LARQ Bottle Review 2019 – Does it live up to the hype?

The LARQ Bottle is the world's first self-cleaning water bottle that'll purify water and neutralize that stink! Does it live up to the hype? Let's find out!

Nike Pegasus 36 Trail GTX Review 2019 – The Best Winter Trail Shoes?

Nike Pegasus 36 Trail GTX in-depth review! Find out why these awesome waterproof winter trail running shoes win an Editor's Choice Award.

5 Best Headlamps for Trail Running & Ultrarunning in 2019 (So Far)

This concise list of the 5 best headlamps for trail running will help you decide which one to buy, based on your individual requirements.

Best GPS Watches for Ultrarunning & Trail Running in 2019

Ultrarunners have a very specific set of requirements when it comes to buying a GPS running watch. Our shortlist of top GPS running watches will help you decide which one is best for you.

5 Tips For Keeping Feet Warm on Winter Hikes & Everyday Adventures

Having cold feet is not pleasant, or great for the joints. Here are my top 5 tips for keeping your feet warm during winter hikes.

The Best Trail Running Shoes in 2019 (So far): The Ultimate Buyers Guide!

Our ever-evolving list of the best trail running shoes for every scenario; whether you run ultramarathons, race 10k's or plan to do a Spartan/Tough Mudder..

LARQ Bottle Review 2019 – Does it live up to the hype?

The LARQ Bottle is the world's first self-cleaning water bottle that'll purify water and neutralize that stink! Does it live up to the hype? Let's find out!

Nike Pegasus 36 Trail GTX Review 2019 – The Best Winter Trail Shoes?

Nike Pegasus 36 Trail GTX in-depth review! Find out why these awesome waterproof winter trail running shoes win an Editor's Choice Award.
- Advertisement -

Coros Apex Review 2019: The Ultimate GPS Watch For Trail Runners?

When the time came to upgrade my GPS running watch, there were certain key features I wanted to make sure the watch had. Specifically, I wanted a watch for road and trail running that was not big and bulky, could monitor my heart rate through the wrist without a separate (uncomfortable) chest monitor and had good battery life that would, if needed, last a few days for long ultramarathons or multi-day adventures.

The Coros APEX is a fully-featured GPS running watch for small wrists and therefore caters well to women in particular. Now that I have worn this watch for several months in training, racing and regular lifestyle use I can impart my knowledge and experience with the APEX. This review covers the key features of the Coros APEX GPS trail running and ultrarunning watch, and how it performs while running.

What differentiates the Coros APEX GPS Watch from other GPS running watches?

While the Coros APEX GPS watch offers features similar to other brands (namely Garmin and Suunto), including training software and the wrist heart-rate monitoring, the two stand-out features of the APEX for me are it’s size/weight (a mere 50.8g/1.8oz), and superior battery life. Oh, and did I mention the low price point?!

The Coros APEX is also featured on our ‘Best GPS Watches for Ultrarunning’ comparison, which compares it to the Garmin and Suunto competitors in this space, and in our ‘Coros GPS Watches Compared’ post, which compares the APEX to the PACE and VERTIX Coros running watches.

Matterhorn Ultraks 30k Helen approaching the finish Trail Kale
Wearing the Coros APEX GPS Watch during Matterhorn Ultraks 30km Mountain Race in Zermatt Switzerland. A Bucket-list race for sure!

Size and weight of the Coros APEX

Firstly, it is great to see a GPS watch with so many features that is not huge, heavy and uncomfortable to wear on my small wrists. This was a huge draw, especially as I didn’t want to compromise on other features just to have a smaller watch. I have the 42mm size, the Coros APEX also comes in a 46mm option. The silicone strap that the watch comes with is also comfortable and soft to wear for hours on end

Coros APEX Review trail and kale
Coros APEX charge port and on-wrist HR monitor

Battery life when running and for regular daily use

The battery life of the Coros APEX is a big differentiator for Coros.


- Trail Running Phone Cases - 25% OFF code: TRAILANDKALE25 -
Rokform phone cases

Helen wearing the Coros APEX as a lifestyle activity tracker.
Wearing the Coros APEX as a lifestyle activity tracker.

The excellent battery life, combined with the comfortable size and weight of the watch itself, mean that I can wear my watch for regular daily use for several weeks without charging it (depending on how much I am also using it for running).

This is helpful as it tracks steps, calories and heart rate throughout my day. The APEX battery life for the 46mm and 42mm models is as follows:

APEX 42mm: 25 Hours Normal GPS Mode / 80 Hours UltraMax GPS Mode / 24 Days Regular Use.

APEX 46mm: 35 Hours Normal GPS Mode / 100 Hours UltraMax GPS Mode / 30 Days Regular Use.

Coros APEX Review trail and kale wm 2

Usage and interface

The Coros APEX is controlled by a dial and button on the side, and can be worn on either wrist by rotating the display 180 degrees via the settings options. I love that it is not a touch-screen watch and that you can control it with these two simple methods, as it means it will work in all conditions and not be affected by being wet or if I touch the wrong part of the screen.

RELATED POST:  Coros GPS Watches Compared in 2019: Which one should you buy?

The dial took a bit of getting used to, as the watch auto-locks after a brief period of not being touched (including during a run), and it needs to be scrolled through in one spin in order to unlock and use the functions. If you do a half-turn then the watch will not unlock. I initially found this a bit annoying and had to try several times to get it unlocked the first time but now I know what to do to unlock it the first time around then it’s not an issue. My only other minor issue with the interface is that some of the text is rather small and you have to hold still (maybe even stop running) to read the details. I noticed this mainly when I pass a lap and the text reading what lap you just completed (eg Km 5) is tiny – but then, can you have everything? If you want a small watch, it will understandably come with a small display! The 46mm version of this watch should be definition have a larger display if this is an issue for you.


Christmas Gifts for trail runners trail and kale 3Christmas Gift Guide For Trail Runners

After some gift inspiration for the trail runner in your life, or yourself? Check out our list of the best affordable and useful gifts for trail runners and hikers.
READ NOW

The displays can be changed to suit your preference, with multiple screens in use at any time, which you can flick through by turning the dial.

Functionality – including elevation gain / loss, cadence and wrist-measured heart rate

The Coros APEX tracks everything a regular (yet fairly demanding) runner may want – of course, speed, time, pace – all the usuals, as well as elevation gain / loss, weather (via the built-in barometer) cadence, calories and heart rate. From this data the watch also calculates estimated fitness levels including VO2Max and lactate threshold, and the efficiency of your aerobic and anaerobic training activity.

I’ve found the wrist-based heart rate monitoring to be just as accurate as any chest-worn heart rate monitor, this is something I really wanted in a GPS watch, as I find the chest-mounted straps so uncomfortable. To ensure the HR monitor is as accurate as possible, I make sure the watch is not loose on my wrist so it doesn’t move around when I run.

Coros APEX Review trail and kale wm 4
Image showing how slim the watch face is which makes it excellent for people with smaller wrists or those who don’t want to wear a bulky GPS watch

The Coros software is regularly updated and pushed through via the phone app – there were so many updates to install when I first received the watch that it took an hour to get through them all!

Speaking of the app, the Coros app syncs from the watch significantly quicker than my old Suunto Ambit 3S, and I have not had any issues with connectivity. I have the app set up so that my runs are also automatically pushed through to Strava, but as the Coros app is so enjoyable to use, I use this more than Strava to look at my detailed performance indicators.

Coros APEX Review trail and kale wm 1

Durability

The straps and sapphire glass have stood up to the usual trail-running abuse and elements, as well as surviving occasional biting by our puppy, Kepler – the watch has come off unscathed from this abuse, with no scratches despite his best attempts – I have to say, I was surprised and impressed (his teeth are sharp!) – this resistance to scratching is also promising as it indicates the watch will be just fine even if I accidentally scratch it on rocks etc while out on the trails.

The Coros APEX is also waterproof to a depth of 100m so wear it in as many rain storms you like, it’s not going to get any water damage.

GPS navigation and barometer features

The Coros APEX has never taken more than 45 seconds to lock on to a GPS signal – this is a great plus as I don’t have to hang around for minutes before a run to have enough signal to get a lock on (As I generally wear this watch trail running and not in the city, I have not used it extensively around tall buildings, which can pose a challenge for any GPS device when it comes to picking up signal).

I am someone who generally likes to just grab their gear and head out the door, without pre-plotting courses to follow using GPS navigation features, so I haven’t used the navigation features a great deal. Unless you’re really into gadgets (which I am not) then I am not convinced that many people actually do use GPS watch navigation features on a regular basis, although it’s nice to have them as an option… navigation features are useful to have if you’re running a new route, to get an idea of how far along a route you are, and whether you’re on / going off-course. If navigation features are important, and you value more detailed maps and navigation, then the best type of GPS running watch we have come across is Garmin’s Fenix 5 Plus Series.

RELATED POST:  Best GPS Watches for Ultrarunning & Trail Running in 2019

Price / cost of the Coros APEX

Ultimately, I am more likely to use an important piece of gear based on its features and suitability for the job, rather than going by price. Having said this, when a watch this good comes in at HALF the price of its closest competition, together with the aforementioned compact size and excellent battery life, the Coros APEX is excellent value for money.

amazon.com Amazon.com See Deal
Last Amazon price update was: 13th December 2019 6:51 am

The Coros APEX is a tough one to beat, and I don’t think you can go wrong with this watch for the majority of running and even multi-day hiking and fastpacking adventures. This is the reason why it has proven so popular with trail runners and worn by a multitude of elite and expert ultrarunners around the world.

coros apex premium multisport gps watch 42mm white ultra durable battery
Coros Apex GPS Watch
Comfort
9
Design & Function
9
Durability
8.5
software
8.5
Performance
9.5
Value For Money
9.5
PROS
Wrist-based HR monitor
42mm size is good for smaller wrists
100m waterproof
Nice app and fitness tracking features
Long battery life - great for endurance sports and daily wear
CONS
Dial can be fiddly to use
Smaller screen means smaller text size
Navigation features are not very detailed
9
Overall Score

amazon.com Amazon.com See Deal
Last Amazon price update was: 13th December 2019 6:51 am

2 COMMENTS

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Helen
Helenhttps://www.trailandkale.com
Hi, I’m Helen. I write about all things trail running, outdoor adventures and mindful living. Aiming to be a positive influence and have a positive impact on the environment and those around me.

TRENDING NOW

5 Best Headlamps for Trail Running & Ultrarunning in 2019 (So Far)

This concise list of the 5 best headlamps for trail running will help you decide which one to buy, based on your individual requirements.

Best GPS Watches for Ultrarunning & Trail Running in 2019

Ultrarunners have a very specific set of requirements when it comes to buying a GPS running watch. Our shortlist of top GPS running watches will help you decide which one is best for you.

The Best Trail Running Shoes in 2019 (So far): The Ultimate Buyers Guide!

Our ever-evolving list of the best trail running shoes for every scenario; whether you run ultramarathons, race 10k's or plan to do a Spartan/Tough Mudder..

The Ultimate Stargazing Guide For Beginners: A Must-Do Micro-Adventure!

This Stargazing Guide for beginners is the perfect family micro-adventure. Learn when, where and how to stargaze, plus the essential gear!

20 Hacks That helped Improve My Trail Running Performance (Nutrition, Recovery, Gear + MORE)

My 20 tried & tested hacks that helped me improve running performance. Topics include Cross Training, Nutrition, Gear, and Recovery

Best On Running Shoes Ranked & Reviews 2019: Ultimate Buyers Guide!

The ULTIMATE 'Best of' list for On running shoes (Trail & Road), ranked & reviewed. Find out which On running shoes are best for YOU in 2019!
- Trail & Kale's Recommended Headlamp Alternative -

POPULAR ADVICE

5 Tips For Keeping Feet Warm on Winter Hikes & Everyday Adventures

Having cold feet is not pleasant, or great for the joints. Here are my top 5 tips for keeping your feet warm during winter hikes.

3 Epic Hiking Trails in Marin County: All within 30 mins of San Francisco

Our 3 favorite San Francisco Bay Area hiking trails located in Marin County, California. All hikes are within a 30-minute drive of the city.

20 Hacks That helped Improve My Trail Running Performance (Nutrition, Recovery, Gear + MORE)

My 20 tried & tested hacks that helped me improve running performance. Topics include Cross Training, Nutrition, Gear, and Recovery

The Ultimate Guide to Running at Night: Getting Started, Benefits, Staying Safe

The risks of running at night in the dark can be mitigated by having the right gear and exercising good judgement to help you stay safe.

Finding a Balance: Sustaining Happiness & How to Avoid Running Burnout

A happy, balanced lifestyle lets your energy come and go naturally without risking burnout! Click for advice on how to keep running enjoyable.

Is Trail Running Dangerous? How To Stay Safe on the Trails

Animal encounters, ticks and getting lost may be concerns for some trail runners. Find out how to reduce the risks for these and other dangers.

latest gear reviews/guides

10 Environmentally-Friendly Gift Ideas For Outdoor Adventurers

Looking for an environmentally-friendly gift for the outdoor adventurer in your life? Read our sustainable gift guide for 10 great ideas!

Best Women’s Running Books – Inspiring Reads by Female Runners

Our curated list of the best women's running books, showcasing true stories from inspiring female athletes and adventurers.

Gifts For Trail Runners in 2019: Shoes, GPS, Accessories, Nutrition & More

After gift inspiration for the trail runner in your life or yourself? Check out our list of the best affordable and useful gifts for trail runners.

Randolph Fusion Sunglasses Review 2019 – Elinor & Archer Frame Styles

Randolph's Fusion Sunglasses Collection features the lightweight Elinor and Archer frames, a spin on Aviator and Aviator-inspired designs. Read our review of these Italian-style, US-made sunglasses.

Nike Running Gear Guide – Christmas Gift Ideas For Runners 2019

We have the ultimate Nike running gift ideas for men and women. Stick to this guide and make the right gifting choices this holiday season.

On Cloudflow Review: The Second Generation Cloud Has Arrived!

Tried & Tested by Alastair, our in-house On expert! Find out how well they perform and how they compare to other On running shoes in this detailed review.

Lululemon Gifts for Runners – Christmas Gift List 2019

Make the runner in your life super-happy this Christmas! We've hand-picked the best men's and women's gifts for runners from Lululemon.

Receive our Newsletter

Enjoy first class Trail Running, Hiking & Adventure Inspiration, delivered straight to your inbox.

Welcome to the Trail & Kale Community! Please check your email to confirm your subscription.