The APEX Pro and VERTIX 2 are the most premium watches in the COROS lineup. When you’re making this big of an investment, you want to make sure you get the right watch to help you reach your fitness goals.
In this post, I’ll be breaking down the similarities and differences of the two watches, and how to decide on one over the other.
As context for my review, I’m a GPS watch nerd who’s tested all the COROS models and a handful of the popular watches from other brands (thanks to loaners or my friends). I train mainly for marathons, but have also dabbled in trail running and triathlons. I don’t own either watch, but have had a chance to use them for a bit (I personally own the COROS APEX).
This post is not sponsored, but it does contain affiliate links/codes, meaning that I earn a small commission on any purchases, at no extra cost to you. Your support allows me to keep writing reviews like this one 🙂
Things in Common: COROS APEX Pro vs. VERTIX 2
Both watches have a rugged look, and they can certainly withstand all kinds of intense activities. In fact, both watches have nearly 30 tracking modes:
Runners will also appreciate the more advanced training metrics, including training load, training effect, marathon level, race predictor, and recovery time, which are part of the COROS EvoLab performance metrics (I love keeping an eye on these during marathon training). If you’re planning to do interval workouts, you can create them in the COROS app and follow them from your watch.
One of COROS’ best features is how quick and consistent the GPS is—I’m always able to latch onto signal within 10 seconds.
If you spend a lot of time out on the trails, you’ll like that the APEX Pro and VERTIX 2 have mapping. You can download GPX files to follow specific paths, or just view a map from your watch. They both also have touchscreen functionality when navigating maps, making it much easier to move the map around.
There are also a variety daily fitness metrics, including like steps, floors climbed, heart rate, VO2 max, SpO2, and sleep. The smartwatch features include phone notifications, find my phone/watch, and GoPro camera control. Unlike the less expensive COROS models, the APEX Pro and VERTIX 2 also have a backlight button.
If you’re new to COROS, you should know that all their watches use the knob/dial navigation. It can take a bit of getting used to, but the dial is luckily highly customizable. You can:
- Turn autolock on/off during regular use or workouts (this helps ensure you don’t accidentally brush up against the dial and mess up a setting)
- Customize the type of screen unlocking; there is the long hold or scroll. I prefer the long hold since scrolling to unlock feels more tedious.
- Change the direction of the scroll (whether scrolling up or down makes the options scroll up or down) and the orientation of the watch face (great for lefties)
Finally, if any issues arise with your watch, you get two-year warranty, which is twice as long as most competitor warranties.
Reasons to Choose the APEX Pro
Because the APEX Pro is significantly less expensive, it has fewer features, so there are naturally fewer draws it has over the VERTIX 2—but that doesn’t mean it’s not right for you. In fact, as a road runner with small wrists, I’d definitely opt for the APEX Pro over the VERTIX 2.
For one, the APEX Pro is smaller and lighter. The APEX Pro comes in at 59g with the silicone band while the VERTIX 2 comes it at 89g. The VERTIX 2 is more than 50% heavier! (With the nylon band, it’s 49g vs 72g). The APEX Pro was actually already on the larger side for me, and I personally still prefer the size of my APEX 42mm, which is 49g with the silicone band.
The APEX Pro also went on sale in Spring 2022, with a lower price of $399 vs. the original $499. It’s likely that a newer model will be coming out soon, but the APEX Pro is still getting updates, unlike the APEX, so we may not see an APEX Pro 2 for a few months to a year.
The VERTIX 2 is almost twice as expensive as the APEX Pro, so let’s dive into its extra features and whether they’re worth $300 more for you.
Reasons to Choose the VERTIX 2
This watch feels premium right out of the box—and I mean this literally, as it’s the only COROS watch to have a special carrying case.
The VERTIX 2’s claim to fame is its multi-pitch climb mode, which isn’t on any other COROS watch. You can even attach the watch to a carabiner to make your stats easier to view while climbing.
The battery life is out of this world—you get 240 hours in UltraMax GPS mode and 140 hours in regular GPS mode (the APEX Pro gets 75 and 40 hours, respectively). The VERTIX 2 can even connect to all 5 GPS satellite systems at the same time, and in this mode, it still gets 90 hours of battery life. At this rate, you might lose your charger since you’ll rarely have to charge your watch!
The VERTIX 2 is also able to handle more extreme temperatures, working as low as -22°F (-30°C) and as high as 122°F (50°C). Meanwhile, the APEX Pro’s working temps range from 14°F to 140°F, or -10°C to 60°C (if you’re concerned about working out in colder weather, these are also the stated working temps for the APEX, and I’ve definitely run in colder weather; the watch just didn’t vibrate at each mile).
Because the watch has an electrocardiogram sensor, you’ll also get to see heart rate variability, which helps measure stress and how your body is recovering from your workouts.
If you like listening to music while exercising, the VERTIX 2 is the only COROS watch with music functionality. It currently isn’t compatible with any apps, however—you’ll have to directly download music files.
The Bottom Line
The VERTIX 2 is a great choice for more rugged outdoor adventures, especially if you’ll be mountain climbing, or working out in more extreme weather. That said, it’s an extremely large and expensive watch that probably packs more features than needed for road runners or triathletes (in fact, I’d actually recommend the PACE 2 or APEX for these folks).
It’s ultimately up to you to decide if you need the extra battery life, access to all five GPS satellite systems at once, music storage, and multi-pitch climbing mode. Otherwise, the APEX Pro is a solid choice at a great sale price—for the features you get, competitors are charging $100-200 more.
Where to Buy the APEX Pro and VERTIX 2
If this review helped you, it would mean a ton if you purchased through my affiliate links (or used my affiliate code). I also want to encourage you to buy secondhand or from local running shops, if you can. I don’t get paid if you do that, so if you still want to show your appreciation financially, you’re welcome to buy me a virtual coffee.
Directly from COROS:
Here’s a free watch band code! For any watch on the COROS site (or any other watch), use my code COROS-Lily. You’ll be able to get a free, extra watch band or any other accessory (minus gift cards and the explorer pack). Just add both the accessory and the watch to your cart before applying the code at checkout. Please do not share this code on public forums.
Let me know if you have any questions in the comments!
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