This could be the best Casio Pathfinder watch to date. A much slimmed down case and new usability features, along with new functions make this the Pathfinder watch to own. Still Casio is careful not to alienate the rest of the Pathfinder line by giving other models a few features that this model doesn't have. The last Casio Pathfinder watch I reviewed was the PAW1500, the model that came out immediately before the PAW-2000 (PAW2000). Given your needs, the PAW1500 might actually be a better suited model than the PAW2000. The PAW1500 is thicker, has a rotating navigational bezel, a moon phase indicator, and a tide chart. It also has slightly larger pushers. The PAW2000 on the other hand is slimmer, has polished metal pushers, a polished metal bezel, sunrise and sunset times, a logging function, and a duplex LCD. These differences along with other minor changes make it a totally different watch. Oh, and both the PAW1500 and PAW2000 comes in black resin or titanium versions. Actually, the PAW2000 has more in common with the PAW1300 in terms of being a solid "upgrade."
There are also a few features on the PAW2000 that are available on other Casio watches, but I have enjoyed here for the first time. As G-Shock, Pathfinder, and related multifunction Casio digital watches have been around for a while, their engineers have continually refined and added features. Some of these features are things like snooze functions for the alarms. My new favorite is the auto illumination (A.EL) function. It used some type of tilt sensor in the watch that automatically activates the backlight when you tilt your wrist toward you. LCD displays are impossible to read in the dark. Most people are used to pressing a pusher (here located on the front of the watch) or activate the backlight. Now you can do so without using your other hand just by turning your wrist. It is a great and reliable system. Of course the backlight often goes on when you don't necessarily want it to. So when stealth is important, or if it annoys you the function can easily be disabled. Which brings me to two other points. Casio watches are among the most "user customizable" watches out there in terms of the settings, and there is also a bit of a learning curve.
Little things like beeps and alerts can be turned on or off, and in some instances you can choose what is displaying on the screen. While there isn't a mountain of customization options, there are enough to make you feel as though Casio cares about the watch being just right for you. This is further seen in their metal bracelets that often have ability to be micro adjusted. Casio really wants its owners to have a positive use and wearing experience. But with all the functions and options you get, there is a learning curve. Actually, if you've been using Casio watches for years like many people, there isn't that much to learn, but for people using a complex watch like this for the first time - I certainly recommend spending some time with the manual. Once you get in to it and understand how the watch works, you'll appreciate the elegance and refinement of the system. For such a small thing that uses so little power, to do so much, is amazing to me.
It is hard to detail everything that the Casio PAW2000 watch does (as it does a lot). So I will make a list of its major functions. Realize that most of these functions have lots of sub-functions. For example the compass has a bearing tracker as well, and the altimeter has various logging and graphing functions included with it. Thus, the Casio Pathfinder PAW2000 has:
- Time (12 and 24 hour modes
- Perpetual calendar
- Sunrise and sunset times
- Countdown timer
- World time function
- Solar (light) powered quartz movement
- Kept accurate by receiving signals from and of 6 atomic clocks (around the world)
- Battery power reserve indicator (does not been to be changed and has a few special power modes)
- Duplex (double) LCD for indication enhancement
I mentioned that the case was thin. It is just about 11.5mm thick which is pretty impressive for all that goes into the watch. In a sense, something like this is as complex, if not more complex in many ways than some mechanical watches. There is the movement, solar panel, two LCD screen, protection around the movement, and the complex casing. At its widest points, the PAW2000 is about 50mm wide and 55mm tall. It wears "small" given the size. The is also water resistant to 100 meters. Although the metal pushers (plastic on the front of the watch) are larger than many you'll find on Casio watches, they aren't quite as easy to find with your finger as some of the previous large plastic pushers were. Small issue though, and once you find them, they aren't hard to press in at all. Part of the reason that are harder to find with your finger is the plastic guarding around the pushers meant to protect them, and prevent you from pushing the buttons inadvertently.
The watch is also very light. The resin strap connected to the steel and plastic case made it feel as though it were filled with air. The more substantial looking titanium version probably weight a bit more, but not by much. You can see how the case curves one the sides. While the back is flat, these curves help it lay sturdily on one's wrist. Casio Pathfinder watches have always enjoyed an outdoorsy though technical feel. Always a bit ahead of our times, and always very detailed. No simple lines or curves here. Casio has done a good job making sure a watch like this fits well this all things "active." Be it at the gym, on a boat, in a vehicle, on the trail, or walking in an urban area. For the rest of us, the timepiece is a "watch nerd's delight." The major downfall of course is that it is not a formal watch. So keep it with your active and casual outfits.
The major downfall of any complex watch is easy of use and reliability. I've never felt that this was an issue with Casio. I get a significant level of assurance when operating this PAW2000 watch. It is accurate, easy to use, and the operations are reliable and as ergonomic as can be. I've mention the duplex LCD, and I want to discuss that more. Basically you have one LCD over another. The top one has shapes that are purple in tone. Aside from assisting with the compass function, Casio has cleverly used the top LCD to assist with watch mode selection, the barometer, as well as the sunrise and sunset indicator. It is a welcome addition to their top of the range model.
Although this is not the first atomic clock controlled Casio watch I have reviewed, I decided to spend more time with this function on the PAW2000. This feature is highly integrated into the watch. The watch can be set to automatically sync with the clock daily or on command. It used to be that such functionality was delicate given the small antenna in the watch that picks up the radio signals. You still need to ensure the watch is relatively close to a window, but overall the reception is very good in the watch, and I have found it to most always get a signal. Most important - the watch is always accurate. Accordingly, I've never had to worry about power. Anytime the watch is near light, it is charging. Out of light and while not on your wrist, the timepiece enters a resting state where the screen turns off. It will reanimate once you place it in light or move it around. Very cool.
Overall the PAW2000 is easy to live with and reliable. I would place the Pathfinder line as the best ABC (altimeter, barometer, compass) multi sensor on the market from a movement and functionality standpoint. As well as price. While some of Casio's competitor might use better materials for the cases and have a more designer style, none match the superior movement and feature set that Casio Pathfinder watches have. Plus, none can even get near to the prices set by Casio. The particular model is precisely the PAW-2000-1 with a $380 retail price (street price is well), and the PAW-2000T-7 with the titanium strap retails for $450 (street price is also less). The previous Casio Pathfinder watch I reviewed received an aBlogtoRead.com Seal of Approval Award, and I can't help but award it once again here.