Bless coachmag.co.uk writer Jonathan Shannon for trying to find good things to say about the Casio Pro-Trek WDS F30. Like “it won’t appeal to everyone, and in fact the people it will appeal to probably won’t be too bothered about the smartwatch functions.” Pay no attention to the smartwatch behind that curtain? After a brief warm-up, Shannon rips away the veil . . .
What they will like is that the device is about as unbreakable as it gets – Casio claims it meets US military standards – and is waterproof too, as well as having colour maps.
The irony is that the maps used by the native software, which Casio has even added a dedicated button for (although you can change that default), aren’t great. Casio’s map tool runs off Google Maps or the open source competitor Mapbox.
I am no intrepid explorer but even I know not to go off-grid relying solely on Google Maps. And while Casio’s app can download maps for offline use, it doesn’t attempt to plot routes. I also found it temperamental when the watch wasn’t connected to WiFi. My attempts to load maps via smartphone data in Germany failed multiple times.
Um, that really sucks. I mean if you’re relying on the Casio Pro-Trek WDS F30 to get you to the middle of nowhere and back — as the promo shots and video suggests — losing the “and back” part of the program could be really annoying. A matter of life or death? That too. Not to mention . . .
The watch frequently disconnects from iPhones. I wouldn’t expect the battery to last longer than a day using it under normal smartwatch conditions, and while certain modes can extend its use in a hiking scenario for two days, you’re restricting the watch’s functions to the very essentials. The charger, too, is poorly designed, disconnecting from the device at the slightest tug and taking more than two hours to recharge the entire battery.
The truth about a lot of non-Apple smartwatches like the $549.99 Casio Pro-Trek WDS F30RG (above): they suck. (Knowing you’re in Belgium could be a bug not a feature.) The market will eventually sort it out; expect Casio and Fossil and the rest to get their shit together before long.
Meanwhile, it’s best to stick to smartwatches and smartbands with a proven track record and, yes, minimal functionality. That is all.