There’s a lot that can be said about today’s running watch landscape. With tons of features like GPS tracking, music streaming capabilities, third-party integration and more, we have more tools than ever to help facilitate a well-designed running regimen. And with each new launch comes a bevy of claims about how said new launch will keep you plugged in for optimal performance.
The latest wearable on the scene is the Apex 2 Pro from Coros. Boasting a 1.3-inch Grade 5 titanium bezel, upgraded sensors and myriad features, this affordable yet effective wrist wear could be setting itself up for an overthrow of the top running watch spot. But as with any new iteration — we were already big fans of the original Apex Pro — there’s some digging to be done.
To get a sense of how the Apex 2 Pro improves on its predecessor, I gave this sporty running watch over multiple training days and recovery sessions, highlighting key features like accuracy, battery life and overall looks. Whether tracking my routes through the hills and streets of Pittsburgh or monitoring my sleep and heart rate throughout the night, I gave this watch its shining moment to see where it clocks in when compared to other heavy hitters, like the Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar.
Here’s what you can expect from this latest running watch further blurring the lines between tech and training.
What’s Good About the Coros Apex 2 Pro?
The battery life puts this running watch in a class all its own.
A running watch is most effective when it’s worn routinely, whether training or not. While this might not be the most challenging hurdle to surmount, there’s always those times where you need to take off your wearable to replenish the batteries. That is, if you’re not training with an Apex 2 Pro.
Even between my workouts and daily wear, I’m still working off the initial charge — and judging by the power levels, that may be good enough to carry into the holiday season. According to the brand, the Apex 2 Pro can run for up to 75 hours when operating in the standard full GPS mode. This has allowed me to log more extensive reports and data as I get a better read on my body’s output.
Plus, having an efficient battery life has allowed me to remain confident on the roads and trails, thanks to the added sense that no matter my intended distance, I should have enough juice to keep things in order. This has been especially helpful on trail runs, where my distance can be easily altered if I decide to take a different trailhead or need to re-route across closed turns or pathways.
There’s plenty of tools and metrics to help you monitor your performance.
Coros definitely bakes in a ton of features designed solely for training in this latest running watch. The reading accurates, backed by the upgraded optical heart rate sensor, provided a detailed look at my training output across multiple modalities including running, strength training, rowing and more. When paired with the companion Coros app, I was pleasantly surprised with how in-depth each report went, and appreciated the well-designed graphs and charts, too.
In terms of GPS tracking capabilities, I also felt the Apex 2 Pro was exceptional in pinpointing my location, regardless of my surroundings. The All Systems Frequency GNSS Chipset was great when navigating through the urban landscape of downtown Pittsburgh, and the mapping capabilities were easily readable when out and about as well.
If you want to get the absolute most out of this modality, however, I’d recommend picking up Coros’s Pod 2 wearable, also recently released, as this GPS enhancer can help you gather even more precise readings and locations, even when training indoors.
What’s Less Than Ideal About the Coros Apex 2 Pro?
The touchscreen features are nice, but there’s room for improvement.
I’ll be honest: the touchscreen capabilities of the Apex 2 Pro weren’t available for my early testing (as I began testing it before the product formally launched), so I haven’t had as much time with this particular feature. With that said, however — I’ve worn multiple running watches with similar structures, and I think Coros could improve this function with an additional firmware update.
The touchscreen functions can be toggled to “always on” for scrolling purposes and data reading, but can also be restricted to just map-only use. While I did appreciate this personalization, the touchscreen doesn’t support tapping and choosing settings or metrics — you’ll still need to click the dial button at the side to choose functions and workouts.
While some might appreciate this limited notion that doesn’t allow for random clicks while in-use, I did find it slightly annoying at times, especially when setting alarms and tapping the sapphire glass multiple times before remembering this note. Coros has already rolled out a few firmware upgrades to boost the Apex 2 Pro’s functionality, so this minor gripe could be resolved sooner rather than later.
The nylon hook-and-loop band might not be a good fit for every wardrobe.
Thanks to the nylon band, there’s no denying the Apex 2 Pro’s stance as a training-specific wearable. The band itself is also emblazoned with Coros’s motto, “Explore Perfection” which was a nice design element, in my opinion, that kept motivation high when the miles began to add up.
While in-training aesthetics aren’t the highest of concerns for me, I did find the sporty look of the Apex 2 Pro to stand out a little more in daily wear. On evenings when I wanted to opt for a more subdued vibe, the hook-and-loop band still gave off that endurance training energy, which isn’t as pronounced with other running watches boasting silicone bands. Plus, I’m curious as to how much sweat the nylon band retains over extended use, which could be another reason to opt for one of the available silicone bands at initial purchase.
Coros Apex 2 Pro: The Verdict
While the touchscreen is limited when compared to other running watches, and the included band might not be the best for every get-up, this is still one of my favorite running watches to launch this year. Coros does a great job of supplying athletes with a plethora of tools and metrics, and the accuracy resulting from the upgraded heart rate sensor is top notch. Plus, with enough battery power to last weeks not days, it’s hard not to look at the Coros Apex 2 Pro in a positive light.
The Coros Apex 2 Pro is available online and in select running specialty stores for $499. As stated above, the brand also has plans to routinely offer firmware updates to further enhance the user experience, with big upgrades like music streaming compatibility being rumored for 2023. Do yourself a favor this season and get ahead of these innovations, and upgrade your training with one of the most effective wearables on the market today.