Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 GPS Watch

Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 GPS Watch

Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 GPS Watch Watch Releases

At CES 2017 in Las Vegas, Casio has just announced their second smartwatch, and it's pretty cool. The Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 builds on last year's WSD-F10 (debuted here and reviewed on aBlogtoWatch here) with an updated look but, more importantly, new and compelling functionality. Casio isn't per se breaking new ground here, but is offering its loyal customer base an excellent outdoors-themed activity smartwatch that specializes in durability as well as "disconnected" capabilities.

The biggest news in the Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 is the inclusion of "low-power GPS." GPS in smartwatches is becoming a must-have feature, and you'll find it in everything from products made by Garmin to Apple - and of course, Casio. The brand is not new to GPS, especially power-sipping GPS modules designed to only occasionally connect to satellite signals in order to maximize battery life. The key element to Casio's power savings while using GPS is that it only tracks location without having to download map data. This is important because the watch can track a GPS signal without having to use other connectivity functions.

This works because the Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 can optionally download map data directly to the device. The brand is quick to point that these these are highly detailed, full-color maps. I am not entirely clear on how this works, but the notion is that you can download maps for a specific area prior to needing them. Once they are in the device they can be used when the watch is "offline," meaning its normal connectivity is turned-off, save for GPS connectivity. This is how it is able to boast "low power" GPS and still offer users the convenience of maps.

Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 GPS Watch Watch Releases

This is very useful for hikers or other outdoors explorers who like to travel outside of established mobile data networks. A key question that many people ask when thinking about a smart watch is "what does it do that my phone cant?" Well, being able to have a detailed map and GPS without being connected to a network is one piece of functionality that Casio believes many people's phones cannot do - though some phones do offer the same feature.

Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 GPS Watch Watch Releases

Other navigation and maps functions include being able to manually create way points and other beacons that will be stored in maps. This could be anything from a way points to help you find a path or marking a campsite. The Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 also apparently features a range of map view options, as well as various watch dials that overlay maps data. Clearly, the navigational functionality in the wilderness is a key selling point of the Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20.

Related to this is the new inclusion of the "Pro Trek" name. For many years, Casio has produced the majority of its outdoors-themed watches under the Pro Trek sub-brand name. Over the last few years the more popular G-Shock family of timepieces overshadowed this important activity watch collection, and it is interesting to see how the inclusion of a smartwatch will revitalize the Pro Trek name. Note that Casio did not choose to connect the WSD-F10 watch to the Pro Trek family, but now the Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 watch contains the "Pro Trek Smart" moniker. From a marketing perspective, this is probably a good idea.

Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 GPS Watch Watch Releases

In the promotional video above, you can also see Casio showing off some of the features of the Casio Moment Link app. This is not to be confused with "Moment Setter," which is a related piece of functionality that allows the Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 to alert the user about important moments during their journey such as when to rest, drink water, or other conditions. While it is clear that the user is able to manually create these moments, it isn't clear how much of of the Moment Setter notifications are automated "smart" alerts.

Moment Link is a companion app that allows you to connect to other people in your group who also have a Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20. Functionality here includes the ability to see the location of other people, as well as to send them messages and alerts. However, Casio Moment Link does seem to require both GPS connectivity and mobile data.

Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 GPS Watch Watch Releases

Casio has clearly updated the look of the Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 compared to the WSD-F10. This includes a more aggressive-looking design with a black bezel and new pusher protectors. The design looks a bit more like other watches in the Pro Trek family, which is probably a good thing. Color options for the time being seem to be black and metallic orange - which were the same colors available for the original model. Overall, I would say that the Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 has an upgraded design and is going to be more handsome than the original WSD-F10.

Durability seems to be more or less unchanged with 50 meters of water resistant and military spec MIL-STD-810 durability standards. Size also remains pretty big at 56.4mm wide, by 61.7mm long, and 15.7mm thick. Though the watch is very light at just 92g. Casio promises "more than one day" of battery life, which can be up to a month if the watch is only in timekeeping mode (no connections). In addition to GPS, the Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 also, of course, has both WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity.

Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 GPS Watch Watch Releases

The Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 is also among the first smartwatches to feature Google Android 2.0 as its operating system. Google has been lagging a bit on releasing its updated wearable operating system. After a full review, I'll be able to comment more on the functionality of the watch with Android Wear as well as Casio's own proprietary software which worked rather well on the WSD-F10. The screen on the Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 is 1.32 inches in size, and is a dual layer TFT LCD. Dual layer implies that there is a monochromatic screen over the full-color screen which is used for a handy always-on display which means you can see the time even when the main screen is off. It works nicely, even if the screen on the Samsung Gear S3 is more advanced when it comes to having an always-on display.

Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 GPS Watch Watch Releases

Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 GPS Watch Watch Releases

Don't forget that this is a Pro-Trek watch and that means Casio continues to include built-in sensors for the altimeter, barometer, and compass. The watch also has the standard gyrometer and accelerometer that most smartwatches have these days.

With upgraded looks and functionality, this is the best smartwatch Casio has made so far. More importantly, we see Casio becoming more comfortable about including smartwatches in their greater family of popular watches, and also offering solid value propositions to consumers of why and when to use such a device - something many other smartwatch makers have struggled with. If you are a regular outdoors trekker who likes having the latest tech as your travel companion, then the Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 will likely be on your short list of smartwatches to consider. Price for the reference WSD-F20-RG (orange) and WSD-F20-BK (black) will be around $500 and availability is set to begin on April 21, 2017. wsd.casio.com

What do you think?
  • I want it! (107)
  • Thumbs up (18)
  • I love it! (17)
  • Interesting (11)
  • Classy (1)
  • A_watches

    now this is a proper tool watch

    • SuperStrapper

      …for weekend warriors within arm’s reach of an outlet.

      • AJC1973

        or a battery pack

  • Casio forever…

  • Adam Young

    I think this looks pretty interesting, and could be a good choice for the tech savvy outdoorsman. I must say though the 56.4mm diameter means it’s definitely not for me. I think that drawing of someone tapping the screen to get a map is actually to scale 😀

  • SuperStrapper

    I’ve still yet to find a real outdoor each that can replace my old and trusty PAG240. I know it is time, seeing how the tech in that watch is so long in the tooth, but despite all their prowess Casio has never made such a complete offering as the 240. This one ticks a lot of boxes, and the ability to download map data and use it essentially offline (no tethering requirement anyway) is a big plus (did I miss the map resolution? The screen is small, so I’m hope 1:24k range. The dual layer lcd is nice, and likely the evolution of the duplex lcd that I love about the 240.

    The purchase killer is the battery. No solar charging, and only one day of battery. Unacceptable. So I don’t need to bring my phone, but I do need to bring power. I have solar charging as part of my standard Kit, but I rarely use it, and bringing it out daily wouldn’t work for me, and in overcast conditions I might go without for days? No. My 240 has never shut down once in all the years I’ve had it. The smallest trickle of light, natural or not, keeps it going. And it live through the winter in my outdoor bin with zero light: once charged it will run for months without additional charging. No, this new watch uses way more power, and as a compromise I would be fine with a notable reduction in reserve, but one day is way out of scope for someone who might actually use this in a real outdoors scenario.

    I’d love to try it out, but I can shell out money to replace my current field watch until it can actually replace it. And if they did get a watch with this feature set that had slar charging and a reserve with some legs, I’d happily pay twice this much.

    • Gary K

      The battery in this watch has at least 20 times the mAh capacity of the battery in a typical Casio solar watch. A tiny watch-sized solar panel would be incapable of providing any meaningful charge to the battery.

      • SuperStrapper

        I got that, but it’s not my point. Until they can either figure out a charge that provides full functionality for at least a week, or the ability to charge a watch like this with solar, it can never truly be meaningful.

        It’s like an electric car with a maximum range of 50km. You can take it all the way to your buddy’s house and show it to him, but good luck getting a roadtrip in.

    • VIRTWO

      240 does not die and no one launches a watch as good as 240.

      It seems I will never be able to get a new watch.

      • SuperStrapper

        If I needed/relied on altimeter data, the 240 would need immediate replacement. Aside from time telling I mainly use the compass, sunrise/set data, and baro trends. All are still accurate on the 240. I wish the baro trend graph would read out more often, but that’s not a deal breaker.

  • Auto Correct

    The only thing this watch is missing is a solar cell. This is the closest any manufacturer came to making a “useful” smart tool watch imo. Throw that in, add another $100 to the retail price and I’m sold.

  • Yojimbo

    this has a lot of bells and whistles, the map data is a really nice feature. But I mean wtf is:

    “Casio promises “more than one day” of battery life, which can be up to a
    month if the watch is only in timekeeping mode (no connections). ”

    so if you’re using the features that make it worthwhile for hiking it dies in a day, kind of reduces its uses.

    I’m curious how long it holds a charge and why they didn’t include solar charging is a mystery, but why not better water resistance of at least 100meters to let you snorkel a bit deeper if you want to.

  • BRIAN

    I always see these and think that is a great watch then scroll down and see the size and think why? Didn’t we have 2″ tv’s in the 80’s so why 30 plus years later can’t we have small watches with all these functions. I guess we do but they are all rectangles.

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  • The battery life is simply a deal breaker. I went with a G Shock Rangeman, and put up with the tiny display and goofy subdial, instead of a much more legible Pro Trek or a Garmin because I don’t have to plug the damn thing in. It gives me navigational basics…compass, altimeter, and stopwatch…with solar charging. There’s just no way I want a watch I have to plug in every day or two, especially in the woods.
    I can’t imagine a map the size of a bottle cap is going to be worth anything, either. Seriously? How can you section/re-section on a postage stamp? Your cute little breadcrumb trial is real pretty until you realize you’re nowhere near it.
    Anybody who relies on a toy like that for “navigational functionality in the wilderness” is going to be found by Search and Rescue, dead as the watch on their wrist.

  • PS Goh

    Apple Watch Series 3…. I hope they make it bigger and also batt life saves

  • Grumpy Cat

    Not interested.

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  • DeepEye

    They think phones do not have offline maps capability? Seriously?
    The only map software with limited offline capability is Google Maps.
    you can download Here Maps righ now for full offline maps for example.
    Anyway, having a watch you have to recharge every few days is stupid: we alredy have phones, i don’t want to worry about another gadget.

  • Word Merchant

    I like. It would make my daily commute to work (car, train, tube) much easier and safer. The only additional feature I would need is for the alarm to sound like a male lion or gorilla roaring to keep predators away. Add this, Casio, and my custom is yours.

  • Ulysses31

    It’s one of the better-looking smart-watches out there, that embraces its nerdiness. Battery is a disappointment, but not that surprising.

  • Semido

    How long is the battery life? Pretty crucial information in a smart watch, especially if it’s going to be used outdoors.

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