The Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20S watch hands-on
The first big difference between every smartwatch and a Casio is in the “Pro-Trek” acronym. Casio timepieces have been designed for an intense use, which becomes very intense in the case of the manufacturer’s largest patent; the G-Shock. The new Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20S combines Casio's ability to deliver the most advanced digital watches with constructive features and patents that few other companies - or possibly no other company - could boast.
The basic concept that these timepieces have been designed to comply with a US military specification says it all about the intentions of the Japanese brand and about the features of a product that has been designed to be a true high-tech tool-watch. If many smartwatches stand out for their range of standard features, connectivity and apps - and in the luxury sector for their design and premium communication characteristics too - the Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20S uniquely combines the features of a watch with the most advanced characteristics available to those who like the outdoors, the world of trekking and explorations.
The integration of altitude measurements, atmospheric pressure and directioning features (i.e. a compass), coupled with GPS positioning with an active colour matrix display that allows the user to fully view maps, make this timepiece particularly interesting. The same maps can also be viewed on the Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20S itself when no signal is received (as long as the maps have been previously saved). The colour full map screen is protected by a sapphire crystal; this screen allows the user to enjoy a full Pro Trek experience, while the time can be viewed on a monochrome LCD display coupled with the colour display (in these pictures you can see one of the first prototypes).
If compared to the first version of its smartwatch (the F10), Casio has introduced new features, in particular the low-power GPS function (compatible with US, Russia and Japan systems) and Android 2.0, the manufacturer also updated the watch design that has now achieved a better family feeling with all of the other Pro Trek series watches and also a built type that is definitely more premium looking. The buttons used to activate all the different functions and apps are located on the right hand side of the case, they are bigger in size and they feature a sturdier built that is guaranteed by an IP (“Ione Plate”) protection.
The dual layer LCD architecture allows the user to fully manage the available power reserve (the Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20S is charged through a magnetic support like most smartwatches) by optimizing the most intense use phase - thus resulting in a high energy consumption – and by separating the latter from what we might call the “idle phase” (where the only truly active function is the time display). The time display is activated both when the user chooses one of the facets available in the Casio catalog and when the power reserve is very low too. The maximum difference in charge is 24 hours vs. about 1 month.
The MIL-STD-810G specification (“Environmental Engineering Considerations and Laboratory Tests”) that the watch meets in full is a guarantee specification that confirms this timepiece’s long lasting durability under intense use because it makes the watch virtually suitable for a professional use. High and low temperature tests, thermal shocks and impact tests are all part of quite a hard specification that provides more than 20 tests and that certifies the design quality of a Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20S. Let's not forget that the Casio G-Shock timepieces, in particular, are part of the standard equipment of the Navy Seals and of many other world’s military troops. Despite not achieving such a high level of resistance, the Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20 adds everything that is familiar with a Casio timepiece to a standard structure like the Android Wear 2.0 architecture.
For example, the user can download any apps directly to their watch or they can download and use an offline map; an extremely useful feature when doing high altitude hiking, kayaking and skiing in areas where phone coverage is generally poor . Being able to use this type of information (after downloading it) is definitely a plus. The Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20S also allows the user to monitor the performance of each task carried out and to schedule notifications to best manage each activity through the “Moment Setter” feature. The Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20S integrates everything that was missing in the launch version (the F10), it is light (it only weighs 92 grams) and is big enough to fit large wrists too (dimensions: 61.7mm by 56.4mm by 15.3mm). Casio has kept the retail price below the 500 euro psychological threshold while still dramatically increasing features and characteristics; a GPS and, above all, exceptional mapping function that makes this watch much more appealing than ever.
(Photo credit: Horbiter®'s proprietary photo-shooting)
Gaetano C @Horbiter®