COROS DURA Review: Brilliant Battery Life

Just announced, the all-new COROS DURA is an impressive solar-powered GPS bike computer offering over 100 hours of battery life on a single charge, simple data and navigation functions, and an easy-to-use interface with a touchscreen and scroll wheel. We had the chance to try one out ahead of today’s launch for this first-ride review…

A few months ago, Neil asked what features were most important to me in a GPS head unit. He was working on a video and wanted to get a sense of what our favorite GPS units were and why. Aside from the obvious—long battery life—I replied that simplicity was a big factor. I don’t use all the various training modes or bells and whistles, and I’m not interested in wading through countless screens and options on my head unit just to get to the functions I need. All I want is a device that makes it easy to upload a GPX and can accurately follow a line, maintain a good satellite connection, keep track of relevant stats, and last as long as possible. I can rely on more robust in-phone apps for detailed route research and planning.

The Wahoo BOLT has been my device of choice for a while, although it has several pitfalls. When I heard about the forthcoming COROS DURA and the fact that simplicity and battery life were its guiding principles, it piqued my interest. I had the chance to try it on a few rides before today’s launch for this first-ride review. Here are all the specs and seven realizations I had about the COROS DURA while using it.

Coros DURA Review
  • Coros DURA Review
  • Coros DURA Review

For those unfamiliar, COROS is a global company with a US office in Irvine, California. The brand launched in 2015 with “smart” bike helmets aimed at the commuter market, and in 2018, they moved into the GPS watch market. The COROS DURA is the brand’s first cycling computer. Before I dig into this impressive device, here’s a quick look at the specs and features.

COROS DURA Specs & Features

Here is the full list of tech specifications and features listed by COROS in the materials they sent over. Note that there have already been two firmware upgrades since I had the device, so functionality is constantly changing.

Basics

  • Size: 3.92″ x 2.39″ x 0.62″ (99.5 x 60.8 x 15.7 mm) excluding mount
  • Weight: 97g (body) 44g (mount)
  • Screen: 400 x 240 pixel Transflective Memory-in-Pixel Display, 2.7 inches (6.9 cm) Durable Composite Glass
  • Buttons: Digital Dial (Scroll wheel) with botton, Back/Lap Button
  • Touch screen: Swipe and select with touch screen

Battery

  • Battery Life (All Systems On): 120 hours (excluding solar)
  • Battery Life (Dual-frequency): 70 hours (excluding solar)
  • Solar Efficiency: 1 hour in direct sun generates up to 2 hours of additional riding time
  • Estimated charging time: 15°-45°C about 2 hours, 0°-15°C about 3.5 hours
  • Battery capacity: 960 mAh
Coros DURA Review

Sensors and Durability

  • Onboard Sensors: Barometric altimeter, Accelerometer Gyroscope Compass, Temperature sensor
  • Storage Capacity: 32GB
  • Waterproof Rating: IP67
  • Working temperature: -20°C to 60°C (-4°F to 140°F)
  • Storage temperature: -30°C to 70°C (-22°F to 158°F)
  • Charging temperature: 0°C to 60°C (32°F to 140°F)

Connectivity

  • Data Sync: Bluetooth (COROS App), WiFi (Direct from device)
  • Accessory Connections: Bluetooth and ANT (up to 12 simultaneous)
  • Satellite (GPS Mode): GPS, GLONASS, GALILEO, Beidou, QZSS
  • Dual Frequency: L1 + L5

Features

  • Safety Features: Bike Alarm, Live Tracking, Safety Alerts, Crash Detection
  • Training Features: Training Load, Base Fitness, Load Impact (Training Management), FTP Test, Training Load Recommendation, Recovery Timer, Workouts, Training Plans, Activity Training Zone Alerts (HR and Power)
  • Third-party apps: Strava, Komoot, Ride with GPS, TrainingPeaks, Relive, Final Surge, Decathlon, Adidas Running, Nike Run Club, and more
  • System language: English, German, Spanish, French, Polish, Thai, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Chinese
  • Activity Modes: Road, Indoor, Gravel, MTB, E-Bike, E-MTB

Navigation

  • Primary View: Full Page View + Split Screen (Map and Data)
  • Additional features: Climb Details, Turn by Turn Checkpoints, Smart Reroute Navigation (connect to COROS app)

1. The COROS DURA’s Battery Life is Extraordinary

Although I’ve only been testing this unit for a little over a week, I’m already convinced that the COROS DURA might be one of the best GPS units on the market when it comes to battery life. Reason being, I’ve only used about 9% of its battery over five rides that add up to about eight hours and 40 miles of use. When I first powered the unit on, it was at 68%. It’s now displaying 59% in the upper right corner. That includes two firmware updates and me fiddling with the menus and setting quite a bit to get an understanding of the interface. But to be clear, I don’t have a deep understanding of its battery life in different situations, and I can’t yet report back with a full analysis of how it performs while out on a multi-day trip. Still, based on COROS’ claims and the little battery the unit has used so far during my test, I’m very impressed.

Coros DURA Review, Solar Powered GPS

The DURA runs on a 960 mAh internal battery and charges via a USB-C port in about two hours, according to COROS. Better yet, it has a built-in 39.8 x 16.4mm monocrystalline silicon solar panel on the top third of the unit, which COROS claims has a conversion efficiency close to 20%, which is considerably more than what’s on the market now and generates up to two hours of additional riding time per hour in direct sun. That’s a pretty incredible claim, although I’ve yet to use it in direct sunlight. The rides I’ve put on it so far have all been short, late-afternoon pedals through the woods.

As stated in COROS’ specs, the 120-hour battery life figure is based on no solar gain and the unit being in All Systems GPS mode, the least power-consuming GPS mode of the four options available on the unit. Note that this is the default setting, which the company states is fine for most situations; so far, I haven’t changed it. Things like sensors (HR monitor, power meter, radar, and electronic drivetrains,) and/or following a GPS track will all impact the power consumption to some degree. As of yesterday, with my second firmware update, there’s a cool new screen under the Activity Data menu that allows you to look at each of your rides and see how much battery was consumed during that ride and the amount of Solar Gain taken in (below right). Unfortunately, it didn’t retroactively apply the power consumption to my previous rides, so I’ll have to circle back on that.

  • Coros Dura Review, Solar-powered GPS bike computer
  • Coros Dura Review, Solar-powered GPS bike computer

One last thing to note about the battery: COROS claims the DURA will be even better after another firmware update this week. The consumer-facing version will go live in the next day or two, and COROS stated that the beta version of the software we’ve been testing consumes more power than the production version.

2. The COROS DURA Doesn’t Really Turn Off

One thing that kind of surprised me about the COROS DURA is that the unit doesn’t really turn off. Don’t get me wrong, you can turn it off by digging deep into the system menu, choosing More Settings, and selecting Turn Off, although that’s not easy to find. In fact, it’s not readily available because the unit doesn’t really need to be turned off. It simply goes to sleep on its own when not in use. This allows for a super-fast start-up time (one or two seconds) and the ability to always tweak data fields and upload routes from the COROS phone app as long as you’re within range. According to my contact at COROS, the standby consumption of the DURA is about 0.6% per day, which means it can be in sleep mode for about four to five months on a fully charged battery.

3. Uploading a Route from RWGPS is Simple

One of the first things I wanted to know about the COROS DURA was how easy it would be to download a single route from my Ride With GPS library and upload it to the head unit. According to COROS, they’re releasing functionality this week that will allow the unit/app to sync with RWGPS. However, it was more important for me to see how it worked with manual upload. That’s because the Wahoo companion app drives me bonkers; if you set it to sync with RWGPS automatically, it downloads your entire library (or at least it used to before I turned that function off for good). I have a lot of routes in my library, so this proved to be an absolute drain and crashed the unit on multiple occasions. This may have changed, but I gave up a couple of years ago.

  • Coros DURA Upload from RWGPS
  • Coros DURA Upload from RWGPS
  • Coros DURA Upload from RWGPS
  • Coros DURA Upload from RWGPS
  • Coros DURA Upload from RWGPS

With the COROS DURA, this task was pretty simple, as shown in the sequence above. I was able to select a route in my Ride With GPS library on the app, click on the ellipsis icon at the upper right, select Export GPX from the menu, find the COROS app via the More option, and save it into My Collection within the app. From there, I can load it onto the DURA device pretty easily. It doesn’t get much more straightforward than this, and I’ll be sure to report back with the RWGPS sync functionality once I have a chance to try it.

4. It’s Easy to Create a Route and Follow It

On-the-go route creation is another feature I was curious about. With some basic GPS units, that might involve creating a route in a phone app (RWGPS or Gaia), syncing or uploading it to the GPS app, and finally pushing to the unit. COROS simplified this process by providing the ability to plan a route on the companion app and immediately sync it to the head unit.

  • COROS DURA Create Route
  • COROS DURA Create Route
  • COROS DURA Create Route
  • COROS DURA Create Route

Other units have similar functionality, but COROS did a good job with the mapping application. It’s simple and easy to use. There are three basemap options within the app—Default, Satellite, and Outdoors—that are all Mapbox layers. I primarily used the Outdoors option. I’d never used this basemap before, but it’s pretty good. It shows most of the trails around my home, and according to Mapbox, it includes biking, hiking, and skiing trails on top of detailed terrain with elevation data. It also shows things like streams, mountain peaks, and other geological features.

Coros DURA Review, Solar Powered GPS
  • Coros DURA Review
  • Coros DURA Review, Solar Powered GPS

For the record, COROS uses Openstreetmap for the basemap layer on the DURA unit. That didn’t bother me, but Neil, who’s also testing the DURA, mentioned it being a con. It’s unclear if or when different basemap options will be available on the DURA.

5. The COROS DURA’s Dial is a Game Changer

The hardware interface on the DURA is excellent. There is a single dial with an integrated button, a second button below that, and a built-in touchscreen. The touchscreen is nice, but the addition of a dial is a game-changer for me. The dial essentially offers the same functionality as the touchscreen; you can scroll to move the section up and down or toggle through screens and data, and it has an integrated button to press and confirm a selection or pause/end activity. For me, it’s kind of the main “joystick” point of the interface. You can also do all this with the touchscreen, but like any touchscreen, it doesn’t always work with thicker gloves or when it’s wet.

Coros DURA Review, Solar Powered GPS
  • Coros Dura Review, Solar-powered GPS bike computer
  • Coros DURA Review, Solar Powered GPS

The second button below the dial is mainly a back button used to return to the previous screen, although it also has some functionality with laps, which I really don’t mess with. You can also hold it down to gain quick access to the Toolbox, which is essentially the main menu to access various functions like Activities and Settings.

6. The COROS DURA Software Interface is Simple but Good

The user interface on the DURA is simple and luddite-friendly. I’m all for that and don’t really have many complaints about the menu system or screens. To summarize, you can scroll through a single main menu using the dial or touchscreen. It contains the different activity types, which are customizable—like MTB, Gravel, Road, etc. and several other items, including Navigation (where you find your uploaded routes), Activity Data (to look at your ride history), Training Plan (which I haven’t touched), Notifications (where you can scroll through pushed notifications from your phone or other devices), and System (to change settings).

  • Coros Dura Review, Solar-powered GPS bike computer
  • Coros DURA Review, Solar Powered GPS
  • Coros Dura Review, Solar-powered GPS bike computer
  • Coros Dura Review, Solar-powered GPS bike computer
  • Coros Dura Review, Solar-powered GPS bike computer

Like most other GPS units, the app allows you to customize all the screens. COROS organizes this by Activity Type, so you can have different fields for Gravel than you do for MTB, which makes sense. There’s even a split screen, although I’ve yet to figure out how to display that on the unit itself.

One complaint is that there’s no way to adjust the text size on the app or the unit. You can change the number of fields shown in the grid, which makes the data numbers larger on the three- and four-frame grids, but the lower numbers and headings remain the same size. This might be frustrating for vision-challenged folks. It was a bit of an issue for me with my aging eyes, particularly the ride time on the bottom of the screen and the field idientifiers (Elev Gain, Distance, etc.).

  • Coros DURA Review, Solar Powered GPS
  • Coros DURA Review, Solar Powered GPS

Speaking of, I found the screen to be fairly bright and clear. It changes brightness based on the ambient light and does a solid job at retaining visibility through changing lighting, particularly in darker and brighter settings. It doesn’t do quite as well in shadowy situations, however. It seems to be clear in full sunlight, but I haven’t had a chance to put it to the test in mid-day full sun quite yet. We’ll be reporting back with a long-term review and will be sure to cover this better.

7. GPS Satellite Connection Works Better than BOLT

The COROS DURA connects to GPS, GLONASS, Galileo, QZSS, and Beidou, the same GPS communications used in the latest Karoo, ELEMNT ROAM, and Garmin Edge devices. My second major con with the Wahoo BOLT was that it often lost its connection when I was on heavily wooded singletrack trails, which is common where I live in the western North Carolina Appalachians.

  • Coros DURA Review, Solar Powered GPS
  • Coros DURA Review, Solar Powered GPS

As mentioned, the DURA uses “All Systems” by default, which I found worked perfectly well, even when riding a heavily wooded loop where the BOLT consistently drops its satellite connection. According to COROS, the “Auto” GPS mode automatically detects the best GPS satellite configuration in your current riding environment for a clear signal and optimizes battery and power consumption in the process. This helps save power since the Dual-Frequency mode is more power-consuming.

  • Coros Dura Review, Solar-powered GPS bike computer
  • Coros DURA Review, Solar Powered GPS
  • Coros DURA Review, Solar Powered GPS
  • Model Tested: COROS DURA Solar GPS Bike Computer
  • Actual Weight: 98 grams
  • Place of Manufacture: China
  • Price: $249
  • Manufacturer’s Details: COROS

Pros

  • Best-in-class battery life that may last over 100 hours
  • Efficient solar panel charging
  • Simple route planner and good base map make it easy to create a route on the app and follow it
  • Downloading a GPX from RWGPS and uploading to COROS app and device is simple
  • Dial interface is a game-changer
  • GPS satellite connection works better than others
  • Large touchscreen interface is nice
  • Competitively priced ($30 less than BOLT; $225 less than Hammerhead Karoo)

Cons

  • No way to make text bigger for aging eyes
  • Screen could be brighter in shadowy conditions, although battery life would be my priority
  • App interface also has very small header text with no way to adjust
  • Doesn’t fit as well on third-party mounts as it does on the Coros mount
  • There are a few minor software glitches, but I think those will be resolved
  • I really wish OSM Cycle was a basemap option on the app

Wrap Up

Considering that the COROS DURA is the brand’s debut cycling computer, I’d say they hit it out of the park. Granted, my time testing it was limited, but I’ve been very impressed with its outstanding battery life, the usability of the device/app, and the level of detail in the display interface and functionality. Of course, there have been a few glitches with the software, such as it continuously alerting me about a climb when I turned around and descended a route backward. But, considering I’ve been testing a BETA version, this is to be expected, and COROS has already implemented a couple of firmware updates and mentioned more on the way.

There are a lot of outstanding questions, such as the solar performance and durability, but so far I’m excited about the COROS DURA and happy to see a more affordable, simple, and battery-efficient option. Stay tuned for a long-term review and updates to this one as I further test the solar charging functionality, syncing, and more. In the meantime, please leave any questions in the conversation below and I’ll try to get them answered as best I can.

Further Reading

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