The Apex Pro is a big watch and it strikes a good balance between sleek/stylish like the Polar Vantage V2 and sporty like the Garmin Forerunner 745.
Coros uses a lot of premium materials in the Apex Pro. Its bezel is made from titanium alloy, while the rest of its case is aluminum. Its screen is sapphire and its watch strap is silicone or nylon. It weighs 59g with the silicone band and 49g with the nylon band which is still light for a GPS multisport watch despite its robust build.
Its screen size is 1.2 inches with a resolution of 240 x 240 and is easily readable in direct sunlight however in low light conditions, I had to turn on the backlight to read the screen.
It has all the standard sensors that you expect to be included in a premium multisport watch including a barometric altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate monitor and pulse oximeter which the normal Coros Apex doesn’t have.
It has a small rubber cover to protect the charging port from dust and sweat which I wasn’t such a fan of because this cover can easily get lost. Coros does include extra covers in the box though but it’s an extra piece that you have to worry about when you charge it.
The back of the Apex Pro is not very smooth against your wrist because of the charging port cover and the sensors that jut out so I didn’t find it as comfortable to wear as the Vantage V2, Forerunner 745 or the Apple Watch.
It only comes in one size and the strap only comes in one length so I found the strap and the watch face slightly too big for my wrist. It’s definitely more suited to bigger runners.
The Coros Apex Pro uses a combination of physical buttons and a touch screen to navigate the interface however the touch screen can only be used for certain actions such as scrolling through the metric views during activities.
There are 3 physical buttons on the right-hand side of the watch which includes the rotating crown in the middle with no buttons on the left-hand side.
The Apex Pro button placement comes set up for a right-handed runner but the great thing is that the placement can be changed to suit a left-hander. I’m left-handed so I was able to wear it on my right hand and change the buttons to be on the left side of the watch which was very convenient.
The watch also comes set up with auto-lock enabled so that you don’t press buttons while you’re running by mistake. When pausing a workout, you have to rotate the crown first to unlock the watch and then you can press the pause button.
Top button: this is used to turn the backlight on and off. When pressed and held, it turns the watch on or off.
Crown: when pressed during a workout, this pauses the workout. When pressed while in standby mode, it brings up the pre-activity screen. When turned during standby mode, it scrolls through the widgets but when turned during a workout, it scrolls through the different metric views.
Bottom button: when pressed and held this button brings up the main menu. During a workout, this button marks a lap.
I found navigating the interface really easy to get used to and user-friendly although I wish that the touch screen had more functionality because it seems like a waste to be only used for a very small number of functions.
When you select “Run” from the activity menu, it asks you if you want to start the run or to do a basic interval session. There is also an option to go into the settings menu to change your activity alerts and navigation settings.
After selecting “Start”, the watch tries to acquire a GPS signal. Once the satellites have found your location, the watch tries to acquire your heart rate reading. After it has determined your heart rate, you can begin your run.
During the run, you can scroll through the different data screens by turning the crown or by swiping up or down on the touch screen. You can customise your metric views before the run but it has to be done on the app unlike Garmin watches where it can be done right on the watch.
If you run under a bridge or through a tunnel, when you come out the other side, the Apex Pro gently taps you on the wrist to notify you that your location has been found again. Unfortunately, it doesn’t let you know when the GPS signal is lost.
My favourite “on the run” feature is that when you pause your workout, the watch starts a timer so you can see how long your workout has been paused for. I found this feature particularly useful during manual interval repeat speed sessions to determine when it was time to start the next interval.
The Apex Pro also has a useful metronome feature so that while running, it will beep at certain increments to help you with your pacing and cadence. The beeps come from the watch itself so you don’t have to connect wireless earphones.
To end the run, you need to hold in the crown for 3 seconds which is a great feature to have so that you don’t end your runs by mistake. I’ve done this before on other GPS watches.
The Apex Pro doesn’t have Wi-Fi connectivity so you have to manually upload your runs to the Coros app via Bluetooth. Syncing is definitely something that Coros needs to work on because the syncing experience is not as seamless as competing GPS watches.
Once you bring the watch into close proximity of your phone, it takes a minute or two to establish a Bluetooth connection. You can then open the Coros app and upload your run but quite a few times, the sync failed and I had to restart the app and try again.
When uploading runs to the Coros app, the runs get automatically uploaded to Strava too and on Strava, the distance run, pace, power and all the other metrics are exactly the same as what is recorded on the Apex Pro which I appreciate because that’s not always the case with all GPS watches.
In the Coros app, you can see the normal metrics like pace, cadence and heart rate but the Apex Pro also measures stride length which other GPS watches don’t so in the Coros app, you can see your stride length data in a neat graph after every run.
In the app, you can also choose which watch faces you want to be stored in memory on the watch from the watch face gallery but you can only choose a maximum of 5 faces to be stored on the watch.
You can’t install other watch faces from outside the watch face gallery but you can change the colour accents on the watch.
There are 21 different sport activities that the Apex Pro can record. They are all customisable in the app and on the watch.
When using the Apex Pro for strength training, you have to choose from 7 body part categories depending on which exercise you want to do. The 7 categories are: Whole Body, Chest, Shoulders, Back, Core, Legs, and Arms.
I found using the watch for strength training a frustrating experience because when selecting a category, if you don’t select the correct one, it won’t record your sets automatically. For example, when doing pull ups, it falls under “shoulders” and not “back”. It would also record one set of reps automatically but then the next set it wouldn’t be unable to automatically record the set.
I also tested the pool swim activity. Like most GPS watches, you have to set the pool length before the swim and the watch can only record full lengths of the pool that you swam. The Apex Pro was also able to record pace, strokes, heart rate and SWOLF (combination of stroke count and time taken in the water).
The most impressive pool swim feature is that the Apex Pro can determine which swimming style you performed, even if you change styles in the middle of your swim. For the first 4 laps of the swim, it could determine that I did breaststroke, and for the last lap it could determine that I did freestyle.
The Apex Pro has by far the best battery life of any GPS watch I’ve tested and it’s not even close. It has the same claimed battery life as the Polar Vantage V2 which is 40 hours in GPS mode but I experienced close to 40 hours of battery life with the Apex Pro compared to only 30 with the Vantage V2.
I used it for about 12 hours of running with GPS tracking every week and I only needed to charge it once every two weeks. It takes just less than 2 hours 30 minutes to charge the watch from 0 to 100%.
I was also impressed with the detailed battery information in the main menu that shows you estimated daily use left, when the last charge was, days since last charge, and a breakdown of the battery usage (between GPS workouts, backlight, system and Bluetooth.)
If battery life is important to you, you’ll be extremely happy with the Apex Pro.
When it comes to GPS accuracy, I tested the Garmin Forerunner 745 and the Apex Pro on the same 40 kilometre run. The Garmin measured 40.29 kilometres while the Coros measured 40.35 kilometres.
When looking at my route on the maps, the Garmin was closer to the route that I actually ran. On the Coros map, there were portions of the run missing when I ran undercover and the watch couldn’t track me.
If battery life is the most important aspect of a GPS watch, then you can stop reading the review and immediately purchase the Apex Pro because it far exceeds the battery life of any watch in its price range.
The Polar Vantage V2 costs exactly the same as the Apex Pro. From a design perspective, the Vantage V2 is slightly smaller, more comfortable to wear and has a more stylish design which is similar to a smartwatch. The Apex Pro design is more rugged and can handle bumps and drops better with its titanium bezel.
The Vantage V2 and the Apex Pro have the same screen size and are both touch screens but the Vantage V2 touch screen has more functionality. The Vantage V2 also has music controls for when you’re listening to music on your phone but the Apex Pro has a gyroscope and temperature sensor that the Vantage V2 doesn’t have. Both watches have a waterproof depth rating of 100m.
The Garmin Forerunner 745 is also the same price as the Apex Pro. The Forerunner 745 is a lot smaller and more comfortable to wear but battery life is not half as good as the Apex Pro. Both watches have rugged, sporty designs but the Apex Pro feels more durable and more premium.
The Forerunner 745 has Wi-Fi connectivity so it can automatically upload runs which is a lot more seamless than uploads with the Apex Pro but the Garmin watch only has a 50m waterproof depth rating.
The Coros Apex Pro is an excellent multisport watch that’s reliable and has a really tough build quality. Its strength is its amazing battery life which most users will only need to charge once every two weeks.
However for its price, the Apex Pro isn’t as feature rich as other $500 GPS watches. The Polar Vantage V2 has features like Leg Recovery Test and Performance Running Test that calculates your V02 max while the Garmin Forerunner 745 does calculations in the background so you can see your V02 max and race predictions on demand.
The Apex Pro also doesn’t have smartwatch features like onboard music or contactless payments and watch faces are very limited so it isn’t as complete a watch as a Garmin.
Apart from the stellar battery life, with the Apex Pro, I felt like I wasn’t getting as much bang for my buck as other GPS watches that are the same price.
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