The Coros Vertix 2 is ridiculously stacked with features, and lasts longer than 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 works as a remote control for your action camera and can play music on your bluetooth headphones. I’ve been wearing one 24/7 for the past several weeks, tracking dozens of bike rides and runs, and here’s what I’ve learned.
Coros Vertix 2 watch specs and features
On the hardware side, the Coros Vertix 2 is a big, heavy watch. The 64-color touch screen is 36mm in diameter and measures 240x240px. There are three buttons on one side, and the middle button spins for quick and easy menu navigation. My test sample came with a silicon band and weighs 90.7g, which is more than double the weight of the Garmin Forerunner I’m used to wearing.
There’s good reason for such heft: the massive battery inside. Coros says the Vertix 2 lasts up to 60 days on a full charge in regular 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 this is almost six times that long. I’ve been testing the Coros Vertix 2 for almost two months now and I’ve only had to recharge it once. This is a seriously OP battery, and I have a hard time imagining who, if anyone, even needs a watch that lasts this long between charges. The upshot is mere mortals don’t have to worry about bothering to recharge often, while the downside is we’ll go so long between charges that we’ll forget where we stashed 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 comfortable enough. The notches on the band are close together which makes it easy to dial in exactly the right fit, but that also makes it tough to remember which one to use when taking the watch on and off. There are two band loops for wrangling excess band length which seems like overkill and further slows putting the watch on and taking it off.
The Vertix 2 packs a heart rate monitor, pulse oximeter, gyroscope, 3D compass, barometric altimeter, accelerometer, and electrocardiogram sensor into its titanium-wrapped case. It can connect to five different satellite positioning systems at once, and offers the option of using a dual frequency connection for seriously accurate tracking. Wi-fi and Bluetooth allow the watch to connect to a smartphone, action camera, and headphones, or to any number of external sensors you might want to use to track your ride.
Coros uses the accelerometer to improve battery life in range-extending, UltraMax GPS mode, which promises to extend tracking to a jaw dropping 240 hours. I would love to also see the accelerometer used for a MTB-specific hang time tracking feature, similar to what Garmin offers with some of their latest GPS units.
Then there are the maps. Users can download detailed topo maps worldwide and store them on the massive 32GB of internal storage. I loaded 6GB of maps for North America on 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 hold music files without the need for a smartphone or dedicated music player. Like a lot of folks 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 the streaming services, but I was able to find a few old files kicking around 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 to be super simple with my Insta360. Just pair the two and you can remotely snap photos or start and stop video recordings.
Not all of the included features are high tech. I was pleasantly surprised to find the Vertix 2 has a regular old stopwatch function, which most of the 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 better smartphone apps I’ve used, with easy-to-navigate menus and nice looking maps, charts, and graphs. Importing and exporting GPS data is a breeze.
Like a lot of 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 look at the video above where I scroll through the data from a single ride. The app offers even more detail and lets you overlay heart rate with elevation or speed, for example, in addition to showing a much more detailed map of the ride.
Even if I owned this watch for years I’d never make use of every function or graph or data point it has to offer. No offense, but you probably won’t either. Truthfully, even after weeks of testing I’m still not sure I’ve taken advantage of everything it can offer; after all, Eliud Kipchoge wore a Coros when he broke the marathon world record late last month and I’m still just hoping to run a single 7-minute mile.
I do a fair amount of running in addition to mountain biking, and so this next bit may not be interesting to everyone. The Coros app has a feature that analyzes your training runs and predicts how you’ll do in races of various lengths so you can see if you’re on track to meet your goal. The app notes you’ll need to run for seven days so it can get enough data, and I guess I don’t run often enough because it took ten or more runs over a few weeks before I got my predictions.
The Vertix 2 also provides recommendations for rest and recovery, based on a measurement of Heart Rate Variability (HRV), and I found this feature to be super helpful. It’ll also track your steps during the day and your sleep at night and integrates all that data to let you know when it’s time to push, and when you can rest guilt-free.
Watch-based navigation is a very handy feature, but it’s also limited due to the size of the screen. The Coros Vertix 2 lets you load and navigate GPX tracks, and will alert you when you stray too far off course, though it doesn’t offer re-routes so you’re sort of on your own when you get off track, which I discovered on a jog in Philadelphia last month. The digital compass is very sensitive which means it’s constantly shifting around as you ride, and even when you move your arm, making it difficult to orient the map at times. The scrolling middle button works great for zooming in and out, though you’ll need to use the touch screen to pan the map, and that doesn’t work great with sweaty hands. Also, while trails and roads are displayed on the map, there are no trail or road names displayed.
As usual I conducted a track test to see how accurate the Coros Vertix 2 is under ideal conditions. For all of my testing I kept the Vertix 2 in “All Systems On” tracking mode, which makes use of all available satellite signals. There is another, more accurate mode which uses two frequencies instead of just one, but Coros only recommends this for “technical climbing” since it significantly affects battery life. Riding four laps around a quarter-mile track the Vertix 2 reported 0.9930mi the first time, and 0.9945mi the second. That’s 99.3% and 99.45% accurate for the math nerds out there, which is among the best, if not the best I’ve seen in conducting these tests over the past several years.
In the real world and on trail, the accuracy is equally impressive, tracking the twists and turns on tight singletrack better than my reference device, a bar-mounted Garmin Edge 530. As you can see in the maps above, the Coros (bottom) tracks more smoothly and reported this particular section of singletrack to be one mile long while the Garmin only tracked 0.9mi.
Still, the accuracy is not perfect. On my run through downtown Philadelphia the buildings seemed to wreak havoc on the position data. My eastbound route along Pine Street looks like a drunken pub crawl, though I can assure you I was totally sober and stuck to the sidewalk along the south side of the street pretty much the whole way.
Elevation accuracy proved to be quite good, as the two plots for the track test show 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 midway.
Bottom line: The Coros Vertix 2 offers incredible battery life and a slew of features for tracking every workout and navigating every adventure. It’s probably overkill for most of us, but at the same time it gives weekend warriors a reason to go a little farther and push a little harder.
- Astounding battery life
- Excellent accuracy and sensors to track nearly every fitness metric
- Smart features like music and camera controls
Pros and cons of the Coros Vertix 2 GPS watch.
- The silicone band is kludgy
Dang. It costs a lot to pack all that awesomeness into such a small package. Sounds like an impressive device though.
It’s not cheap for sure, though it does cost less than the new Apple Watch Ultra. I’m testing the Apple Watch now which will make for an interesting comparison.
I’ve always been a Garmin fan and at 71 vs 91 grams on my wrist, I’ll keep the Fenix 7 solar… already broke the bank with this one. Nice review, huge watch.