Garmin Vs. Coros: Which Sports Smartwatch Is Right for You?

Both brands offer state-of-the-art fitness tracking and outdoor adventure features, but beyond that they diverge down very different paths.When it comes to discussion on the best high-end, advanced-use sports watches, Garmin and Coros are frequently mentioned in the same breath. Both provide features for outdoor sports, packing their various product lines with an array of features to support not only everyday fitness endeavors like weight training and running, but outdoor activities like hiking, triathlon and marathon training, cycling, golf, skiing, swimming, diving, and even pickleball. Both brands are known for their durable design, intuitive user experience, and better-than-average battery life, earning high scores from tech critics and users alike.

That being said, Coros and Garmin fitness trackers, smartwatches and heart monitors fill different roles in your day-to-day life. If Garmin smartwatches are designed to track essentially everything throughout your day from fitness to sleep to menstrual cycles—a kind of do-it-all sports watch for general health and sports enthusiasts—Coros targets dedicated athletes who are looking to hone their training to expert levels.Which is right for you comes down to a few considerations about how you intend to use a particular tracker and what kind of athlete you are. To demystify the matter of Coros vs. Garmin, let’s take a look at how a few of each brand’s most popular models fare against each other.

Garmin versus Coros smartwatches and fitness trackers

Best for most runners: Garmin Forerunner 965 vs. Coros Pace 3

Best advanced: Garmin epix Pro vs. Coros Vertix 2

Best lightweight: Garmin Forerunner 745 vs. Coros Pace 3

Best heart monitor: Garmin HRM-Pro Plus vs. Coros Heart Rate Monitor

Best accessories: Garmin watch bands vs. Coros watch bands

Key differences between Garmin and Coros sports watches

How we compared

Over the past several years, I’ve experimented with nearly all of the major releases from both Garmin and Coros. I’ve worn them through all manner of activities, from weightlifting to running, swimming to cycling, to plenty of backcountry hikes and trail runs and more, and I’ve tested their fitness tracking and metrics thoroughly.

I’ve strapped them on as day-to-day watches, comparing their smart features and their user experiences. And I’ve compared my findings with those of other expert reviewers to determine why you might prefer one or the other.

Garmin vs. Coros: Best for runnersThe Coros Pace 3 is one of the best running watches on the market, especially if you’re seeking advanced tracking without breaking the bank. Renowned for offering some of the most accurate and atomized run metrics you can find, the Pace 3 tracks all the usual factors like speed, distance, pace, calories burned, and so on, but gets further detailed by analyzing factors like running and form power, ground time, left/right balance, stride ratio, and more. While its smart features are fairly minimal, this is an outstanding watch for serious runners looking to shave seconds off their race times.

The Garmin Forerunner 965 is a fantastic tracker as well, but you’re definitely paying for that greatness. For its price, you’ll enjoy the stunning AMOLED screen, smart features like contactless pay, onboard Spotify, quality sleep tracking, offline maps, and even a flashlight, along with some serious run tracking chops.

While its metrics aren’t quite as granular as those of the Pace 3, it still provides plenty of useful data, like heart rate variability, which will show how your cardiovascular system evolves over the course of training.

Garmin vs. Coros: Best advancedThe Garmin epix Pro is just about as advanced as a watch gets. It does pretty much everything a smartwatch can do, tracks possibly the most expansive range of fitness metrics out there, and has a vivid display. It’s durably built and looks impressive.

New running features like a hill score (which measures your ability to charge up hills) and an endurance score (which combines your running and hiking capabilities to determine your fitness for long-distance running) will be appealing to avid runners. No matter which of the three sizes you choose it’s a pretty huge watch, and it’s definitely expensive, but for a sports watch that does pretty much everything, it’s hard to beat.

The Coros Vertix 2 is similarly enormous and pricey (though not as pricey), but it’s also similarly expansive in terms of what it has to offer. With more than enough fitness metrics for advanced trainers, a solid array of smart functions, and a competitively wide, bright screen, it’s an extremely capable sports watch.

Where it really sets itself apart, however, is the battery life. 60 days in smartwatch mode and 140 hours in GPS mode is outstanding. It’s also built tough and has an appealingly rugged vibe.

Garmin vs. Coros: Best lightweightAs far as running trackers go, the Garmin Forerunner 745 is a great option all around, and it’s the lightest in Garmin’s lineup to boot. While it offers all of the expansive running and fitness tracking capabilities that the Forerunner lineup is known for, it’s also more affordable than its namesakes of different numbers.

Its smartwatch functionality is decent for a lightweight watch geared toward running, and the recent addition of incident detection helps keep you safe on runs. Battery life is pretty poor and it could use a few more sleep metrics, but for a watch this light and affordable it has a lot to offer.

For the lightweight champion of the Coros lineup, we return to the Pace 3. At 30 grams, it’s the lightest on the list by far, and it feels like you’re running with nothing on your wrist at all. And for a watch this trim, it sure does offer a lot of fitness metrics, famously getting as granular as can be. It falters a bit in terms of smart features, but if you’re looking for pure running greatness at a low price, the Pace 3 is a winner.

Garmin vs. Coros: Best heart monitorIn recent years Garmin’s heart rate monitoring has received high praise for its accuracy across all its lines, and its HRM-Pro Plus takes that accuracy to a whole new level. It also captures a range of running dynamics like vertical oscillation, ground contact time, and stride length to help you improve your form.

Unlike many other heart rate monitors it’s capable of tracking distance and pace on the treadmill. Extremely comfortable with an outstanding battery life, this Garmin is a great addition to a serious runner’s routine.

While most heart rate monitors are worn on the chest, Coros’ monitor is placed on the arm, providing an alternative that is one of the most comfortable you can find. Not only does the strap adjust easily for the perfect fit, but its nylon/spandex material feels great on the skin.

This monitor is highly accurate at tracking a wide range of metrics, though it’s not as feature-rich as some of the pricier HRMs around. One major plus is that it can be used via any Bluetooth device and doesn’t have to be linked to the wider Coros ecosystem, unlike Garmin, which essentially requires that you pair its HRM with a Garmin watch.

Garmin vs. Coros: Best accessoriesGarmin watch bands

Garmin offers bands in a wide range of colors and materials including silicone, nylon, metal, and sometimes even leather. Its bands are as durable as they come and are reliably comfortable (except for the leather options, which some reviewers have said can feel a bit off). With so many options, Garmin makes it easy to customize.

Coros watch bands

Coros is somewhat more limited when it comes to bands. Watch bands are model-specific, and are available in a smattering of colors but not as many as Garmin offers. They’re also more limited in terms of materials, keeping things narrowed to nylon and silicone. While the selection may be somewhat more limited, they are all extremely comfortable.

posted Saturday November 11th
by Runner’s World