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COROS APEX Pro Review
By Contributor Nathan Brown PT, DPT, OCS



COROS continues to grow it's user base by offering a myriad of watches that boast a very long battery life, a continually improving interface, and by aligning with some of the world's (and USA's) most beloved runners -- I'm looking at you, Kipchoge and Molly Seidel. The APEX Pro is a premium multi-sport watch built for the most diverse adventures and for data geeks who want as much info about performance as possible. 


Specifications for the COROS APEX Pro (per COROS)

Display Size: 46mm: 1.2 in. 240 x 240 (64 colors)

Display Type: Touch Screen Memory LCD
Screen Material: Sapphire Glass
Bezel Material: Titanium Alloy
Strap Material: Silicon
Physical Size: 47mm: 47 x 47m x 13.4 mm
Weight with Silicone Band: 59 g
Waterproof up to 100m

Function Specifications
Battery: 30 hours regular use, 40hours GPS, 100hours UltraMax 
Working Temperatures: 14deg F - 140deg F
Sensors: Optical Pulse Ox, Optical HR, Barometric Altimeter, Accelerometer, Compas, Gyroscope, Thermometer

Classification: Premium Multi-Sport Watch

WATCH SUMMARY


The COROS Apex Pro is a new offering from COROS that specializes in providing athletes with a ton of data regarding their run, is loaded with varying sensors to gain this data, and is extremely versatile in its use. To get the most out of this watch, you have to be very active in a diverse group of activities, live in an area with a lot of altitude changes, and want to gather as much data about your activities. If you are a single sport athlete (such as a runner or biker alone), a watch of this caliber is not likely what you need. That said, those in the ultrarunning world may find this as a great option. It brings with it superb accuracy, wonderful battery life (40 hours continuous GPS), and a sleeker package compared to other premium multi-sport options.



FIT

The tested model is the APEX PRO with the silicon wrist band. I found that the watch was able to fit on my wrist (I have smaller wrists in general), but did have some difficulty finding the best notch on the silicon band to secure it without it being too tight. The double loop system for securing the excess band holds the extra band in place, but isn't the easiest to navigate when putting it on. They do not slide easily given the silicon nature, and adjusting the furthest band was a bit of a chore. Again, once put where desired it stays in place nicely. I would be interested in testing the nylon band to see if it can be individualized more and is easier to get the appropriate fit. 

Compared with a Garmin (for harder efforts difference was 10-13bpm)



ON THE RUN PERFORMANCE


Primarily I tested this watch while running and a bit of hiking. The functionality of the sensors really makes this watch best for trail runners, ultra runners, and those diversifying their activities. That said, it certainly functions very well on the run, with a few things to get used to. First is the weight. Given the design to be a premium multi-sport watch, it does sit on the heavier side (though slightly lighter feeling and slick than other comparable watches like the Garmin Fenix). Over time, I did get used to the weight and it was not bothersome over long runs over 1.5 hours, but it was a transition going from my Forerunner 245 in terms of weight.

The screen is quite customizable and you are able to upload workout calendars that automatically run for you during a session. You are able to change what data shows on each of the scrolling screens that are present during an activity. To toggle between each screen you have to use the bezel dial. This was another thing that took a bit of time to transition to. Given the sensitivity variance of the bezel, I recommend having the "auto-lock" feature turned on so that something doesn't get bumped during the run. I also found that the bezel sometimes didn't "catch" when trying to turn it, so I would have to do a few extra turns before it would successfully unlock or scroll to the appropriate screen. However, it wasn't overly bothersome and I'm sure a piece is my own user error.

This is a minuscule thing, but I appreciate the volume and intensity of the beeps and vibrations during the run. They are subtle and unobtrusive, where other watches I have used have tones that distract me from a workout. More importantly, the battery life is the real deal. I have gone 3-4 weeks without charging the watch while using it for running 5x/week and wearing at work daily. The more typical timeframe is 2 weeks without having to charge the watch. Additionally I have had no problems gaining GPS signal. Typically I get a signal and am ready for the run within 15-20 seconds.

Finally, the accuracy of the sensory is very strong. There are always going to be things that are off, but compared to my Forerunner 245, the HR monitor and altitude (obviously...since the 245 doesn't have an altimeter) are much more accurate. The wrist HR was within 2-3bpm of a chest strap while my Garmin 245 has been 10-13bpm different (higher). This did lead to improved "projections" for race times, though I strongly recommend taking those times with a grain of salt and not being your only piece of your decision for race day.

This watch is laced with features, many of which I did not even venture into. That shows two things. First, for people who are looking simply for a running watch, you likely don't need something as complex as this. Second, for true adventurers, multi-sport athletes, and the ultra scene, this may be one of the most versatile watches out there.



Examples of data from Coros Apex Pro

USER INTERFACE AND A WORD ON ALGORITHMS


I have been a Garmin Connect person since I started running in college, so button configuration and app layout of the COROS app was a new experience. Let's start with the watch interface first. The amount of data available on the COROS APEX Pro is actually a bit overwhelming and takes some digging to learn what each screen is meant for. However, there are a few (potentially) useful screens, including the "Running Performance", "Fatigue", and "Recovery" tabs. These screens give information that is meant to guide your training. Running Performance tells you how well your most recent run was compared to your fitness as well as projecting race performance. Fatigue shows a four week distribution of your workload and how much was an easy, medium, or hard effort, while projecting if that amount of fatigue is good for improving fitness, maintaining, etc. The Recovery screen projects how much time you need until performing easy or hard training based on recent activities and other information gained from the app.

This type of data should be taken with an extreme grain of salt. The reason for this is that all of the projections for your fitness and time off are based off of a very limited sample of you as a runner. It can gather HR, sleep patterns, activity levels, etc. However it can't gather info about pain, injury, stress, anxiety, what you ate that day, hydration, etc. Watches have really sophisticated algorithms, but they simply are not able to capture the true essence of a runner. Particularly concerning to me is the recommendations for recovery from this COROS watch. If I were to be following the watch recommendations alone, it would have me doing multiple hard workouts a week (sometimes even two days in a row), despite my legs telling me otherwise in terms of some "niggles" I've been working through in my lower leg. Trust your body, your coach, your physical therapist, and be thoughtful about how you integrate the recommendations from watch algorithms. That said, this watch is the closest for predicting my race times compared to others that I've used. It underestimates my 5K by about 1.5 minutes and overestimates my marathon by about 10 minutes, which is an improvement than my Forerunner than overestimates my marathon time by 25 minutes. Regardless of how close the estimation may be, relying on watch estimates for a marathon is risky for the runner, as it imposes expectations and doesn't take into consideration all the other factors of the day. Again, just be wary of utilizing this data to fully guide your training.

Finally let's touch on the app. I really enjoyed the COROS app. It is simple to customize your watch from the app, view your history, and scroll through the data. It also syncs easily with Strava for those who use that platform. I would love a more seamless integration with VDOT, which I use with my running coach, as the workouts do not automatically get uploaded to my training calendar. That said, it is still easy to create your own workouts from the app and upload them to the watch directly. Overall it's a clean, user friendly app.





WHO THIS WATCH IS FOR (Conclusion)

The COROS APEX Pro is a watch for serious ultra-marathoners, adventurers, and multi-sport athletes. It will have all the bells and whistles you need while also being in an overall sleek package. It has a nice, user friendly interface and some of the best battery life you can find, all while getting one step closer to becoming Kipchoge or Molly Seidel. It will give you some of the most accurate data you can get from a wrist, while athletes should still be wise in the way that they integrate watch suggestions into their training.

GRADING
Fit: B- (For all the punch it packs, a good overall size, just hard to get a lockdown with silicon band)           
Performance:  A-
 (Accurate sensors for a wrist watch, algorithms are okay but definitely not sufficient for all direction in training, very versatile uses for adventurers. Battery life is wonderful *chef's kiss*) 
User Interface: 
B+ (Bezel was the biggest issue, but not a deal breaker. Customizable screen options are a plus, but it takes time to get what you really want on there since there are so many options) 
Personal:  C+
 (Does everything I need for running and does it well, but I don't have the variability of activity or mountain access to make this watch worth the price for me) 
Overall:  B+ (Did not include my personal grade in calculating overall grade. I think this is a lighter, very versatile multisport watch for the ultra crowd with fantastic battery life)         


SHOP | SUPPORT DOR

Find the COROS APEX Pro at Running Warehouse here.
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FURTHER READING - TECH REVIEWS AT DOR

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Coros Apex 46mm Review - Watch
2021 Holiday Gift Guide for Runners


Thanks for reading!

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.

***Disclaimer: This watch was provided for review by 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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