COROS announces today presents its new top of the range, a watch that in some aspects arrives to define new limits and that includes features that no other manufacturer has ever included in a watch. The COROS VERTIX 2 offers, for the first time in a watch, a dual-frequency GNSS chipset.
Also for the first time in a watch it allows you to receive signals from all existing satellite systems simultaneously (GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou, QZSS). It is the first watch to announce up to 140 hours with GPS use every second (GPS only, without using the above features).
And besides all this includes navigation with maps, music playback, 1.4-inch screen, sapphire crystal and titanium bezel, electrocardiogram, oxygen saturation estimation... The list of specifications is impressive.
By the way, it's not the only new watch announced. Also today we have a new special edition of the COROS PACE 2 in honor of Eliud Kipchoge, including two straps with Kenyan exclusive colors and the COROS POD in the sales package.
But it's the same PACE 2 we knew (and loved) so far, so I'll dive straight into everything about the VERTIX 2.
COROS VERTIX 2 specs
I won't distract you anymore, let's go with the full list of all its features and specifications, also compared to the original COROS VERTIX 1.
- Bigger than the COROS VERTIX 1. It goes from 47mm to 50.3mm with the same thickness
- Larger screen with 1.4″ (instead of 1.2” on the VERTIX) and up to 8 data on the screen
- Sapphire glass (same as COROS VERTIX)
- Titanium bezel and cover, PVD coated
- 91 grams in weight, much more than the 76 grams of the VERTIX
- Dual-band GNSS chipset
- Up to 140 hours with GPS 1 second (60 hours on the VERTIX)
- Up to 240 hours in UltraMax mode (150 hours on the VERTIX)
- Up to 60 days in watch mode (45 days on the VERTIX)
- Route navigation with map layers (geographic, topographic and hybrid)
- Music playback from the watch
- 32GB internal memory
- Optical HR sensor, oxygen saturation, barometric altimeter, accelerometer, compass, gyroscope and thermometer (as in the VERTIX)
- ECG sensor
- Heart Rate Variability (HRV) measurement
- Insta360 camera control
- 26mm strap with Quick Fit system (22mm on the VERTIX)
- Fully charged in less than 2 hours
- Renovated UI
- Water resistant up to 100m
- Includes waterproof box
- Retail price: 699€ / $699 / £599
The dual-frequency GNSS chipset is the highlight, but COROS has also provided the VERTIX 2 with features such as music or maps for navigation. It's true that it does not do so under the same conditions as Garmin (as we will see below), but certainly “they are knocking on their door”.
Dual-frequency GNSS Receiver
The highlight of the spec list is undoubtedly the GNSS chipset with dual-frequency support. Some of you will know what this technology consists of, but I think that for the vast majority it is a whole new concept. So I think the first thing I need to do is clarify what this technology is about.
Satellites transmit data at different frequencies, something like your home router. As with your Wi-Fi router, using different frequencies we can benefit in speed or distance. It's a mere example and they are two things that have nothing in common, but I hope you get the idea with that.
Dual-frequency systems allow improved positioning in complicated reception locations such as forests, cities where the signal bounces off buildings, etc. By receiving information from more than one radio signal from each satellite, the device can differentiate between real and bounced signal.
COROS is the first manufacturer to include the GNSS chipset with dual frequency support in a watch. It's not that COROS will have the exclusive, but it does claim to be the first GPS watch with dual-frequency support.
But that's not the only thing that stands out when it comes to receiving satellites. It is also the first time that we can enable the reception of all satellite systems simultaneously in a watch. Until now, it was normal to use 2 or 3 systems at once, but with the COROS VERTIX 2 we can receive signals from GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, BeiDou and QZSS, all at the same time.
This option works for both single band and dual-band, increasing the number of satellites from which we are going to receive signal, especially important in difficult reception conditions.
The COROS VERTIX 2 offers three different settings:
- GPS only, for situations where there are no signal reception problems and we want to take full advantage of the battery (up to 140 hours with GPS 1 second).
- All GNSS systems enabled, being able to receive signal from all satellite constellations. In this mode the maximum battery life goes down to 90 hours.
- All GNSS systems enabled + dual-frequency. The highest accuracy when using dual-frequency for signal reception. There is more battery consumption, but we still have up to 50 hours of battery life.
And why is accuracy in signal reception important? It's not just the fact that you have nicer tracks at the end of the workout, you'll also have more reliable pace and distances especially in more complicated reception situations (cities, forests, big cliffs, etc.).
A final note with regard to the dual-frequency. Just because accuracy can increase significantly doesn't mean that we're going to have absolutely perfect tracks under any circumstances. Obviously, there will still be specific errors.
COROS improves the route navigation experience by including layers with maps. This allows you to overlay a GPX route over a layer with the map, allowing you to see where your route goes.
It's a similar concept to the one Suunto used in the Suunto 7, since it's about using multiple layers. A lower one, as if it were the image of the map, placing the route in the second layer above.
What is the difference if we compare it to Garmin route navigation? Because it is an “image”, COROS maps are not routable. That is, we have to create a route and load it, we can't tell the watch that we want to go to Main Square of the town next to you and then let the device calculate the route.
It won't give us turning directions like “turn right on Green street”, nor does it allow us to recalculate the route halfway.
The COROS VERTIX 2 offers three different map layers: landscape, topographic and a hybrid map. The VERTIX 2 will come with a global landscape map and you can download other maps of your specific region directly from the COROS website for free.
By the way, navigation with topographic maps won't be specific to the new COROS VERTIX 2, it will also arrive to the VERTIX 1 and also the COROS APEX Pro through a firmware update at the end of the year .
Music playback on the watch
The COROS VERTIX 2 has 32 GB of internal memory in which we can store maps and also music that can be played directly from the watch to connected Bluetooth devices.
First we have to copy the MP3 files by USB using your computer. In a world of streaming platforms it seems a bit “20th century”, but COROS says that there will be more updates regarding audio playback in the future, so they do not close the door to syncing wirelessly with other platforms.
COROS has just dethroned Garmin Enduro as the undisputed king in battery life. Not only because of the new GNSS chipset, but also because of a new processor that COROS indicates is 20% more powerful than the one in the original VERTIX. No need to rely on solar power, and offering navigation with maps and music playback as an option.
COROS VERTIX 2 battery life is just brutal, just take a look at the figures announced by the brand:
- GPS recording every second — 140 hours
- All GNSS systems — 90 hours
- All GNSS systems + dual-frequency — 50 hours
- UltraMax GPS mode — 240 hours
- GPS recording + music playback — 35 hours
- All GNSS systems + music playback — 30 hours
- Daily use as a watch — 60 days
I want to remind you that the Garmin Enduro was proclaimed king of battery life a few months ago with up to 80 hours using 1s GPS and solar charging. Well, the COROS VERTIX 2 gives you 60 more hours.
COROS VERTIX 2 opinion
COROS opens a new chapter today with the inclusion of dual-frequency satellite reception. It is clear that it will be an exclusive feature for a very short time, because ultimately the chipset is developed by the same company that is supplying chipsets to all other manufacturers (Sony). But no one will take away the title of “first watch with dual-frequency satellite reception”.
Finally, we see a notable change in an area where we haven't had many changes lately beyond the fact that manufacturers could successfully walk along the rope that limits battery life from good GPS tracking.
In the same way, they will also hold the title of a watch with greater autonomy, above the Garmin Enduro. In some situation the Enduro offers a little more battery life thanks to different modes (expedition, energy saving, etc.), but in the end the figure that matters is the number of hours with 1s GPS use.
To all that we can add maps and music. It is true that the implementation is not as sophisticated as in the case of Garmin, but COROS indicates that there may be more updates in the future for both audio playback options and maps. Does that mean we can expect synchronization with platforms like Spotify or routable maps? No, I don't mean that, but they don't close the door either.
COROS continues to scale in the market by adding features much faster than Polar or Suunto. It's something this brands didn't care much in the past because COROS didn't have the brand image or the capillarity of distributors of the two Finnish companies. But that is changing and COROS is becoming a more recognized brand, especially after the success of the PACE 2 in the market.
Does all this justify the 100€ price increase over the original COROS VERTIX 1? And in the same way, is the 699€ price tag justified? Well, it's something that only you can decide.
The COROS VERTIX 2 has reasons to be a product to stand out within the high-end models -dual-frequency GPS, battery life, ECG, running power estimation, build quality-, but if we compare it with a Garmin Fenix 6X also presents shortcomings. Mainly with regard to the platform (although less and less after the launch of EvoLab), but also those already discussed in terms of navigation and synchronization with music platforms.
But I can also compare with the Garmin Enduro, Garmin's new ultratrail watch to which the COROS clearly outperforms in battery life, without removing maps or music and adding a GNSS chipset of greater accuracy, all at a lower price. So it all depends on the prism from which you look at it.
Either way, I'm excited to try out the COROS VERTIX 2, especially for what it can offer thanks to its dual-frequency satellite reception. So... stay tuned!
And with that... thanks for reading!