Most helpful critical review
61 of 67 people found the following review helpful
The truth about the negative LCD display
on October 11, 2013
I debated over this watch and the GW2310-1, which is the same watch but with chrome inner bezel, white lettering, and positive LCD display. I saw the reviews stating that the GW2310FB is hard to read, but there are just as many people saying it's fine. I looked at Google images, and some shots made the digits look dim and washed out, while others looked fine and easy to read. I chalked it up to differences in cameras and lighting conditions. In the end I really liked the blackout style and decided to give it a try.
I can confirm that the LCD *is* difficult to read under many lighting conditions.
Let's be clear... there are no circumstances under which you won't be able to tell the time. Get the watch close enough to your face and/or at the right angle, and you'll be able to read it even in dim light. If all else fails, it's extremely easy to read with the backlight on, which can be configured to come on automatically with turning your wrist in low light.
However, I couldn't get past having to make extra effort to read my watch. Sitting on the couch watching TV, glance down at my watch wherever my wrist happens to be resting, and I can't read it. Flick my wrist to get the light to come on, and maybe it does, maybe it doesn't. If it doesn't, flick it a little harder, or just go ahead and move my arm to where I can read it. Outside in the shade, glance down, too dim to read easily but too light for the Auto EL to kick in, have to move my arm to get it at a distance and angle that's readable. So, in the end, I *did* figure out what time it was, each and every time. I'll agree with the reviews that say if you have normal vision it's readable. What they don't mention is that it's not readable under all the same distance, angle, and lighting conditions as a positive LCD display and the ability to just quickly glance at your watch is lost.
The other thing to note is that the Casio promo photos are doctored. The product image makes the digits look very white, bright, clean, high contrast. Even under the best lighting conditions and just the right angle this isn't what it looks like. Under those conditions, it's perfectly legible, and I'd go so far as to say it looks good. If it looked like that under ALL conditions I'd have no problem with it. But the digits are more of a yellow/tan for lack of a better color descriptor, and even at their absolute best they're still dimmer and lower contrast than what you see in the product image. The absolute best does not occur often, and the readability goes downhill quickly when conditions are not optimal. If you buy this watch, you should not expect to see the product image when you look at your wrist. Do a google search for this model, and look at the photos with washed out displays. That is what you need to be able to live with. The bottom line is that every time I looked at it I felt like I was wearing a watch with a low battery, and felt a little silly whenever the extra wrist gymnastics were required to read it.
In the end, it boils down to form over function. The blackout style IS cool. Whether it's cool enough to warrant the reduction in readability is a personal preference. For me it wasn't worth it, but I get it if someone else thinks it is. I wanted to like the watch, I really did. In fact, I liked it enough that I kept it, bought the GW2310-1, and then swapped the modules. So now I have a GW2310FB with a positive LCD display. Problem solved, I have the blackout styling but I can read it as easily as all my other watches. I'll note though, that the GW2310-1 looks better in hand than in the photos. The silver chrome doesn't stand out as much as I thought it would, the white lettering on the bezel isn't very bright, it's more washed out and subdued. If you're not inclined to buy two watches and swap internals, and readability is important to you, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the GW2310-1 over this.
I give this watch 3 stars because of the less than optimal display for this particular model. However, other than that issue, I'd give it, along with the other 2310 variants, 5 stars for form and features.
I hope this review is helpful to others who are trying to make sense of the mixed reviews on the readability of the negative LCD display. If it saves someone the hassle of a return, it was worth the time on my part.
I was going to upload an image of the GW2310FB with positive display swapped in, but that could be confusing to buyers since it's not what is being sold. Instead, I will link to the photos of the modified watch here: