitor. Most of the time, it was accurate within 3 to 5bpm. However, in some cases, there was variation as large as 18bpm. This is probably attributed to the sensor not having a super snug fit on our wrist, as this is the case for most GPS watches. Don’t expect to use this sensor as an actual metric for your heart rate, but instead as a gauge for tracking increases and decreases.
We love the easy-to-use design of the Apex Pro, with an interface that stands out amongst the rest. The watch face itself is middle of the road for its size with a bright and easy-to-see display, with just two buttons and one large dial on the side. The silicone strap is comfortable, even on the sweatiest days, with plenty of holes to cinch it down tightly or let out a little extra room. While there are a lot of pluses, we also have our caveats.
To start with the pluses, most can appreciate the watch face size. Measured at 47mm across and a 13.4mm thickness, this is a lighter option than other heavy-duty watches that boast the same amount of battery life. It weighed only 2 ounces on our scales, still making it fairly lightweight. This is a watch we could wear all day and into bed.
Opening the Coros app on your smartphone will sync your data to the app via Bluetooth, updating all your data. You can see all your workouts and even look at the stats of your weekly progress. While this ecosystem isn’t nearly as robust as Garmin and doesn’t have a social network for connecting with others, it can cross platforms, and you can add your data to other apps, like Strava. This app is also where you can customize workouts and courses and upload them to your phone. Probably the biggest downside of the Coros watches (including the Apex Pro) is that you can’t plug your phone directly into a computer, so a smartphone is required to customize your usage.
One of the biggest caveats of the design is the larger roller button on the side. When worn on the left hand, it gets pushed whenever flexing the wrist, which stops the activity. That said, you can change your preferences, so it's worn on the right wrist.
So is the Coros Apex Pro worth the dent in your wallet? If you’re seeking a watch that boasts the best battery life, then you could absolutely argue that this watch is worth the money. This watch is ideal for ultra athletes who need a device to track GPS mode with all features on for 36 hours. However, most people probably don’t need this amount of battery life. For those, we’d recommend the Coros Pace 2. It has similar features (minus the optical pulse oximeter), 25 hours of GPS battery life, and comes at a much lower price.
The Coros Apex Pro is one of the best GPS watches currently on the market, offering the best battery life we’ve tested so far. Not only did we track 36 hours of straight GPS use (with all sensors turned on), but it typically lasts for at least two to three weeks (depending on your amount of GPS use). Of all tested, it lasts the longest. It also features UltraMax mode (up to 100 hours of life) with an optical oximeter. This watch is best for those that need a lot of battery juice.
— Amber King