We love Hiking Watches! In particular when they’re packed with tech to help us find our way in the wild. The Casio ProTrek WSD-F20 is high on our list of the Best Hiking Watches.
It’s Casio’s answer to outdoors men (and women) who want all the features of a Full Color, Touch Screen Smartwatch, packed into a rugged casing brimming with sensors like GPS/GLONASS, Altimeter, Barometer, Compass, Accelerometer, Gyro and even a Microphone.
The Casio Smart Outdoor Watch is Available in three models: Orange, Black, Green (and soon to be released) white/Chrome
“Smart” Functionality & Navigation
This is the only true outdoor smartwatch. This means it’s the only full color LCD display with a touch screen (similar to Samsung Gear 3 and Apple’s iWatch, etc)
Likewise, it also means there are many functions which will only really be useful if you’re planning to occasionally connect to a mobile device with a internet connection. These include data driven Apps like facebook, twitter, Outlook, etc.
If you do want these “Bells & Whistles” on the go, you’ll need to tether to a smartphone with mobile data or go to a Wifi hotspot.
Thankfully, you can navigate high quality, full color maps without the need for a phone connection. (Make sure to download the map of the area you want to visit before heading out.) You can set the view to Topographic, Satellite or Street View.
Unfortunately the smart display is still a little hard to read in sunlight, but in shade (or with your other hand blocking the sun) the colors are vivid and the info is crisp and clear.
This Casio GPS watch is damn near spot on. As with any standard GPS enabled outdoor watch, you can save your routes and points of interest and record breadcrumb trails. With the built in microphone you can even leave yourself voice memos at highlight points along your journey.
Android Wear Apps & Faces
Firstly, the Casio doesn’t fully support iOS so you should be leaning towards to the Garmin if you own an iphone. On the other hand, the Casio is a fully functional Android Wear Smart watch that that downloads Apps from Google Play. The amount of 3rd Party Apps that can be downloaded is nearly unlimited from unique digital watch faces to Apps that make use of the multitude of features and sensors.
The “App” button gives you instant access to the software you’ve downloaded from the Google Play store. When connected to wifi or tethered to your (online) smartphone, you can even browse the Play store directly from your watch itself.
Let’s be honest, it’s pretty average. Even with GPS deactivated, the watch will still need to be charged on a daily basis. This can be annoying.
The battery lasts just over a day in the Android Wear “smart” mode and drops to around 22 hours in GPS mode. This is pretty typical for a smart watch with full color display but it does mean that you need to take a backup charger along when planning to hike for longer than a day.
Since the charging port is located on the side, you can charge the watch while wearing it at the same time.
Also, to try and combat poor battery life, Casio added a second “low power use” display… Yup, there are two separate display layers, with the bottom one being used for the smart watch functions and the overlay for a simpler monochrome “time and date” display only.
You can (if you want to) set the smart watch display to “sleep”. This will activate the top layer and saves tons of power.
With the primary display (and the smartwatch functionality) completely turned off, the battery can last around 4 weeks on a single charge… Not exactly helpful when hiking but handy nevertheless.
On a side note, this Secondary “dumbwatch” Display is by far the most readable in bright sunlight of any of its competitors!
Because this is a fully functional Android Smart device, it has a built-in microphone which you can speak into (when tethered to your nearby phone). This might only be very useful when you’re rock climbing and want to chat to the crew at the same time. Unfortunately, it’s the mic that also drops the depth water resistance to 50m… (The lowest depth rating on this list.)
The intuitive function buttons are well labeled and make operation a lot easier than on some other watches. Sometimes, you wish you didn’t have to connect the internet to access all that the watch has to offer, but that’s the nature of a smartwatch without its own wireless broadband connection.
That being said, even without being connected to a mobile device, the watch has built in wi-fi so you can pop into a coffee shop and quickly download new maps or local weather info if you need to.
Casio Pro Trek WSD-F20 Smart Specifications
- Wifi & Bluetooth
- Accelerometer & Gyro
- Sensors: ABC & Thermometer
- GPS & GLONASS
- Water Rating: 50 Meters, Swimming only
- 320 x 300, 1.32 inch Full Color LCD Display with Touch