The Coros Apex 2 offers strong features and performance for the price and offers some useful upgrades on the Apex that while not spotless, help to make it a good multisports watch that holds it own against the competition.
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Coros has emerged as a strong rival for established sports watch players Garmin and Polar and with the Coros Apex 2, it’s aiming to have another watch that will lure people to track their indoor and outdoor workout time with it.
Landing alongside the Apex 2 Pro, the Apex 2 promises all of the same features as the original Apex along with new skills like the ability to follow Topographical maps, take ECG readings and it’s had a boost in smartwatch skills as well.
Runners are definitely the biggest beneficiaries of those new features, but there’s things here as well that should give it serious adventurer appeal as well too.
Design & build
43mm case only
Silicone and nylon band options
The Coros Apex 2 looks less like the original Apex and more like the cheaper Coros Pace 2. It’s now got a 43mm case putting it between the two sizes of the first Apex. Coros lets you pick up the Apex 2 in your choice of black, grey or coral looks.
That case cover is made from a nicely weighted titanium alloy with a grade 5 titanium bezel layered up with a more protective PVD coating. You’ve got your pick of smaller 20mm nylon or silicone bands and you can remove those bands via a simple pin mechanism on the back of the strap. Pairing it up with a silicone band gets you a setup that weighs 53g and the lighter nylon band drops things to 42g. Either way, this is not a super heavy watch you’re going to have to strap on.
Coros uses a mix of physical and touchscreen controls, but it’s your choice just how much that touchscreen plays a part in your interactions with it. There’s three physical buttons with two flatter buttons flanking a twisting crown, which you can twist to scroll through screens.
That twisting crown also packs electrodes, which enables HRV measurements to assess recovery needs via ECG. The top button activates the backlight and holding the bottom physical button will get you into the menu screen where you can tinker with things like navigation support, turn on the Night mode to keep the backlight on during evening workout tracking sessions and also dig deeper into watch battery status.
The touchscreen functionality is new to the Apex and can be used to scroll through menus, maps and used with music controls. If you’re happy with just using the buttons, you can turn off the touchscreen support or save it for when you need to get around maps.
You’ll be viewing those maps on a 1.2-inch, 240 x 240 resolution memory LCD screen, which is a lot like the transflective displays you’ll find on most Garmin watches. That means visibility over big splashes of colour is the priority here. While it’s not the biggest screen it was perfectly fine to use on land and in the water and absorb metrics on the move.
Around the back is your optical sensor array, which does include a heart rate monitor and now an optical pulse oximeter to offer a way to measure blood oxygen saturation when using the Apex 2 at altitude. Next to those sensors is your charging port, which is identical to the one used on the original Apex so you’re getting the same proprietary charging cable here.
Coros says the Apex 2 can work at temperatures as low as -20 degrees Centigrade or as hot as 50 degrees Centigrade. If you want to go swimming with it, it’s got a 5 ATM rating, which means it’s good to be dunked in water up to 50 metres depth.
Health and fitness tracking
Rich array of performance metrics
Lots of sports modes
ECG used for recovery insights
Like other Coros watches, it’s a multisport watch first and everything else after. Sports tracking has been very good in general on Coros watches and whether you run, swim or want something to track a triathlon, this watch is fully capable of doing all of those things.
There’s over 20 sports modes and along with the typical core ones, you’ve got modes for skiing, hiking, climbing and windsurfing. Pressing that crown gets you into the main tracking screen where you can also check in on workout history, view training plans and workouts, which can be created in the Coros app in a pretty straightforward fashion. Each mode has its own set of additional settings, and it’s not just the likes of running, swimming and cycling. Even modes like speedsurfing offer activity-specific modes and metrics.
If you’re sticking to those core sports modes then you’ll be happy with the kind of performance you’ll get from the Coros Apex 2. For outdoor workouts, you can make use of five major satellite systems and a new all-systems mode seeks to improve outdoor tracking accuracy compared to the last Apex.
The Apex 2 proved a solid running partner delivering largely reliable distance tracking and core metrics against a Garmin watch. Heart rate monitoring accuracy was strong too, and held up well even at high intensity, but if you rely on accurate heart rate data, you’ll want to connect an external heart rate monitor here, which is something you can do.
For swims and indoor rowing sessions, the performance was very much in line with Coros’s first Apex watch and the Pace 2 as well. While the automatic rep counting for strength training isn’t spotless, it fared better than Garmin and Samsung’s rep counting in comparison. So there’s some positives for Coros here.
Beyond tracking there’s plenty at your disposal here. If you want to dig deeper into your training, you have the Coros Evolab to dish out things like training load, recovery advice and there’s a race predictor for runners and those insights can prove useful.
The inclusion of an ECG sensor means you can take heart rate variability measurements to assess recovery from tough workouts. You need to take readings in the morning for 3 days to make sure you get the most accurate readings, which take one minute and require placing your finger on the electrodes built into the crown.
There’s also strong integration for third party apps here including Strava, Komoot, Apple Health, Stryd and Final Surge to bolster what Coros already offers natively.
For those who like to go exploring in new places, Coros has now added the ability to download landscape and Topo maps to the Apex 2 via a computer. It’s a little slow going to get them on the watch, but it does mean you have the ability to get a better sense of your surroundings. It’s not the best and most detailed mapping you’ll find on a sports watch, but it’s a start at least and you can use the touchscreen support to search through maps, which is nicer to do compared to using the physical buttons to navigate around maps.
There’s navigation features here as well to steer you back to your starting point and set checkpoints, but it lacks native turn-by-turn navigation, which would make the experience of using those navigation features much nicer.
Beyond sports tracking and throwing heaps of metrics and analysis at you, the Apex 2 can play fitness tracker and sleep tracker. The daily activity tracking and sleep monitoring support hasn’t hugely changed from the first Apex. You do get the ability to track REM sleep stages during that sleep monitoring, but these aren’t the kind of features you’re necessarily going to grab the Apex 2 for.
Built-in music player
Works with GoPro and Insta 360 action cameras
The Coros Apex 2 can be of some use outside of that tracking time and it does get some new smartwatch features that didn’t appear on the first Apex.
The big one is a music player so you can drag and drop your own music, in MP3 file format only, and pair up some Bluetooth headphones to listen to music without your phone. That drag and drop action has to happen on a computer and you don’t have the ability to store playlists offline from music streaming services like Spotify and Deezer.
If you do have some music or podcasts lying around, then the music player experience works well and the touchscreen controls are well integrated and responsive.
Outside of that new music player, you can view notifications during workouts and and of course in between that tracking time. Coros has included the action camera control support it added to its Pace 2 and Vertix 2 watches, which lets you control GoPro and Insta360 cams from your wrist. Coros has also added find my phone and find my watch modes to help reunite you with your devices, which are useful modes to have added into the mix.
Battery life and charging
17 days in daily use
Improved GPS battery life
Battery usage mode
The Apex 2 promises lots of battery life whether you’re just using it to count your steps and check notifications with a bit of workout tracking mixed in or you want it to handle a lot of GPS usage.
Coros states the Apex 2 will last up to 17 days in daily use and offer 30 hours in its top GPS mode and 45 hours in its standard full GPS mode. When it does run low, it should take under 2 hours to get back up to 100%.
If you want a watch that can comfortably last a week with heavy tracking usage then the Apex 2 is certainly capable of that. You don’t have really power-hungry features running in the background sapping that battery in an undesirable way. There’s a little drop off in general in daily usage, but this is a sports watch that you’re not going to be charging every few days.
It’s also good to see that the useful battery usage mode is here and gives you a better idea of the kind of battery you have to play with. It’ll give you an estimate for GPS use, daily use and usefully shows you what are the biggest battery hogs on the watch.
Price and availability
The Coros Apex 2 is by no means a cheap watch and comes in priced at $399.99/£419.99/, and you can buy it direct from Coros. It’s more expensive than the Coros Pace 2, but considerably cheaper than the Apex 2 Pro or the Vertix 2, which sits at the top of the Coros watch family.
It’s similarly priced to watches like the Garmin Forerunner 745 and isn’t too far off the price of the triathlon-friendly Garmin Forerunner 955, which also offers similar features including full mapping support.
The Apex 2 is another Coros watch that offers a strong tracking experience whether you’re a runner, cyclist or you love to go for a hike or you’re a big climbing buff. Battery life remains solid as is the case across the Coros range.
It’s added features to make it a better outdoor watch and smartwatch and while improvements have been made on both those fronts, it doesn’t better what its closest rivals offer.
It’s a good addition to the Coros watch family, but mainly does the job of bringing the Apex line in line with the Pace 2 and the Vertix 2 to make sure it can benefit from the latest software features.
If you can live without the mapping and music features, the cheaper Pace 2 will get you the same sports tracking. If you want a better sports watch that behaves like a good smartwatch and costs similar money, then the Forerunner 745 is worth looking at instead. You will have to sacrifice the battery life you do get on the Apex 2 though.