Simple, straightforward, and practical are the words to describe the COROS Apex smartwatch, the brand’s second wearable after their first, the Pace. This multisport watch is designed not only to help you track and make progress in your fitness journey, but also to ensure you stay balanced, healthy, and safe. It tracks your activities and your workout but also tells you when you’re overworking and when to rest up. In addition, it’s easy to navigate and has an impressive long battery life. Its minimalist design means that it lacks some of the cool additional features that other wearables like the Garmin vivoactive 3 or the latest Apple Watch might, and it does appear that this one has a few of its own flaws too. But overall, we believe it’s a great deal for athletes who want efficiency and simplicity.
Before getting into this watch, in particular, let’s first take a look at the brand behind its design and manufacturing. COROS Wearables, Inc. is a company that aims to use innovative technology
to provide efficient and practical products for athletes. Their wearables are worn worldwide and promote enjoyable and safe sports experiences. The brand is comparable to Garmin
, Suunto, and Polar, though it has its own simple yet efficient design that is unlike any other.
This watch aims not only to track your activity, but to do so in a smart way. While you’re working out, it breaks down your training into three different stages: warm up, training, and cool-down. Duration and target heart rate for each stage are then provided by COROS trainer. This is available in Aerobic and Anaerobic Training modes, but not Interval. However, while researching we found one reviewer who said that the heart rate sensor is inaccurate and tends to underestimate, but this does not appear to be a common issue. Besides this, while you’re going about your day-to-day activities
, it also tracks all the usual things like your sleep and your calories burned. These are then analyzed by the COROS app, which we will discuss later in this article.
In addition to tracking, this wearable also ensures you get proper feedback to ensure you perform your best but also stay balanced. Besides tracking duration and heart rate, it also determines your stamina levels on a scale of 0 to 100, and your training effect on a scale of 0 to 6. If your stamina levels are too high, COROS trainer will let you know that it’s time to take a break and let your body rest. Then, based on your effort level and your training history, it will calculate and determine an advised recovery window. This prevents you from overworking your body and getting injured, and makes sure you exercise in a way that’s healthy and safe. This feature is provided in Interval, Aerobic, and Anaerobic Training modes.
Screen & Navigation
The LCD screen is 240 by 240 pixels. With its brightness, it can be used outdoors in direct sunlight with no problem in clarity. It is important to note, however, that this watch is not a touchscreen. Some may see this as an advantage for endurance sports, but others may not like it so much. You can navigate the menus and pages using the single digital crown on the side of the watch. It is designed so that you can use it even while in motion, and so that only one finger is needed. However, some reviewers say that because the crown requires turning rather than pressing, it is especially easy, when in motion, to scroll past the page you want. In addition, wearing gloves when running or working out might also turn it by accident. There is, however, an option to lock the screen to prevent this from happening.
After working out, the data from your workout will automatically be transferred via Bluetooth to the COROS app on your mobile phone
. While some models by Garmin and other brands have problems with this syncing, it is said that this one syncs exceptionally quickly. On the app, you get a graphical analysis of your training with your VO2 max, recovery advisor, threshold pace, personal fitness index, and more. Not only is it easier to process this information when it’s all nicely laid out in these graphs (they also have Apple’s iconic circular activity charts), but it’s also pleasing to look at, which is a bonus. The app also lets you connect to third-party applications like STRAVA to automatically upload your workouts.
Built-in GPS tracking makes navigation easier. When running or biking outdoors, your routes are displayed and the watch provides real-time information on heading and elevation. The downside is that it doesn’t show detailed maps, as it lacks the full mapping capabilities - all you get is a grid with your route outlined. If you’re really bad with directions, the lack of details may make it easier to get lost so this may not be for you. It even sends you alerts if it sees that you’re getting off the trail
. In addition, the Intelligent Stride Algorithm uses machine learning to record and remember your range of motion when running when you do have GPS. This way, it can use your personal stride model to track your distance when GPS signals are weak.
Long battery life is advantageous - when you’re busy with life, you need a wearable that can keep up with your pace, rather than have to slow down so that it can stay charged and catch up. This one’s battery can last up to 100 hours in UltraMax setting. In normal mode, it can last up to 35 hours; and with regular usage, up to 30 days. The ration of battery life to price is excellent with this model. It offers perhaps the longest battery life in any sports watch for this price range.
This wearable has a pretty simple style. With its single digital crown, it has a much neater look than other ones that have lots of different knobs and buttons on the sides. The straps have a subtle detailing on them and are standard and detachable; you can mix and match with different straps to find what suits your style. The watch face is also customizable from your phone, though there aren’t as many varieties as with Garmin’s Connect IQ store
; and the graphical analysis of your training on the COROS app is minimalist and aesthetically pleasing.
Though it may seem that more always means better, that’s not necessarily the case. When it comes to smartwatches, for instance, we might think that having the most additional features is better. However, that tends to drive up the price and eat through the battery, too. The simple and straightforward nature of this watch means that it doesn’t have very many additional features. Indeed, it has no full mapping capabilities, no onboard music storage, no touchscreen, and doesn’t offer payment methods like Garmin Pay or Apple Pay. If you really want to have those things in your wearable, then this one is definitely not for you. However, for those who just want a simple multisport smartwatch that just gets the job done, this is a great one that you won’t have to pay a fortune for.
Though whether or not a product is “worth it” will depend on your needs and your budget, in general the COROS Apex is of a pretty good value. As we mentioned earlier, it has a very good battery life to value ratio. In addition, the watch is made from premium materials, with a titanium alloy or ceramic bezel finish and sapphire glass for protection. The durability makes sure that it’s not easily scratched or destroyed and that it can actually be useful for real multisport training. It is true that this watch doesn’t have loads of features and is fairly simplistic in style. However, due to its efficiency, durability, and practicality, we still think it is a good bargain.
To conclude, the COROS Apex multisport smartwatch is designed to help you train - not harder, but smarter. In addition to tracking your activities, it also tracks your stamina and training efficiency in order to provide feedback and tell you when it’s time to rest. This helps prevent overworking and injuries. Besides that, it has a very long battery life, a simple navigation knob, a sleek design, and great connection to the mobile app where you can see graphical analysis of your training and daily life. The downsides are that it is not touchscreen and lacks some other features like cardless payment methods, music controls, and full mapping capabilities. As a result, we wouldn’t recommend this to athletes who want to have a wearable packed with specs like these. For those who just want something simple and effective for a great price, however, we would definitely recommend this wearable.