Home Gear Review: COROS Vertix 2
Feature type Review
Read time 8 mins
Published Aug 10, 2022
Author Hannah Mitchell
Photographer Sam Grosvenor
The Vertix 2 boasts the world’s most advanced GPS system, a myriad of functions and features and a battery life to rival the Energizer Bunny – it just keeps going, and going, and going…
|Features||32GB storage, colour topographic maps, dual-frequency GPS, global offline mapping, ECG capability|
I’m very much a ‘one watch woman’, that is to say that I like a watch I can wear for activities such as running, swimming and big hill days, but that I’m also happy to take down the pub afterwards.
I also have a low tolerance threshold for lengthy installation and synching when it comes to smartwatches and the like, and I want my devices and apps to communicate with ease and minimal input from me, so that I can spend more time doing fun stuff – and tracking it!
Have I mentioned that I’m pretty rough on gear? I want my watch to be rugged and ready to take a few bashes and drops (because I inevitably will at some point, drop it).
The Coros Vertix 2 comes in a rugged, Action Man-esque plastic flight case that you’d more expect to find a small firearm inside of. I personally haven’t found a use for it beyond housing your watch in transit or perhaps a small tool kit. It seems a little excessive, but Coros encourage getting creative in repurposing it.
This watch is pretty large, which is perhaps indicative of just how many features it packs in, but for me personally, I feel that the lack of alternative sizes available actually makes the Vertix 2 a little excluding of folk with slimmer wrists. It feels bulky, though the adjustability of the strap and slight stretch to the silicone mean you can get a good, snug fit. Aesthetically it’s super-cool, with a titanium alloy bezel, and the screen upon getting it up and running is super-sharp, bright and colourful. It feels as rugged as it looks, and the sapphire glass screen makes me feel a little more at ease with putting it through its paces, which takes me neatly into…
Climbing. Tommy Caldwell is a recent addition to the Coros athlete team which means climbing is a prominent theme in the brand’s marketing. Personally, I don’t like to wear a watch while I climb because of their propensity for snagging on rock features and gear, but I’m interested to try out the features on offer, particularly the ‘multi-pitch’ mode. Coros make a handy carabiner clip for the Vertix 2 to eliminate this issue, and I can certainly see the appeal of that.
Connecting the watch to your phone is streamlined by a QR code that appears when you first turn the watch on, and the whole process is quick and easy.
I used this watch over a period of a few weeks around my homeland of the Lake District. As well as general use and everyday wear, the Vertix 2 was privy to a mixture of typical and not-so-typical Lakeland conditions ranging from great British heatwave to winter is coming. It accompanied me on a multi-day hike, dog walks in the local fells and fields, a handful of trail runs, a lake swim or two, a bouldering session and a multi-pitch climb.
The climbing functions are extensive and impressive in the right scenario. In multi-pitch mode for example, the watch can tell how many pitches you’ve climbed and the altitude reached with vertical mapping, as well as tracking approach and descent. For new-routing on Roraima or big-walling on El Cap I can imagine these, coupled with the altimeter and exceptional GPS would come into their own. On U.K mountain routes in summer however, they’re not especially revolutionary, providing information you’d tend to ascertain from a guidebook before embarking on a climb. That said, the use of multiple satellites seems to generate a far more accurate representation of your vertical travel upon reflection, rather than the wildly zig-zagging line that I’ve seen when using Strava on a phone, for example. To really appreciate the full climbing functionality of the Vertix 2, you need to get it up into some tough conditions and extreme environments.
In terms of running, the Vertix 2 shows some advantages over other GPS watches if you really like your data, logging all the elements you’d probably already expect such as distance, elevation, heart rate, pace etc. as you go, and then furnishing you with all the extras such as stride length and cadence once uploaded to the app after your run.
The Vertix 2 supports landscape, topographic and hybrid maps which are free to download from the Coros website, and usable offline. Coupled with its exceptional battery life, this has to be one of the biggest selling points for hikers and runners. Having a map on your wrist whilst navigating the fells is pretty darn handy, and whilst I wouldn’t condone setting off into unknown territory without a trusty paper map back-up, navigation that negates the need to stop and take off your pack on a pre-planned route is an awesome addition. Yes, other models have mapping functions, but trust me when I say that those pixelated dots and lines pale significantly in comparison to the Vertix 2’s epic visuals.
To be honest, the excursions that the Vertix 2 accompanied me on demonstrate only a fraction of the functions this watch has to offer, and for the everyday or casual athlete like me, it might just be overkill. Weekend fell-walking, gentle trails and English trad don’t quite do justice to this incredibly advanced piece of kit, and to really test this watch’s metal, you’d need to see it in action in the gnarly stuff!
Whilst the Vertix 2 has all the fitness tracking features you’d hope for as standard, its suitability for epic expeditions is what makes it stand out from the crowd. Packing in 60 days battery life with normal use and 140 hours in standard Full GPS, storm alerts, and a working temperature threshold of -30° to 50°C, this is one for the explorers. The Vertix 2 would be very well suited to multi-disciplinary and endurance athletes and outdoor enthusiasts, especially those with a taste for the extreme. It’s for those who want to get their adrenaline fix in far-flung locations with unfaltering tracking, navigation, and a battery they can rely on.
It’s for those who want to get their adrenaline fix in far-flung locations with unfaltering tracking, navigation, and a battery they can rely on
This applies to a myriad of aspects. The maps, the customisable screen, data displays… it’s pretty dreamy really. Granted, the size of the watch face helps with the epic visuals and that was one of the watch’s less appealing aspects for me, but for folk who prefer a larger watch, this can only be a win.
With a whopping 60 days battery life with ‘normal’ use, the Vertix 2 eclipses all other models on the market. Over two days of hiking in full GPS mode, the battery percentage barely budged, even when idling overnight. With my Garmin model, I generally put it into power-saver mode when sleeping on multi-day excursions to be certain it wont conk out on me before I reach the end of the route. The Vertix 2 doesn’t even have power modes – such is Coros’ confidence in its battery life!
The Vertix 2 uses GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou and QZSS satellite systems and in dual frequency if needed – admittedly, I had to do a bit of research on this one. It is exceptionally accurate and throughout the testing process and I couldn’t fault it, even on high fells. It would be interesting to test this at some serious altitude, cave or remote location, I have a sneaking suspicion that it wouldn’t disappoint.
The Vertix 2 has touchscreen capabilities, though not throughout. The scroll wheel on the side is very user-friendly and smooth, but I found it easy to accidentally press or scroll when unlocked and on one occasion managed to unlock the watch when palming down on rock too. The potential here is of course, accidentally ending your activity!
Alright, I’ve said it before, and perhaps it is a matter of personal preference. The 51mm casing of the Vertix 2 is just too bulky for my liking, and at 89g with the silicone strap, it’s a touch weighty for me too. For comparison, Garmin’s Fenix 7x Sapphire comes in 42mm, 47mm, and 51mm versions, so it’s a little disappointing that Coros don’t offer other sizes.
The Vertix 2 looks and feels rugged and utilitarian. The screen is Sapphire glass, which is supposedly scratch-proof and claimed to be the most resilient screen available.
One thing that did strike me about the Vertix 2 was its capacity to display the exact metrics and data you want within each activity. You can choose to have as much or as little information on the watch’s screen, and customising these via the app was straightforward too.
It’s quite difficult to concisely sum up all the capabilities and widgets that this watch possesses, because believe me, they are PLENTIFUL. One thing extreme adventurers might particularly appreciate is its ability to remotely control a GoPro or 360 camera. The Vertix 2 has a mammoth 32GB of on-board storage, downloadable training plans and you can pre-load music onto it too.
The extensive features of this watch are reflected in both its size and price tag. The range of activities, top-end navigation and tracking capabilities might not be necessary for everyone, and if you simply don’t need your watch to be quite this prodigious, there’s probably a better budget option out there for you.
That said, rival models offering comparable satellite connectivity and mapping like Garmin’s Fenix 7x Sapphire will actually set you back an extra 2-300 quid, meaning that if you’re after this level technical brilliance, it might well be a worthwhile investment.
The Vertix 2’s most boast-worthy features aren’t something that’s likely to be outdone for some years
Coros launched their first ever model, the PACE Multisport watch back in 2018, and despite being relative newcomers to the smartwatch market, the brand is already casting an unnerving shadow on rival brands like Garmin and Suunto. The Vertix 2 is undeniably surpassing and lapping others when it comes to accuracy and longevity, but at almost £600, you might expect it to.
The Vertix 2’s most boast-worthy features aren’t something that’s likely to be outdone for some years, and if you’re after a serious, statement watch that will see you through the toughest terrains and most extreme expeditions, ultras or big-walling, the Vertix 2 is quite probably the adventure wearable for you.
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