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COROS Apex 46mm Review
By David Salas


In recent years COROS has been becoming a "household name" amongst the running community. Originally known for battery life, the company started gaining some recognition for some of their other features as well. The COROS Apex 46mm is a versatile multi sport watch that provides decent amount of customization and features for the price point. 


Specifications (COROS)
Display Size: 46mm: 1.2 in. 240 x 240 (64 colors)
Display Type: Memory LCD
Screen Material: Sapphire Glass
Bezel Material: Titanium Alloy
Strap Material: Silicon
Physical Size: 46mm: 46 x 46m x 11.9 mm
Weight with Silicone Band: 55.3 g
Waterproof up to 100m

Classification: GPS Performance Watch, Ultra Marathon Watch


WATCH SUMMARY

The COROS Apex 46mm is a multisport watch for those looking to maximize functionality into a single piece of equipment. The watch offers generous visibility as well as many different functions that can help with training. The watch is waterproof up to 100m and can work really well as a multi sport watch for the triathletes of this world. Battery life is also insane... so this works great for those that are lazy like me or spending a significant amount of time in the mountains like during an ultra marathon. 



FIT

Overall the Apex 46mm fits decently. I would not say the silicon band is the best for those with a thin wrist though. My wrist is on the thinner end (thin for most males, probably normal width for most females) and when running I have it on the smallest possible setting. When walking around or working in the clinic I have at the second tightest option. The watch face itself is large, but not big enough to put pressure on the wrist crease. The bezel is put on a convenient location where it does not make accidental contact with the wrist when moving. The silicon is of great material and durability. The watch hardly ever has any slippage and the band is showing no signs of deterioration. I would love to try the nylon strap at some point though, since even the tightest setting can have a little extra room on me in colder conditions when my skin or musculature has less expansion. 


PERFORMANCE

The performance of the Apex 46mm is good, not great. I would say it isn't any worse or better than the other GPS watches out on the market. Where this watch shines is battery life. I run 70+ miles per week and have GPS running all of the time with at least one 2 hour run per week. Starting around 100% battery, the watch will last me almost the entire month. There is an UltraMax feature that can supposedly get up to 100 hours, though I have not needed to dwell into that feature. There are other metrics like heart rate, power, stride length, and cadence. Everything seems to be doing ok with values that appear to be pretty close to "normal" or realistic. One thing I like in this watch is the altimeter (which you can check elevation mid run) and the elevation map that it shows you after your run. It will also do this with pace and heart rate metrics. I will often look at a workout and see my variability throughout, especially with intervals to see how my body is responding to the training I am putting into it.

The GPS is surprisingly accurate, even in in dense trees or "twilight zones." I have found that when doing workouts with others that their watches will lose satellite or connection and the pace readings will be thrown off, where my Apex 46mm seems to stay locked in for most situations. The power metrics are interesting, though I'm not sure it is the most accurate display of workload or training. It is nice to have it, but because the metric is dependent on personal anthropometrics vs. force and torque the same power in watts could mean two completely different efforts for individuals. The same goes for effort on different days from the same person. It is nice to average it up and see where you normally lie though, that way you can get a generic baseline. Overall the watch is versatile and can do a lot. For me I mainly use the old school features of GPS and lap splits. Though you will catch me looking at elevation from time to time. 


USER INTERFACE

Even after using this for some time I am trying to figure out if I like the user interface. The bezel is interesting and works for most things, but can be a bit annoying at times. It is perfect for a start/stop button, but difficult to navigate when you are in the middle of running. One specific case is during workouts. The main workout screen has mileage, pace, and total time. I love that there is an option to have the split time, split pace, and split mileage on another screen, but you have to do multiple scrolls for this. The same goes for heart rate, or altitude, or power. Before you know it you are spending time looking at the watch and not at the footing in front of you. When doing trail fartleks or track workouts this has become a little bit of an issue. I normally just keep it in the split mode when doing those because of this. However, it is convenient and easy to learn navigation this way too. The only button that isn't with the bezel is the lap button and that seems to work pretty well overall. COROS also has their own names for some things, so it took me a while to find my own run history. They have it called AI interface. Overall, the watch definitely takes some learning and getting used to, but handles well enough once you put the time in. 


RECOMMENDATIONS

I think the COROS Apex 46mm can certainly improve with band sizing. I currently wear the smallest sizing and think it could probably still go further to accommodate those with smaller wrists. I think the addition of one more button on the other side of the watch could also help with functionality, or providing a potential favorite screen to quickly move to and from when during activity. The user interface and the bezel can prove to be both convenient and annoying depending on the situation, so one more button might do some good. Overall the watch is done pretty well though.


WHO THIS WATCH IS FOR (Conclusion)

The COROS APEX 46mm is for someone looking for a GPS performance watch with smart watch capabilities and great battery life. The watch is definitely a jack of all trades. It can do a little bit of everything but does not crush it in any specific category (except battery life). Because of all of the features the watch does carry a little bit of weight, but not so much that is overly distracting. I still race with this watch on. It is a multi use sport watch that I can use for running, swimming, and clinic use. Aesthetics are also done really well with this watch. 


GRADING

Fit: B (Silicon is great, watch size and button placement is good, but the band could be fitted to smaller wrists better)           
Performance:  A-
 (Jack of all trades, good GPS, versatile metrics, weight is a tad heavy, battery life great) 
User Interface: 
B- (Convenient and annoying at the same time, not great scrolling through options when running, auto lock needs to be on with daily activities since bezel can be sensitive) 
Personal:  
A- (Overall I really enjoy the watch. It does everything I need it to do. The fit could be a little better but I'm happy with all of the features that it provides.) 
Overall:  B+ (A solid multi sport watch overall with GPS and other features, especially at price point. The fit could be improved, and the user interface could be improved.)            

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Thanks for reading!

TESTER PROFILES:

Dr. Matthew Klein is a 150 lb male with notable PRs of 14:45 for 5k and 2:32:44 for the full marathon.  He typically runs 70-100 miles per week and trains at a variety of paces from 8min per mile recovery runs to 4:40 per mile 1k repeats.  He prefers firmer and responsive shoes with snug heels and medium to wide toe boxes.  The stability guy of the group, he also prefers a little stability in his footwear. However, as a researcher, clinician and running shoe aficionado, he will run in anything. IG handle @kleinrunsdpt

Dr. David Salas is a 135 lb male with notable PRs ranging from 3:54 in the 1500m to 1:08:36 for half marathon. He typically runs 60 to 70 miles per week and trains from about 7:30 recovery runs to fast shorter efforts at 4:30 pace. He normally prefers neutral shoes with a firmer ride, but is completely open to other types of shoes.  He is a footwear enthusiast at heart and will always appreciate a high quality shoe when it comes around. For updates on training or testing, IG handle: @docsofrundavid

Dr. Brown is a 155 lb male with notable PRs of 18:18 5K, 39:25 10K, 1:29:01 half marathon, and 3:54 marathon. He typically runs between 20-40 miles per week at a variety of paces from 7:30-8:30 min/mile for recovery runs to 6-6:45 min/mile for tempo runs. He typically prefers shoes that provide some cushioning underfoot but still maintain a more firm and responsive feel. Current goals for 2020 are to break the 1.5 hour half marathon and 3:30 marathon. IG handle: @nate.docsofrunning

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Matthew Klein, PT DPT OCS FAAOMPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Board Certified Orthopedic Clinical Specialist
Fellow of the American Academy of Orthopedic Manual Physical Therapists

Nathan Brown PT DPT MS
Doctor of Physical Therapy 
Masters in Anatomy and Clinical Health Science
Movement Performance Institute Certified in Advanced Functional Biomechanics 

David Salas PT DPT CSCS
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist

Bach Pham MS
Marketing and Social Media Manager
Master of Arts in Cultural Anthropology

***Disclaimer: This watch was purchased at full price from COROS.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review. We systematically put each type of shoe through certain runs prior to review. For trainers and performance trainers, we take them on daily runs, workouts, recovery runs and a long run prior to review (often accumulating anywhere from 20-50 miles in the process). For racing flats we ensure that we have completed intervals, a tempo or steady state run run as well as a warm up and cool down in each pair prior to review. For this watch there is approximately 3 months worth of running (70miles/week). This systematic process is to ensure that we have experience with each shoe in a large variety of conditions to provide expansive and thorough reviews for the public and for companies. Our views are based on our extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

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