The Casio PRO TREK series got an upgrade in the form of a new sensor engine. If you or someone you knows spends time outdoors, well off the beaten path, these new V.3 watches would make a great gift this holiday season. They’ve reduced the size of the direction sensor by 95%, and it uses 90% less power too. Casio recently loanedÂ us one of the Triple Sensor models, which hasÂ a compass, thermometer, and altimeter/barometer. With the fast-changing weather and big altitude changes here in Utah, it was easy to put it to the test.
After the initial setup, which did require reading the manual, I was ready to test the altimeter. We had already planned a trip to Park City, and this gave us a chance to take readings from our home base at 4,770 feet, all the way up to nearly 10,000 feet. With the option toÂ update at intervals ofÂ five seconds over the course of an hour, or two minutes for 12 hours, you can track your descent on a mountain bike, or a climb on foot. Once out of the car, we used the two minute interval to measure our snail’s pace, as we were hiking at nearly 5,000 feet aboveÂ our usual elevation. The PRO TREKÂ will record your high and low altitudes, along with a total ascent/descent, over a range of -2,300 feet all the way up to 32,800 feet.Â You can alsoÂ set a target elevation, and seeÂ your progress towards that point with a quick glance at your wrist. I’ll admit that this is not something I gave much thought to before, but once I realized I had access to that information, I found it quite handy.
With a little knowledge of barometric pressure, it’s possible to predict whether or not your hike is going to get rained out. Keep in mind that you want readings 12-24 hours in advance to see if pressure is stable, or trending either up or down. The PRO TREK takes readings every two hours, so if youÂ just strap it on and leave the house for a hike, you might get soaked before it has a chance to warn you. But on a full day outing, or multi-day, you should be able to tell if it’s ok to venture far from base camp, as it graphs barometric pressure over the last 26 hours. During our test period, a quick look at the sky trumped the tech on my wrist, but that’s not a slight to the watch, it’s just our local weather.
Rounding out theÂ majorÂ features is the compass. TheÂ PRO TREK displays direction with both numerical angle values and alpha direction indicators, as well as four direction pointers. Note that calibration instructions are included, and should be followed before relying on the compass to get you out and back safely.Â I’ll trust a digital compassÂ right up until I get lost, then switch to my trusty traditional plastic compass, much like the one my dad taught me to read decades ago. To date, the only time I’ve to relied on a compass outside ofÂ normal navigationÂ was when I first moved to Utah, and got disoriented by the snow. With zero point of reference, I had to useÂ a digital compass to getÂ pointed in the right direction. The PRO TREK would have been very handy that day.
Other features of the PRO TREK include a thermometer, 31 time zones around the world with sunrise/sunset data, five alarms, stopwatch, countdown timer, a calendar good until 2099, 12/24 hour formats, and a rechargeable battery that can operate up to 9 months on a full charge.
The Casio PRO TREK is durable, and the controls are well laid out. All the important buttons are on the right side, spaced apart, and easy to access with gloves. Just below 6 o’clock is the light switch, also easy to use. On the left, out of the way and inset a bit, are the buttons for menus and changing settings. It would take rough use or really clumsy hands to hit the wrong buttons.Â To protect the crystal, the face is set deep into the watch, and it was unscathed after several outings.Â It carries a reasonableÂ MSRP of $180, which gets youÂ a lot of nice features in a rugged package. protrek.casio.com
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