How does the Coros Vertix 2 ($700) differ from the original Coros Vertix and should you consider investing in it for trail running and ultrarunning? We’ll answer these questions and more in this in-depth review.
Coros was a disruptor in the GPS watch category when it debuted a few years ago. In key performance areas like battery life and processing speed, the company’s watches matched or exceeded those of industry leaders Garmin and Suunto. When the original Coros Vertix came out, it signaled competition for the traditionally mountain-oriented Suunto as it utilized excellent barometric altitude data and GPS accuracy without draining the battery as dramatically as Suunto’s devices.
A lot has changed since then. Coros is now synonymous with the tagline of “best battery life” — both self-proclaimed and commonly acknowledged by users — and the number of different watches the company offers spans categories from road- and track-focused to multisport adventure machines.
Their sponsored athlete team has Eliud Kipchoge (the best runner on the planet) on one end and Tommy Caldwell (one of the most accomplished rock climbers ever) on the other. I’d argue that the Vertix 2 is oriented to the Caldwell end of the spectrum — capable of being used as a running watch but much more suited to super-long adventures into unknown areas. Maybe that describes the style of running you do, as it often does for me, in which case, you may very well enjoy this watch a great deal.
Do be cautioned that there are superior watches for adventure running too. You can check out our guide to the Best GPS Watches for Running to see how we compare the Coros Vertix 2 with other top watches.
If you’re a runner who generally has a command on where you’re going and for how long, this watch is way too much. You could save a half or a third of the cost with the Coros Pace or Coros Apex, respectively, while still getting the brand’s class-leading battery life.Shop the Coros Vertix 2
Coros Vertix 2 Processing Speed
One of the aspects I loved about the original Coros Vertix was its processing speed. While all Coros watches have great processing speed, the Coros Vertix 2 is reportedly over 20% faster than the original Vertix. From how fast the watch scrolls between screens and sport modes, as well as how fast it reacts to button selections, it’s clear that the Vertix 2 is an improvement to the already very good original.
One area where the processing speed positively affects the user experience is in mapping mode. It is fantastic at zooming and moving around the landscape — much faster than my favorite watch, the Garmin fēnix 6 Pro. You can read iRunFar’s Garmin fēnix 6 Pro review.
This watch was in development pre-COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent chipset supply chain challenges. Luckily Coros scored an incredible chipset to help the Vertix 2 lead the class in processing speed. How does this work? The chipset talks to the processor and the storage devices, such as maps and music. You’ll notice the speed when clicking between screens or selecting different watch functions.
A final note about processing speed: unfortunately, a faster chipset doesn’t impact GPS signal acquisition. This is still satellite-reception dependent, so even a super-fast watch will still take the same amount of time to acquire positioning as other GPS watches on the market.
Coros Vertix 2 Display
If the original Vertix was big and fast, then the Coros Vertix 2 is even bigger and faster. The screen is a whopping 1.4 inches in diameter. Part of the size is simply needing space to house that souped-up processor. This has the benefit, though, of showcasing an incredible amount of data in one screen — up to eight different fields can be seen at once.
Another reason the Coros Vertix 2 is bigger on your wrist than the original Vertix is that this version includes mapping (landscape, topographic, and hybrid maps) for routing your runs. Unlike the Garmin fēnix 6 Pro which has built-in maps that are excellently labeled, the Coros Vertix 2’s maps are all unlabeled; you just identify trail lines, peaks, and lakes. You must also download maps and install them on the Vertix 2, rather than them being built in.
Mapping is the only touchscreen-enabled feature that is meaningful. The Vertix 2 has three buttons, with one being a digital dial. The dial is a nice way to scroll through menus, and it’s a very nifty way to zoom in and out of the maps.
Coros Vertix 2 Battery Life
For trail running and ultrarunning, battery life is arguably the most prized feature. All GPS watch brands in and around the Coros Vertix 2’s price point have considerably stepped up their battery performance. Some have focused on providing unique features in addition to very good battery life, while Coros has focused on providing the best battery life, almost to a fault.
The Vertix 2 lasts up to 140 hours, and when it finally comes to charging the watch, that too is incredibly fast. It takes a little over two hours to charge from zero to 100%.
Coros claims the Vertix 2 offers the longest battery life ever seen in a GPS watch. With 140 hours of standard full GPS tracking and 60 days of normal use, the Vertix 2 more than doubles the battery life of the original.
For ultrarunners looking for the convenience of virtually never having to charge your watch, the Vertix 2 is simply the best option. When you’re not doing long runs or races, you could use the watch for an hour in normal GPS mode virtually every day for a month without needing to charge.
Some features like the electrocardiogram, the Insta360 camera control, and playing music add some drain to the battery, but overall, the Vertix 2 manages to sustain incredible performance despite these added demands.
The Vertix 2 uses a proprietary charger, so if you’re forgetful or you have a young puppy around the house, be sure to store it safely.
Coros Vertix 2 Additional Features
Here we’ll check out a few more features of the Coros Vertix 2.
Maps and Navigation
In a big improvement from the original Vertix, navigation features with landscape, topographic, and hybrid global mapping can be accessed in the Vertix 2. But just like for the original Vertix, there is no companion website for the app where you can build and transfer a route directly.
To navigate a route, you need to build the course somewhere else (or find an existing file), transfer it to the Coros app, sync the watch to the app, and, finally, upload your route to Vertix 2. This is a lot of work for such an expensive watch.
To make matters worse, when navigating a route or simply scrolling around an area, there are no labels, names, or turn-by-turn navigation.
Music Storage and Access
This is the first Coros GPS watch to have music or podcast capabilities, meaning it will play back files using its internal storage. The Coros Vertix 2 has no syncing capabilities with offline playlists on Amazon, Spotify, or Apple Music so you’ll have to buy or otherwise source music files, download them, and then drag them over to the watch’s storage on your home computer. It’s easy to do but somewhat slow to transfer. To listen, you must pair Bluetooth wireless headphones.
I appreciate watches that can play music, as I really don’t like running with a phone but again, unlike the Garmin fēnix 6 Pro which can sync with playlists from the popular streaming services, you’re limited to manually transferring mp3 files as you used to on your iPod touch years ago. This is a very un-modern solution, but it’s better than not having any music options.
In the category of GPS accuracy, the Coros Vertix 2 is the first of its kind on the GPS watch market for offering something called Dual Frequency GNSS. This impressive feature allows the watch to locate the best GPS frequency available from all five of the major satellite systems (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and BeiDou) simultaneously.
This, in theory, should offer huge accuracy improvements over previous GPS units, but during our testing, it performed about the same as every other watch in our guide to the Best GPS Watches for Running.
Optical Oxygen Saturation, Heart Rate, and Electrocardiogram
The Vertix 2 has several sensors including optical oxygen saturation, heart rate, and electrocardiogram (ECG), similar to what you find on the Apple Watch.
Here’s how the ECG works: put the watch on your wrist and start the 60-second timer. The Vertix 2 then gives you a heart rate variability value between zero and 100.
Coros Vertix 2 Look and Feel
Like Garmin watches, the Coros Vertix 2 lets you choose between a number of different screen styles (fonts, size, and colors). Unfortunately, I’m not a fan of any of them! They are all too stylized and generally too digital for my aesthetic sensibility.
Where Coros and Garmin both excel in software performance, they both suffer from less sophisticated-looking hardware. Suunto has slipped for me in terms of performance, but they are still best in class with design. The brand’s newest GPS watch, the Suunto 9 Peak, is the best-looking GPS running watch to have come out in some time.
When investing in a watch this expensive and that includes health-tracking features, you would like the option to wear it full time: for running, to work, and generally in day-to-day life. The Vertix 2 isn’t the watch for everyday wear.
You’ll look much more at home en route to a far-flung expedition than at your workplace. Plus, the watch is so big I struggled sometimes to get it through the wrist holes on tight running shirts or through the sleeves of extra layers (particularly while running).
Like iRunFar’s Travis Liles said in his review of the original Coros Vertix, the Vertix 2 also has a massive crown, which is the dial on the right of the watch that’s used for scrolling and selecting options. Like Travis, I have problems with frequently hitting the crown while wearing it on my left wrist. The button is right where my wrist bone is, and so many times my run was inadvertently paused and not restarted until I happened to look at the screen.
In the settings, Coros prompts you to select which wrist you’ll wear your Vertix 2 on so that the interface flips if you prefer to wear a watch on your right hand. It’s a nice feature, but not if you really prefer to wear the watch on the left side, like me.
Coros Vertix 2 Overall Impressions
Without a native navigation-building tool, pre-loaded maps, and no labeling on the maps, the Coros Vertix 2 misses the mark compared to a similarly priced watch like the Garmin fēnix 6 Pro. But when it comes to battery life, there is simply no better competitor.
Fans of fitness and biometric tracking will also be able to rely on the Vertix 2 to cover most everything their Fitbit or similar tracker already records; the app will relay an impressive amount of non-running performance and health indicators.
There is a lot to like about the Vertix 2 beyond battery life, but it is debatable whether this watch, with its gigantic display and equally gigantic price tag, will be the best choice for most people who just run. And this isn’t a knock against Coros; in fact, I think their Pace series is the best GPS watch on the market today when you want a watch for just running. It’s that the Vertix 2 doesn’t do what some other less expensive watches do for less money.
In closing, if you’re a trail runner or an ultrarunner who loves super-long, adventurous runs — or you’re someone who doesn’t want to charge your GPS running watch every several days — the Coros Vertix 2 could be the correct watch for you.Shop the Coros Vertix 2
Call for Comments
- Are you running with the Coros Vertix 2? What do you think about this watch’s features?
- If you used the original Vertix as well, can you compare the Vertix 2’s updates with its predecessor?
[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]
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