One of the best investments you can make as a runner (whether professional or amateur) is a high-quality sport watch. These nifty wrist-mounts are the ultimate tool for just about any athlete.
The best ones are water-resistant, durable, and come with an array of features, including a heart-rate monitor, tachymeter, and even a compass. Sports watches have been around for decades now, and many companies have jumped at the opportunity to deliver a sports watch of their own (with varying results).
Two such companies, however, stand head and shoulders above the rest: Garmin and COROS, names that almost every runner, triathlete, and diver will no doubt recognize and focus primarily on GPS watches now.
Both companies have enjoyed plenty of success, due in no small part to the exceptional quality of their sports watches. Naturally, there are plenty of similarities between each company’s products – and also plenty of differences. We get into them on this post.
Why Are So Many People Choosing COROS Watches?
Historically, Garmin has always been at the forefront of the sports watch scene, releasing high-quality product after high-quality product. This left very little room on the market for any noteworthy competition – which makes it all the more surprising that COROS has quickly become a sports watch mainstay.
COROS arrived on the scene in 2016, almost 30 years after Garmin was established. Their first product was a cycling helmet, but it was not long before their inventory expanded to include a variety of sporting gear – chief among them sports watches.
Although each individual product is different from the last, it is easy to understand the appeal of COROS sports watches: they are sleek, easy to use, and totally comfortable. Of course, none of this is enough to truly topple Garmin. As you will find out, there are plenty of reasons to like – or despise – both companies.
What Is So Great About Garmin Watches?
Garmin did not become the reigning king of all sports watches by producing below-average equipment. Each of their products is fantastic in their own rights, but there are certain elements common to each of their sports watches that many athletes appreciate.
Breadth of Lifestyle Features
Although Garmin’s sports watches are intended for training purposes first and foremost, they also feature a surprising (and welcome) amount of lifestyle features that you will find yourself using almost every day.
For example, some watches include Garmin Pay, a feature that effectively transforms the watch into a contactless payment system on demand. Most newer models also allow you to download music from apps such as Spotify, Deezer, and Amazon Music, which you can then listen to with Bluetooth earphones.
Additionally, newer models also have full touchscreen capabilities. The suite of options is impressive and is one of the main reasons most people choose Garmin over any other sports watch brand.
Helpful Safety Features
Thanks to the Garmin app, the latest Garmin sports watches include a handful of useful safety features.
For example, the Incident Detection feature will alert your chosen contacts to your location in the case of an accident while running, swimming, or cycling. You will need to connect your watch to your phone in order for this feature to function.
Additionally, Garmin sports watches also include LiveTrack, which shares your location in real-time with all of your contacts. Both of these features are potential life-savers.
Streamlined Smartphone App
The Garmin Connect app is extremely comprehensive, displaying all the metrics and statistics related to your run on one screen. This includes your daily and weekly averages, the total amount of calories you have burned, and the total distance you have covered across all of your runs.
The app also syncs with your watch in real-time, thanks to Bluetooth, so you can check your statistics even as you run. Garmin Connect also includes a social element: you can add friends and complete challenges without ever having to be within ten meters of each other.
All in all, the Garmin Connect app is just one more reason why many people have stuck with the brand for so long.
Comprehensive Metrics and Statistics
In addition to the standard metrics that you can view on the Garmin Connect app, there are several other statistics that avid runners and athletes highly appreciate.
Shoe mileage, for instance, will alert you when it is time to replace your shoes. Women can also track their menstrual cycles, and the app also lets you know how your hormone levels may be impacting your performance.
Finally, the Garmin Connect app also measures your stress levels and even includes several breathing and relaxation exercises so that you can always be at the top of your game.
What Is So Great About Coros?
Although Garmin includes plenty of helpful lifestyle features, comprehensive metrics, and safety utilities, COROS sports watches are no slouch in the features department.
Rather than comparing both watches directly, we are going to highlight COROS’s best features below to give you an idea of why so many athletes are switching over.
Extensive Battery Life
Arguably one of COROS’s biggest selling points is the immense battery life of its sports watches. If you always use the GPS, the battery will last you a solid 20 hours before running out.
However, if you only use the GPS at certain points, you can easily get up to 40 hours’ worth of running done. This is further bolstered by the UltraMax mode, which extends the battery life to 60 hours before requiring a recharge.
Every COROS watch also comes with a Battery Usage tool, accessed through the tool-box. Here, you can see everything that contributes to draining your battery, including system functions, GPS usage, the backlight, and the daily heart rate function. This tool can be used to give you an idea of how you can improve the battery life even further.
Assuming you run for a few hours every day, you may only need to charge the battery again after two weeks.
Accurate Swim Tracking
Of course, it is not only runners who benefit from a sports watch. Swimmers require one that can accurately measure how far they have swum, though most sports watches never give precise readings.
Fortunately, all of COROS’s sports watches have pinpoint accuracy when it comes to swim tracking, which make them particularly ideal for professional swimmers and triathletes.
This accuracy also extends to open-water swimming, which is notoriously difficult to track. Sports watches tend to lose their GPS signal when the arm is placed underwater, making the distance difficult to track. However, COROS’s sports watches are able to function
Reliable and Quick GPS Signal
A lot of sports watches can take a while before they latch onto your GPS signal, which can cause an unnecessary delay in getting your run started.
Fortunately, all of COROS’s sports watches have fast and reliable GPS tracking and are able to latch onto any signal within seconds.
GPS accuracy is important for runners who like to track their courses. A side-by-side comparison between a COROS watch and a Garmin watch will reveal that the former is far more accurate.
This is because COROS uses other satellite networks in addition to GPS in order to provide the most comprehensive overview of your course. They also make use of a “smart-stride” system which tracks the average length of your stride when the GPS signal is strong, then applies this measurement when the GPS signal is weak.
As such, they are able to track the exact route you take, with a minimum amount of lag, while other GPS watches can overcorrect certain metrics, especially when traveling along a winding route, or across inclined planes.
All COROS sports watches can track and record barometric data, which allows you to track changes in elevation, see the number of floors you have climbed throughout the day, and view elevation data.
You can also see the amount of barometric pressure on the watch, enabling you to predict changes in the weather (in the short-term, of course).
All of this extends COROS’s sports watches target demographic – now, avid hikers and mountaineers will have a reliable watch to accurately record their elevation when GPS begins to falter.
Long Warranty and Longer Use
All COROS sports watches come with a fantastic 2-year warranty. The company also regularly releases updates, such as the EvoLab, back in 2021. EvoLab brought more performance metrics, such as Training Load and Running Performance. This update was also available to the discontinued COROS PACE.
This goes to show that COROS trusts its products to perform exactly how you want them to. You can almost guarantee that the watch you buy now will still be supported by the company in the years to come, even after it has been discontinued.
Here are some of the most frequently asked questions relating to Garmin and COROS sports watches.
In general, COROS watches tend to be cheaper and more consistent in terms of quality for that given price range. Higher end Garmin models however are at a whole different level.
All Garmin watches have a one-year warranty.
Newer Garmin sports watches tend to have more features than any other sports watch brand.
As you can see, both sports watch brands have some fantastic products with even better features.
For more casual runners with a bigger budget, there is no doubt that Garmin sports watches will suit your needs, especially because of their useful quality-of-life features.
However, more dedicated athletes with more demanding standards would benefit from a COROS sports watch much more, thanks to the bevy of features geared especially towards triathletes and professional sportspersons or if you’re on a budget.
Marko is a recreational runner (and a techie) that has completed a full-distance trail marathon from Australia. He is the lead writer at JogTunes and spends his off-time time testing different running shoes and GPS watches.