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Casio WSD-F10 Android Wear Smartwatch Review

Casio WSD-F10 Android Wear Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Just a few years ago, I never thought I’d be wearing a Casio smartwatch on my wrist, so I have to say that it brings me pleasure to review the 2016 Casio WSD-F10 that runs Android Wear. I recall a meeting with some of the brand’s own dedicated employees who seriously questioned the value of smartwatches in the context of “connected wearable technology devices.” Undoubtedly, companies like Casio – who, in their own opinions, “have been building smartwatches for years” – harbor their own ideas and notions about what consumers want and how smartwatches should behave and look.

By mid-2015, there was still no word of an official Casio smartwatch, and it prompted me to write an essay on what a Casio smartwatch should be like in May of that year. I did that because I felt the popular Japanese “technology watch” maker was in a fantastic position to create an amazing smartwatch product. Less than a year later, in January of 2016, Casio finally did it, and announced their first official connected smartwatch with the WSD-F10 here.

This now puts me in a unique situation because I’m reviewing a product that I made a wish list for prior to it ever being announced. The question, then, becomes: did Casio live up to my own personal expectations in terms of its seminal smartwatch product? And, more importantly, where do they go from here?

Casio WSD-F10 Android Wear Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Casio WSD-F10 Android Wear Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

In essence, the Casio WSD-F10 runs Google’s Android Wear operating system platform, using their own case and screen hardware, as well as a few other little interesting features that make the watch different from other smartwatches out there. For most consumers, the real allure of the Casio WSD-F10 will be its superior durability over many other smartwatches, as well as the inclusion of various built-in sensor technology that Casio fans have come to expect in models coming from the Pro Trek or G-Shock family. I happen to like the fact that the Casio WSD-F10 is among Casio’s products that is produced in Japan – whereas most smartwatches are produced in China.

Casio WSD-F10 Android Wear Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Casio WSD-F10 Android Wear Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Fit and finish for the Casio WSD-F10 is very good. It isn’t a G-Shock in terms of overall durability, but it feels like one of the better-made plastic Casio watches with a premium feel and great textures on the case. If I had to make any complaints about the case itself, it would be that it is very large in size, and that the charging port (located at 10 o’clock) feels a bit “exposed.”

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With that said, case size is as big as it is probably because of the battery. Remember that in the smartwatch world batteries are currently the weakest link, and brands need to use amply sized batteries contained in the cases so as to ensure at least a day’s worth of wear. I will, however, say that despite the rather massive proportions of the Casio WSD-F10, it is very comfortable. How is that so? Well, the watch doesn’t weigh that much at just 93 grams, so you don’t even really feel it there, and the strap happens to fit quite snugly too.

Casio WSD-F10 Android Wear Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Casio WSD-F10 Android Wear Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The Casio WSD-F10 is 56.4mm wide, 61.7mm tall, and 15.7mm thick. As a sporty outdoors watch, this is fine, but don’t be the guy trying to wear this with anything even remotely formal. Since the Pro Trek, Casio has made it clear that its outdoors watches are made for where suits should never go. As of now, Casio offers the WSD-F10 in a metallic orange-colored body (WSD-F10RG) as well as this black one (WSD-F10BK)… and also a red (WSD-F10RD) and green model (WSD-F10GN), for now. I prefer the black, as it helps visually reduce mass, and the orange one looks too much like a toy for big boys. When you have a watch this size, you don’t need to call extra attention to its girth.

Casio designed the case with three buttons, two of which are proprietary to Casio’s systems over Android Wear. The middle button that is located where the crown would be is the “home” button which activates the screen or takes you back to the home screen. The other two buttons are actually semi-programmable and allow you to select from a series of apps that they can launch – which proves quite useful.

Casio WSD-F10 Android Wear Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

As much as I love touchscreen on devices (and I say this as someone who desperately misses physical keyboards on smartphones… oh Blackberry, why did you have to leave the land of the relevant?), I find physical buttons to be very (very) useful. Not only can you feel for them with your fingers and not have to look at what you are doing, but they also tend to not suffer from things like lag and other issues which come from “virtual buttons.” while I agree that smartwatches need touchscreens, I really dislike the “de-buttonification” of technology because, frankly, I hate shoving my oiling fingers on the screen that I am otherwise trying to actually look at. I remember the first time I was prompted to play a game on a smartphone, and was like, “you are telling me that the direction controls and buttons overlap the screen I am trying to look at?” Talk about intrusive UI…

Casio WSD-F10 Android Wear Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Anyhow, I say all of the above in part as praise for Casio adding a couple more buttons to the Android Wear formula – and I hope in the future we get even more buttons. Buttons, buttons galore is all this smartwatch lover wants for the holidays! The top button is labeled “Tool,” and it controls a variety of Casio-made apps which mostly focus around the sensors that the watch has internally. This is great because it isn’t using data from the phone, which increases the wrist watch’s autonomy.

Casio WSD-F10 Android Wear Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Press the Tool button and you can cycle through various app screens. In the “Casio Moment Setter+” app that you need to download on your phone, you can adjust the various apps you cycle through and remove some or rearrange them. For me, pressing the Tool button initially opens up the compass app. You can then access other apps such as the barometer, altimeter, and sunset and sunrise times, along with various graphs about your treks and adventures. Casio designed all the graphical user interface of these apps, and I think they are for the most part nicely done. Colorful and modern, they even evoke what feels like a new design language from the brand.

Casio WSD-F10 Android Wear Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The inclusion of the compass, barometer, and altimeter sensors in the Casio WSD-F10 not only helps this watch be a “real” Casio sports watch, but also helps distinguish it from the crowd. I am a huge proponent of smartwatches that have their own sensors and don’t just rely on those from the host phone device. Where some consumers might find the watch lacking is the absence of features such as a heart rate monitor, etc., that timepieces such as the Apple Watch have. With that said, Casio intends for the WSD-F10 and future smartwatches to speak with other devices and sensors. For example, when the Casio WSD-F10 launched, so did a jacket-mounted body reference EX-FR100 camera that you can control with the watch. This accessory isn’t sold officially in America, but when I was traveling in Japan in February 2016 the Casio EX-FR100 was for sale all over the place. Like other brands which offer additional fitness accessories, I have a feeling the universe of companion products could easily grow.

Casio WSD-F10 Android Wear Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

Casio WSD-F10 Android Wear Smartwatch Review Wrist Time Reviews

The other button on the case is located at 4 o’clock and is labeled “App.” Slightly more flexible in its customization, you use the Casio Moment Setter+ app to select a large range of installed applications that this button can launch. For me, I have it set to launch a weather application. While I really like the presence of the two additional pushers on the Casio WSD-F10 case I found that they are disabled when the watch screen is not activated. That means you need to first activate the screen and then push them. It means an additional step, and I hope that perhaps in a future software update you will be able to directly push them without having to first press the middle button.

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Comments

Disqus Debug thread_id: 4947113069

  • All portable devices need to have induction charging and there needs to be cheap and standardized induction chargers (so you can have plenty of them or pick one up on a moments notice at any store – just like buying AA batteries). Solar power would be even better of course but where are those solar panel straps? Another standard (solar strap/watch interconnect) that we could use. Daily tethering with proprietary cables is off-putting to me.

    For me to every use a smartwatch on a regular basis it would have to be always on and look like a quality watch, not a wrist computer, not a shrunken tablet and not a plastic toy. The G-Shock look is fine for G-Shocks, but for a watch you would want to wear to a business meeting or a night out, the “tech” look falls short. Oh, and Casio should get one of those fully round displays like TAG Heuer uses. I’m glad to see Casio get into the game but this first generation smartwatch is still only a first step. I look forward to future developments from them. Keep that news coming!

    • Kuroji

      Charger for iwatch suck, so induction does not solve all design problem.

    • gadgety

      I would also prefer if there was an induction coil in these kind of watches, like the Moto360 has, and more widespread availability of induction chargers in restaurant and coffe house tabletops, mitigating the need to always bring your own. On the other hand, using a Huawei Watch, I’ve come to appreciate how small the charger for that watch is to carry with me compared to the inductive chargers stands. Since it uses a regular USB connection I can also charge off of the USB port of a PC, or a portable battery.

  • wallydog2

    I wish the watch industry would develop a watch/glucometer for diabetics. There would be a huge world-wide market.

  • word-merchant

    Great review of a very interesting watch. I like what Casio have done here.

    Re. ‘always on screen’ – I think the Casio differs from the Tag in that the Casio has a basic chunky retro segment LCD layer (just like an old-school digital LCD watch) placed right over the OLED screen underneath – I don’t know of any other smart watch that follows this approach.

    The retro segment LCD takes near enough zero power to run. The Tag however, utilises Android’s ‘always on’ mode that arranges for the display to be mostly black pixels. For an OLED screen, a black pixel is an unlit LED, so draws no power, so the more black pixels the watch can render, the lower its power requirements. This doesn’t happen for backlit LCD screens (like the iPhone), where it’s the back light that draws the majority of the screen power.

  • Ulysses31

    While I wouldn’t ordinarily be looking for a watch like this, I love the crisp, vivid and bright display. The contrast is really good.

  • SuperStrapper

    Not bad, but I actually use my pathfinder for week+ long trips into the bush, so this could never cut it for me. Casio will get around to incorporating solar tech into these watches and then there will really be something to talk about.

    Ariel, I’ve never left blackberry and am typing this post on the physical keyboard of my Android-based PRIV. I might have liked the Passport more, but the addition of Android really put bb in a new realm, it can’t be denied.

    • Bill W

      Can I vote this up twice? Love BlackBerry. Love the physical keyboard.

    • Kuroji

      They cannot get enough power from solar panel while it being worn to charge such huge battery.

      • SuperStrapper

        Yet

        • Kuroji

          EVAR!

  • Raymond Wilkie

    I’ii skip this one.

  • laup nomis

    Casio’s are a rabbit hole that some cannot ignore, and next time I’m doing ninja stuff, I’ll get my self a G shock.
    Now Smart Watches have been out a while, and I have yet to read a review where someone has worn one for at least a week, and could whole heartedly recommend it. Without the Casio’s Always On function, I wouldn’t even look at this.
    Until they do something that isn’t done by a phone/computer/watch/etc, I would much rather wear a watch.

    • .

      Define “proper” in the context of your comment, please?

      I think you are going to find smartwatches and their ilk are going to sell like crazy when they get the finer details worked out. A nicer case and strap and few people could tell at a quick glance that’s it not a mechanical watch.

      This is a product that is still very much in its’ infancy. As time goes on, I reckon the watches will as well.

      Cheers!

  • roostergobblergookied

    Love everything about this watch except the size.

  • cg

    The sooner they become untethered from my phone and have only on-demand phone access then I’d consider a purchase. But the power issue is the biggest hurdle…. lithium ion and induction charging supplemented by solar if all workable would be ideal. I don’t want to fiddle with my phone just to use my watch.

  • Iliyan Iliev

    So this is a watch for outdoors activities that barely makes it through the day. Hm. Good luck when you are out camping. I will stick to my solar Protrek.

  • Tony NW

    Cool unit. As you (Ariel) said, more of an activity device than a watch. I would have liked to have seen “autonomous” GPS and HRM. Is this likely the same watch Casio displayed at the January CES with only a 10 hour battery life? I like that my Pebble Time Steel really does get a solid week of heavy use on a single charge.

    How do you value to the “dual LED technology” allowing always on, versus the always on of the Pebble (and Garmin) smartwatches? My Pebble Time Steel is e-ink; do you consider the Casio display superior? Why?

    @markcarson:disqus wrote: “All portable devices need to have induction charging”. I disagree; that will always add a bit of cost and size. Give it enough battery life – as my Pebble Time Steel, my Garmin HRM, my bluetooth headset – and you won’t mind plugging it in once in a while. But the proprietary connector for the Casio is a bit much; a hardened (i.e. water-safe) micro-USB would have been a better choice.

    • Kuroji

      eInk still look like hell compared to hires oled and lcd. That seem to be serious issue with consumers.

    • I think we are largely agreeing. A water-proof standardized way to charge devices is needed. Cheers.

    • vmarks

      Except that micro-USB is a lousy connector. USB-C is much better designed, but even it isn’t perfect. Micro has both the goofy one-orientation-only problem, and it has the latches on the connector shell. I can’t tell you the number of failed micro-USB connectors and cables I have had to throw out. It’s many.

      The shame is that a proprietary surface exposed connector is probably the best path. Metawatch and META had pogo pins and a charging clip. They were waterproof for 5ATM and good enough for the swimming pool. The original Pebble contacts were magnets and good enough.

      The difficulty with inductive charging is that you have to have coils in both devices, the coils have to align, which means you add magnets, so you’re adding more volume and weight to the package… It’s just a cascading set of compromises for a charging system that charges less efficiently than a wire.

  • Kuroji

    So huge and yet must be charged daily. No thank you.

  • Larry Holmack

    Well….as long as it’s large enough to balance a red Solo cup of beer on it while I’m watching the Round Rock Express baseball game ( The AAA farm team of the Texas Rangers )….I’m all in for one!!! Too bad it’s not a tad larger…then I could use it on the dashboard of my SUV to hold a Super Big Gulp!!!!

  • Matt Wells

    Thanks so much for this review, especially positioning it next to the existing protrek models. I have an LG Smartwatch and a protrek; this watch has continued to tempt me. My primary concern has been over the rather large jump from normal Smartwatch prices to this one. The only concern I have now is its availability. I’ve noticed that every site that sells it has within the past few months gone out of stock. The downloads on the required app don’t look too promising if I’m using that to judge the sales. I’m wondering if a V2(20) will be coming out soon.

  • gadgety

    “I hate shoving my oiling fingers on the screen that I am otherwise trying to actually look at.”

    Yes, Ariel Adams, I completely agree. Samsung did a great UI improvement over Android Wear on their Tizen Gear S2 Classic.

    The built in sensors, the physical buttons, and the 5 ATM water resistance of the Casio are great. The big lack of the Casio is no GPS. That makes it far less interesting to me.

    Because you tend to go delve into how thing work, I wonder, from a technological standpoint, how does the Casio keep time when it’s outside the range of the phone? I also wonder how much time drift there is. Same questions apply to the Apple Watch and to the TAG Connect.

  • WolverBilly

    “Casio employs a dual LCD screen technology which means that the Casio WSD-F10 has an always-on screen (which can be disabled, of course, to save more power) that indicates the time and date at all times. I don’t say this lightly, but the watch would not be nearly as interesting to me without this added layer of functionality. ” I watch that shows the time and date all the time? It will never catch on.

    I will never get why anybody wants to wear around a 15.7mm thick chunk of plastic crap around on their wrist, that is truly as useful at a third nipple. What is it with you techies? You can’t find your way to the bathroom w/o GPS, and you seem to need a barometer that is probably amazingly inaccurate and notifications on your wrist, cause you’re so bloody important. A watch you have to charge all the time? Why not?

    Don’t get Casios at all, let alone smart ones. Of course, I think tattoos are pretty f-up, too. I am so not with the scene, man.

    • Raymond Wilkie

      No, you certainly are not…………. ( Don’t worry, that’s not a bad thing )

    • SuperStrapper

      Yeah, you’re obviously pretty close minded. But I make good use from the B and C of my ABC solar pathfinder. Both are reliable, and accurate. It’s also 200m water resistant and despite the large clear display (and truly excellent duplex lcd) weighs almost nothing on the wrist and rarely gets in the way.

      I’m no techie. People actually do the activities the watches were designed to accomodate from time to time.

  • ChrisH

    It would be wonderful if Casio would create a new G-Shock model incorporating fitness / activity(s) trackers that also integrates with either iPhone or Android phones or Windows phones. We all don’t need to worry about our fitness tracker taking a very hard beating .. 🙂

  • AW

    It looks ok, but for my smart watch needs I’ll wait until either Tissot Smart-Touch or proper connected Protrek/Oceanus.

  • kennyg357

    Oh boy, another flat tire watch. I’ll stick with samsung for now.

  • Adam Young

    I’m glad you’ve reviewed this as it’s good to see more than just a tech blog look at smartwatches.
    From what I’ve seen it looks pretty good for a first try at smart watches. Casio do almost everything in-house with their watches so it’s a bit unusual to use Android wear (not surprising, but not their way of doing things). It seems to have all the features you would expect, and it does look a lot tougher than it’s competitors (hence the size). Also the price is pretty good for what you get. It retails at $500, and their flagship G-Shock Mudmaster with the same ABC sensors(recently reviewed) sells for $750.
    It’s just a shame that powerful, economical, battery tech won’t be able to keep pace. Currently batteries can last a day, and even a 100% increase in efficiency will just give you two days of juice…

  • Juan-Antonio Garcia

    Nice review. Nice first try from Casio, but for hiking, or other outdoor sports/activities I think the Garmin Fenix3 is much better option. Besides having tons of activities you can program costume ones, GPS, temp, alt, HR, steps, etc., in a rugged case with color screen. Plus you can get notifications from your phone and have custom faces as well. All for $550. So the Casio compared to the F3, looks way under powered for an active watch. Don’t get me wrong, I am a fan of G-Shocks, but the Garmin is a beast in functionality, if you are into sports.

  • Rollin Crittendon

    Like your video mentioned, the 3D effect of the always-on screen with the backlit one is just stunning. That photo captures it so well. I like that Casio does a mix of retro and new in their design SO well.

    The prices of these smartwatches is a bit high for me, the cases a bit too large, but I am sure they will improve a lot over the next few years.

  • yanhong

    Your postting give me a comprehensive acquaint, casio form 2015 has been going through a growth and spallation,it is successful in function,as other smartwatch,especially its touchscreen and durability.it is a crazy time.

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    Hi guys, I don’t usually do this: But please help a brother out and take part in master’s thesis survey on outdoor watches:

    https://unimuensterivbm.qualtrics.com/SE/?SID=SV_1TT1PtEMYVtuz4N

    It takes about 15 minutes to complete. You stand the to win gift vouchers. (Even though it says Amazon and Euros in the survey, other vouchers are also available for other countries) 😉 Thanks so much!
    I am in desperate need of another 70 participants for the survey. I owe you all one!
    Carsten

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