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Coros Vertix 2 review: the ultimate rugged adventure watch

A super tough GPS watch with excellent mapping and battery life for outdoor explorers who can afford the asking price

Coros Vertix 2 watch
(Image: © Future)

Our Verdict

The Coros Vertix 2 is a thoughtfully designed GPS watch that provides everything you really need when you're adventuring outdoors – whether you're a trail runner, hiker, rock climber, or mountain biker. The watch itself is built like a tank, its battery life is exceptional (even with regular activity tracking), and its huge screen works brilliantly with its offline maps. The biggest downside is the price. The Vertix 2 is a serious investment, though we expect it'll last for many years of adventures if you can afford the cost up front.

For

  • Extremely long battery life
  • Excellent offline mapping
  • Tough, durable design
  • Simple to use

Against

  • Too big for some wrists
  • $700 price tag

Coros Vertix 2: first impressions

The Coros Vertix 2 is a seriously tough watch built to handle all that nature can throw at it, and really feels like it's been built by explorer, for explorers.

That experience goes far beyond looks, but the Vertix 2 makes a bold first impression with packaging resembling a tough miniature flight case. Tucked inside this you'll find the watch body, band, charging cable, and manual. The band is easy to attach and remove by pulling back the sliding clamps that attach it to the pins on the watch case.

Specifications

• List price: $699.99 / £599

• Case size: 50mm

• Weight: 89g

• Display type: Memory-in-pixel

• Water rating: 100m

• Best use: Trail running, hiking, climbing, triathlons

The watch itself is available in two colors, lava (orange) and obsidian (brown), depending on how visible you want it to be outdoors. It's also unapologetically huge. Its case is 50mm is diameter, but feels larger thanks to its chunky bezel with visible screws., and it's heavy, too. My review unit tipped the scale at exactly 89g, which is even weightier than the hefty Garmin Epix.

Although it may be off-putting for explorers with smaller wrists, that weight makes a lot of sense when you realize what a massive battery must be tucked away inside that mighty case. The Vertix 2 has remarkable longevity, and during two weeks of testing with regular GPS-tracked activities, I haven't had to plug it in once since its initial charge.

Coros Vertix 2 watch with case

The Coros Vertix 2 is big and bold, and even comes supplied inside its own mini flight case (Image credit: Future)

When it eventually does need juicing up, you'll find that the charger is a proprietary one much like those used by Garmin, which plugs securely into the back of the watch. It's also available in keychain form so you don't have to worry about carrying a loose cable.

Like most sports watches in its price band, the Coros 2 has a color memory-in-pixel display, which although not as vivid as an OLED screen, gives superior battery life. For tricky lighting conditions, there's  a backlight that you can activate using the top right button.

Coros Vertix 2 watch side view

The Coros Vertix 2 uses a system of two physical buttons and a dial control (Image credit: Future)

Despite its large display, the Vertix 2 has no touchscreen. Instead, it's operated using three physical controls on the right-hand edge of the case. One of these is a dial much like Apple's Digital Crown, which you can rotate to scroll through menu options. It's a system that works well, and like all other Coros watches, the Vertix 2 prevents you accidentally starting or pausing activity tracking by locking the controls until you've held the crown down for three seconds to confirm your selection.

Coros Vertix 2: in the field

The Vertix 2 is arguably one of the best GPS watches for climbers. That's not just because it's built like a tank and should shrug off the inevitable scrapes that come with life at the crag (you can also buy an optional carabiner to attach it to your harness if you prefer), but also due to its support for all the major satellite navigation systems: GPS, GLONASS, QZSS, Galileo, and Beidou. 

GPS watches often struggle to secure a lock in built-up or heavily wooded locations, but cliffs and valleys also present a real problem when it comes to line of sight. By calling on more satellites, the Coros Vertix 2 can more accurately pinpoint your location, even when you're somewhere on a sheer rock face. It certainly established a lock quickly in our tests. You're advised not to start your workout until it's made contact with a satellite, but even beside tall buildings, this took around three seconds.

Coros Vertix 2 watch showing workout stats

The Vertix 2's huge display can show huge amounts of data at once, and is excellent for maps (Image credit: Future)

In our measured 5km test the watch tracked our route to within 100m, which is very impressive (particularly considering it's on roads rather than a track, which means there's a certain margin of error).

The Vertix 2's  generously sized screen is excellent for maps and navigation (though we'd welcome touc controls in a future iteration for panning across them). It offers both landscape and topographical maps, and offline mapping is available for when you stray off-grid.

The Coros Vertix 2 is able to calculate running power, so you can see how much effort you've exerted on each of your runs taking into account differences in elevation. Some watches, like the Garmin Forerunner 955, can only calculate this using an additional accessory like a chest strap heart rate monitor or clip-on pod, but monitoring it purely from the wrist is extremely useful. It's tough to say exactly how accurate it is objectively, but it's a helpful addition to perceived exertion.

Coros Vertix 2 watch showing sleep stats

You can check any of your daily stats throughout the day by simply twisting the Vertix 2's dial (Image credit: Future)

One thing that we have to mention is the price. Although you can now find it for slightly under its list price, this is a premium watch and a big investment. If you're interested, Coros itself holds occasional sales on its own website, or you might be able to snap up a good deal on Amazon Prime Day or Black Friday.

Coros Vertix 2: companion app

The Vertix 2 syncs with the Coros app, which is available for both Android and iOS. Like Polar Flow, it's very much focused around training and recovery rather than lifestyle features like daily stress management or calendar events.

When you start using the app you'll be prompted to choose how many calories you want to burn during activity, which will become your daily goal. The app's homescreen will show how close you are to achieving this target, and the watch itself will give a celebratory alert when you hit it.

The main dashboard in the Coros app also shows any workouts you've completed during the day, how long you've spent exercising, how many steps you've taken, your heart rate, and sleep stages. You can tap through on any of these for a wealth of highly detailed information, but it's refreshing that Coros has kept things quite minimal at first glance, with easy to read graphs so you don't become swamped with stats.

Workout stats in the Coros app

The Coros app packs a vast quantity of data into an interface that's refreshingly clear and simple to read (Image credit: Future)

You do get a vast array of figures to browse through after you've completed a run, but the software designers at Coros have done a good job of making everything as clear as possible. Once the app has had time to establish a baseline, it will also show the impact of your current training on your fitness level, and track changes over time.

The Coros Vertix 2 is a serious watch, but don't be intimidated by its size; it has heaps to offer runners, climbers, and hikers of any level, and is surprisingly accessible.

Cat is the editor of Advnture, She’s been a journalist for 13 years, and was fitness and wellbeing editor on TechRadar before joining the Advnture team in 2022. She’s a UK Athletics qualified run leader, and in her spare time enjoys nothing more than lacing up her shoes and hitting the roads and trails (the muddier, the better).