The Coros Vertix 2 GPS watch will outlive you for a long time and help you stay on track [Review]

The Coros Vertix 2 is ridiculously stacked with features and outlasts any watch or GPS I’ve ever used by a long shot. It promises to be a mountain biker’s dream watch, packing navigation, ride tracking and fitness data into a wearable form, plus it functions as a remote control for your action camera and can play music on your Bluetooth headphones. I’ve been wearing one 24/7 for several weeks, tracking dozens of bike rides and runs, and here’s what I learned.

Specifications and features of the Coros Vertix 2 watch

On the hardware side, the Coros Vertix 2 is a big, heavy watch. The 64-color touchscreen is 36mm in diameter and measures 240x240px. There are three buttons on one side and the middle button rotates for quick and easy menu navigation. My test sample came with a silicone strap and weighed 90.7g, more than double the weight of the Garmin Forerunner I’m used to wearing.

Coros Vertix 2 function screen

There’s a good reason for such a weight: the huge battery inside. Coros says the Vertix 2 lasts up to 60 days on a full charge in normal watch mode, or up to 140 hours of continuous GPS use. Dedicated bar-mounted GPS units do well to offer twenty-four hours of tracking on a single charge, and that’s almost six times as long. I’ve been testing the Coros Vertix 2 for almost two months and I’ve only had to recharge it once. This is a seriously OP battery, and I find it hard to imagine who, if anyone, even needs a watch that lasts that long between charges. The upshot is that mere mortals don’t have to worry about recharging often, while the downside is that we’ll go so long between charges that we’ll forget where we hid the cable.

Coros offers nylon and silicone bands for the Vertix 2 in a few different colors. My test sample came with a silicone band and it’s quite comfortable. The notches on the strap are close together, making it easy to dial in the exact right fit, but it’s also hard to remember which one to use when turning the watch on and off. There are two band loops to contend with the excessive band length, which feels overkill and further slows down the putting on and taking off of the watch.

Technology

The Vertix 2 packs a heart rate monitor, pulse oximeter, gyroscope, 3D compass, barometric altimeter, accelerometer, and EKG sensor into its titanium case. It can connect to five different satellite positioning systems simultaneously and offers the ability to use a dual frequency connection for extremely accurate tracking. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth allow the watch to connect to a smartphone, action camera and headphones, or any number of external sensors you might want to use to track your ride.

Coros uses the accelerometer to improve battery life in the range-extending UltraMax GPS mode, which promises to extend tracking to a jaw-dropping 240 hours. I’d also like to see the accelerometer used for an MTB-specific hang time tracking feature, similar to what Garmin offers with some of its latest GPS devices.

Then there are the cards. Users can download detailed topographic maps around the world and store them on the massive 32GB internal memory. I loaded 6GB of maps for North America onto my watch and the transfer process took about four hours, so it’s important to plan ahead.

The built-in storage can also be used to store music files without the need for a smartphone or dedicated music player. Like many people, I lost track of my mp3 collection a long time ago, preferring to use Spotify instead. Unfortunately, there’s no way to download files from streaming services, but I was able to find a few old files on my hard drive that I could add to the watch. It was simple to pair a set of Apple Air Pods to the watch, and the music player works as advertised.

The Coros Vertix 2 can be used to control GoPro or Insta360 action cameras, and I found the setup super easy with my Insta360. Simply pair the two and you can take photos remotely or start and stop video recordings.

Not all features included are high tech. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Vertix 2 has a regular old-fashioned stopwatch feature, which most other watches I’ve tested leave out. There’s also a countdown timer and the ability to add alarms right on the watch.

The Coros app is one of the best smartphone apps I’ve used, with easy to navigate menus and beautiful maps, charts and graphs. Importing and exporting GPS data is a breeze.

Data

Like many mountain bikers, I consider myself a data geek, but now that I’ve tested the Coros Vertix 2, I think I’m like a two out of ten on the geek scale. Just watch the video above where I scroll through data for a single ride. The app offers even more detail and allows you to overlay heart rate with altitude or speed, for example, in addition to displaying a much more detailed map of the trip.

Even if I had owned this watch for years, I would never use all the functions, graphs or data points it has to offer. No offense, but you probably won’t either. Truth be told, even after weeks of testing, I’m still not sure I’ve taken advantage of everything it has to offer. after all, Eliud Kipchoge wore a Coros when he broke the marathon world record late last month and I still hope to run a single 7-minute mile.

I do a lot of running in addition to mountain biking, so this next bit might not be of interest to everyone. The Coros app has a feature that analyzes your training runs and predicts how you’ll fare in runs of varying lengths so you can see if you’re on track to reach your goal. The app notes you’ll need to run for seven days to get enough data, and I guess I don’t run often enough as it took ten or more runs over a few weeks to get my predictions.

The Vertix 2 also provides recommendations for rest and recovery, based on a heart rate variability (HRV) measurement, and I found this feature very useful. It will also track your steps during the day and your sleep at night and integrates all of this data to let you know when it’s time to push and when you can rest guilt-free.

Navigation

Coros Vertix 2 map screen

Watch-based navigation is a very handy feature, but it’s also limited due to screen size. The Coros Vertix 2 lets you load and navigate GPX tracks, and alerts you when you’re straying too far off course, though it doesn’t offer rerouting, so you’re kind of on your own when you go off course. the track, which I discovered while jogging in Philadelphia last month. The digital compass is very sensitive, meaning it constantly moves while you’re riding, and even when you move your arm, which sometimes makes it difficult to orient the map. The central scroll button works great for zooming in and out, although you have to use the touchscreen to pan around the map, and it doesn’t work very well with sweaty hands. Also, while trails and roads are displayed on the map, no trail or road names are displayed.

Tracking Accuracy

As usual, I ran a test on the track to see the precision of the Coros Vertix 2 in ideal conditions. For all of my testing, I kept the Vertix 2 in “All Systems On” tracking mode, which uses all available satellite signals. There is another, more accurate mode that uses two frequencies instead of just one, but Coros only recommends this for “technical climbing” as it dramatically affects battery life. Running four laps around a quarter-mile track, the Vertix 2 netted 0.9930 mi the first time and 0.9945 mi the second. It’s 99.3% and 99.45% accurate for math nerds, which is among the best, if not the best I’ve seen when taking these tests in the past few years.

Top Garmin Edge 530, bottom Coros Vertix 2. This is a continuous trail and should not show any doubling or crossings.

In the real world and on the trail, accuracy is equally impressive, tracking turns and turns on tight singletrack better than my benchmark device, a bar-mounted Garmin Edge 530. As you can see from the maps above, the Coros (bottom) tracks smoother and reported that this particular section of singletrack was a mile long while the Garmin only tracked 0.9 miles.

However, the precision is not perfect. As I ran through downtown Philadelphia, buildings seemed to wreak havoc on position data. My drive east along Pine Street feels like a drunken pub crawl, though I can assure you I was totally sober and glued to the sidewalk along the south side of the street pretty much the whole way.

Elevation accuracy was found to be quite good, as seen in the two trail test plots above. For the most part, the Vertix 2 knew I was on a flat surface with short blips at the start and end, and one or two halfway through.

At the end of the line: The Coros Vertix 2 offers incredible battery life and a wealth of features to track every workout and navigate every adventure. That’s probably overkill for most of us, but at the same time, it gives weekend warriors a reason to go a little further and push a little harder.

party towers

  • Amazing battery life
  • Excellent accuracy and sensors to track almost any fitness metric
  • Smart features like music and camera controls

Advantages and disadvantages of the Coros Vertix 2 GPS watch.

dirty naps

  • The silicone band is kludgy
  • Heavy

About Yvonne Lozier

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