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Great Idea But Has Learning Curve
on May 9, 2013
The Casio Men's AQ-S810W-1AV solar sports combination watch comes in standard Casio watch packaging which is easy to open with hands, no nails or hardware needed. The watch is covered with a small plastic bag, mounted on the standard Casio watch tree. A red sign points out that this is a self-charging watch. There is a protective sticky on the face of the watch (that I removed).
The instructions are squeezed at the bottom of the watch tree. The diagrams are readable but the text may be too small for some. The guide is 64 pages long in English, followed by the same thing in Spanish. Warranty and City Codes are at the back of the booklet. Additionally there are two separate pieces of paper, a warranty and recharging tips (useful!). From what I can tell, the warranty is one year. The rechargeable battery does not need to be replaced unless it becomes defective or worn out. The Amazon outside packaging has a warning that a rechargeable lithium ion battery is inside.
As worn, the watch weighs 1.5 ounces. The adjustable part of the wrist strap covers 7cm with 11 holes. The watch part (excluding the wrist strap) is about 5cm by 5cm at the longest/widest. At the bottom of the watch, it says "water resistant ten bar".
The watch came with Medium charge out of the box. After two days of wearing it (and not doing anything specific to charge it) it went to High charge and has remained there since. On average I am outside 1-2 hours per day and I don't block the watch by sleeves. But I don't do anything else to charge it.
There is no tick tock sound when you put your ear to it. After you set the time digitally, the analog hands move to the correct time. You can't adjust the hands directly like you can with other watches - there is no crown.
In the dark, the hours/minutes hand along with the 3/6/9/12 numbers are visible. If you are used to analog watches, you should be able to tell time by those.
The digital display seems to have some sort of a power saving mode. If I take off the watch and don't wear it for a few hours, the digital display goes dark. After I put it on again, it comes alive. I don't know if it depends on motion or light exposure. Next to the digital display is a seconds counter. It counts 5 seconds, one at a time by darkening a 5-bar mini display.
I found some practical uses for the extra features: the Timer (TMR) is useful for brewing tea as long as your brewing time is the same every time. It remembers the previous setting, so you don't have to set it up every time. But if you want to use a different duration (eg 5 minutes instead of 3), you have to set up the Timer again. The Stopwatch (STW) is useful for typical stopwatch functions. It counts up to an hour. If the hour passes, it resets to zero but continues counting.
There are a few usability issues with the watch itself:
The alarm sounds are very low and too short. Don't count on these to wake you up.
The digital display is fairly small with fairly small numbers.
There are three options for the digital display when it is in time/date mode: Day (eg THU) or Date (eg 5.9) pr Time (3:55). PM is a tiny little "P" on the bottom left corner of the small digital display. Each one of those three options end with the seconds ticking. If you find this irritating, simply switch to a different mode (eg Timer or Stopwatch or Alarm).
The Light (Right Side Top button) only lights up the digital display box, not the face of the watch.
POTENTIAL DEAL KILLER
So far this reads like a digital hippie's dream watch. But there is a problem. There is a learning curve that comes with it. The problem is two fold. The operating steps are cumbersome and the user guide is poorly written. Poorly because it describes the watch's menus and operations. A user guide needs to describe how you - the user - can get things done!
I am used to cumbersome operations, and I never a met a VCR I couldn't program (actually VCRs got a bad reputation, they were not _that bad_ to program). Setting this one up was more frustrating than programming a VCR. So if you get easily irritated by having to follow arcane instructions, this is something to keep in mind.
We are also more spoiled these days. When we have user friendly things like iOS and Android, the expectations increase for other devices as well. And people's patience grows thinner.
After spending a few days with it, I now sort of got the hang of it. Sort of! I had to surrender and submit to the will of the arcane instructions :) In general, the key to operations is the Left Side Bottom button (Mode). That drives the train. The Right Side Bottom button (Search) cycles through the options of each menu. The Left Side Top button (Adjust) is used for setting and resetting. The other button has some uses too. When changing numbers (eg minutes, date, etc), the two Right side buttons are used to increase or decrease the number. A press-and-hold makes the numbers move faster.