A few years ago, if you decided to go into the woods for a trek, the only technology you’d carry was a compass, flashlight, matches, and maybe a watch. Today, adventure seekers have smartphones, GPS devices, and smartwatches. And as polarizing and controversial as smartwatches are, there is no denying their utility in the great outdoors. Though there are many smartwatches targeted to this demographic, the Casio Smartwatch overshadows many.
The Casio Smartwatch is an iconic Japanese manufacturer’s successful attempt into smart devices. Its first model was the WSD-F10, which was all about the great outdoors, followed by its second generation of Pro Trek smartwatches, the WSD-F20 or F20A, and finally the WSD-F30. The Casio smartwatch runs Google’s Wear OS, and users get to enjoy useful outdoor features, as well as notifications from their phones.
Casio's utilization of the Google OS means that it not only comes with Google features, but users also get to enjoy the benefits of low-power GPS as well as offline mapping. The WSD-F20A has four gigabytes of map storage, meaning you could wander off safely into the woods without a signal. While these features are all desirable, we are not sure if they completely justify the price.
What’s All the Fuss About The Casio Smartwatch?
The Casio smartwatch is a rugged watch made for active people. It resembles a runner's watch. However, this watch is not your typical sports watch. It runs on Android Wear, and while the newer versions have a GPS functionality, Casio did very little to improve its battery life. Due to this, serious athletes may settle for the Fenix 5X or the Garmin Forerunner 935, thanks to their superior battery life.
The Casio WSD-F20 is, no doubt, a big watch. It's a bit slimmer than its predecessor, the WSD-F10, but sizable enough to avoid feeling like you have a brick on your wrist. This smartwatch isn’t an everyday watch. However, its sturdy structure is a welcome benefit for rugged, outdoor activity.
Compared to the WSD-F20, the WSD-F20A is slightly smaller and has a stainless-steel bezel, as opposed to the WSD-F20's resin bezel. They aren’t too different in weight or size, but the F20A is more aesthetically pleasing. It has a unique indigo color, and the markers on the bezel are slightly subtler. It's also $ cheaper.
The Casio smartwatch is MIL-STD-810G standard tested. It can withstand military-grade conditions for pressure, temperature, shock impact, and more. However, the most important offering of this watch has to be that it is water resistant. The Casio WSD-F20 has been tested to be water resistant for up to 50 meters, or five atmospheres of pressure. Sounds impressive for a smartwatch, right? Yet, as a result of the added pressure that is caused by your movement, this only equates to swim proof. As an example, windsurfing, diving, or surfing are not appropriate activities for this watch.
Like you would expect, its screen is mineral glass. It will only be catastrophic if the face lands directly on a rock. However, that would be bad news, no matter the coating used! Its glass has an anti-fouling that is designed to repel stains as well as finger marks, which is quite impressive.
The Casio smartwatch looks its part, but all the bright white text might be a bit too much, especially when it needs to be easy to memorize the functions of the three buttons without much effort. The three function buttons are all fitted on the right side of the watch. The top button triggers the main location tracking app. The other one is the standard Android Wear function button used to switch between the watch face and apps menu.
The screen is an exciting part of the Casio smartwatch. It is a circular display aside from the small cut on the bottom. This watch uses a two-layer LCD panel. In regular use, you will see a standard 1.32-inch color screen that measures 320 by 300 pixels. It is reasonably sharp and lacks the slight fuzziness that you would expect from OLEDs that aren’t pixel-dense. A drawback is its visibility isn’t as good as its close competitor the Garmin Fenix or Samsung Gear’s bright OLED display, which is known to feed off ambient light.
The Casio smartwatch has one of the more unadorned faces that switches to a non-backlit monochrome layer when it isn’t in use, significantly helping its battery life. This particular layer is transflective and is made clear during a sunny day.
This watch also has a watch-only timepiece model that can be used to extend the battery from a day to a month or so. This feature is especially beneficial if all you want is a watch to use time and again. It also helps get rid of problems with outdoor visibility on its secondary layer. The display quality on the Casio Smartwatch is jaw-dropping, particularly on the WSD-F20.
Google significantly improved its smartwatch operating system with the release of the Android 2.0 Wear. The OS includes a better-looking interface that is easier to use. Users can download apps to the watch via Google Play Store, and its built-in Google Assistant can perform a function such as setting reminders or sending messages.
Just like any other Wear OS watch, the Casio smartwatch has an easy-to-use interface. You can get notifications, such as emails, or even reply to a Facebook message. The functions work much better, though, when paired with an Android phone. Unfortunately, iOS capabilities are limited.
Apart from its Wear OS capabilities, the Casio smartwatch's strongest appeal is with its bevy of outdoor features. The smartwatch features an altimeter, compass, tide graph, and barometer. This smartwatch has a wealth of useful information right on your wrist, which helps to consolidate the amount of equipment you have to carry on an outdoor adventure.
The Casio WSD-F20’s features are accessible through the "tool" button. It makes it incredibly easy to navigate the barometer, tide chart, and compass. You still need to calibrate the watch before accessing some of its tools, but it doesn’t take more than a few seconds.
However, what makes the Casio smartwatch especially useful is its integration of GPS. Users have the option of getting it in vector maps on Mapbox or in Google Maps-style. Its built-in GPS adds a unique element to the already feature-rich smartwatch.
Another great feature of this watch is the integrated barometer. It uses atmospheric pressure to help predict changes in the weather. The Casio smartwatch also offers five different tracking applications used during cycling, fishing, trekking, skiing, snowboarding, and kayaking. These features help in tracking average and top speed, and also distance traveled.
As stated earlier, Casio hasn’t done enough to improve its battery life, even on its current smartwatches. Just like any other smartwatch on the market, it has a tough time lasting much longer than a day, especially when its features are consistently in use. The charger on this device isn’t any good either. The charger connects magnetically to a weak port located on the watch. It easily disconnects when slightly disturbed, which is frustrating.
Casio Smartwatch Price And Rating
The Casio WSD-F20 costs between $$ and $$. It scores an impressive 3.9 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon based on consumer reviews.
How We Reviewed
Our review process compared the Casio smartwatch with competing top brands and models in the market. We looked at first-hand reviews by owners of similar smartwatches to get a sense for customer satisfaction. In our analysis, we also included comparisons and distinctions between the Casio smartwatch and rival brands such as the Samsung Gear and the Garmin Fenix 5X. We also looked at manufacturer and retailer product descriptions to directly compare features.
Casio Smartwatch Market Comparison
The new rugged smartwatches are incredibly versatile. They offer great functionality and assistance during swimming, hiking, and everything in between. The Casio smartwatch is no different, and so are its close competitors. Does the Casio smartwatch stand a chance against its closest competitors? Let’s find out.
This smartwatch comes from a company that is synonymous with celestial GPS navigation. It is a handsome and hefty smartwatch with all the features that you would expect from a GPS device including a three-axis compass, GLONASS, storm alert, barometer, and ton more trail features. Its fitness perks include a super accurate heart rate monitor, calories, alerts, and recovery time. If you are into swimming, cycling, running, working out, and golfing, then you will be thrilled by the activity specific features on this phone.
Beyond its core tech, this watch exists with customization in mind. You can get it in three different sizes: 51mm, 47mm or 42mm. Users have an option of choosing additional features such as the heart rate bundle, which includes a chest strap and extra maps (only for the sapphire edition). Its high-resolution full-color display has an LED backlight that’s easy to read in any weather. It also has a classy stainless-steel bezel and quick fit bands.
The Garmin Fenix 5X has an impressive 4.1 out of 5 stars rating on Amazon based on consumer reviews. It costs between $ and $.
Just like the Casio smartwatch, it runs on Android OS wear and comes preloaded with focused fitness apps. It also gives you access to Polar Smart Coaching, which is perhaps the best smart trainer on the market currently.
Just like the Garmin Fenix 5X, the Polar M600 comes with all the bells and whistles, such as GPS, GLONASS, 4GB of onboard map storage, and heart rate tracking.
Its GPS and GLONASS just like the Fenix 5X is very accurate. The Polar M600 is water resistant, and unlike the Casio smartwatch, it is suitable for continuous water immersion. Its 1.3-inch 240 by 240 screen is protected by Gorilla Glass 3. The smartwatch also has a good level of shock resistance.
The Polar M600 scores a cool 3.1 out of 5 stars rating based on customer reviews on Amazon. This rugged smartwatch costs between $ and $.
The Nixon Mission is an enormous smartwatch compared to the Fenix 5X or Casio smartwatch. It is also exceptionally tough and designed to conquer the great outdoors. It has a 316L stainless-steel bezel with a shockproof roll cage. Just like the Casio smartwatch, it runs on Android’s Wear OS. Users have access to all featured apps. The Nixon Mission also has a GPS and boasts a 10ATM water resistance rating with a patented MicLock Technology.
Just like the Polar M600, the Nixon Mission has a protective Gorilla Glass and a shock-resistant polycarbonate case. This smartwatch has the capability of resisting a proper smash. A bonus, Nixon Mission works with Surfline, which is the world’s best reporter of surfing conditions. Users get real-time snow and surf updates, making this smartwatch perfect for adventure holidays. It's also available in a few different colors in its 48mm size.
The Nixon Mission costs between $ and $. It has a 3.0 out of 5-star rating based on consumer reviews on Amazon.
The Casio smartwatch is undoubtedly a great smartwatch packed with features that are too niche for most people. However, if you are an outdoorsy person who enjoys checking out data from altimeters and barometers, or even having a sense of the way you traveled, then you will enjoy what this watch has to offer.