Review

Casio's WSD-F20 built for the great outdoors

The Casio WSD-F20 has built-in GPS and supports offline maps.
The Casio WSD-F20 has built-in GPS and supports offline maps.PHOTO: CASIO

The Casio ProTrek Smart WSD-F20 is the successor to last year's smart outdoor watch WSD-F10.

It is one of the few Android Wear 2.0 smartwatches in the market now, and rightly sits under Casio's ProTrek series known for its ruggedness and having multiple sensors.

Built for the great outdoors, it has a built-in digital compass, barometer and altimeter - features you don't often see in other smartwatches.

While its predecessor surprisingly lacks GPS, the WSD-F20 has built-in GPS. It also supports offline maps, which will be available only after its official launch.

The WSD-F20 is quite a huge watch that will look tiny only on the wrist of the Hulk. But it has a sturdy metal watch case (available in black and orange - the version tested). It comes with a black rubber strap. Despite its size, it is quite lightweight and comfortable to wear.

It retains the WSD-F10's dual layer of monochrome and colour LCDs. You can toggle between these two layers - to just show time and conserve battery with the monochrome display, and to get the full Android Wear features with the colour display. Its 1.32-inch round touchscreen has a cut at its bottom - similar to the "flat tyre" design of the Moto 360.

  • TECH SPECS

    PRICE: $699, available April 21

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, Wi-Fi

    WATER RESISTANCE: 50m

    WEIGHT: 92g

    RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

The WSD-F20 looks ruggedly cool, and is good for hikes or spending time at the beach. But I would not wear it to a black-tie event.

On the watch case's left, there is a charging port and the barometric/altitude sensors. On its right, there are three buttons - the Tool (top), App (bottom) and the home/back (middle) buttons.

Pressing the Tool button toggles through the screens for the compass, barometer, altitude and sunset/sunrise timings. I found the readings to be pretty accurate. At the peak of Mount Faber, I found the altitude readings to be around 110m - not far from its actual 105m height.

The App buttonwill activate a colour map of your location. Do not be alarmed when you see the map of Tokyo at first. It takes around 20sec before the watch will load and show the map of your current location.

You can mark the map with icons along a route. For instance, you can use the car and thumbs-up icons to remind you where you parked your car, and where you have found a good location to rest.

You can also add a voice memo to remind yourself about a particular location you have marked. If you are hiking in the forest, these two features might help you navigate back to civilisation if you get lost.

Battery life is average by smartwatch standards, at up to only two days during my tests.

Given the ProTrek series is all about outdoor adventures, I was hoping the WSD-F20 would have solar-power capability. That would be great for adventurers who go for two or three days' hiking. But I guess that is asking too much from a smartwatch. Switching to timepiece mode is supposed to allow the watch to last for a month. But features like GPS, as well as the barometric and altitude sensors will be deactivated.

Trevor Tan

•Verdict: If you prefer rugged looks and outdoor sensors in an Android Wear smartwatch, the Casio ProTrek Smart WSD-F20 is the one to get.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2017, with the headline 'Casio's WSD-F20 built for the great outdoors'. Print Edition | Subscribe