Casio Smartwatch Is Made for Great Outdoors, Big Wrists

LAS VEGAS — Although it's been making watches for many years, CES 2016 marked the debut of Casio's first smartwatch. This Android Wear device, which will be available in April for $500, separates itself from all other smartwatches, as it's tailored for those who want to use it in the great outdoors.

Casio Smartwatch Hands-On

One thing's for sure: The Casio WSD-F10 (as it's called) is meant for large wrists. It measures 2.4 x 2.2 x 0.6 inches, and weighs 3.2 ounces, and has a 1.32-inch touchscreen with a resolution of 320 x 300 pixels,. Surprisingly, its display isn't as large as the Fossil Q Founder (1.5 inches), the Huawei (1.4 inches), or the Moto 360 (1.37 inches). However, the large bezel surrounding the Casio's screen makes thin wrists look all the more skinnier.

Unlike other Android Wear watches, the Casio has GPS, a barometer, altimeter, and a compass built in; you can easily check any of these readings by pressing a button on the right side of the watch. It also has Wi-Fi in addition to Bluetooth, so you can still get notifications even if your phone is out of range.

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The Casio is built to withstand the elements, too. It's waterproof to 165 feet, and meets the MIL-STD-810G standards for shock, temperature, and humidity, so you can put this thing through the wringer, and it'll probably come out OK. It will also come in four colors: black, green, orange, or red.

Like most smartwatches, battery life looks to be the Casio watch's Achilles Heel; when using it as a smartwatch, it will last about a day on a charge. While standard for Android Wear, that isn't very practical if you're taking it on a week-long hiking trip.

In many ways, the Casio feels like more of a competitor to the Garmin Fenix 3 GPS watch than anything else. That timepiece, which has similar sensors, lacks the smartwatch functionality of the Casio, but lasts much longer--up to 20 hours when using GPS.

As it wasn't the first to the Android Wear market, Casio made a smart decision to separate its smartwatch from the rest through its outdoor features. However, the short battery life of the watch will limit its appeal to day-hikers and weekend warriors. Still, I'm interested to see how it fares in a trek through the woods.

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