Earlier this year, I shared my long-term review of the COROS VERTIX adventure GPS watch. I was impressed by the rock-solid build quality and insane battery life. In fact, the VERTIX has been my go-to sports tracking and outdoor watch for the last 18 months.
If there was one feature that I wish COROS would add, however, it would be support for topographic maps. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure if this was possible, given the device’s limited internal memory. But, in true COROS fashion, the California-based company has done it again. During today’s live stream event, it was announced that topographic maps are coming to the VERTIX 1 and APEX PRO this year (before the end of 2021).
Why do I say VERTIX 1? Well, that’s not the only big news that COROS revealed today. The brand’s next generation GPS adventure watch is now available for pre-order. That’s right…the highly anticipated COROS VERTIX 2 is here!
Speaking about the new watch, COROS CEO and Co-Founder Lewis Wu had this to say:
Ever since the launch of the VERTIX in May of 2019, our team has been planning for the next generation and I am incredibly proud of what we have announced with the release of the VERTIX 2. Our tag-line ‘Next Generation Adventure’ means more than just the second-generation product, rather being on the leading edge of the technology available for a GPS wearable.
COROS VERTIX 2
Initially available in two colours—Obsidian and Lava—the COROS VERTIX 2 retails for £599.99 (UK) / $699.99 (US). As with the original VERTIX, I’m a big fan of keeping it simple with the all black look. But, I’m sure that COROS will be releasing further colour choices, along with a few special editions, down the line.
Alongside the optical heart rate monitor and pulse oximeter, found on the original VERTIX, the VERTIX 2 also packs an electrocardiogram (ECG) into its sensor array. This improves accuracy when measuring heart rate, but also enables overall stress to be measured via heart rate variability (HRV).
Similar to altitude performance mode, COROS has developed a HRV index which scores your overall stress levels on an index from 0 to 100. Users can then compare daily changes and make lifestyle adjustments accordingly—particularly helpful when trying to optimise recovery.
New processor & chipset
Built from the ground up, the VERTIX 2 utilises a new processor that will presumably enable features not possible on the original VERTIX. Based on results from in-house testing, COROS estimates that the VERTIX 2 is over 20% faster than the VERTIX 1.
Under the hood, the new watch is also equipped with a dual-frequency GNSS chipset. The new chipset can communicate with all five major global satellite systems simultaneously and in two concurrent frequencies. This significantly boosts GPS accuracy in complex environments—where you have limited satellite visibility or where there is interference from large walls or buildings. When rock climbing, for example, COROS says that the ‘wall reflection’ is significantly reduced.
Improved battery life
These new GPS accuracy features are very power hungry. So, to compensate, COROS has beefed up the battery in the VERTIX 2. With all satellite systems and dual-frequency mode enabled, you’ll still get 50 hours of battery life—just 10 hours less than the original VERTIX in regular GPS mode. To put that into perspective, the VERTIX 2 manages an incredible 140 hours in full GPS mode, 240 hours in UltraMax GPS mode, and 60 days of regular use. I mean, that‘s absolutely mind-blowing…there really are no words!
The upgraded battery does result in the VERTIX 2 being slightly bigger and heavier than its predecessor. But, at 91g (with a watchband) it’s certainly not a heavyweight and remains on par with similar offerings from the likes of Garmin, Suunto and Polar.
To take advantage of the extra real estate, COROS has also fitted the VERTIX 2 with the largest screen in its GPS watch lineup. The 1.4 inch display has an increased 280 x 280 resolution and an improved touchscreen. Aside from allowing for an enhanced visual experience, the larger screen size supports up to 8 data fields per page, as opposed to the 6 data fields that the VERTIX 1 could accommodate.
Perhaps the most important use for the extra screen space though, is for topographic maps. The VERTIX 2 offers three layers for mapping: Landscape, Topo (Topographic), and Hybrid. Users who want to follow a route can use the navigation feature which will overlay their .GPX route with the new map layers, allowing for a more data-rich experience.
The VERTIX 2 will be pre-loaded with the global offline Landscape map. And, users can then download region-specific Topo maps of their choice for free by visiting coros.com and transferring the files to the watch via USB from any computer.
As I mentioned previously, similar functionally will also be coming to the VERTIX 1 and APEX Pro later this year. Like I said in my VERTIX review, COROS cares about its existing user base. The team could have easily left full topographic map support as a VERTIX 2 only feature—encouraging users to upgrade. But they didn’t, which says a lot about the integrity of this company.
32GB internal storage & onboard music
If that’s enough, COROS has added 32GB of internal storage, allowing the VERTIX 2 to hold more data, workouts and navigation routes. But, that’s not all. The extra memory means that COROS has been able to add the one smart feature from the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro that I would actually use—onboard music. Music tracks are added by connecting the watch to a computer via USB and played back by pairing it to a pair of Bluetooth earbuds.
VERTIX 2 rock climbing carabiner
Alongside the device itself, COROS announced a new accessory that I‘m particularly interest to try out. I‘m a keen rock climber, but I sometimes find that wearing a watch on my wrist can get in the way—especially when crack climbing. The new carabiner accessory will enable rock climbers to securely attach the VERTIX 2 to their harness so that they can track GPS and elevation data without the watch getting in the way.
The carabiner will retail for $79 and is initially only available as part of a small batch. However, if it proves popular, I expect that COROS would up production and offer the accessory at a slightly reduced price in the future.
So, that was a pretty jam-packed live stream event from COROS. Let me know what VERTIX 2 feature you are most looking forward to trying out. I, for one, am pretty excited about trying the new topographic map feature on my VERTIX 1 and getting hands-on with the next generation GPS adventure watch in the future.
Featured image: COROS