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Coros Apex Pro Review

Coros Apex Pro Review

For many years, dozens of companies have tried to get in on the endurance sports industry’s technological market. Most of those companies have not survived, and the ones that did were the corporate giants that we all know.

In GPS technology, there has been one company that has dominated the market, Garmin. However, not too long ago, a new company burst on the scene with the goal of making the best GPS watches on the market, its name is Corus, and one of their most popular models is the Coros Apex Pro. We are going to take a look at this model and give you a complete review.

4.5/5
  • Lightweight GPS watch
  • Long battery life
  • Thin watch
  • Lower price

The Looks and the Specs

If runners are about anything, they want the basics. So, let us start with the Apex Pro’s aesthetics and measurements.

Physical Features

The first thing that every athlete who has strapped on a watch notices is how it looks and feels. To put your mind at ease, we can safely say that the Coros Apex Pro is stunning in both its appearance and design. It features a classic round face that is highlighted by sapphire glass. The reflection alone will keep you mesmerized. There are also many styles. 

The interchangeable bands allow you to be conservative with classic black or spice it up with lime green.

The 240 x 240-pixel display adds even more highlights to an already dazzling face. The titanium alloy bezel not only provides a sturdy look but gives the wearer a sense of the quality of the device they are wearing. Even though the screen size is just a half-inch wide, it appears much larger. All in all, it is a sleek looking piece of equipment.

Physical Specs for Coros Apex Pro

Side view of the Coros Apex Pro

Comfort

The Coros Apex Pro is exceptionally light and is over 1.5 mm thinner than the brand’s previous models. In testing during the New York Marathon, several runners said they felt they didn’t have a watch on. Some GPS watches will hover above the skin when strapped on. The Apex Pro conforms nicely to the wrist

Stopwatch Function and Display

In early GPS watches, the focus was so heavy on maps, elevations, and distances, that the stopwatch function was an afterthought. That was not the case with the Apex Pro. The stopwatch function is top-notch, making it easy to record splits, lap times, and store multiple runs.

Yet the best part is the display. Unlike many GPS watches who put the time in hard to read corners of the watch, as if the time was not significant, the Coros Apex Pro has it proudly displayed in old-style gray and black across the bottom of the screen. What separates Apex Pro is that it also has an equally visible display at the top of the screen of the distance covered.

Stopwatch Display on the Coros Apex Pro

Additional Display Features

The Coros Apex Pro allows you to customize your screens. That means you can move your stopwatch feature around and change the background color to your liking for better visibility,

Other Screen Features

Unlike some of the previous Coros GPS watches, the Apex Pro has touchscreen capability, which is interactive, allowing you to navigate screens and modes. Coupled with the turning bezel, it allows you to utilize the control of your choice.

Interface

How runners communicate with their watches is imperative when training. Some watches are difficult to interface, making their use a frustrating experience. The problem lies in the seemingly endless number of features. You should not have to have a degree in computer science to figure out how to use them.

Coros thought of this problem and came up with their unique dial bezel. It created a simple solution to a very aggravating problem. To access the mode, you wish to use, simply turn the dial until it reaches the desired function and then press down on the crown. Tapping the dial will bring up more functions within that function.

Different activities you can track with the Coros Apex Pro. PS - I know this is a running watch review but it's winter in a ski town so I have a one track mind.

Sport Tracking

The Coros engineers made a wise decision when constructing the Apex Pro, that was to keep it simple. They applied that same philosophy to sport tracking. The GPS market is full of watches that try to have their product do everything under the sun. The result usually is a cluttered watch with dozens of features that you will never use or need.

The Corus Apex Pro Tracking Capability

The new Corus has an impressive 13 different activities. Some GPS watches have gone overboard on the kind of activities they allow you track. To access those activities is a beautifully simple process. Just press the crown, turn to the desired activity, and press again. It has also incorporated the ability to set interval workouts in which the watch will alert you to both rest and interval periods.

Additional Tracking Features

A unique feature in the Coros Apex Pro that is especially useful to athletes is “running mode.” In most GPS watches, you have to choose either “running mode” or “interval mode,” assuming that you will either be doing one or the other. However, the Coros Apex Pro allows you to sync the two modes so that you can incorporate intervals into your run. It will also alert you when to rest and when to start your interval, perfect for fartlek runs.

Mapping

GPS watches have come a long way since the days of black lines on a gray canvas. The countless times of figuring out where you were on the map was a source of constant frustration. The new GPS models offer map displays that are as detailed as any map you would view on the best car GPS systems. The Coros Apex Pro is no exception. Whether you are running on city streets or traversing trails in the middle of nowhere, it has you covered.

Map Displays

The Coros Apex Pro has easy to read and understand map displays that effectively help you navigate even the most tricky and remote of terrains. These maps are easy to integrate from your computer or smartphone and allow you to save and record any routes you have taken during your training.

GPS

When companies first enter the GPS market, they do encounter hiccups. Coros was no exception. After some early problems with some of the other models, they were able to iron out the bugs in the Apex Pro. In initial testing at shorter distances, the Coros model held its own. It was especially useful in loop courses with only minor deviations off of the original route.

However, as the distances increased, the readings became slightly less accurate, causing runners to come up short on their water stations’ mark. The elevation standards also suffered in the accuracy department on longer runs. Yet unless you are doing mega mileage, this should not present a problem.

Track Mode

A brand-new feature that created quite a buzz in the GPS world when in 2019, was a new track function. All runners who have worn a GPS watch on the track no the frustration of being forced to the outside lanes and realizing that the accurate measurement of the track you were counting on no longer applies.

Introducing Track Mode, which is exclusive to Coros. Track mode allows you to input the lane you are running on the track into your Apex Pro. Once you input the information, the satellite tracking you will account for the exact lane you are running in. The lane tracking capability supposedly gets better the more you use it.

Potential Issues with Track Mode

It is still a relatively new technology, so they are still ironing out some of the bugs. Runners who used this feature, though encouraged at times, found inconsistencies in measurement and split time locations. The inconsistencies were not so drastic as to completely ruin a workout, but if you are looking for extremely accurate times, it is better to see if you can maintain that inside lane.

4.5/5
  • Lightweight GPS watch
  • Long battery life
  • Thin watch
  • Lower price

Heart Rate Monitor

Coaches have increasingly used heart-rate monitors in the application of their training. Runners have routinely used monitors to track themselves as well. The problem has always been finding a comfortable way to get accurate results without squeezing an uncomfortable strap around your chest. Sensors on GPS watches are nothing new. Yet, their accuracy has always left something to be desired.

Coros understood this was an issue and addressed it by increasing the sensor’s quality on the bottom of the watch. The result was the Apex Pro has become very effective at getting accurate heart rate results. Even in testing with traditional chest-strap monitors, the Apex Pro did well, only failing to pick up minor deviations. For most runners, it will be all the heart rate monitor you will need.

Additional Heart Rate Monitor Features

The Corus Apex Pro offers a feature that displays your oxygen saturation levels along with your heart rate. You can access this mode in a couple of functions. One is the Altitude Mode, which turns on automatically when elevations reach above 2500 feet. They also have a sensor that will activate this feature when the temperature reaches above 22 degrees Celsius.

Navigation

The accuracy of maps and the ability to input them into your GPS have become important for runners as trail running has gained popularity. The Coros Apex Pro allows for downloading maps into the watch from your computer or smartphone and then utilizing them on the run.

It can also allow you to integrate your workouts. You can sync a map to a specific workout such as speed play, a 1-2-3 drill, or fartlek. There is some rigidity, however, in creating maps on the fly. Some GPS watches have functions that can create maps in unfamiliar areas. Yet, for those who know your routes, this should not present a problem.

Battery Life

How many times have you forgotten to plug in your GPS watch and then get ready for your next workout, only to find you have a dead battery? There is not a runner who has used a GPS watch who has not had this experience. Early GPS batteries had the shelf life of a wind-up toy. Yet today’s GPS watches have the power to burn.

The people at Corus knew that more runners were pushing their endurance limits and needed a GPS watch to handle these extended time demands. The Apex Pro has stepped up to the plate. The Corus Apex Pro can provide a whopping 35 hours of service in GPS mode to 100 hours of operation in Ultra Max Mode. If you are doing long LSD runs or forget to charge your watch, it will be ready to go.

App Usage

Over the years, many runners have encountered a backward world when it comes to the app that goes with their GPS. Their watch displays a map or time in a specific format, and then the app is so different looking that it doesn’t appear like it is for the same product. The inevitable happens when you cannot correlate any of the information from your watch to the app and vice versa.

The engineers at Coros appear to have put ergonomics as a top priority. First, syncing with their app is simple and lightning fast. Once you open the app, you will be pleasantly surprised by how easy it is to use and how readable and understandable the information is.

App Screens

The app will present itself in four easy to read screens on the activity dashboard, a workout log, a profile overview, and a device management area. The last two screens are for your user information and settings. You will spend most of your time in your activity dashboard and workout log. Here you will find all the data that your Apex Pro has tracked along with all of your workout information, elevation charts, times, splits, and heart rate data.

Coros spent a great deal of time on the graphics. It shows as information is easily extracted, letting you look beyond the numbers while providing you new insight into your workouts.

Ease of Use

Early GPS watches had so few functions that they were relatively simple to use. The big bulky watches covering about half your forearm looked complex but basically were just clunky timepieces with an extra feature. That has changed. With the extra complexity comes the challenge of how to make a GPS watch simple to use. Coros accomplished simplicity with flying colors.

The ease of use goes back to its titanium alloy bezel. Its tactile feel helps in navigating through its features. The sapphire glass and the adjustable screen display allow the user to see information more clearly. The dial bezel is self-explanatory and makes it easy to get to the mode that you want.

Coros Apex Pro easily removable watch bands

Activity and Sleep Tracking

Not all endurance athletes are fans of activity tracking. Keeping track of your steps during the day when you are already putting in 50-mile weeks seems redundant. The same could be said of calorie burning. Although sleep tracking has become the rage, most endurance athletes have little trouble getting quality sleep because of their heavy activity.

These functions may not seem to be something that would be important to many runners. However, Coros did add some activity and sleep tracking functions.

Activity and Sleep Tracking on the Corus Apex Pro

Corus did an excellent job on the accuracy of the activity tracker. It measured calorie burn well, and distance/step tracking outperformed Garmin in this category. The sleep tracking was accurate; however, it slipped a bit in its accuracy in the REM sleep measurements. However, if you are looking for basic sleep information, it rivals any of these types of devices on the market.

Phone Connectivity

Our smartphones largely dictate our lives. We keep every bit of information that is valuable to us on those compact handheld devices. So, it is not surprising that GPS companies have put a great deal of emphasis on smartphone connectivity.

The Coros Apex Pro runs entirely off its mobile app. All the information on your device and training is easily accessed through your smartphone. This may seem limiting; however, it is surprisingly not. While many GPS manufacturers are still trying to bounce their functions between a smartphone and a computer, it is refreshing to see a GPS watch that has chosen sides.

Corus Apex Pro Phone Connectivity

The Corus Apex Pro interfaces through a user-friendly app and syncs directly to Strava, TrainingPeaks, RQ, WeRun, and the Health Kit on the iPhone and Droid platforms. The multitude of training programs provides you choices on which application works best for you. Syncing is extremely fast, and the app has gotten rave reviews for its clarity and ease of use.

Coros Apex Pro and the Coros App

New Features

GPS manufacturers are always looking for new features; again, Coros is no exception. The Apex Pro has some added features and new and improved sensors that have put on par with some of the best GPS watches on the market.

The Pulse Oximeter Sensor

In our constant effort to get the most detailed information on what is happening to our bodies during training, Coros has stepped beyond merely monitoring heart rate. The Apex Pro has added a pulse oximeter. This feature can get your blood oxygen saturation rate at altitude (advisory, you have to stop moving for it to read). The pulse oximeter automatically kicks in at 8250 feet altitude.

The pulse oximeter does not stop with just providing you information but acts as a safety guard. After calculating the data, it will recommend whether you should continue climbing or turn around and head to a lower elevation. Although safety features are not a common function in GPS watches, Coros has found a creative way to protect its customers.

Additional Features

A very interesting new feature is the ability to measure “running power”. This can be done with an accessory called the Coros Pod. It is made of a series of accelerometers that measure the body’s movements, such as ground contact time and stride length. The app can perform calculations to tell you how efficiently you are running. There is a scoring system that allows you to break down your level and if you need to work on your technique.

Updates

Coros does not rest on its laurels. It is constantly trying to improve. One of the ways it does this is through updates to its technology and applications. The amount of information and data that Corus adds to its system is impressive and equal to that of any fitness industry-related company.

Cost

What has been so difficult to find in the endurance sport technological market is high quality for a reasonable price. There have been GPS watches on the market that offers excellent quality but requires you to take out a second mortgage on your home to afford one. The other option is a cheap version that will not have any of the functions you want and break within the first two weeks you have it.

No tech of this quality is inexpensive. However, the Corus Apex Pro retails for $500, which is a reasonable price for this product. Its construction is top of the line, and the design is both ergonomic and beautiful. It has all the functionality that you will need. Few runners will need any features that are not already included in the Coros Apex Pro.

What They Are Saying

Runners who have tried the Apex Pro are excited about its performance. In over 75 reviews it has an average of 4.8 rating out of 5 stars on Google. They have marveled at the battery life and the overall performance.

Coros Apex Pro has 4.8 Stars our of 5 on Google

Things to Consider Before Buying

A GPS watch is first and foremost, a training aid. It should match your specific sport and the requirements you need to most effectively complete your workouts. Here is what you need to look for:

  • Accuracy in GPS measurements
  • Easy to navigate
  • Understandable applications that give the appropriate feedback
  • Clearly visible readings on the watch face
  • Accurate heart rate monitoring

Alternatives

The Coros Apex Pro is one of the top GPS watches on the market. However, there are solid competitors that would be great alternatives to investigate as well.

The Garmin Forerunner 745 has many of the same features as the Coros Apex Pro. Its GPS accuracy is excellent and is in the same price range. If your workouts do not require extra-long battery life, this option is a great alternative.

The Polar Grit X is superb for trail runners. It has excellent GPS accuracy and offers the Polar brand heart rate monitoring technology. It is also a little easier on the wallet, being offered at $430.

The Garmin Forerunner 945 is their top of the line model. It has extremely accurate GPS tracking and great battery life. This Garmin model also has special features like emergency notification. It is more expensive, with a price tag of $600.

The Takeaway

When you look at the complete package, the Coros Apex Pro is everything you want in a GPS watch. Great features, easy to use, superb connectivity, simple navigation, beautiful screen display, a sleek design, and a reasonable price. It has everything to satisfy the techy and for the serious distance runner, the Coros Apex Pro checks all the boxes.

4.5/5
  • Lightweight GPS watch
  • Long battery life
  • Thin watch
  • Lower price
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Robby McClung

Robby McClung

This article was written by the editorial staff of the Canaan Valley Running Company and Robby McClung. Robby is the founder of the Canaan Valley Running Company. You can read more in the about section of the website on Robby and the Canaan Valley Running Company.

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