A top-of-the-line smartwatch with tons of “adventure” features like built-in maps, high-end, multi-channel GPS, highly accurate sensors, and a staggering battery life, the Vertix 2 also boasts open-water swimming, pool swimming, cycling, running (with power), multisport, and tri features galore.
Insane battery life (60 days smartwatch, 140 hours full GPS)
Bigger 1.4-inch screen
Onboard color maps
Touchscreen for navigation
Onboard running with power
No turn-by-turn navigation
No streaming services, must manually load music
No smartphone music controls
50.3 x 50.3 x 15.7mm
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There’s something about these new “kitchen sink” smartwatches that really makes you feel like you can literally do anything, for any amount of time, and have it all monitored, tracked, and taken care of—right on your wrist. Watches are getting better at doing everything multisport-related, faster at doing them, and are doing them for longer than ever before. The pinnacle of this is the $700ish computer-on-your-wrist pricepoint, where we find the Coros Vertix 2. Coros is also an interesting brand because it likes to take aim at smartwatch behemoth Garmin, and has done exceedingly well by creating watches, like the Pace 2, that are industry-insider favorites. While we’ll break down all of the multisport-related features, one by one, in the extended review, we’ll get into the basics and pros and cons of this much awaited update to one of the peak “do-it-all watches” below.
Coros Vertix 2: The Basics
The idea behind Coros’ Vertix line is that they’ve created a smartwatch for athletes who like to do lots and lots of different activities, do them for a (very) long period or time, and make sure that everything is tracked. Sounds like triathletes, right? In many ways, the Vertix 2 is the ideal multisport watch because it does the basics—open-water and pool swimming, cycling (with connectable Bluetooth devices, but no ANT+), and running (onboard running with power, included)—very well. It also boasts one of the most ridiculous battery life specs in the smartwatch world with a staggering advertised 60 days of smartwatch use, 140 hours of full one-second GPS tracking, and 35 hours of full GPS with music. If that’s not enough, you can set it to UltraMax GPS to conserve battery and sample fewer points, and it’ll go for 240 hours. This is a modest upgrade over the previous Vertix model that did 45 days of smartwatch and 60 hours of full GPS. The other upgrades in the new Vertix include full-color onboard mapping, onboard music (that needs to be manually transferred from a computer), a bigger screen, and five GPS bands (most GPS watches have three or four).
Coros Vertix 2: Pros
It goes without saying that the battery life is a big one for triathletes. We use our smartwatches more than most, and the advertised 60 days of smartwatch and 140 hours of GPS means you may go so long between charges that you’ll lose the charging cable (seriously, this happened). In reality, with daily (and often twice-daily) GPS/sports use—like most triathletes would do—we found the Vertix 2 lasts more like 40-50 days, but that’s still absolutely incredible.
The onboard color maps were also quite good, the touchscreen worked great for moving the maps, and the increased processing power (20% faster according to Coros) made using the maps and other chip-intensive functions far smoother than the old Vertix—which was a little choppy at times. The sport profiles are extensive, and the included running with power, though not new, gives it the edge on competitors in this price range. Built-in music is also much-appreciated in an almost-$1000 smartwatch, but it’s not perfect (more on that below).
Coros Vertix 2: Cons
The first and most obvious issue with the new Vertix (aside its price) is how large it is. When compared to the old Vertix that weighed in at 73g or some of its competitors like the Garmin Enduro (steel version: 71g; Ti version: 61g) or the Forerunner 945 LTS (49g), it’s definitely a bit on the heavy side. That said, it’s closer to the Garmin Fenix 6X (93g) in both weight and size. For sure triathletes with smaller wrists will feel this as a substantial watch.
Elsewhere, it’s just a matter of fine tuning with its basic manual music loading (no streaming services like Spotify to download from), sort of buggy music player (we struggled with volume control), and no smartphone music controls, that you’d find on almost all smartwatches right now. The only other big killer here was a lack of routing or turn-by-turn navigation—something that Garmin’s 945/945 LTE has. This makes you reliant on a third-party app to create routes and load them onto your Vertix 2.
Coros Vertix 2: Conclusions
While we dig much, much deeper into this super-deep watch in the extended review, there are definitely some interesting takeaways from this watch, and we’ve also created a couple of tables below to help break down how the Vertix 2 compares to its direct, pricepoint competitors. First, this is a great upgrade to the Vertix, in terms of battery life, added functionality, and more. If you have the Vertix and are thinking about upgrading, I honestly would (if you have the $$). It’s a substantially better watch. Now is it better than its competitors like the Enduro, the Forerunner 945, and/or the Fenix 6? Kind of, sort of.
The biggest selling point on the Enduro, in my mind, is its massive battery for 50 days/65 days smartwatch and 70/80 hours of GPS. But it doesn’t have maps; it doesn’t store music. It also costs $100 more and doesn’t have onboard running with power. Not too much of a fight there. Next up, the comparable Fenix 6X costs the same as the Vertix 2 and has just about the same functions, but a much lower battery life (21 days smartwatch/60 hours GPS). The Fenix also does a better job with navigation, via its routing and turn-by-turn function, but it doesn’t have a touchscreen to help navigate the maps—which is actually super helpful on the Vertix 2 and super annoying on the Fenix. In terms of the Forerunner 945/945 LTE, it costs a little less, weighs a lot less, and does all of the cool navigation/mapping/music stuff the Vertix 2 does, but its battery life is substantially lower (14 days smartwatch/35 hours GPS). I’ve found myself plugging in my Forerunner 945 LTE quite a bit more often than I’d like, and while that may not seem like a big deal, if you’re training long and often, it can be.
Long story long, the new Vertix 2 is a fantastic watch with only a few little quirks that don’t outweigh it’s staggering battery and otherwise flawless performance while training. Unless you’re married to the Garmin ecosystem for some reason, now is the time to finally look at a worthy alternative to the Enduro/Fenix 6X/Forerunner 945 panopoly.
|Coros Vertix 2||Garmin Forerunner 945 LTE||Garmin Fenix 6X||Garmin Enduro||Polar Vantage V|
|Size||50.3 x 50.3 x 15.7mm||44.4 x 44.4 x 13.9mm||51 x 51 x 14.9mm||51 x 51 x 14.9mm||47 x 47 x 13mm|
|Battery (Smartwatch/Full GPS)||60 days/140 hours||14 days/35 hours||21 days/60 hours||65 days/80 hours||7 days/40 hours|
|Built-In Running with Power||Yes||No||No||No||Yes|