Coros Vertix 2 review: A Fenix rival that brings the big battery life - MrLiambi's blog


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Tuesday, 4 October 2022

Coros Vertix 2 review: A Fenix rival that brings the big battery life

The Coros Vertix 2 is a watch that aspires to give the Garmin Fenix a run for its money. 

Sitting above the Coros Pace 2 and Apex, the Vertix 2 seeks to make improvements on its predecessor in a host of departments including adding free TOPO maps, smartwatch features like a music player and the promise of super accurate outdoor tracking.

Like its outdoor watch rivals, the Vertix 2 does not come cheap so you're going to be paying basically the price of two Apple Watches to own it. Is it worth the big spend? This is our take.

Design and display

  • 50mm case
  • 1.4-inch, Memory LCD display
  • 26mm strap
  • 10 ATM waterproof rating

It's fair to say the Coros Vertix 2 is a watch that doesn't go unnoticed when it's on your wrist. This is a hefty watch and if you have slender wrists, it may well feel like a bit too much watch.

You've got a 50mm case that comes in obsidian black or lava orange looks with titanium in the case and the bezel while sapphire glass offers protection in the display department. It measures in at 15.7mm thick and weighs 89g paired up with a silicone band or 72g with a nylon one and it's the type of weight you do notice. 

The straps are interchangeable with a quickfit mechanism making it nice and straightforward to change things up. The silicone strap we had was comfortable overall and posed no issues wearing it throughout the day and during exercise though it's probably not the most suitable watch to take to bed if you're sharing that sleep space with someone.

Coros packs in a good sized 1.4-inch, 280 x 280, always-on memory LCD display that does offer touchscreen support, but is only usable in certain scenarios. For the majority of the time you'll use the two physical buttons and the digital dial to interact with the Vertix 2. If you've used a Garmin or a Polar watch, the lack of the buttons on the other side of the case takes some getting used to, but they're good-sized buttons and that dial offers a more classic watch approach to scrolling through menu and data screens.

Around the back, you'll find the sensor array, which does include optical heart rate and pulse oximeter sensors. Coros also finds room for an ECG sensor that's built into the bezel to help you measure your body's response to stress through heart rate variability measurements.

You'll also find the charging port, which is where you'll plug in the proprietary charging cable that has more than a passing resemblance to the one used on Garmin's watches.

Of course, no true outdoor watch is fit for the job unless it can promise to work in all environments. Thankfully, you're getting plenty of protection here. Along with offering waterproofing up to 100 metres depth, it's fit to work at -30 degree centigrade and up to 50 degree centigrade to operate at extreme cold and hot temperatures.

Sports and fitness tracking 

  • ECG for stress testing
  • Dual-frequency outdoor tracking
  • Global offline mapping
  • 32GB storage
  • Built-in music player

The Vertix 2 is packed to the rafters with features so it can take a bit of time getting to grips of just how much it can do. There's sports modes aplenty, mapping and navigation features, alerts you can set up for altitude and weather changes, new sensors and it behaves more like a smartwatch than the first Vertix that's for sure.

We'll start with tracking, with everything from running, cycling, swimming (pool and open water), XC skiing, strength training (including rep counting) and hiking among the indoor and outdoor pursuits covered here. 

From an outdoor perspective, the big news here is that along with being able to communicate with the big five satellite systems, Coros has added a new dual-frequency mode to enhance communication with those systems in areas it can struggle to capture a signal. This is a particularly desirable feature if you're out exploring the wilderness near a lot of trees or you're tracking around a lot of tall buildings.

Performance-wise, we found that dual-frequency support is pretty good, but not always perfect. We captured plenty of runs up against Garmin's own excellent multiband mode and data largely matched up, but that dual frequency does have its sketchy moments on the tracking accuracy front as well.

Core metrics that sit around that distance tracking were pretty good overall. For running stats like splits, average pace it was very reliable. Heart rate performance was solid overall too for most of our steady paced runs, plus you have the capacity to pair up external heart rate monitors to improve things on that front. Interestingly though, Coros only offers Bluetooth connectivity for pairing additional devices with ANT+ missing in action, which is a surprising omission.

Outside of running, the Vertix 2 performed well for things like pool swims and its strength tracking abilities are a bit better than Garmin's, but it still isn't perfect.

Along with that optical heart rate monitor you do also get an ECG sensor, that's designed to help you better understand the physical stresses your body is being put under to better understand your recovery needs. It will also generate ECG graphs to show off data, but it's a different take to the serious heart health uses that the Apple Watch uses its ECG sensor for on its smartwatch.

Coros also includes its EvoLab insights, which can offer training load, training effect and recovery timer features. There's also running-centric insights offered as well, including establishing your marathon running level, offering a race predictor and assessing your running performance. Those insights did in general offer useful insights, but it's really about offering you some extra guidance to make the right suggestions about your training.

Mapping support is a key area for any outdoor watch and an improvement on the original Vertix is the ability to download regional Topo maps to go with the global maps that are already preloaded onto the watch. That mapping support isn't quite as slick or detailed as we'd like, but Coros does a good job updating its watches and we imagine that'll get better over time. 

In terms of the navigation features you have here, you can make use of the back to the start feature, view checkpoints and use the touchscreen when you're following breadcrumb trails in real time.

On the smartwatch front Coros hasn't gone big on adding things like payments and giving you the ability to download apps. What it has done is focus on offering something that will let you view phone notifications and offer rich third-party app support for the likes of Strava, TrainingPeaks, Apple Health and Stryd.

It's now adding better support to let you take control of action cameras from the Vertix 2 with dedicated support for Insta 360 and GoPro cameras. There's a hefty 32GB of storage on board, which can be used to store maps and also music, which you can stream from the watch when paired up with Bluetooth headphones. It doesn't work with music streaming services but you can plug the watch into your computer to drag and drop your own music onto it. While it might not be the slickest smartwatch experience just yet, you can't fault Coros for trying to improve things on that front.

Battery life

  • 140 hours in Full GPS
  • 50 hours with dual frequency mode
  • 60 days in daily use

Crucially, despite adding a lot of big features to the Vertix 2, Coros has sought to deliver the kind of impressive battery life it offered on the original Vertix.

There's big numbers promised on all tracking scenarios. You can get up to 240 hours in its ultramax GPS mode, which drops to 140 hours in full GPS mode and 50 hours when you use that dual frequency tracking mode. When you're not tracking your outdoor pursuits, Coros says you'll get up to 60 days out of it.

Coros watches in general have great staying power and that hasn't changed on the Vertix 2. Whether you're in tracking or mapping mode or just use it as a watch and to check notifications, it's a watch that really does go the distance. With regular training it's capable of getting you through a good few weeks and stretches to around a month before it needs charging depending on the GPS mode you're using.

It might not have class-leading battery life numbers, but it's still very good and will serve those who spend entire days exploring and need plenty of battery to play with.

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