Coros is underestimated when it comes to making great watches. Better known for their offerings aimed at distance and trail runners, mountain climbers and hikers of the US, over in Europe it’s a different story.
The Coros Apex Pro succeeds the Apex and sits at the top end of the premium sports watch market.
At a glance
If you’re used to Garmin, Suunto or Matrix, the Apex Pro is going to look more like a fashion watch. Being slimline and lightweight is a strange thing considering how much technology it’s packing inside. And once you’ve got it on, you’ll notice the silicone strap is soft, too. It has a heart rate monitor and oximeter in the belly, but you barely notice it on your skin where they’ve spared the weight in the use of titanium alloys, giving you a device weighing only 59g.
Overall, the feel is still one of high-quality, despite the weight. You get sapphire glass with an anodised body, and together you know this watch will last for years. Now, some might not be a fan of the bright green 22mm strap, but it also comes in black. Or, because the strap is interchangeable, you can put whatever you want on it.
Although the Apex Pro is aimed at triathletes and serious runners, it still comes with many sports functions (21 modes, to be exact). It’s best used with the Coros app, which is updated regularly. So your watch will improve with age, offering more functionality as the updates come in.
There is both real-time and post-training data for you to analyse including:
- Barometric pressure
- Altitude profile and levels
- Distance covered
- Heart rate
- Calories burned
- Stairs climbed
What’s more, you can configure your Apex Pro watch face to show the information you want.
Here is where a lot of brands will let you down. Because they’ll give you all the data, you could want, but make menu navigation so difficult you can’t get to it through all the options. However, the Apex Pro doesn’t do this. Used in conjunction with the Apex app, you can see your data in a clear graphical depiction, including demonstrating what muscles you’ve worked.
Firstly, you navigate your watch through a three-button format. Secondly, you use your crown to scroll, adopting a push motion to lead you smoothly to the sub-menu you’ve selected. Thirdly, the top button wakes the backlight so you can have the watch in night mode, which is not a drain on the battery, either. Finally, the button at the bottom will lead you back up the menu you were using.
The LED screen is very clear. But, when you set the watch up, be mindful of what watch face you choose. Because colours and styles are abundant, you could easily overload the data you want to be presented and end up not being able to see any of it. So the advice is that less is more.
To add, the screen itself is a touchscreen. And it’s nice to have this and the buttons depending on the activity you’re doing and how easy it is to scroll or click. When it comes to any device with a crown bezel, it’s really common to knock it during an activity, thus waking it, and going through all sorts of menus when you didn’t mean to. As a result, the Apex Pro has an automatic lock that prevents this from happening; press down on the crown.
The Apex Pro is a beast of a watch with 40 hours of use when you’re using every feature it has to offer. Including GPS mapping and all sensors firing. Which, when you remember it’s not a heavy watch, is an impressive feature given the capacity onboard.
If you don’t rely on the bells and whistles and turn them off, you can get up to 30 days between charges. Again, not something to be sniffed at. Moreover, it only takes around 2.5 hours to charge fully, so you don’t have to leave it overnight if you don’t want to.
If you want to preserve battery life, you can turn off specific features. What’s more, when in Running Mode you can use UltraMax GPS Mode. This ensures all sensors and algorithms used for accuracy are off and instead utilise the gyro, compass and barometer for an educated guess. Doing this will cost you the finite GPS details, but you’ll get a longer battery life out of it when you need it.
Heart Rate Monitor
No heart rate monitor on a fitness tracker is ever without some inaccuracies. But, the Apex Pro holds its own and when compared to other devices, will give you very similar readings. So the device is useful if you’re into knowing your heart rate zones rather than accurate reading of bpm or your resting heart rate.
As with the likes of Fitbit, you get a visual representation of your heart rate zones in a traffic light format.
Any watch catering to mountaineering and climbing should offer you a decent oximeter so you can monitor your SpO2 because this is vital in assessing your altitude acclimation. So when you enable this gesture on the Apex Pro, it’ll register your elevation above 2500 meters along with your SpO2. Then it compares this to your real-time heart rate to present you with the zones, so you know what’s safe.
GPS used to be sketchy at best when first introduced into sports watches. Now, Coros has an accurate and reliable offering, so long as you can get signal. Specifically, it might take a moment to get a signal. However, if it drops out, it’s quick to pick it back up again, alerting you with a gentle vibration.
Note: You do have to tell the Apex Pro when you’re starting some exercises as it won’t necessarily automatically register it. Don’t forget to hit ‘Go Now’.
You’re able to preload your chosen route to the Apex Pro, using your app, which works with a good level of accuracy.
The Apex Pro is a nice alternative to bulky sports watches. It’s lightweight and slim but made of durable materials. Plus, you don’t have to worry about the battery running out.
The real-time information is a great feature for those who love detail, easily accessible thanks to the crown bezel.
You can also set the watch to tell you when to have a drink or snack. Something people often forget about.
The app isn’t overly complicated and offers some cool features like a heatmap of the muscles you’ve used.
Alternatives to consider:
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