Hands On with Casio's Android Wear Watch
Casio is finally getting into the proper smartwatch game with an Android Wear watch, in the form of the creatively-named "Smart Outdoor Watch". Weirdly, it doesn't don the G-Shock brand, but it's clearly of that lineage. It's not just any Android Wear watch; Casio has added quite a lot that's unique on both the hardware and software sides. Also, it's huge. We checked it out.
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It's hard to overstate just how massive the Smart Outdoor Watch is. It's not just a large watch; it's a truly oversize watch. For some, (including myself,) the size is comical and impractical. But huge watches are a real trend even among 'dumb' watches, and for many men, it's an appealing look.
The watch is rugged to military standards for drops, shock, and vibration, and it's very water-resistant. Casio doesn't call it "waterproof" — presumably for legal reasons — but they do rate it for a depth of 50 meters, which is as waterproof as anyone can reasonably ask for.
One of the most unique and brilliant features is the dual-layer display. It has a simple monochrome LCD on top of a color one. The monochrome one just shows time and very basic info, while the
color one shows the Android Wear interface. It can switch between the two. The monochrome one is easily visible in any light and uses very little power. It's basically two watches — a dumb watch and a smart one — stacked, for the best of both worlds (but accounting for the obvious size penalty.)
The strap is a very traditional sports-watch band made of stiff rubber. It's comfortable enough, though not nearly as soft and comfy as the Apple's silly rubber band for their Watch.
Casio's design has more buttons than the typical Android Wear watch. The buttons are huge and work well. They can be used easily with gloves.
The charging connector is electrical and magnetic, like Apple's MagSafe connector on laptops; it's not inductive like the Apple Watch or Moto 360. The cable sticks out at an awkward angle when charging, such that it comes undone rather easily if jostled while charging.
The extra sports functions Casio added are specifically focused on hiking, cycling, and... fishing.
For hiking, it will tell you your altitude, which way is north, the air pressure, and when the sun sets. It also comes pre-loaded with apps for hiking navigation and weather radar. The functions are similar for cycling, plus it can tell you your speed.
For fishing, it helps you find the best time to fish based on air pressure and tides.
For all activities, it can track your activity and give you useful stats, and a companion Android app helps you set notifications for when to hydrate, when the sun will set, or when it's a good time to drop a hook in the water.
Casio has also designed a few exclusive Android Wear watch faces that display some of this unique info like altitude.
The watch comes in military green, orange, black, or red. Look for it in April for the (steep) price of $500.
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