Chinese outfit Coros have entered the competitive fitness watch market with a product aimed at triathletes. That’s no surprise as visually it’s a facsimile of Garmin’s Forerunner 735XT, from the heavily-perforated strap to watch-face design and font. You could also say it’s unimaginative and lazy.
For us, it wanders into the latter but that’s no criticism of its performance, which starts with its USP: a battery life that can last 25hrs with GPS on and 30 days in regular tracking mode. That significantly outperforms the likes of Garmin, Suunto and Polar.
Its impressive battery life is matched by usability. There’s no touchscreen – simply two buttons either side. The rigid design isn’t quite as slick as its contemporaries but, once you press the designated button, you’re presented with a
list of endurance modes including triathlon, cycling, running and swimming. In each, there’s extremely swift GPS pick-up, which then holds position superbly. Yes, it deviates slightly during open-water swimming, but that’s arguably true for all multisport watches.
A series of accelerometers and sensors calculate stride length and cadence, which is a useful feature for working on oft-neglected run technique and is something we’ve praised Garmin for. The inclusion of a barometer’s also a nice touch for accurate climbing info. Then there’s the heart-rate sensor. It’s a built-in optical number that records while swimming, cycling and running, and during daytime activity, although our historic concerns with optical accuracy remain. Using a chest strap for reference, low-intensity efforts proved accurate enough but high-intensity sessions left either a lag or erroneous fluctuations.
To be fair, this isn’t solely Coros’ problem but is something we feel is often overlooked in manufacturers’ nervousness not to include an optical sensor. Rant over, syncing time between watch and smartphone is the quickest we’ve known, and when all the information is transferred to the Coros app, it’s nicely presented. Parameters like time in zones and lap pacing are always useful, but its third-party uploading capability is confined to Strava. That’s not ideal but Coros assure us a future upgrade will see this branch out to apps like MapMyRide and Training Peaks.
Coros also say they’ll include intervals – something triathletes would demand and remiss not to be included on launch. Overall, despite its copycat looks, this doesn’t quite reach the levels of a Garmin, and it’s a touch overpriced compared to its established competition. But with that battery life and GPS abilities, it’s still very good.
Verdict: unrivalled battery life, good usability but slightly overpriced 79%
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