If you're after a Google-powered smartwatch, and you need a wearable that can cope with everything the great outdoors can throw at it, the new Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30 could be the perfect fit. We've been spending some time with the watch, and here's our verdict.
The look of the Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30, with its 2.12-inch by 1.93 inch casing, tells you immediately what sort of smartwatch this is: one built for adventuring rather than evening dinner parties. It's stylish, but in a rugged, chunky way – it won't suit everyone, but we like the look of the watch, which you can get with a blue, black or orange trim.
And that rugged design does have its benefits: the watch passes US military standards for vibrations, shocks, and extreme temperatures, and it's also waterproof to 50 meters. This is not a wearable that's going to wear out easily.
The plastic strap supplied with our review unit was comfortable and wasn't chafing or digging in after a day of use (you can also swap it out for a strap of your own if you prefer). If the appearance of the Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30 suits you, you shouldn't find it disappoints in terms of comfort.
As for the software on board, you've got the latest Wear OS 2.6 from Google. Despite the occasional lag on current-gen hardware (not just on the Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30, but all Wear OS watches of the moment), the wearable operating system is now perfectly competent in most areas – and even works with iPhones.
Recent updates to Google Assistant and Google Fit have made Wear OS more useful than ever before, bringing the focus back to the two areas that are the main reasons for getting a smartwatch in the first place: fitness tracking and quick access to your phone from your wrist. You can read and compose messages, get directions, control music playback on your phone, and access all the usual features that every Wear OS watch has.
On top of this Casio has added some of its own apps, which we found came in handy. These include widgets for altitude, atmospheric pressure and daily steps, as well as special modes for particular activities, like cycling or fishing. You can configure alerts when specific "moments" are hit, like when the sun is about to set or you reach a certain altitude.
In theory there's a good idea here, but in practice it's a bit clunky and we didn't end up using it much. On the mapping side, you've got either Google Maps or Mapbox, both of which are clear and easy to use.
In our time with the Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30, it was in the walking and hiking that it really shined – which is maybe why there's a "Trek" in the name. With GPS, an altimeter, and a compass on board, this will get you home even after your phone's battery dies, and you can even cache maps for offline use.
Another reason to pick this smartwatch over others is battery life management. Casio has packed in a few tricks to keep the Pro Trek WSD-F30 lasting as long as possible between charges, perhaps to improve its credentials as a wearable for those long days exploring away from home.
First there's a dual-layer watch face, which means when you're not actively using the watch it defaults to a monochrome layer (other watches have something similar). We weren't huge fans of the look of this second face but it does the job it needs to.
Secondly, there are modes to extend the smartwatch's battery life beyond the standard day-and-a-bit. You can either shut down Wear OS completely and just use the monochrome layer to up to a month of use, or disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and limit Wear OS to just the software on the wearable for up to three days of use.
We found these estimations mostly correct, though we'd rather see more than a day of use to begin with. It seems like a makeshift workaround to have to disable watch features to squeeze out more battery life, but that seems to be where the technology is at right now –not just with the Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30, but with smartwatches in general.
You don't get NFC (for mobile payments) or heart rate tracking with the Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30, which is a shame for a premium-level smartwatch in 2019. You might be able to live without them, but it's something to consider while you're weighing up a purchase for what is undoubtedly an expensive smartwatch.
It's really only worth spending this much if you're going to make full use of those mapping tools and that military-grade robustness – if you are, the Casio Pro Trek WSD-F30 is worth a look. It's available now for $549.99 direct from Casio.
Product page: Casio
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