This is a product battle between the Coros Vertix vs Garmin Fenix 5 Plus. While the Garmin Fenix series has been at the top of the wearable tech world for some time now, the Coros Vertix is the new kid on the block.
Perhaps more importantly, Coros are taking aim directly at Garmin with pretty much all of their products. You can see this clearly in the design of the watches, but it comes undeniable when you look at Coros app, which is basically a carbon copy of Garmin connect, with one or two tweaks to the font.
But the real question here is whether or not the Vertix can compete with the Fenix 5 Plus, especially given it’s rather elevated price. To help answer this question, I’m going to unpack all the key similarities and all the key differences, so you have a firm understanding of which watch is better suited to your needs.
Spoiler alert… it’s probably the Fenix 5 Plus.
Coros Vertix vs Garmin Fenix 5 Plus - Key Similarities
Coros Vertix vs Garmin Fenix 5 Plus - Key Differences
Features Unique to Coros Vertix
Insanely Long Battery Life
There is only one major advantage that the Coros Vertix has over the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus – Borderline ridiculous battery life. To demonstrate just how insane the Coros Vertix battery life is, I’m going to compare it to the Fenix 5X Plus, which has the longest battery life of the Fenix 5 Series.
It’s pretty clear to see that the Vertix has the most impressive battery life of any multisport GPS watch on the market right now. It’s closest competitor in this regard is the Suunto 9 Baro.
Personally, I wouldn’t let this impact the decision making process, but if long battery life is important to you, the Vertix could be a great fit.
The Pulse Oximeter Is Available In All Vertix Models
Regardless of which Vertix model you choose, you will be glad to know that all of them include a Sp02 Pulse Oximeter.
In the case of the Fenix 5, only the Fenix 5X Plus includes PulseOx technology.
This is another small victory for the Vertix. And just in case you aren’t sure, a Pulse Oximeter measures your blood oxygen saturation levels. It’s particularly useful when you’re in high altitude environments, and need to gauge if your body is ready to ascend further or needs to acclimatize.
Features Unique to Garmin Fenix 5 Plus
Advanced Running Dynamics + Garmin Running Power - Fenix 5 Plus Only
If you’re big into running, the Fenix 5 Plus will be much better suited to your needs. Apart from Garmin’s standard running data, the Fenix 5 Plus also give you access to Garmin’s advanced running dynamics data, which is more than most runners will ever need. The bullet points below provide more insight into what ‘advanced running dynamics’ actually means:
- Ground Contact Time (the time your foot spends on the ground with each stride)
- Ground Contact Balance (Symmetry between left and right foot)
- Vertical Oscillation (degree of ‘bounce’ in your running motion)
- Vertical Ratio (the cost-benefit ratio with stride length)
- Cadence (Real time)
- Stride Length (Real time)
With that being said, it’s worth pointing out that in order to access the advanced running stats mentioned above, you need to invest in 1 of the following 3 accessories as well.
Stress Monitoring - Fenix 5 Plus Only
You would expect some form of stress tracking to be available in the Coros Vertix, but you’d be wrong.
If this is something that you need, the Fenix 5 Plus is the watch to go for. Garmin basically rely on FirstBeat’s stress monitoring technology. It looks at heart rate variability to decipher periods of stress and periods of calm during a typical day. This is packaged into an all day stress and recovery metric on the Fenix 5 Plus.
Music Storage & Apps - Fenix 5 Plus Only
The Fenix 5 Plus includes built-in music storage, and it can also play music through popular apps like spotify. The bullet points below summarize the music features quite nicely:
- 1000 Songs of storage (about 7GB)
- Compatible with Spotify, Deezer and iHeart Radio
Galileo Satellite Tracking - Fenix 5 Plus Only
This isn’t necessarily a game changer but it’s worth a short mention. According to Coros, the Vertix will receive a firmware update that opens up Galileo tracking, but for now, this particular form of satellite reception is limited to the Fenix 5 Plus.
TOPO Maps - Fenix 5 Plus Only
Now don’t get me wrong. The breadcrumb navigation on the Coros Vertix is pretty cool, and will probably be fine for most people.
However, you really can’t compare breadcrumb navigation with TOPO map technology offered by the Fenix 5 Plus. The one points you from point A to point B (breadcrumb navigation). The other gives you full blown 3d rendering of the surrounding terrain, in color (TOPO Maps). The end result is that the Fenix 5 smashes the Vertix from a navigation perspective.
Payments from Watch - Fenix 5 Plus Only
This is another area where the ‘Smart’ features of the Fenix 5 dominate the less sophisticated Vertix.
Simply put, you can store your card details on your Fenix 5, and then make payments using NFC technology. Personally, I don’t think this is a dealbreaker, but it’s a pretty cool feature to have if you do go for the Fenix 5 Plus.
The Fenix 5 Plus Has 19 Extra Sports Modes
Now on the surface, the Vertix has a decent amount of sports modes, given that it has open water swimming and triathlon modes.
However, it’s the more standard features where it doesn’t really come to the party. By standard features I mean cardio training, strength training, yoga and other fitness activities that you would expect such an expensive watch to track.
Furthermore, the Fenix 5 Plus absolutely kills the Vertix in the overall variety of sports modes that it tracks. Snowboarding, stand up paddleboarding, rowing, kayaking and golf are some of the main highlights, but there’s plenty more.
The table below displays the full array of sports modes for each watch. They aren’t really comparable on this front.
|Coros Vertix - Sports Modes||Fenix 5 Plus - Sports Modes|
|01) Running||01) Running|
|02) Treadmill Running||02) Treadmill Running|
|03) Trail Running||03) Trail Running|
|04) Mountain Climbing||04) Mountain Climbing|
|05) Hiking||05) Hiking|
|06) Cycling||06) Cycling|
|07) Indoor Cycling||07) Indoor Cycling|
|08) Pool Swimming||08) Pool Swimming|
|09) Open Water Swimming||09) Open Water Swimming|
|10) Triathlon||10) Triathlon|
|13) Cross Country Skiing|
|14) Stand Up Paddleboarding|
|15) Indoor Rowing|
|16) Outdoor Rowing|
|17) Golf Mode|
|18) Pool Swimming|
|19) Golf Mode|
|20) Strength Training|
|21) Cardio Training|
|22) Elliptical Training|
|23) Floors Climbed|
|25) Stair Stepping|
|29) Indoor Track Running|
Visual Summary of Fenix 5 Plus Features
Usually, when new brands are trying to break into an existing market, they offer a very similar product, for significantly less money, in order to tempt people to try it.
For instance, Coros nailed this strategy with the release of the Coros Pace, which is basically a more affordable Garmin Forerunner 735XT. When they released the Pace, Coros undercut the market, with a fully functional multisport GPS watch that can retail for less than $200 during certain times of the year (don’t hold me to this price, but I’ve definitely seen it on Amazon for $199.99 at times).
However, they seemed to have missed the mark with the Coros Vertix in terms of pricing. It simply can’t compete with the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus, the original Fenix 5, the Forerunner 935 or the Forerunner 945 in terms of total features. Admittedly, it does have an awesome battery life and it’s pretty cool that a Pulse Oximeter is included in all models, but that’s not enough to justify such a meaty price.
Ultimately, there’s nothing wrong with aspiring to create a product that can rival the Fenix series, but Coros have fallen short in this attempt. The end result is that the price tag of the Vertix is laughable.
This is not to say that the Fenix 5 Plus is cheap. It’s one of the most expensive multisport GPS watches that you can buy. The key difference is that with the Fenix 5 Plus, you actually get what you pay for in terms of features, functions, software and brand credibility.