Coros Apex 2 Pro review: For practical outdoor people

Coros Apex 2 Pro review: For practical outdoor people

Coros Apex 2 Pro review: For practical outdoor people

I can not be the only person who has this problem. When I’m snowboarding, I’m in motion. I sit up to fit in and turn around to get up. I fall off the kickers, let go to climb back up and shoot the parachute, and fall into the half-pipe as I sing screaming to Jon Secada. When testing huge, expensive Garmin watches, I often unintentionally press the side buttons or touchscreen with my antics, accidentally stopping or starting recordings.

Coros watches to lock. You press and hold the middle button to start recording your activity, then press and hold it again for three seconds to stop recording. Smart! This is one of several small but much-appreciated features that make Coros watches some of my favorites right now, even compared to more expensive sports watches from other brands.

The company got something right that most manufacturers couldn’t: People who like sports (me in particular) don’t always care about how they look. A big, bright, clear screen doesn’t mean as much to me as not having to charge my watch every night. I would be happy to pay a lower price for a watch that is more comfortable, convenient and easy to use.

Laboratory rat

Apex 2 debuted late last year and comes in a basic or Pro version. I tested 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. Measuring 46.5mm in diameter, the Pro is larger than the base model, but not as big or heavy as Coros’ 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 the Fitbit Premium.) The company targets serious runners with celebrity ambassadors like Des Linden, Kilian Jornet, and Eliud Kipchoge. Also, you can only unlock EvoLab by tracking road running sessions. If you’re interested in making progress as a runner, programs like EvoLab are better than what you’d get with the Apple Watch. Sure, Apple now measures a number of useful performance metrics, but it still doesn’t provide an actionable overview.

Photography: Choirs

It took me about two weeks of running three to four times a week (and regular hours of sleep, which I’m not very good at) to unlock the EvoLab. Once I did, I ran through the proposed training plans, which are, in a word, good. (You can see examples of training plans online.) I’m currently working on my speed builder, which helps you run faster and easier by alternating longer aerobic runs at an easy pace with short, intense anaerobic intervals.

One of my workouts has me running 0.1 mile fast reps with 0.6 mile recoveries. This means I run at my limit pace for 0.1 mile and then I run for 0.4 mile. The Apex 2 Pro lets me know when it’s time to start my fast segment, lets me know when I’m not within my intended speed range, then prompts me to stop and get back into recovery pace. To put this technological feat in perspective, I can run approximately 0.1 mile in 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 target me in real time.

It’s not as accurate as a bus stopped in a lane 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 the comparable Garmin running pod. When it comes to tracking my speed and heart rate on my routine runs, I haven’t noticed any discrepancies between the Apex 2 Pro and the Apple Watch Ultra, which also has dual-frequency GPS positioning. Maybe the Apex 2 Pro was a little slower to lock onto GPS when I started a run.

Pulse browse

Probably one of the biggest reasons to own a Garmin is its navigation capabilities. If you’re like me, an impulsive, scatterbrained outdoors person with no sense of direction, having easy-to-use maps is invaluable, even when your phone has no 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.

Apex 2 Pro is much more difficult to use for navigation. There are preloaded landscape maps that are relatively easy to view and scroll on the LCD screen, but you have to download topographic maps. I noticed this especially 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 of their watches for all of the resorts near me – I never had to do a thing! You’ll have to manually download topographic maps on 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’re still doing that sort of thing.

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