- Boost in GPS battery performance
- Bigger display than Apex Pro
- Strong sports tracking accuracy
- Jump up in price
- Not that hugely different from Apex Pro
- Loses ANT+ connectivity
The Coros Apex 2 Pro promises a battery and GPS accuracy boost to help make it a better all-round multisports watch
After launching the original Apex, Coros decided to update it a year later with the Apex Pro giving it a bigger case, mapping and navigation skills and an optical pulse oximeter the key differences between the Pro and non-pro version.
The late 2022 Apex 2 Pro reviewed here promises a handful of upgrades on its predecessor including a new dual-band GPS chipset, better battery life and a new ECG sensor.
Those new additions do come at an extra cost, with the Apex 2 Pro jumping up $100/£100 in price. The question is if there’s enough here to warrant making that upgrade from the original Pro and whether this is one of the best sports watches you can buy right now.
Design & build
- Weighs 53g-66g
- 46mm case only
- Bigger 1.3-inch display
The Coros Apex 2 Pro has dropped in case size compared to the first Apex Pro, moving to a 46mm case, with titanium alloy instead of an aluminium one and the choice of nylon or silicone watch straps. The bezel is still made from a Grade 5 titanium but now gets the addition of a PVD coating to boost protection.
The weight has slightly jumped up overall with either band option, and it’s a little thicker as well compared to the older Pro, but overall it’s been a comfortable watch to wear and if you liked the rugged outdoor watch but not too bulky look of the first Apex Pro, you’ll be happy here.
There’s now a larger, 1.3-inch 260 x 260 resolution always-on transflective display made from Sapphire glass that doesn’t deliver a massive improvement on what Coros put on the Apex Pro. It still offers good all-round visibility, but lacks the punch and colour of an AMOLED display.
It’s a touchscreen display as well just like the Apex Pro, which emits small haptic vibrations when you interact with it and while it’s not as slick as touchscreen on a ‘proper’ smartwatch, it does add another extra dimension of control, particularly for getting around menu screens.
Physical controls remain the same with a backlight button and back button flanking the digital crown you can use to scroll through screens and can be pressed to get you into the main workout screen.
The Apex 2 Pro can now operate in more extreme cold and hot conditions but has now dropped its water resistant certification from 10ATM to a 5ATM one, which means you can submerge in water up to 50 metres as opposed to 100 metres.
Health and fitness tracking
- Added ECG sensor for HRV measurements
- Dual-band GPS mode
- ANT+ connectivity dropped
From a sports tracking and activity tracking point of view, there’s really only a few features that separate the Apex 2 Pro from the Apex Pro. How useful those features are going to be depends on how much you care about more reliable outdoor tracking and having an extra sensor to gauge recovery from tough workouts.
All of the same sports modes are the same, including core ones like running, hiking, mountain climbing, indoor and outdoor cycling, open water and pool swimming, skiing and there’s a triathlon mode like there is on all Coros watches. The one notable addition here is for multi-pitch climbs, so if that’s your bag, then the Apex 2 Pro has got your back.
The big change here is the addition of an all-satellite, dual frequency chipset, which essentially promises to deliver more accurate positioning data in typically problematic areas like tracking near tall buildings for instance. That does come at the expense of battery life however. In my runs against the very high performing multi-band mode on Garmin’s Epix 2, the Apex 2 Pro in that dual-frequency mode performed well. It was never identical on distance tracking and there was the odd gap in GPS tracks, but it was closer enough and metrics like average pacing generally told the same story.
For heart rate data, I found that average heart rate data tended to be quite far off a MyZone chest strap monitor, as much as 10bpm at times. It fared better capturing maximum heart rate readings, though I’d say take advantage of pairing up an external heart rate monitor if you care about those heart rate stats. You’ll just only be able to do that over Bluetooth, because Coros has chosen not to include ANT+ connectivity support.
The other big feature here is the electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor, which won’t tell you’ve got a serious health issue, but can give you more of an insight into how your body is recovering from stress. Like its inclusion on the Coros Vertix 2 and cheaper Apex 2, there’s electrodes built into the watch crown that you’ll place your finger on to take one-minute measurements to take a stress measurement through heart rate variability. It’ll then score you between 1-100 and offer an insight into the level of stress your body is undergoing.
The more data you put in the more reliable that data can be and it only becomes more personalised after 3 days of measurements. It’s a feature definitely geared towards those who take a more hardcore approach to training and finetuning that training.
Elsewhere, you’re getting pretty much the same experience as you’ll get on the Apex Pro. There’s the same mapping and navigation support, which is great to see but the execution isn’t perfect. There’s the ability to build workouts, training plans and more advanced metrics and insights available including training load, VO2 Max, a recovery timer and more running-focused features like a marathon predictor. You’ve got the same activity tracking and sleep monitoring support here too, which definitely feel less of a priority than compared to those pure sports tracking features.
Whether you’re a runner, climber, swimmer or want something to better account for your strength training time, the Apex 2 Pro has modes for you. It’s really about the added dual-frequency chipset and ECG sensor that separates the new Pro from the old one.
- View notifications
- Built-in music player
- Works with GoPro and Insta 360 action cameras
If you want to use the Apex 2 Pro like a smartwatch, you can do that. Whether you’ve got an Android phone or an iPhone in your pocket, you’ve got access to the main Coros app, which does a speedy job of pairing and syncing data. That includes syncing to the companion app or to one of the many third party apps it supports like Strava, TrainingPeaks and Final Surge.
The smartwatch experience is fine overall, but if you’re expecting or wanting an Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch level of smartwatch experience, prepare to be disappointed.
You can view notifications, set alarms and timers and you can pick from a collection of watch faces. There’s no payments, dedicated app store or the ability to handle calls. One thing Coros has added that you don’t get on the first Apex Pro is a built-in music player. That music player will only work with your own MP3 files with Coros planning to add streaming music service support at a later date.
Outside of that it performs pretty much the same as the Apex Pro on this front. It’s fine for glancing at notifications, there’s now a music player that’s useful only if you have a lot of your own music and an app that while not the prettiest looking, does sync data quickly and does have that good level of third party app support as well.
Battery life and charging
- 30 days in daily use
- 26-75 hours GPS battery life
- Useful battery usage mode
The Coros Apex 2 Pro promises the same 30 days of daily battery life as the Apex Pro but with the addition of that higher accuracy GPS mode, you now have more GPS battery modes to play with.
The highest dual-frequency mode sits at the lowest at 26 hours, that jumps up to 45 hours in the all systems GPS mode and then the full GPS mode gives you the maximum 75 hours.
The kind of battery life you get in daily use entirely depends on whether you’re using that top GPS mode regularly and you’re using features like music streaming and have notifications enabled.
I’ve found that the Apex 2 Pro has managed to last around 20 days, which is not a bad showing at all. It’s absolutely capable of getting to 30 days, just as long as you’re steering clear of that dual-frequency mode and you’re not hammering features like music streaming.
The Apex 2 Pro also includes Coros’ great battery usage feature, which lets you see an estimate of daily use you have left, the kind of GPS battery you have to play with, tells you how many days since your last charge and a breakdown of the kind of features that have soaked up battery life.
Coros uses the same charging cable as its other watches, and says it’ll take under 2 hours to get from 0-100%, which isn’t particularly speedy but not hugely out of the norm for watches around this price.
Price and availability
The Coros Apex 2 Pro is priced at $499.99/£499.99, and you buy it direct from Coros. It’s pricier than the Coros Apex Pro, which comes in at $399/£399.
The Apex 2, which lacks the dual-frequency mode, larger screen and bigger battery sits at $399.99/£419.99.
The 2 Pro’s price tag firmly puts it up against watches like the Garmin Forerunner 955 and the outdoor-friendly Polar Grit X Pro.
The Coros Apex 2 Pro is another very dependable multisports watch where that core sports tracking experience overall is solid and it also makes a good training companion.
In terms of an upgrade on the original Apex Pro, the dual-frequency support will certainly appeal to outdoor lovers who want more reliable tracking while the ECG addition feels more like a feature that needs to evolve to become more useful day-to-day.
There is a boost in battery as well, though when you’re in that tracking mode, but this is still a watch that will get you well over a week of tracked activity out of it.
The main problem Coros has is the Garmin Forerunner 955, which is cheaper and has a feature set that’s stronger overall and it’s hard to see an argument to go for this over that watch, bar maybe some slight improvements on the battery front.