Coros Apex 2 Pro review: For practical people outdoors

Coros Apex 2 Pro review: For practical people outdoors

I can not be the only person having this problem. When I’m snowboarding, I’m moving. I sit down to hook myself and turn around to stand up. I fall off the kickers, let go to climb back up and shoot the parachute, and drop into the halfpipe while yelling to Jon Secada. When testing huge, expensive Garmin watches, I often inadvertently hit the side buttons or touchscreen with my antics, accidentally stopping or starting recordings.

watches choirs to close. You hold down the center button to start recording your activity, then hold it down again for three seconds to stop recording. Elegant! This is one of several small but highly appreciated features that make Coros watches some of my favorites right now, even when compared to more expensive sports watches from other brands.

The company has hit on something most manufacturers don’t: People who like sports (me in particular) don’t always care about looks. A big, bright, sharp screen doesn’t mean as much to me as not having to charge my watch every night. I would happily pay a lower price for a watch that is more comfortable, practical and easy to wear.

Lab rat

The Apex 2 debuted late last year and comes in a basic or Pro version. I tried the Pro, which costs $100 more, is slightly larger, and has dual-frequency GPS for more accurate position tracking. And it has my favorite nylon strap, which doesn’t trap sweat like silicone straps do. At 46.5 millimeters wide, the Pro is larger than the base model, but not as big or heavy as Coros’s Vertix 2 (50.3mm).

Dual-frequency GPS positioning is important because Coros now employs EvoLab, a custom sports science platform and a direct competitor to Garmin Connect. (It’s free to use with all Coros watches, unlike Fitbit Premium.) The company has smartly targeted serious runners with celebrity ambassadors like Des Linden, Kilian Jornet, and Eliud Kipchoge. Also, you can only unlock EvoLab by tracking road race sessions. If you’re interested in progressing as a runner, programs like EvoLab are better than what you’d get with the Apple Watch. Sure, Apple now measures a bunch of useful execution metrics, but it still doesn’t give you an actionable overview.

Photography: Choirs

It took me about two weeks of running three or four times a week (and sleeping regular hours, which I’m not good at) to unlock EvoLab. Once I did, I scrolled through his proposed workout plans, which are, in a word, nice. (You can see sample training plans online.) I’m currently working on my speed development, which helps you run faster and easier by rotating longer aerobic runs at an easy pace with short, hard anaerobic intervals.

One of my workouts has me running 0.1 mile quick reps with 0.4 mile recoveries. That means I run at my threshold pace for 0.1 mile and then jog for 0.4 mile. The Apex 2 Pro alerts me when it’s time to start my fast segment, alerts me when I’m not within my target speed range, and then prompts me to stop and get back into recovery pace. To put this technological feat in perspective, I can run 0.1 mile in about the time it takes you to read this paragraph. In that time, the Apex 2 Pro sends dozens of signals to space and backfast enough to direct me in real time.

It’s not as accurate as a trainer standing on a track with a stopwatch, but it’s much more convenient and cheaper. For more running metrics, you can also add the Coros Pod 2 ($99), which is slightly more expensive than Garmin’s comparable pod. When it comes to tracking my speed and heart rate on my routine runs, I didn’t notice any discrepancies between the Apex 2 Pro and the Apple Watch Ultra, which also has dual-rate GPS positioning. Maybe the Apex 2 Pro was a little slower to lock on GPS when I started running.

wrist navigation

Probably one of the biggest reasons to own a Garmin is its navigation capabilities. If you’re like me, an impulsive and reckless person with no sense of direction, having easy-to-use maps is invaluable, even when your phone doesn’t have a signal. Here, there is simply no comparison. Garmin started out as a navigation company and even now, their maps and software are much easier to use.

The Apex 2 Pro is much more difficult to use for navigation. There are preloaded landscape maps that are relatively easy to see and navigate on the LCD screen, but you must download topographic maps. I especially noticed this while snowboarding. I may have accidentally turned activity recording on and off on the Garmin Epix, but Garmin has ski resort maps preloaded on all their watches for all the resorts near me, I never had to do a thing! You’ll need to manually download topographic maps onto the Apex 2 Pro, which comes with 32GB of storage. That’s enough for about 10 routes stored as GPX files. Since there’s no integration with music services, you’ll have to share that space with MP3 files, if you still do that sort of thing.

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