I’m not a technical mastermind. I’m a 42 year old women who still remembers when we lived without cell phones, who still loves CD’s and who writes lists with paper and ink. I also remember when I didn’t need a watch to run and I could just step out the door and go. The only numbers I needed to look at were related to what time I needed to be home.
Those days are gone and not only is there major technology at our fingertips, but there are so. many. options when it comes to running watches. They come in every color, at every price point, in every style and size, and they have every feature you could ever want (or don’t want, since they are as simple or as complicated as you need as well.) There are pluses and minuses to all of them and I’ve tried a fair number over the years as they’ve risen in popularity and “techy-ness.”
On one of my trail running Facebook groups, someone asked for advice on which GPS watch had the best battery staying power for an Ultra. The overwhelmingly popular answer was a watch made by a company called COROS. This got my wheels spinning, and the next thing I knew, the COROS APEX Pro Premium Multisport GPS Watch was being delivered to my door, along with the COROS Performance Optimization Device (POD.) (Confession: I didn’t know what the POD was, but I was excited to find out.)
After charging the watch, I turned it on and fiddled around with it for a bit. Both the watch and the POD came with some “quick guides” in the box, but there was nothing terribly detailed. This was not a big shock, as most companies these days are trying to save a tree or two by not including huge instruction manuals in the packaging anymore. There was a guide on the COROS website with a bit more meat to the features, but I never did find any step-by-step instructions on how to use the watch. I thought that was worth mentioning in this review, since I might not be the only “old-school” personality who likes instructions. What I will say is that once I installed the app on my phone, it was easier for me to navigate the app there than it was to figure out how to do things on the watch itself. You could even change the watch face on the app, and there were several styles to choose from. I found there wasn’t a ton of work to set everything up, and despite not being a very tech-savvy person, the app was pretty intuitive.
As for the POD, it took me a few minutes to figure out how to open it so I could check the battery, which had already been inserted for me. After I realized that I just needed to remove the silicone sleeve, I felt like a visit with Captain Obvious was eminent. My phone “found” the POD before I even knew what I was doing, and it was ready to go in an easy peasy fashion.
If you are on pins and needles waiting for me to tell you what the POD is for, wait no longer. It’s a tiny little device that clips onto the waistband of your clothes and it’s barely noticeable. It may be small, but it’s mighty, as it measures your stride height and ratio as well as your run efficiency. If you’re not a “numbers person,” why is this important? If you want to be an efficient and balanced runner, these stats can be significant. It’s not just about how fast you run the race. It’s also about how you perform when you try to stay consistent. You wouldn’t expect that the gas in your car would last longer than usual if you lead-footed it the whole way on a long journey. If you take it easy for the whole ride, you stand a better chance of making it further because you aren’t working your engine too hard for it to perform at it’s best.
After my first run with the watch, I checked out all the stats that automatically uploaded to my phone, and there was a lot of info. In addition to the usual metrics associated with a GPS watch, (like pace and distance,) you can see your stride length, cadence, elevation change, and a measurement of both your aerobic and anaerobic productivity. The APEX Pro will even make recommendations for your recovery and estimates metrics like your VO2Max and Lactate Threshold. I remember when you had everything measured on a treadmill in a fancy setup somewhere, but now it’s all available anywhere you go with COROS. Technology for the win again!!!
The APEX Pro can follows you from roads to trails to mountains to lakes to anywhere your fitness leads you. The watch features a 10ATM waterproof rating (100 meters/328 feet,) an optical heart rate monitor, an accelerometer, a compass, a gyroscope, a thermometer, and a barometric altimeter. The original APEX is a quality product, but the APEX Pro has the added features of an optical pulse oximeter, an altitude advisory, and touch screen technology. There’s an enlarged digital knob that moves the navigation track up, down, left, and right, and you can zoom in and out.
Let me speak a little more to that altitude technology on this watch. The APEX Pro follows the VERTIX as the only watch to provide hourly acclimatization evaluations. The 24/7 blood oxygen monitor ensures that your watch will advise you when to keep climbing or when you should head down to a lower altitude. That’s like having a built in hike guide.
The watch looks really slick too. Let’s face it, it matters. The APEX Pro has a titanium alloy frame, a sapphire glass screen, and it’s lightweight at only 59g including the silicone watch band.
Finally, that battery life that initially attracted me to it? It advertises 40 hours in Full GPS mode (30 days of regular use,) and 100 hours in UltraMax mode. This is 14% longer than that of the original APEX, so there’s plenty of time to get through even the most grueling 100 Mile Ultra. Even better, it charges in less than 2 hours.
I’ve worn this watch for a week, and it’s still got lots of battery life left. It’s also so light that I forget I’m wearing it. I did a 5k race with my son recently and it was spot-on in measuring the milage. I’ve had other watches that hold tsignificant battery life but don’t measure the distance quite as accurately. I’ve also had watches that take forever to find your location when you start them up for a run, but I haven’t had this problem with the APEX Pro. It’s not an inexpensive watch, but considering the features, it’s worth the money, especially if it lasts. I bought a $300 GPS watch that lasted less than a year and did a fraction of what this one can do. Honestly, I can’t think of anything I’d want in a watch that this one doesn’t have or can’t do.
What all of the above specs amounts to is that the APEX Pro is durable, versatile, and built for your lifestyle and all that comes with it. It’s got anything you’ll need for a run, a hike, a swim, or a triathlon. I won’t need it for half of what it can do for me, but it’s nice to feel as though you have limitless possibilities. The workouts its supports are as follows: Run, Indoor Run, Trail Run, Track Run, Hike, Bike, Indoor Bike, Pool Swim, Open Water, Triathlon, Gym Cardio, GPS Cardio, Ski, Snowboard, XC Ski, Ski Touring, and Multisport Now, if it only had the ability to drive me away in a flying car when I’m trapped on a mountain .. Next upgrade, I guess.
Company: COROS – Find them on Facebook here
Products & Price:
- COROS APEX Pro Premium Multisport GPS Watch ($499.99) – Find it on Amazon here
Specs (from website):
- Titanium bezel with high-grade fiber watch body
- Touch screen enabled Sapphire glass
- 100-meter waterproof rating
- Stunning battery life with 30 days of regular use, 40 hours in full GPS mode and 100 hours in UltraMax GPS mode.
- Ultra-light durability with a weight of 59g
- 24/7 blood oxygen monitoring with altitude acclimatization assistance
- Industry leading performance in extreme weather
- Enhanced Digital Knob for easy operation even with thick climbing gloves or under water
- Touchscreen enabled breadcrumb navigation
- Advanced training analysis and recovery recommendations
- Intelligent Stride model that learns your running form
- Wrist-based SpO2 sensor
- Wrist-based heart rate monitor
- UltraMax GPS setting for extended battery life
- Built-in barometer, altimeter, and compass
- GPS and GLONASS satellite connections (Galileo / Beidou via future firmware update)
- ANT+ for accessories, BLE for smartphone only
- Interval, triathlon, multisport training
- Fully customizable data screen
- Ultra comfortable 22mm silicone bands – compatible with APEX 46mm
COROS Performance Optimization Device (POD) ($69.99) Find it on Amazon here
Specs (from website):
- Advanced running metrics such as running power, running efficiency, ground contact time, left/right balance, stride height, stride ratio, stride length and cadence.
- Weight: 19 grams
- Battery: 1x CR2032 included
- Waterproof: 1 ATM (10m/32ft)
- Battery life: 1 year (2 hours/day)
- Connection: BLE to phone/ANT+ to COROS watches
- Compatibility: COROS watches/COROS app
- Wearing location: Waist
More about COROS:
COROS is a performance sports technology company that helps athletes train to be their best. For COROS it’s all about outdoors, mountains, and a passionate active lifestyle. We combine high grade hardware with innovative technology to provide endurance athletes with the gear they rely on in the world’s most extreme environments. Advanced technology with an efficient and intuitive user experience is at our core – when you use a COROS product, you know you are getting a tool that has been designed, tested and perfected for the athlete, by the athlete. COROS users have set World Records and been to the highest point on earth, pushing our products to the extremes. At COROS, creation and innovation is never ending.
Thank you to COROS for providing us with a sample pack. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.