COROS APEX 2 and APEX 2 Professional In-Depth Evaluation

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Right this moment COROS has introduced the long-teased COROS APEX 2 sequence watches, together with each a base mannequin and a Professional mannequin. Whereas I had thought-about doing solely separate opinions for each of those, the truth is that they’re just about equivalent watches similar some minor inner spec variations. Thus, I’ve gone with one consolidated overview. And to make issues much more enjoyable – I’ve been sporting each watches aspect by aspect (effectively, on reverse wrists) simply to see how they deal with and differ.

The brand new APEX 2 sequence is finest seen by means of the lens of being a smaller VERTIX 2 (launched one yr in the past). It has just about all the identical software program options because the dearer Vertix 2, and in reality, with the Vertix 2 priced just about all of October at $499, it’s been the identical value because the new-announced APEX 2 Professional. However, we’re getting distracted. In the end, COROS sees these two fashions (APEX 2 Professional vs Vertix 2) differentiated by fashion/supplies, extra so than software program.

The 1.3” display COROS APEX 2 Professional features a revamped optical coronary heart price sensor, provides multiband GNSS/GPS, provides music storage for MP3s (no streaming service), consists of offline maps, touchscreen, WiFi, and HRV readings. It additionally features a battery lifetime of as much as 75 hours relying on the mode (25 hours for multiband utilization although). The APEX 2 Professional is available in at $499, whereas the bottom APEX 2 slides in at $399, however lacks the multiband GPS and bigger battery life, and has a barely smaller display.

I’ve been placing each watches by means of their paces, in a wide range of sports activities from swim to bike to run, plus after all each day utilization as a basic watch/exercise tracker. Each items are media loaners from COROS, and as traditional, they’ll get despatched again to them as soon as I wrap up right here. For those who discovered this overview helpful, be at liberty to hit up the hyperlinks on the finish of the positioning, or contemplate changing into a DCR Supporter. With that – let’s start!

What’s New, and How They Differ:

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At a look from various meters away, you’d be hard-pressed to inform the distinction between the COROS APEX 2 and APEX 2 Professional. They’ve acquired near-identical our bodies, and each include cloth sport bands. Nevertheless, when positioned aspect by aspect you may spot the singular exterior distinction – which is the marginally bigger display on the brand new APEX 2 Professional, which is 1.3”, versus the APEX 2 base unit at 1.2”.

Nevertheless, let’s again up and speak about what’s modified to the unique APEX sequence (for which there was each a base mannequin and Professional mannequin):

– Added multiband GPS for the APEX 2 Professional (not base although)
– Added all techniques GNSS possibility for each fashions
– Added WiFi connectivity
– Added Bluetooth 5.0
– Added dimmed night time mode on watch face
– New optical coronary heart price sensor
– Added guide HRV readings assist
– Added blood oxygen sensing
– Elevated storage to 32GB for Professional (from 3.5GB)
– Elevated storage to 8GB for base (from just a few megabytes)
– Added preloaded international maps on Professional
– Permits downloading of free international maps on Base
– Unified on a single three-button design (earlier APEX-based mannequin had two buttons)
– Nylon strap comes customary on all watches
– New sorta-touchscreen mode deliberate for Nov/Dec firmware replace (see particulars in ‘The Fundamentals’ part)
– Eliminated ANT+ assist (earlier APEX items had it)

Now, let’s dig barely deeper on how the 2 APEX 2 fashions are completely different from one another, which is truthfully a little bit of a faster record:

– APEX 2 Professional has Multiband/Twin-Frequency GNSS assist, whereas the APEX 2 doesn’t
– APEX 2 Professional has bigger battery life (see chart under)
– APEX 2 Professional has 32GB of storage versus 8GB for the APEX 2
– APEX 2 Professional has maps pre-loaded, whereas APEX 2 requires laptop obtain
– APEX 2 Professional has a 1.3” display versus 1.2” for the APEX 2
– APEX 2 Professional has a 260x260px display vs 240x240px display for APEX 2
– APEX 2 Professional has multi-pitch climbing actions, whereas the APEX 2 doesn’t

In a nutshell, the principle one that actually issues for most individuals right here might be the multiband-GPS assist. Although, I’d warning you to see my GPS accuracy part down under. Or, if that seems like a variety of work, the spoiler is that it doesn’t appear to matter a lot. Each items carried out the identical aspect by aspect, and the APEX 2 Professional usually fell wanting different multiband GPS watches from an accuracy standpoint. To be clear – it wasn’t unhealthy, nevertheless it’s not on the similar stage as a few of their rivals. Anyhow, that’s all mentioned in that part.

Listed here are these battery numbers:

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If I have been to overlay the Vertix 2 on there, it’d get 140hrs in customary, 90 hours in all techniques, and 50 hours in dual-frequency, and 60 days smartwatch. Take note as you’ll see later, COROS throughout all their watches is principally buying and selling some GPS accuracy for longer battery life.

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Clearly, you may see the Vertix 2 has a bigger display than the COROS APEX 2 sequence, plus completely different styling, which COROS says is the place they plan to maintain lots of the differentiators.

The Fundamentals:

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This part of the overview will concentrate on fundamental utilization, together with each day exercise monitoring (issues like steps/sleep/and many others…), in addition to smartwatch-related options like notifications and music. Moreover, I’ll cowl facets across the widgets and different non-workout areas.

First up, is the way you work together with the watch. Whereas each APEX items boast a touchscreen, at this level that’s actually solely used within the mapping areas. In a future firmware replace COROS plans to develop that to scrolling by means of widgets/lists, however selecting issues within the menus continues to be deliberate to require pushing buttons. For many customers of a watch on this realm, that’s in all probability completely high quality. Mapping is about the one space I are inclined to need contact for an endurance-focused watch.

Anyhow, on the aspect you’ll see three buttons, with the center one being each a button and a rotating digital crown:

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As you may keep in mind, the unique COROS APEX solely had the only rotating digital crown plus one decrease button, however the 1st gen APEX Professional had the secondary button and matches what the COROS APEX 2 has (each fashions). Whereas I’m nonetheless no fan of digital crowns (from any firm, Apple included), as I discover them finicky to make use of in sport settings, having the additional buttons right here means I can keep away from utilizing the digital crown a bit extra. About the one state of affairs the place I discover the digital crown helpful is zooming on maps.

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Beginning off with the watch face, you’ve acquired a brand new default watch face accessible on the APEX 2 sequence. You may faucet the decrease proper button to iterate by means of the information factors in the midst of the display. Whereas the COROS APEX 2 items have been largely bug-free for me, that is one space that appears filled with bugs – with quite a few mislabeled information metrics (COROS says these fixes are slated for the subsequent firmware replace).

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For those who aren’t a fan of this watch face, you may select from just a few others utilizing the COROS smartphone app. There isn’t a watch face retailer like another corporations.

From the watch face, you need to use the digital crown to rotate down by means of the completely different widgets. These widgets cowl areas like energy, steps, stairs, sleep, coaching standing, coronary heart price, altimeter information, and extra.

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Basically, the steps have been pretty constant for me with different gadgets. Nevertheless, the ‘flooring’ monitoring appears to undercount the variety of instances I do flights of stairs by a good bit. Dwelling in a skinny-tall rowhouse in Amsterdam means I’m an skilled at going up and down flights of stairs, although, the COROS APEX 2 items appear to suppose I’m fairly lazy.

If we have a look at steps for instance, we are able to see steps for the day, in addition to faucet into widgets to see extra particulars about both that day, or different current days. This sample is true for all widgets.

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All of this information is synced to the COROS app as effectively. For instance, you may see your 24×7 coronary heart price, steps, and all different exercise monitoring metrics. As an example, right here’s the identical steps information seen on the COROS smartphone app:

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One other instance being sleep, right here’s sleep information on the watch:

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After which once more, on the smartphone app:

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In my testing, I’ve discovered the COROS APEX 2 Professional and APEX 2 items equally nail the precise instances I go to sleep and get up, normally inside 1-2 minutes. It’s spot on, although so are most different watches today in that realm.

The place they’re a bit extra iffy (like everybody else), is in sleep stage/part information. Given essentially the most correct client comparative information sources on this realm are solely about 80% correct, I don’t put an excessive amount of religion on this info. And in reality, one actually good instance is solely exhibiting these two watches aspect by aspect from the identical night time of sleep (one watch worn per wrist). As you may see, the charts for every sleep part are vastly completely different:

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Once more, I put roughly zero religion in any of those metrics not simply from COROS, however anybody else. They’re inconsistent at finest, and outright ineffective at worst. Regrettably, this information is fed into quite a few different metrics round restoration on most watches.

Subsequent, there’s the HRV information gathering. This information is manually gathered by finishing a 60-second HRV check. This check merely requires that you just sit nonetheless and maintain the bezel of the watch together with your different hand. That is truly the way you’d usually do ECGs on smartwatches, and in reality, when COROS first launched this idea on the Vertix 2 a yr in the past, they known as it ECG (and it nonetheless exhibits just a little ECG graph). Besides, then they realized that acquired them in all types of sizzling water with regulatory our bodies (because it lacks approval/certification), and it’s simply an HRV characteristic now.

As famous, all of this information, together with HRV information, is tracked within the COROS app individually, but in addition collectively in a each day view that exhibits what you probably did that day:

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Now earlier than we go away the widgets realm, we’ve acquired the barometric altimeter widget, which fits together with the ambient strain widget:

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Whereas I’ve acquired no points with the design of this widget, I’ll notice that I’ve seen constant offsets for the barometric altimeter on the APEX 2 Professional that I don’t see on the APEX 2. The APEX 2 Professional appears to constantly have me about 50 meters under sea stage, whereas the APEX 2 appears to drift me between 0 and 20 meters. The actual reply is about 0m (+/- 5m relying on precisely the place I’m within the metropolis). The unit will theoretically ‘right’ itself every time it will get GPS, however in my testing, the APEX 2 Professional doesn’t try this, whereas the APEX 2 base goes from being right to being incorrect.

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You may manually override these settings, which I’ve accomplished, and that helps for a bit, after which it slowly drifts away once more.

Okay, now altering matters solely, we’ve acquired smartphone notifications. You’ll set these up utilizing the COROS app, and you need to use filtering to determine which of them to show. These will chirp and flippantly vibrate. It’s not the strongest vibration motor nor beep, so I do typically miss it if I’m actively shifting. However by and enormous, it really works.  When a notification is available in, you may open it as much as learn extra element, or dismiss it. For those who dismiss it in your watch, it’ll dismiss it on the telephone as effectively.

Subsequent, there’s music assist. This lets you manually load (utilizing a pc) MP3 recordsdata onto the watch, after which join/pair Bluetooth headphones to it. And sure, this does work, and with 32GB of (potential) storage on the APEX 2 Professional, and 8GB of storage on the APEX 2 base, you may load a good bit of our Napster assortment.

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The one drawback is that it’s 2022, and only a few persons are manually loading MP3 recordsdata onto something today. Nearly your complete inhabitants (minus the 7 folks that can remark down under) has shifted to streaming providers like Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and many others… And whereas COROS talks about including a streaming service sooner or later, I simply don’t see that as lifelike (at the least for any of the aforementioned ones). These fort gates have lengthy since closed, and getting them to also have a dialogue about opening realistically requires tens of tens of millions of lively customers at this level. Even worse, not solely are these gates closed, however the streaming providers appear to be fortifying that enclosure too. This clearly sucks for smaller corporations like COROS, Polar, Suunto, Wahoo, and others. I’d like to see a change in that stance, however I believe you need to be lifelike about these probabilities being roughly 0%, if music streaming providers are vital to you.

Lastly, for lack of wherever else to stay it, COROS does have each GoPro and Insta360 digicam management, which is fairly darn cool. I’ve acquired a earlier submit discussing it right here, and it’s good to see. Whereas Garmin has their VIRB motion digicam management on most watches, with the VIRB product line discontinued years in the past, that’s principally a ineffective characteristic for 99% of customers. So it’s cool to see COROS assist 2 of the three primary motion cam corporations (the third being DJI, however I don’t consider DJI has an API for motion digicam management).

Sport Modes:

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Now, if you happen to’re shopping for a COROS APEX 2 sequence watch, it’s virtually definitely for its sport utilization functions. And the APEX 2 sequence helps quite a lot of sport profiles, with the APEX 2 Professional supporting barely extra profiles (listed under).

To begin a exercise you’ll unlock the watch, after which faucet the center button (digital crown). This can deliver you to a sport itemizing which you can scroll by means of with the digital crown. As soon as the deliberate contact firmware is launched, you’ll additionally be capable of scroll by means of this record together with your finger/contact, although deciding on a sport will nonetheless require a button press:

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When you’ve chosen a sport mode, you’ll see the satellite tv for pc standing (if a GPS exercise), in addition to the HR indicator icon for HR lock. Moreover, you’ll see any sensors being related for that profile (corresponding to a coronary heart price strap, COROS Pod, or biking sensors). Additional, there’s the power so as to add a exercise or navigation (extra on that in a second).

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In my testing, GPS lock usually occurred inside 5-10 seconds, although, in virtually each case HR lock took oddly longer (upwards of 20-25 seconds). That is doubtless as a result of one of many issues COROS does to avoid wasting battery life in comparison with most of their rivals is cut back the guts price sampling frequency and depth. As such, when it comes time for a exercise, it takes a bit longer for that to lock. I don’t suppose it is a huge deal, however mildly notable.

Now earlier than we begin that exercise, right here’s a fast have a look at the accessible exercise modes on the watch, together with each the APEX 2 Professional and APEX 2. As a spoiler, the one distinction is the APEX 2 Professional has ‘Multi-Pitch’ climbing, whereas the APEX 2 base doesn’t.

APEX 2 Professional Exercise Modes: Run, Indoor Run, Path Run, Monitor Run, Hike, Stroll, Multi-Pitch, Mtn Climb, Bike, Indoor Bike, Pool Swim, Open Water, Speedsurfing, Windsurfing, Rowing, Indoor Rower, Whitewater, Flatwater, Triathlon, Power, Bounce Rope, Fitness center Cardio, GPS Cardio, Ski, Snowboard, XC Ski, Ski Touring, Multisport

APEX 2 Exercise Modes: Run, Indoor Run, Path Run, Monitor Run, Hike, Stroll, Mtn Climb, Bike, Indoor Bike, Pool Swim, Open Water, Speedsurfing, Windsurfing, Rowing, Indoor Rower, Whitewater, Flatwater, Triathlon, Power, Bounce Rope, Fitness center Cardio, GPS Cardio, Ski, Snowboard, XC Ski, Ski Touring, Multisport

Subsequent, one other distraction earlier than we begin, can be sensors. The APEX 2 sequence helps Bluetooth Good sensors, there is no such thing as a ANT+ sensor assist right here. The sensor varieties supported are: Coronary heart price sensors, biking energy meters, biking cadence sensors, biking pace sensors, biking trainers (FTMS), COROS POD 1/POD 2, and Stryd.

You may pair sensors by way of the sensors menu by looking for close by sensors. It can save you a number of sensors of the identical sort, and a few sensors have configuration choices:

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I’ve accomplished exercises now with pairings to a couple completely different sensors together with a Quarq energy meter, PowerTap energy meter pedals, COROS POD 2, and Favero Assioma energy meter pedals. I’ve additionally accomplished some check pairings with Garmin HRM-PRO Plus chest coronary heart price straps. I had no points pairing to any of these gadgets. The one minor draw back is that for the reason that APEX 2 sequence solely helps Bluetooth Good, and plenty of (if not most) Bluetooth Good equipment solely assist a single concurrent connection, you may not be capable of collect the facility meter information you need when you’ve got one other app (like Zwift or TrainerRoad) already related to your coach/energy meter.

Okay, again to the exercise we have been about to begin umpteen paragraphs in the past. As soon as prepared with all of the GPS/HR/sensors set, we merely press the beginning button and it begins recording. At this level you’ll see the information fields you’ve configured by way of the app. Listed here are just a few completely different ones from a current run:

You may customise these information fields utilizing the COROS app:

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The one minor draw back is which you can’t add the map as a knowledge subject in your ‘loop’ of fields. It’ll present up if you happen to’re navigating a course, however not in any other case. You may nonetheless entry it by way of both diving into the menus, or by including a hotkey for it. And whereas these are high quality workarounds, it’s simply useful having the map web page someplace within the record of scrollable pages.

Talking of that map, let’s speak navigation and maps. I’ve beforehand written a bunch about navigation on COROS gadgets that’s in all probability price testing. In brief although, you may ship programs from platforms like Strava and Komoot to COROS, in addition to load up GPX recordsdata. At this level there isn’t but a course builder throughout the COROS app. When you’ve acquired the course you need within the COROS app, then you may ship it to your watch (manually):

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There’s at present a restrict on the variety of programs you may have loaded concurrently (10), and moreover there’s the requirement to manually full these sync steps. It seems like a much bigger revamp of your complete mapping/navigation factor is on the near-term horizon, so I’m not going to emphasize an excessive amount of about this now – aside from to say that basically, whereas sure, COROS has maps on these watches, the navigation expertise is subpar in comparison with most of their rivals. It’s too early to say how that may change with the deliberate revamp.

As soon as a course is distributed to your watch, you may load it up on the watch. You’ll see a fast overview there earlier than you get cookin’:

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COROS supplies maps free of charge for each the APEX 2 and APEX 2 Professional items, solely the APEX 2 Professional has them pre-loaded (because it has extra storage). Whereas the APEX 2 base unit requires you obtain the maps utilizing a pc first. COROS had promised simpler WiFi downloads since a yr in the past with the Vertix 2 launch, however that hasn’t materialized but. Maybe sooner or later.

Whereas navigating, you’ll see your route atop the map, and you need to use the digital crown to zoom, and your finger to maneuver the map round (or buttons if you’d like). This all works simply high quality. There’s a little bit of lag on updating the maps, however that’s frankly regular for many endurance-focused wearables. It’s a trade-off to avoid wasting battery life by reducing processor energy.

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Whereas utilizing the course, you gained’t get turn-by-turn prompts like most different watches, as an alternative, you’ll must regulate the map web page, or the compass bug (arrow) on the opposite pages. Nevertheless, it’s vital to notice that if you happen to go off-course, then COROS watches provide you with a warning, however in any other case merely level you within the compass course of how one can get again to the route.

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No COROS watches at present assist routable maps, that means, the COROS watch doesn’t truly know that you just’re on the “Pacific Coast Path”, however moderately, it simply is aware of you’re not on the road loaded from the route. Thus, it may possibly’t re-route you onto one other path if you happen to go off the flawed manner. In a nutshell, there are principally three ranges of performance with regards to watches:

Degree 1: Breadcrumb path solely, no map: That is how most watches till the previous couple of years labored. It’s how virtually all Suunto & Polar watches are, in addition to Wahoo watches, and the Garmin Forerunner 255 & Garmin Intuition sequence are. In lots of circumstances (Polar/Suunto/Garmin), you’ll nonetheless get turn-by-turn notifications, so that you gained’t miss the flip.
Degree 2: Breadcrumb path atop non-routable map: On this setup, consider the map as a projector slide with the route written on it utilizing a marker. Sure, to the human eye they give the impression of being intertwined, however from a pc standpoint, they haven’t any consciousness of one another. For those who go off-course, it merely is aware of you’re not on the road anymore, it doesn’t know what road/path you’re on although. That is how the COROS APEX 2/Vertix 2 sequence watches work, besides that critically, you don’t get turn-by-turn notifications – it’s important to all the time be trying on the watch map or directional arrow.
Degree 3: Routable path with routable maps: On this state of affairs, the watch actively is aware of that you just’re on Essential road and turning onto Maple road. It is aware of that you just then missed the flip for Maple and can robotically re-route onto Cowbell road as an alternative, and shortly. That is how Garmin’s Fenix/Epix/and many others sequence, in addition to the Garmin Forerunner 945/955 sequence work with maps.

The purpose of that is to easily perceive the degrees. To be clear, I’ve efficiently navigated advanced programs with all three ranges of watches through the years. Even in a Degree 2 state of affairs, having the contextual consciousness of the terrain round you (as COROS has, although lacking flip prompts), is useful – even when it may possibly’t re-route you. I’d suspect ultimately COROS will get to a ‘Degree 3’ watch, however {industry} historical past tells us that when they roll out that sort of characteristic, you’re taking a look at 2-3 years of messiness till it’s dependable. Dwell routable maps is extremely difficult technologically. The world is a fancy and messy place.

Now, persevering with to circle again to that exercise we have been doing. Besides, now I’ll simply finish it – at which level you may swirl that dial by means of all of the abstract pages. Moreover, you may see all the identical information on the COROS companion app:

After a exercise, if you happen to’ve paired up third get together platforms like Strava or TrainingPeaks, it’ll robotically sync your exercise to these as effectively, normally inside just a few seconds.

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Apart from the person exercise items, you’ve additionally acquired coaching load and restoration stats proven on each the watch and the app. You’ll see really helpful timed for restoration, in addition to fatigue and different parts. All of that is underneath their Evolab banner.

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Whereas it’s each endurance athlete’s favourite pastime to second-guess watch producers’ coaching load and restoration metrics, the truth is that the {industry} is enhancing. I’ve beforehand written concerning the COROS platform and metrics right here, and for essentially the most half, all of that is still true at present. Which is to say that the COROS metrics are virtually solely runner-focused, and particularly, flat-runner centered. With the intention to unlock the EvoLab options (which incorporates coaching load metrics), it’s essential to do quite a lot of baseline flat-ground runs (actually, it’s important to run). That’s completely different from different coaching load/restoration platforms which aren’t runner-dependent, however moderately HR effort pushed. In fact, if you happen to’re not a runner, then your effectivity in operating (or lack thereof), will negatively affect your scoring.

In fact, I believe it’s fairly honest to say that whereas COROS makes a very good operating watch, I can’t foresee recommending it to cyclists as a biking watch. Certain, it tracks biking simply high quality – nevertheless it’s probably not aggressive with cycling-first watches or bike computer systems.

Lastly, within the ‘issues that didn’t match’ class, it’s worthwhile noting that the COROS APEX 2 sequence will broadcast each your coronary heart price and operating tempo metrics from the watch to apps like Zwift. For instance, you may pair a Peloton bike to the APEX 2 for coronary heart price information, or you may pair Zwift Operating to the APEX 2 sequence for not simply coronary heart price but in addition tempo from the watch on a treadmill.

GPS & HR Accuracy:

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On this part I’ll check out the GPS & coronary heart price accuracy of the COROS APEX 2 sequence. In these assessments, I’m evaluating them towards a ‘recognized good’ chest strap (the Polar H10 or Garmin HRM-PRO Plus), in addition to a number of different watches or optical coronary heart price sensors. In these assessments, just one watch is worn per wrist to make sure optical HR accuracy continues to be legitimate. Extra sensors could also be worn on the higher arm (Whoop or Polar Verity Sense), the finger (Oura), or the chest (numerous chest straps).

For all these assessments, the COROS APEX 2 Professional was set in multiband/dual-frequency mode (highest mode), and the COROS APEX 2 (base) was set in All Techniques (highest mode it has). All different watches have been set of their highest respective modes (multiband/dual-frequency for Garmin, and all techniques for Suunto).

First up we’ve acquired a run that features a bunch of various terrain from tree-lined paths to bridges/underpasses, to metropolis buildings, and extra. Right here’s that information set. Right here’s the overview of this circuit:

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Beginning off with one of many theoretically simpler sections, I’m on a tree-lined path, however each APEX 2 items have points staying precisely on the trail, and that will get worse once I move underneath an overpass. Each APEX items considerably lower the corners placing me within the canal a number of instances/methods. The FR955 nails it completely.

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Subsequent, taking a look at a piece that’s acquired one underpass, however is in any other case open, and also you see the COROS APEX 2 items aren’t unhealthy, however they aren’t precisely on the trail. For those who wished to sum up this complete part proper now, it’s principally that. Not often are the APEX 2 items horrific, it’s simply not so good as the like-priced Forerunner 955 (or FR255).

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As we dive into town, we see the identical sample. This back-and-forth sweep of the downtown district is difficult for certain, however that’s the way in which metropolis operating is. Which isn’t to say the Garmin was good right here, nevertheless it was the perfect of the bunch if you happen to common how far every one is from the place I truly ran. Although, for these first two sweeps the APEX 2 Professional was an in depth second.

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However then we get into the higher half of town portion, and the APEX 2 items make some strong errors. Observe particularly the part the place the COROS items lower throughout a small retaining pond, and simply usually appear a bit off. I imply, not as off because the Suunto 9 Peak Professional, however off.

APEX-Run1-GPS5

Now, I introduced this as much as COROS and requested what they thought. They mentioned that one answer to enhance accuracy within the metropolis part can be to pair the brand new COROS Pod 2 ($100) with it, which incorporates assistive GPS options that principally use an inner compass/gyro/accelerometer (and altimeter) to easy out the information, and in addition produce extra correct GPS tracks by leveraging that compass as a counterweight to difficult metropolis sections.

So, I went out once more and did this similar part, this time pairing the COROS Pod 2 to the APEX 2 Professional (it may possibly solely pair to at least one system concurrently, so the APEX 2 Professional was the chosen one). I nonetheless introduced with me the COROS APEX 2 (non-Professional), a Vertix 2, and the Forerunner 955. As you may see, not solely have been the outcomes not improved, however truly made it worse in some areas. Right here’s the information, and notice, that I run a number of passes, so both sides will get ‘equal’ time in case there are quirks from one aspect to the opposite. Observe: The colours have modified on this chart. Sorry!

APEX-Run2-GPSCityPod

Now, on one of many streets, I’d agree the POD did enhance the soundness of that line, however not a lot on the others (worse). It’s onerous to know whether or not that one road was the pod, or simply luck. Like earlier than, the Forerunner 955 wasn’t completely good both, nevertheless it was (by a large margin) the closest to the place I ran (if not precisely the place I ran), and made no main corner-cutting errors.

There was one space that was improved with the pod and matched the Forerunner 955 (and my precise monitor), the place I crossed the road right here. Once more although, it’s believable that it was going to get that proper in any case.

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And, to the pod’s profit, it did then appropriately get my distance (assuming the FR955 had roughly the best distance). Whereas the COROS Vertix 2 and APEX 2 (non-Pod) have been ~250m quick:

APEX-Run2-GPSCityStats

Nonetheless, it’s onerous to justify having to spend $100 so as to add a pod to a $500 watch (making it $600) to get nonetheless lower than correct outcomes.

In any case, what about HR on these two runs? Effectively, on the primary run, which included dash intervals each 2KM for 30-60 seconds, the COROS watches did nice. It solely tousled as soon as, within the remaining part the place I did some shorter/more durable intervals:

APEX-Run1-HR

In the meantime, on the second move run, it was comparatively regular state. It’s onerous to know whether or not the chest strap or optical HR sensors have been right for that first part, although, I’m moderately sure I wouldn’t have hit 160bpm in 60 seconds at a simple tempo. So the chest strap is extra believable. Nonetheless, I’ll briefly flip a blind eye to that, and as an alternative concentrate on the substantial error at 4 minutes at a stop-light, the place the APEX 2 Professional merely didn’t get better for one more 2 minutes.

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Subsequent, we’ve acquired one other HR-focused exercise, this time a tough indoor coach interval exercise, with clearly outlined onerous and restoration sections. On this case, it utterly and completely nailed this. No caveats:

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So, what about out of doors driving? No drawback, right here’s how that appeared on a windy out of doors experience. Effectively…that’s a bit rougher, but in addition kinda in step with what I usually see from wrist-based optical HR sensors – particularly on cooler days like this. It was largely within the ballpark, save for one gigantic loss which principally dropped HR for five minutes on the APEX 2 Professional…which is non-awesome (and did it once more later for 3 minutes):

APEX-RideOutdoorsHR

In the meantime, the GPS monitor right here must be a stroll within the park, kinda actually:

APEX-RideOutdoorsGPS1

And certainly, trying intently, it’s about as good as you’re going to get. Although frankly, if any GPS unit screwed this up, I’d be stunned. The vast majority of this route had little to no tree cowl with vast open blue skies:

APEX-RideOutdoorsGPS2

However even within the forested/tree-covered sections, it did effectively sufficient. Although once more, highway biking is fairly simple for many GPS items, helped by the upper speeds and stability.

APEX-RideOutdoorsGPS3

And now, for one thing utterly completely different – an openwater swim. Sure, on Halloween the scariest factor I did was soar within the chilly waters, sans-wetsuit, on your voyeuristic GPS profit. As traditional, I had a 3rd GPS on a swim buoy floating hooked up to my waist to file the ‘true’ GPS monitor. After which on every wrist I had one of many two COROS APEX 2 sequence items. As you may see, it virtually pulled off an ideal monitor:

APEX-OWS-GPS1

Sadly, it failed one in every of my treading water assessments. These are assessments I do at semi-random factors alongside the course the place I briefly tread water for 5-15 seconds, simply as any openwater swimmer would do ready for a swim buddy to catch up, clearing their goggles, and even in a mass-start race round a crowded swim buoy. It is a nice approach to see how effectively a unit recovers from full GPS loss, and sadly in one in every of these assessments each COROS APEX 2 items failed, although apparently, in several instructions:

APEX-OWS-GPS2

Then, after that, we see the COROS 2 (base) unit additionally began making a GPS monitor offset that remained until the top of the exercise:

APEX-OWS-GPS3

Having accomplished quite a lot of openwater swims with the Vertix 2 over the previous yr, these APEX 2 outcomes don’t shock me an excessive amount of. I’ve seen oddities in just about each single Vertix 2 openwater swim I’ve accomplished. More often than not they aren’t deal-breakers, however they definitely aren’t industry-leading both.

Which, in the end, kinda will get us to the abstract of the COROS APEX 2 Professional and APEX 2 items with regards to GPS accuracy. They’re good, however they positively aren’t nice. And I merely don’t see any significant distinction between the multiband of the APEX 2 Professional, and the non-multiband of the APEX 2 non-Professional. They’re each so-so in accuracy. When COROS talked a few redesigned GPS antenna on the COROS APEX 2 sequence in comparison with the Vertix 2, I used to be optimistic they may have stumbled into among the learnings that set Garmin (and to an identical extent, Apple) aside within the multiband accuracy race – who proceed to supply largely industry-leading GPS tracks. Sadly, that merely isn’t the case. No matter secret sauce Garmin (and a barely lesser extent, Apple) is doing for his or her GPS accuracy on their new 2022 multiband items apparently stays a secret to them.

In the meantime, on the guts price aspect, the brand new sensor within the COROS APEX 2 sequence is unquestionably an enchancment over the Vertix 2 (and former APEX items). Little question about it. Most of my exercises are fairly good. That mentioned, within the uncommon situations the place it does lose monitoring, it loses it for a fairly very long time. Not like most watches that normally determine it out inside just a few seconds (perhaps 30 seconds at worst), when the APEX 2 does lose it, it loses it onerous – for quite a lot of minutes. However fortunately, these appear to be considerably uncommon situations, albeit, additionally unpredictable ones. The failure factors have been by no means onerous moments, however moderately extra informal moments (a stoplight in a run, and a lightweight acceleration throughout a experience).

(Observe: All the charts in these accuracy parts have been created utilizing the DCR Analyzer device.  It means that you can evaluate energy meters/trainers, coronary heart price, cadence, pace/tempo, operating energy, GPS tracks, and lots extra. You need to use it as effectively on your personal gadget comparisons, extra particulars right here.)

Wrap-Up:

DSC_4416

The APEX 2 sequence items are good watches that largely do all the basics effectively, and may simply be used to trace your exercises. Their coronary heart price accuracy has improved over all their earlier fashions (together with the Vertix 2), as has their GPS accuracy with the brand new antenna design (once more, additionally over the Vertix 2). Nevertheless, neither unit’s accuracy was ‘nice’, it was merely ‘goodish’. The addition of bigger storage is nice, and naturally so is the battery life.

I do know tech reviewers usually prefer to attempt to keep away from speaking about value, however value is the whole lot in a product. There’s a options for value trade-off that happens, be it inside a model or in comparison with others. Pretending it doesn’t exist is foolish.  As I’ve mentioned earlier than, COROS is most threatening after they’re making an attempt to undercut the competitors on value for worth. The COROS Tempo 2 being the head instance of that – an unbelievable worth for the cash and constantly my prime choose. Nevertheless, after they attempt to match their rivals’ costs with out additionally matching options or accuracy, it doesn’t maintain water effectively. For instance, the Garmin Forerunner 955 is $499 additionally, and the FR955 (basically only a plastic Fenix 7). And each tech reviewer (or simply an inspection of options and/information) would agree it has much more options, much better maps/navigation, music streaming providers, and battery accuracy – all with roughly the principally the identical battery on the larger accuracy modes. In the meantime, the APEX 2 base at $399 is $0-$50 greater than the Forerunner 255 or Intuition 2, and once more, lacks the accuracy, options, and extra of these. It does nevertheless have maps, which Garmin lacks at that value level, however inversely COROS lacks multiband which Garmin does have there within the FR255 (plus has legit turn-by-turn navigation).

I requested COROS why they’d two APEX modes. My reasoning being that if they’d principally put all their APEX eggs in a single basket at $399, it’d have put the COROS APEX 2 again into the dangerously fascinating camp. They famous the principle motive was having two completely different sizes, together with a greater measurement for smaller wrists, and that additional, they didn’t see any outdoors-focused competitor on the $399 value level for the APEX 2 base.

Anyway, as I mentioned earlier, the COROS APEX 2 sequence is an efficient watch – and simply the perfect watch that COROS has produced thus far by way of accuracy. Their subsequent problem is extending and sprucing the options on the APEX 2 sequence items to match the value they’ve set for it. I believe in time they’ll in all probability try this, however then once more, so will their rivals. Nonetheless, I’m trying ahead to seeing the map-focused revamp later this yr.

With that – thanks for studying!

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