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4.3 out of 5 stars
Casio Men's DB36-1AV Multilingual Databank Watch
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47 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on September 8, 2009
I think this is the best all-digital watch out there right now. It has no unusual features, but it's the least expensive watch to offer a countdown timer, which is what I wanted most, and in a small package. The Casio W71 is the other option. All the rest either lack the timer, have analog hands, or are much larger and heavier. The timex "classic" model, despite some product descriptions, does not have a countdown timer.

What puts this one ahead is the size of the display, the alarms, and the extra two (fwd/rev) buttons. The size allows for larger numbers in the main time display, but the sub-displays are most useful in the other modes. In timer, stopwatch, 2nd-time-zone, and alarm-set modes the time of day is still displayed in the lower left. No need to switch out of stopwatch or timer to check the time. The fwd/rev buttons make setting any anything much easier as you can always adjust both ways, and never need to guess which buttons change the number and which move to the next field.

The alarm functions are much better than the usual. There are five, and the first one can be set to repeat up to 10 times at 5 min intervals - much more likely to wake you up than the normal mode. Like all watches, the alarm does not sound very long, but this way it will try again every 5 minutes. They call this "Snooze Alarm Mode" since you can silence the alarm early each time by pressing any button. To stop it completely you need to go to alarm mode and press one button to disable alarm 1 (press twice more to enable it for the next day). All five alarms can optionally use the month and/or day to have an alarm sound every day on a particular month, or on one particular day each month. You can't set it to "first tuesday", or only on weekdays/weekends. Using all five, of course, you could have a weekdays-only alarm. There is a hourly signal available, and if it's set then SIG appears in tiny letters at the lower right.

The countdown timer is a simple one. You set a time, it counts, it alarms, that's it. Some (always larger) sports watches offer repeating timers (as does the Casio W71 mentioned above), or even multiple timers that can run in sequence for interval timing. The only other small one I know of is a women's watch, the LA670, and is unique in having very easily set common times (5,10, etc.), but may lack an adjustable timer.

The databank feature, if you have a cellular phone, is more a throwback to the '90s than anything useful. I assume it's the main reason for otherwise useful features though: all the extra digits on the display, the big 3-letter day-of-week indicator, and the fwd/back buttons. It can hold 8 alphanumeric characters (they scroll) and 15 numbers per record. Maybe you can think of a use for it. Special characters are available if you set the watch to other languages (and stay even if you change the language setting). Holding FWD at the main screen shows the last-viewed databank entry.

The international language feature is unusual, great if you want it, and doesn't get in the way if you don't. Also useful for international use could be that the second time zone only shares the seconds with the main time. Most watches have it share the minutes as well. This way you can easily set it to be a half-hour off, which is needed for some oddball time zones. Holding REV shows the 2nd time zone from the main screen.

The cons are: DST, light, and band.

First, let me address the 12/24/DST issue. Yes, the lower right button changes 12/24 if pressed briefly. If your wrist is such that you're accidentally hitting that button (mine, fortunately, is not) then that could be disconcerting but you can always press it again, or just read the time in the other format. It is possible that you might accidentally hold the button down for a second, which would toggle the DST setting and thus display a time that's an hour off. I'm not sure why they made DST so easily accessible and consider that a design flaw. You may not like this watch if that happens to you, but I want to make clear, to correct an error in another review, that the watch DOES INDICATE DST STATUS. It's a small "DST" next to the day-of-week display. Yes, it's small, but if you know it's there it's easy to see whether it is lit. (Reading the the SNZ, SIG, or DST as letters takes squinting or 20/10 vision, but it's not hard to see whether the indicators are on or off).

The backlight is a green LED, which is better than the old incandescent ones, but not as nice as the evenly lit blue electroluminescent (EL) backlights on most other watches. Still, it does the job. Not sure if it uses less power than EL, but Casio claims you'll get the 10-year battery life (a CR2025) if you use it once a day, and half that if you use it 15 times a day. It'll probably outlast the watch's case, as the crystal is plastic (though you can polish out scratches with Novus, or iPod-screen polish). Notably, to maintain the 50M water resistance (enough to swim with it on), you should have the rubber seals replaced every 2-3 years, so if you do that, use the backlight all you like.

The band. What's to say, this is a $20 watch with a plastic band. It's functional, and on the plus side it's fairly thin and lightweight compared to other watchbands, especially for men's watches. Also, the center pin on the buckle is plastic, not metal, so it's less likely to scratch your laptop, if you can stand using a laptop while wearing a watch. But, if you want something more comfortable, budget for a replacement cloth, leather, or black metal band. The closest similar watch (small, has timer) with a cloth/leather band is the Timex "Expedition Classic", but it has that "sports" look to it.

I'm rating this 5 stars since there are a huge number of pros, I'm not having a problem with the 12/24/DST issue, the LED backlight is fine, and I don't expect a better band at this price. If you don't want specialized features, I find this watch perfect. The excellent alarms and the databank are nice extras. It looks better (IMHO) and displays more, more clearly, than any other watch in it's class.
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32 of 35 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 2009
Verified Purchase
SEE UPDATE 10-27-10 BELOW.
I bought this watch to replace my aging but fully functional Casio DB31 ( I have also owned a much older DB2000) because the case broke where the watch band pins connect. I have lived with the DB36 now long enough to say that it is no improvement over the older DB31 and the DB31 outclasses the DB36 in many ways.

Pro:
The DB36-1AV keeps good time so far. The bright LED back-light is excellent. Most functions are equivalent to the DB31 and work well. The long battery life remains to be proven. Press of the "Reverse" button displays the Dual Time setting. Press of the "Forward" button displays the last telememo viewed.

Con:
The display functionality of the DB-36 is grossly inferior to my old DB-31. The large font on the first (top) line (day of the week, name of telememo, and other headings) is so big it allows only 3 characters at a time to be displayed. In the database function, any remaining characters of the 8 allowed must scroll by to view. The second line that typically displays the time of day or the beginning of the telephone number in the database also has a large font except for the first character that is small and the last two characters that are medium size. This is fine for the time of day but for a telephone number it presents a strange combination of sizes that means it is useful only for the area code. Then the remaining part of the telephone number is relegated to the third line that uses a miniature tiny type font and is difficult to read unless you are under age 40. (As I write this, the DB36 just reset itself to factory defaults wiping out all of the 21 telephone numbers that I put in.)

Followup added 10 months later: The DB36 just reset itself again for no apparent reason. Lost all of the info in the telememo database, so if the reason for buying this watch is the telememo feature, you may want to keep on looking!

UPDATE 10-27-10
The DB36 reset itself again and I decided to return it to Casio for warranty repair or replacement. Just got their "estimate" by return email yesterday and they want a total of $17.52 to replace the item still under warranty! I told them NO DEAL! Keep the darn thing! Based on unit performance and Casio warranty service I cannot recommend this product. Are you listening Casio?

Other thoughts:
The telememo database feature is the primary (and perhaps only) reason for purchasing this watch but the display font sizes largely defeat this purpose. The display fonts are a strange mixture of too-large and too-small. The selection of font sizes by Casio for the DB36 represents a step backwards from the DB31. The older DB31 will show 6 characters in the first line, 10 characters in the second line, and 6 characters in the third line. This is compared to the newer DB36 that shows 3 characters, 7 characters, and 8 characters respectively. These are important differences where it counts.

This means that you must wait for the display to scroll to see the entire name in the telememo and you cannot assign a name to any of the five alarm settings like you can with the DB31. You must remember what number the alarm means.
Conclusion: Casio laid an egg with this one. You would have to be legally blind to need the large font in the first line but then you could not read the third. Bring back the DB31 but with an LED light!
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2007
I just got my Casio watch today. The manual was fairly thick which was mostly translations in a lot of languages. I decided to forgo the manual and see if I could figure out how to set the watch without it. With little effort, I was easily able to figure everything out and set all the functions without any difficulty. The watch has all of it's setting functions labeled on the watch itself. They are named under the glass crystal or impressed in the watch itself or it's buttons. This makes setting this watch really easy. Buttons even included backward and forward buttons which made it easy to go back if you over-shot the date or time going forward. The watch is small compared to my old watch (a G-Shock which is a good watch but now needs a battery after maybe 5 years). I like the small profile and design of this watch a lot. It's water resistant to a depth of 50 feet and has an LED back light. It's an inexpensive watch but with a 10 year battery, I'll probably loose it before I ever wear out the battery.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on March 12, 2009
I had this watch for a little over seven years now, and the battery is still going strong. I wear this watch everyday as it is my main watch. After all these years of wear, the glass crystal display barely has a scratch; must be coated with anti scratch! The plastic shell has taken lots of abuse, all the etched letters around the crystal screen scratched off, but body is holding up well. The six buttons are worn down, sticks sometimes, but all are still functional. I've had a Casio G-shock in the past, but this watch was more reliable than my G-shock because this watch's original rubber wrist band is still intact after all these years! The only complaint is that this should be a watch worn on the right hand, because if worn on the left hand, sometimes the 12/24Hr button located on the right side of the watch is pushed by my left wrist during light compressions. Even worse is that if the 12/24Hr is pushed long enough, the daylight savings time is turned on/off which will provide me the wrong time. Button is too sensitive. Still, it's an excellent watch from Casio and I will buy Casio again.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on December 14, 2008
Verified Purchase
I have used Casio watches since I was a child, all of the models I have tried are of exceptional quality and very sturdy. I had an old F-91W which is more than 10 years old, so I decided to try a new one (I will still use my old watch for some occasions as it is still functioning perfectly and it only has some scratches in the face). I will use my databank for casual dressing.

It is not a watch to stand out, but it sports a very conservative and functional design which is well suited to a geek like me (I am an IT engineer). The watch size is perfect for me, numbers and letters are big and easy to read.

This watch is hooked up with a lot of useful functions like light, stop watch, count down, dual time for travelers, 5 different alarms, on-screen date including day and year and the more distinguishing feature of this watch: the databank function, that lets you store up to 30 names and numbers in the watch.

Definitely a great buy for everyone. 5 stars!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on September 2, 2008
This is one of many casio digital watches I've had and it has many good features.

Howerver, after wearing it for a while, I noticed that 12/24H button which is on the bottom right hand side of the watch was pressed "unintentionally" pretty often. This is quite annoying since the same button add/subtract 1 hour (daylight savings time) if you press it long enough.

So if you are wearing your watch on your left wrist, consider this before you buy the watch.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on April 13, 2009
Verified Purchase
I've purchased this watch 3 times. It is such a good watch that when the previous 2 broke over the years, I bought replacement. The first one's band broke as others have stated...this "resin" band doesn't like to bend repeatedly. About 3 years of daily wear snapped the band. My second unit accidentally served as a teething ring for my 10-month old and I think he jammed/cracked one of the face buttons. I took the watch apart to try and fix and ended up tossing it. This is not a G-shock Casio but for $17 it really does it all. I have a small collection of watches ranging from an expensive Japanese domestic market Seiko Chronograph to a colorful G-Shock Casio but I wear this lightweight, simple watch 99% of the time. Why 4 stars? Casio needs to make a more durable band. It's obviously part of their planned-obsolesence marketing strategy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 25, 2009
Verified Purchase
This is my 2nd Casio Databank Watch. My first was the stainless steel band version of this watch (i.e., DB360-1AV). I experienced two issues with the steel band watch. First, the 12/24H button could be pressed and held unnoticeably during use adding or substrating an hour (due to the daylight saving time feature). Second, the watch would stop working, which could only be fixed by opening the watch to unseat and reseat the battery.

The second watch, the plastic band (DB36-1AV) watch, has a different button style than the steel band verison. The buttons are larger and the protruding piece of plastic seperating the side buttons may protect slightly from the 12/24H button issue. The two issues with the steel band watch have not been experienced with the plastic band watch, at least "not yet".

Both versions of the watch are relatively inexpensive compared to other watches in the market. It conveniently displays the time and date. The stopwatch feature has come in useful on occasions, and it has other built-in features (such as alarm). The watch does have a long battery life compared to most watches of at least a few years, but it is not yet known whether it will reach its advertised 10 year life.

I don't usually like plastic bands, so I replaced the plastic band with the very likely steel band of my first watch.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on March 25, 2006
The button that changes between 12/24 hour format (if pressed quickly) or between Daylight Saving Time and regular time (if pressed for a little longer) is very sensitive and can be easily pressed when you flex a wrist. This results in the time format jumping suddenly between 12/24 formats and more annoyingly between DST and regular time. Otherwise, this watch is good.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 12, 2011
I like the features of this watch so much that I've purchased three of them from my local Walmart during the past five years. The problem is that I've had to replace each one because it stopped working correctly. I don't think I've subjected them to any extreme activity, but apparently this model is not durable enough. I'm replacing it with a G-Shock version this time. (I don't need the databank feature.) Casio Men's GW5600J-1 G-Shock Atomic Tough Solar Watch

The first watch lasted a couple of years before killing two batteries. During that time the watch band cracked where I buckled it and I replaced the band. After a couple of years I noticed that the display started to occasionally blank out during a button press. Shortly thereafter the display went permanently blank. Walmart installed a new battery for a few dollars, but the display continued to blank out occasionally. After a month it went dead again, so I purchased a new replacement.

The second watch last three years before the alarms stopped sounding most of the time. During the years when the watch worked, the watch band cracked where I buckled it, so I replaced the band. Five months ago the alarms stopped sounding half the time, making the watch unusable for me. I still needed the features, so I purchased another replacement.

After only four months the third watch's display started to occasionally blank out during a button press. I take the watch off my wrist every night, but only a month after the display started blanking I woke up to find the watch had reset itself to Jan 1, 2000 during the night. Also, the alarm on this unit isn't as loud as the one on the first two watches. I fail to hear it if there is any background noise at all. I'm replacing it with a more durable watch this time. I hope the alarm is a little louder on the replacement model.

Why did I continue to replace it with the same model? I couldn't beat the price for the features I need: easy to read digital time, five alarms, and the countdown timer. But now I'm finally resigned to spending more money for a more durable watch.
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