Hands on: Casio Pro Trek WSD F30 review

Top-end mapping tech with Wear OS

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

The Casio WSD F30 looks to do a lot of what made the last two generations of adventure watches great but with a few minor tweaks.

For

  • Improved battery life
  • Impressive mapping tech

Against

  • Still thick
  • Expensive

Casio has spent the last two years making smartwatches that are designed for adventures, and 2018’s iteration of the Pro Trek Smart WSD F range is a more refined version of that range.

It doesn’t look remarkably different to the last generation watch and it comes with a few refinements that may make it the perfect watch for your next sporting adventure.

If you’re an amateur Ethan Hunt-type that wants to be out and about monitoring your location and fitness stats but also don't want an easily breakable piece of wristwear, you may give the latest from Casio a chance.

Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD F30 price and release date 

The wait for the Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD F30 is going to be long as the brand doesn't currently plan to stock the watch until January 2019. That's a good four months, or perhaps even more, until you'll be able to buy the latest adventure watch.

Exact pricing for each country has yet to be unveiled, but we know in the US it's set at $550 so we can expect it to cost around £500 / AU$900. Those prices may be remarkably different when the watch goes on sale.

Design and display 

Casio built this thing with the hardy adventurer in mind. The WSD F30 is a rugged piece of kit, and while it may not look like a specifically durable device it is designed to have military grade protection so it should survive some tough knocks and tumbles.

It's waterproof too with up to 50-meters water resistance. These features are all the better when you’re out climbing rockfaces and all the other daredevilry you’ll be doing with this watch, but it is a chunky piece of kit to fit all of the tech in.

This does feel particularly large on the wrist, and we're not sure it's something you'd want to wear all day everyday considering how large and heavy it is. The dimensions are 49.1mm x 53.8mm x 14.9mm, which is obviously larger than your average smartwatch.

If you’ve used the Pro Trek WSD range before you’ll notice it’s quite a bit smaller here with the diameter of the watch itself almost 4mm smaller and the thickness being around 0.4mm thinner as well.

Your color options are black, orange or blue. The brightest of those three isn’t an ugly piece of kit and while it may look like a bold color option it’s only certain accents around the outside of the watch that come with that color.

There’s no mistaking the Casio Pro Trek WSD F30 does look like an adventurers watch. There are lots of mentions of the tech around the outside bezel, and the buttons on the right hand side are slightly indented in the body to protect them from hits when you’re out.

There's a 1.2-inch dual-layer display (one is for the long life battery mode) and the resolution is 390 x 390, which looks clear when we were looking at it in bright lighting.

This is quite top-end screen tech for a smartwatch, and we hope that means you'll be able to read your stats and results easily when you're in poor weather conditions.

Specs and features

The latest watch from Casio comes with the latest version of Google's Wear OS software onboard, which means you'll be able to download apps from the Play Store while also using it with either iPhone or Android.

Wear OS is a much more mature platform now, and the Casio will be one of the first watches to come with the new design tweaks out of the box that were just announced by Google.

It also comes preloaded with apps like Zombies Run, Hole19 and MySwimPro that are optimized directly for the watch. Whether that means these apps run better on the Casio than other Wear OS devices remains to be seen.

The mapping technology on the Casio watches is perhaps the most remarkable feature, and again it looks to be impressive here. Sure, you can use Google Maps... but Casio has put on its own mapping tech too.

This should give you a super accurate location of where you're standing when you cellular signal, and if you think you'll be out running and lose signal half way round you can always download maps directly to your watch to use whenever you want.

Battery life

Here’s a big improvement for the F30, but bear in mind everything on battery is currently just claims from Casio and we won’t be able to verify this information until we test out the watch later in the year.

You have three different battery modes – Casio says the main normal mode that tracks your location online and offers te full experience will last for around a day and a half. Whether that will be the case with everyday usage remains to be seen.

If you’re off on a big adventure and need the battery to stay around for longer, you can download your maps offline and have easy access to them in a mode called extend mode that will allow for three days of usage.

Plus if you're OK with limiting your features, you can put it into monochrome mode that will allow for 30 days of usage from a single charge. Here you’ll now also get the time and other stats as well as compass, barometer and altimeter results.

Early verdict

Huge upgrades aren’t the name of the game for the WSD F30, and instead Casio has focused on refining a very specialist and already top-end product that no other company is offering to the same standard in 2018.

Whether this full package will be the adventurers watch to buy at the moment will have to wait for our full review, but right now it looks like the small refinements make it better than the last one but aren’t a specific reason to upgrade right away.

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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.