Hands on: Casio Smart Outdoor Watch review

Big, brash and just a little bit bonkers

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

It's too big, too bulky and manages to make the smartwatch experience rather confusing. Nice try Casio, but the Smart Outdoor Watch needs to be in the dog house.

For

  • US Military Standard build
  • Handy built in features

Against

  • It's massive
  • Still Android Wear at heart
  • Odd charger

Hot on the heels of Tag Heuer another watch maker has turned its hand to an Android Wear wearable, although this time it's Casio - a brand famous for putting calculators, TV remotes and more on our wrists.

What it's created this time is the Casio Smart Outdoor Watch WSD-F10, an absolute mouthful of a name which will set you back a cool $500 (around £350, AU$700) when it goes on sale in April.

That's a touch more expensive than the Huawei Watch ($400), but no where near as pricey as Tag's Connected wearable.

Casio Smart Outdoor Watch review

Front and centre of this rugged wearable is the sizable 1.32-inch, 320 x 300 display which is certainly a presence on the wrist, especially when you include the overly bulky housing it's been clad in.

The screen is circular, but like the Moto 360 series it features the "flat tyre" segment at the base of the display. For whatever reason this chunk wasn't as noticeable as on Moto's watches, and I suspect it has something to with the Smart Outdoor Watch's massive frame.

It fills the wrist, and for those with slimmer forearms the Smart Outdoor Watch just looks ridiculous. A smartwatch for the dainty this is not, but it's not trying to be.

Casio Smart Outdoor Watch review

As the name suggests this is a watch for the outdoors, and Casio's built the Smart Outdoor Watch to US Military Standard, protecting it against drops, shocks and vibrations, plus it's water resistant up to 50 meters.

It is surprisingly lightweight however, so even though you'll still notice it on your wrist thanks to the sheer scale of the Smart Outdoor Watch, it will at least not feel like it's trying to wrench your arm off.

On the right side of the watch you'll find a trio of chunky buttons providing quick access to key apps and tools - handy if you're in the pouring rain and the touchscreen isn't playing ball.

Casio Smart Outdoor Watch review

On the other side is Casio's rather strange proprietary charging socket, which sees the charging cable rather crudely shoved into the side of the watch. There's no dainty pin pad or wireless charging dock in sight here. Still, at least it's not the awful cage from the Samsung Galaxy Gear. Yuk.

The Casio Smart Outdoor Watch runs Android Wear, which means it's compatible with most Android and iOS handsets, allowing your phone notifications to be displayed on your wrist.

There's also the other standard array of features including Google voice commands, the ability to reply to certain messages and access to a variety of apps from the Play Store.

Casio Smart Outdoor Watch review

Casio has gone further than most Android Wear manufacturers though, adding additional features to the WSD-F10 including a compass, barometer and altimeter as it looks to appeal to hikers and those with a love for the outdoors.

There's also a tide graph, perfect for fishing and surfing, while a dedicated cycling mode and velocity metre tracks the speed and distance of your ride. It'll even remind you to drink water, and notify you when the optimum time is to jump in a boat and get your rod out.

There's oddly no heart rate monitor included on the rear of the watch though, so you won't get any BPM readouts.

Casio Smart Outdoor Watch review

The display itself is bright and clear - which is should be considering its size - but it's a little more complex than that. The Casio Smart Outdoor Watch actually features a dual-layer display, compromising of a low-power monochrome LCD and then a colour LCD.

The monochrome layer provides an always on display for the time and date, which is easy to read even in direct sunlight, while the more power intensive colour layer powers up during normal usage.

How this effects battery life is currently not clear, as there appears to be some confusion over just how long the Smart Outdoor Watch will last on a single charge.

I've heard seven hours with everyone on, five days and even a whole month if you only use the monochrome - you'll have to wait for the full review where we'll find out just how long it goes.

Casio Smart Outdoor Watch review

Early verdict

From first look the Casio Smart Outdoor Watch looks pretty cool, especially if you're a fan of the firm's G-Shock series, but as soon as I slapped it to my wrist I was distinctly less impressed.

It's too big, too bulky and manages to make the smartwatch experience rather confusing with it's additional buttons and features.

Perhaps for a small subset of consumers it'll fit the bill, but for most it'll just be a facepalm of a wearable.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Phones and Tablets Deputy Editor

John (Twitter, Google+) got his first phone aged 12 and since then he's been fixated on all things mobile, churning his way through a multitude of handsets, tablets and operating systems. Signalling his arrival at TechRadar by becoming a Guinness World Record holder in his first week (for the highest score on Super Mario Bros using a giant controller), John hasn't looked back since.

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.