GEAR REVIEW – Coros Vertix GPS Watch ($599)
I have a thing for long efforts in the mountains. I also have a thing for wearable tech, the kind that works accurately and efficiently.
I recall my first GPS smartwatch. It was a Suunto Ambit 2 that was gifted to me in return for successfully navigating my climbing partner and I off Ben Nevis in a whiteout hurricane with my iphone as a compass. I grew to love my Suunto and found myself upgrading to the Ambit 3 peak and then finally the Suunto 9 Baro. The Suunto watches were simple and efficient, they never left me with corrupt data files that plagued earlier edicts of the Garmin Fenix line.
After nearly a decade of devoted Suunto use, I switched to a Coros Vertix watch a month ago. My husband was shocked, as was I. I decided to make the switch after having a frustrating experience with the altimeter failing rather consistently on my Suunto 9 and its waning battery life. I had nothing to lose, because I kept the Suunto 9 just in case I didn’t like the Coros Vertix.
Is the Coros Vertix overhyped? No. I’m blown away.
The Coros Vertix arrived in overly decorative packaging. After unboxing and charging the watch, I fastened the wristband and immediately noticed how comfortable the silicone band was and the weightlessness of the face. It took me a week to get comfortable with the watch’s functions and programming. From friends who had transitioned from Garmin Fenix to Coros, I’ve heard the switch is rather seamless as the two watches sound quite comparable; however, this review comes from my decade of experience with Suunto.
Bottom Line – A solid performing GPS watch, with an unstoppable battery life, at a competitive price.
- Altimeter – fast and accurate GPS signal, EVERY time
- Battery Life – Unbelievable! I can finally run untethered. No more watch charging cables on multi-day efforts. Most recently, I ran for 14 hours with route GPS navigation running and “night mode” on for the moonless and sunless hours of my run, I started at 96% and finished at 70% battery life. Two days later, I am at 63%. I now believe it when Coros claims 60-hours of full GPS use and 45-days of day to day use.
- Night Mode – an option to leave a backlight on through the night hours and turn off automatically when you finish you workout, or at sunrise.
- GPS Navigation – Use the digital dial or an optional touch-screen to zoom in on a GPS track as close as 50-feet and out as far as 20-miles. Zoom into elevation profiles as tight as 0.5-miles and as far as 10-miles (based on my longest programmed GPS route of 50 miles). There is a setting that vibrates your wrist if you deviate a distance off the trail (that distance being customizable by the wearer), which comes in handy on a windy or easy to get lost on trail.
- Breadcrumb Navigation – the ‘back to start’ feature allows you to backtrack your adventure. An absolute must have feature on any GPS watch.
- Light is right – the watch face weighs only 54 grams. I have no idea how much my Suunto 9 Baro weighs, but the Coros Vertix is noticeably lighter.
- Optical HR – The Coros Vertix takes a HR reading every ten minutes and provides tracking of your HR via the watch and app. I use this as a tool to monitor my recovery progress from hard efforts. I haven’t found that the HR during an exercise increases with cadence, as I’ve noticed on the Suunto. But for more accurate HR readings during a workout, its still best to use a chest strap.
- Constantly improving – Coros pushes firmware updates to the watch frequently enough to stay on top of technology in this class of wearable tech. Unlike Suunto, these updates don’t feel like a massive beta test and don’t cause the battery life to suffer. The watch upgrades happen wirelessly from the smartphone app syncing to the watch, simply making the watch perform better in seconds.
- Fully customizable workout settings – I can customize each programmed workout to show different metrics of my choosing. This is critical for me. I want very specific metrics on trail runs that I want different metrics for on road runs, and so forth for cycling, etc.
- App functionality – The Coros Vertix syncs with the Coros app in seconds, whereas my Suunto 9 would take minutes to sometimes an hour or so. The app is user friendly and intuitive, I really have no yearning for anything more or less.
- SpO2 data – I absolutely love this feature; however, obtaining a reading requires you to be dead still for far too long and the data doesn’t seem to sync anywhere. It would be nice to see this feature become more functional.
After a month of dedicated testing, I’ve only found ONE con with the Coros Vertix. I honestly tried to find more, because I didn’t want to be one to fall to the hype. But here I am, drinking the Coros kool-aid. This watch is amazing!