REVIEWER: KARL FORCEY
OK, so the APEX Pro has just turned one, and the original APEX is three years old now. Hardly a new release, so why are we reviewing them? Well, firstly because for some reason we here at Trail Run Mag haven’t had a chance to write about the APEX yet. And secondly, it sets the scene for the awesome new release from COROS that I will be reviewing in depth in TRM #41.
I have always been a Garmin guy. I have owned a Fenix 5 for four years and I love it. Before COROS crashed the party it was pretty much a two-horse race between Garmin and Suunto for the majority of runners and other adventurers. Over the last few years, however, more and more of my trail friends have been switching to COROS when their watches die or need replacing. I spent eight weeks wearing the APEX and APEX Pro to get a bit of background before strapping on the new VERTIX 2, and I am beginning to see why. In a nutshell, these watches are still a beautiful product. Even three years after release they punch above their weight (and price) with features and functionality, and this Garmin guy is going to give you his opinion why.
Firstly, I will say that while I tested both watches, there isn’t a whole lot of real-world difference between the two. Think of the APEX as the basic model, while the APEX Pro has added features like: A touchscreen, an extra button, a blood oxygen meter (pulse oximeter), thermometer and longer battery life (40 hours on GPS advertised, compared to 35). I spent most time with the Pro, even though it is 4g heavier, but then both watches are ridiculously light.
So, as I’m sure you’ve heard, battery life is what put COROS on the map with these watches. It is astounding. During testing, I ran the Brisbane Trail Ultra 110km and the APEX Pro was showing 100% charged at the start line. Nineteen and a half hours later, it was still showing 59%. Even if you’re not running non-stop for that long, just being able to go for your daily runs and wear the watch every day without worrying about the battery is extremely liberating. In fact, you can get so used to not having to charge it, that once every few weeks you may have to remind yourself to check it, just in case.
The touchscreen on the Pro is better than I thought it would be. It complements the buttons rather than replacing them and allows basic features during activities to be accessed with a swipe, even with sweaty fingers. Both watches have a sapphire screen and a titanium bezel.
The ease of use of the watch operating system and the phone app was also impressive. It’s friendly, colourful, well designed and just works. From pairing to screen customisation, it was a breeze. My ANT+ Garmin heart rate strap paired with it just like that. The way that COROS have provided regular firmware updates since release shows that they are also listening to user feedback. If you watch early reviews on YouTube, most of the bugs or “I wish it had this” type of things have been swiftly fixed or added.
Finally the price point. Let’s face it, the VERTIX 2 might be out of reach for a lot of us. With its release however, the APEX and APEX Pro, which were already great bang for your buck, may get discounted a bit if we’re lucky. If you are looking for your next watch, and don’t want to compromise on battery life or features then one of these might be just what you need for your next adventure.
TESTER: Karl Forcey
RRP: APEX Pro Premium Multisport GPS Watch – $849 AUD / $929 NZD
APEX Premium Multisport GPS Watch – 46mm – $599 AUD / $627 Not Available
WEBSITE: coros.net.au / coros.co.nz
CONDITIONS: Watches loaned from COROS Wearables for review purposes.