Garmin's top running watch just got beaten by Coros Apex 2

Coros Apex 2
(Image credit: Matt Evans)

The Coros Apex 2 and Coros Apex 2 Pro have landed, boasting specs to rival some of the top trail-running watches around right now. Coros has always been something of an underdog compared to giants of the category, such as Garmin, and although we haven’t yet had the opportunity to review the watches in full, it’s likely at least one of them will end up on our best running watch list if their specs sheets are anything to go by. 

Boasting multi-band satellite connectivity for pinpoint accuracy, Coros Apex 2 and 2 Pro are tailor-made for trail and tri events. A rugged raised bezel, with sapphire glass and titanium-alloy case, the digital “knob” on the side of each watch is, like the feature on the original Apex and the new Apple Watch Ultra, designed to be operated with gloves on while moving. 

Both are 5ATM water resistant (suitable for surface activities like swimming and surfing, but not for diving) and also offer downloadable topographical maps. Many of the features are taken from its top-flight Vertix line down to a slightly lower price point, costing $499 in the US, £319 in the UK, and AU$859 in Australia for the Pro and $399, £399 and AU$699 for the Apex 2. Although our official verdict is yet to come in, the Coros Apex 2 and Apex 2 Pro present as solid entries in the sub-$500 trail running watch category. 

But if the watches really seem to shine in one area, it’s battery life. The Coros Apex 2 Pro claims it’ll last in smartwatch mode for 30 days, while the Apex 2 states 17 days. With all GPS systems firing, the watches are said to last for a massive 45 hours (for the Apex 2 Pro) and 30 hours (for the Apex 2). For context, the Garmin Forerunner 955 Solar, our choice of health and fitness device of the year and a close match to this price point, comes to just 22 hours even with that Power Glass solar extension.

Analysis: Test for success

Coros has always been a solid buy when it comes to choosing a fitness watch, but it’s a relatively young brand that’s always crowded out by the more popular and better-known Garmin, not to mention the big bite of the smartwatch market taken by Apple and Samsung.

However, if Coros manages to create a comprehensive, well-designed fitness watch (which it almost always does) and claim Garmin-beating battery life when the Forerunner 955 Solar is doing so well, it's a great indicator of things to come. The Vertix already did something similar with Garmin’s enormous Enduro line of premium fitness watches, which positioned itself as the battery to beat.

We look forward to putting both the Apex 2 and Apex 2 Pro through their paces to find out if those battery life claims really are all they seem.

Is Garmin in trouble? Not yet. It’s too big, and frankly too good, and the mistrust around certain Chinese manufacturers such as Huawei might hold Coros back. But Coros is determined to continue making devices good enough to challenge Garmin’s dominance, which can only benefit watch fans as we have more great tech to choose from.

Matt Evans
Fitness, Wellness, and Wearables Editor

Matt is TechRadar's expert on all things fitness, wellness and wearable tech. A former staffer at Men's Health, he holds a Master's Degree in journalism from Cardiff and has written for brands like Runner's World, Women's Health, Men's Fitness, LiveScience and Fit&Well on everything fitness tech, exercise, nutrition and mental wellbeing.

Matt's a keen runner, ex-kickboxer, not averse to the odd yoga flow, and insists everyone should stretch every morning. When he’s not training or writing about health and fitness, he can be found reading doorstop-thick fantasy books with lots of fictional maps in them.