Top positive review
274 of 281 people found this helpful
on January 5, 2013
I read a lot of reviews about this watch prior to buying it. Most of those reviews were good but some of them were bad so after having this for a few weeks now I'd like to mention a few things that may explain the bad reviews that I read. Most people did not seem to be using their heads or just I'll informed.
First I should start off by saying that this watch takes a reasonable amount of intelligence for you to get the most out of it. I have yet to find anything negative about it but you need to keep these things in mind.
Be careful when you size the band or ask someone to size it for you. This band does not use the typical link pins like most watches. You know, the kind that are split and spread out to hold the link pin in place. When you push the pins out of this band, each pin is held captive by a small split barrel that goes into the middle of the inside smallest part of the link. If you push any of the link pins out and you are not careful, that small barrel is going to fall on the floor or roll off of the table never to be found again. That small barrel is split because when the link pin grows through it, it spreads out a little and causes the proper tension to hold the link pin in place inside of the band. If you lose this small barrel the link pin is going to slide through the one side of the band and go right out the other side. If the small barrel falls out just remember it can only go into one side of the smallest part of each link. It won't go into either side, just one side where you can see that the hole has been made larger for this barrel to fit in.
After you get your band adjusted you will need to calibrate the barometer. It will be kind of close right out of the box but not right on. Once you calibrate it, it should stay within a couple of hundredths of your local barometric pressure reading. There are a few places that you can find highly accurate barometric pressure reading in your area. In my area there is a local county airport and on the (NOAA) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration web page I can find the current barometric pressure reading for this airport. Barometric pressure readings seem to stay fairly accurate within 25 miles or so ofnwhere you live. Barometric pressure is listed on the NOAA website as "altimeter". Why would it be listed as altimeter when we are looking for barometric pressure and not altimeter? Well, that's because when airplanes calibrate their altimeters, it's actually controlled by barometric pressure so when you read altimeter on the NOAA site they are telling pilots to dial that value into their altimeter while they are sitting in the runway. Keep in mind that on the NOAA site, these values usually get updated once every hour. Sometimes when they are updated the reading is delayed by 15 minutes or so. As soon as that value updates on your web page, calibrate your barometer and it should be pretty much right on every time you check it from that point on.
Now for the altimeter. The altimeter on this watch just like in an airplane's altimeter is affected by changes in barometric pressure. Barometric pressure changes constantly. From time to time an hour will go by and barometric pressure will not vary that much. Other times it will rise quickly or fall quickly. If you calibrate your altimeter on this watch and the barometric pressure does not change much then your altitude reading will stay pretty much spot on. If you calibrate it and the barometric really changes drastically then the accuracy of your barometer on this watch will drop in accuracy. In order to properly calibrate the altimeter on your watch you need to have a good reference altitude. What I've done is made notes of the actual altitude of my house, where I work and other locations that I frequent. Now the easiest way to find these reference altitudes is to use Google Earth. Not Google Earth on your iPhone or iPad because that program will not show the actual elevation. On those devices it will only show you how high you are viewing any specific area from. You need to use Google Earth on your computer. That will show you the actual altitude of any place you rest your mouse on. Once you find these reference points you'll need to be at one of them and calibrate your altimeter. You should find that if you set it at your home and drive to where you work the altitude should be correct as long as it's not a day that the barometric pressure is changing rapidly. The altimeter can only be calibrated in increments of 20' so you'll have to pickthe increment that is closest to what Google Earth showed. Also, don't expect to calibrate this on the ground and then fly in a commercial airplane and watch the altitude change. Remember that they pressurize the cabin so your barometric pressure that you will read will be based on cabin pressure and I've already noted that the altimeter is affected by changes in barometric pressure. The altimeter on this watch is mainly meant for hiking and biking, not flying. In a small Cessna it would probably work fine but I wouldn't want to rely on this for landing the plane.
Lets talk about the temperature reading. This temperature sensor is really meant to tell temperature when the watch is off of your wrist. Keep in mind that when you wear the watch and press the barometer button to see the temperature, it's probably going to read around 83 degrees f. That's because the heat from your body has raised the temperature of the watch and the sensor is located inside of the watch. If you take the watch off I have found that it takes about 30 minutes for the watch to read actual air or room temperature. There are some people out there that have attempted to calibrate the sensor so that it takes into consideration their body temperature so they calibrate it to read room temperature while the watch is on their wrist. This is kind of a boneheaded thing to do because your body temperature is going to be affected by a number of factors. Also, if you wear a watch fairly loosly like I do it's not always going to be tight against your wrist so the watch temperature will always be changing.
In order to get the sunrise and sunset feature to be accurate you'll want to read the manual on how to adjust it and again, find your house or city on Google Earth to get the latitude and longitude and put that offset in the watch and you'll read within a few minutes of any of the sunrise and sunset times that you will find on the web for your area.
I'll be honest and say that I haven't adjusted the calibration of the compass. From what I can see it's close enough to my GPS, the compass on my car's mirror and a little handheld compass. I would expect that if I were lost in the woods or anywhere else for that matter I could get headed in the right direction. There are some adjustments that you can make to the compass off of maps but I haven't seen any reasons to calibrate it.
So with all of that said, this is a great watch. The automatic backlight feature works great although I bumped the default time up from one second to two seconds. The power saver feature also works as advertised.
If you are on the fence about buying this watch and bad reviews are what have you on the fence, hopefully I've shed some light on these issues that are really non-issues as long as you are using the watch properly.