Step aside, James Bond’s watch. Your fake laser doesn’t come anywhere close to the “REAL” high tech gadgets inside the Pro Trek, Triple Sensor, Tough Solar Analog/Digital wristwatch by Casio. This watch would definitely make the aforementioned silver screen spy hero drool to the point of dehydration. Even though the Pro Trek will appeal to nearly every geeky gadget lover on the planet, its main market is for backpackers, boaters, cyclists, or adventurers of any kind who want a simple and effective tool for navigation and weather forecasting that’s no bigger than an average watch.
The Pro Trek has a wide variety of sensors and features, all of which are crammed into a normal-sized men’s wristwatch. The triple sensor consists of a digital compass, barometer/altimeter, & a thermometer. Those sensors are enough to make Captain Kirk’s tri-corder red with envy.
When using the compass feature, North is indicated with the second hand. When compared to a regular whisky compass, I found the Pro Trek digital compass to be spot on accurate if properly calibrated and held as level as possible. One thing to remember is that the accuracy of every compass can be seriously affected if used near any kind of magnets, electronic equipment, large metal objects, and even when used inside buildings or cars. One feature I think James Bond would have liked to see included is a rotating compass bezel on the face of the watch. This would increase the effectiveness of this watch when used for navigation.
Being able to see what altitude you are currently at is a very useful tool for any adventurer. The altimeter is displayed in 20-foot increments and has a measuring range of -2,300 to 32,800ft. These readings can also be recorded in the watch’s onboard memory. This is really cool for tracking your rate of accent/decent while hiking, biking, flying, rafting, or even rock climbing. I brought this watch along on several road trips and the altimeter stayed reasonably accurate even after traveling 1,000 miles. Luckily, the altimeter and the compass can be independently calibrated if necessary. I recommend doing this to both sensors before any excursion. James Bond could definitely put this feature to use the next time he unexpectedly has to jump out of an airplane (with a parachute of course).
The barometer will show you the pressure trend for the last 16 hours. I used this feature nearly every day to get a quick idea of what the weather might be like for the day. I found it to be quite accurate and reliable. Just remember that the barometric trend is only accurate if you do not move the watch location or altitude, which can happen when driving around town, going for a hike or flying in a plane. For the most accurate barometric trend reading, check the barometer graph in the morning before you head out for the day.
The temperature readout is also accessed from the barometer mode. The thermometer is really only accurate if you don’t wear the watch. This is due to your body heat affecting the sensors accuracy, which can be frustrating because you can’t just take off the watch to get a temperature reading. After you take off the watch, you have to also let it acclimatize to the ambient temperature for several minutes. I found it easiest to attach the watch to one of the nylon loops on the back of my backpack with the watch face situated so that it’s not in contact with my backpack or myself. This way your body temperature does not skew your sensor readings.
The triple sensor isn’t the only trick up this bad boy’s sleeve. The Pro Trek also has a built-in Atomic clock radio receiver, which gives it the ability to receive long range signals from 6 different transmitters around the globe. These signals automatically keep the watch’s time accurate to within 1 second. Exact accuracy is dependent on the distance from the watch to the transmitter from which your signal is being received. A transit delay of approximately 1 millisecond for every 300 kilometers (186 mi) of distance from the radio transmitter will occur. This level of accuracy is exactly what 007 would need to precisely coordinate a secret mission to save the world from those pesky evildoers.
As far as being able to read this watch in the dark, the Neo-brite Luminous Hands and Markers glow quite well after being exposed to bright light. However, they only glow brightly for a couple minutes. They do continue to faintly glow for quite some time longer, but you will have to wait for your eyes to adjust to the dark before you can see them very clearly. Tritium dials would have been a better solution in my opinion. The weak glowing ability is nicely compensated for with the built-in LED light. Mind you, it’s not a backlight behind the LCD screen like most people are used to. This puppy is actually a white LED that shines onto the face of the watch from the 6 o’clock position toward 12 o’clock. It gives more than enough light to see the time and just barely enough to get the Neo-brite faintly glowing again after they have completely faded. When in pitch black surroundings, this little LED can serve as a makeshift flashlight of last resort. I found it to be more than capable of assisting me in navigating around obstacles in the dark when no other sources of lighting were available. I would say that the amount of light output per square inch from the LED when held 3 feet from an object would be comparable to a full moon on a cloudless night. The size of the projected beam of light, however, is quite narrow and it only stays on for two seconds per push of the button. So, its usefulness is extremely limited beyond reading the time. Oh, and did I mention that you don’t even have to push the button to get the LED to light up? All you have to do is raise the watch up as you normally would to check the time, and the LED will activate automatically. This feature can really come in handy when both hands are occupied with other tasks and you quickly want to check the time in the dark.
Speaking of time, that’s another thing this watch can do. Fancy that, a watch that can tell time. What will they think of next? Sadly, the hour marks on this watch do not have any numbers. I know it’s not that hard to read a watch as long as it at least has the hour markings. I just really prefer my Analog watches to at least have the numbers actually written. This watch has numbers for time zones and compass bearing around the face, but numbers for its main task (telling the time) it regrettably lacks. Funny how the more expensive a watch is, the more difficult it is to tell the time on them. Just look at those big fancy watches that go for thousands of dollars that don’t even have the hour marking on them. Next thing you know, those fancy watch makers will be selling a watch for a million dollars that doesn’t even have the hour or minute hands on it. It will probably just have a platinum coated, solid gold, flip-up sundial arm (gnomon) that has been adorned with diamonds. Okay, moving on then.
In my opinion, one of the coolest features of this watch is its ability to be powered by the sun. The face of the watch (behind the hands) is actually a cleverly hidden solar panel. This panel can generate enough power to charge the battery when only under indoor lighting, which is quite an amazing feat when considering its small size. I have been using this watch and all of its cool features extensively for the past several months, and not once has the battery level dropped down from high to medium. It’s important to note that during that time, I have been mostly wearing long sleeve shirts, which means that even when I spent the day outside, the watch was never getting much direct sunlight exposure on the solar cell. Casio states that after a full charge, the battery is able to last for up to 5 months in pure darkness. Based on my experience with this watch over the several months I have been testing it, I am inclined to believe them. Basically, if you wear the watch, the battery won’t go dead. Just don’t leave it in a box for more than 5 months. If you plan on not wearing it for an extended period of time, leave it out every now and then where it can get a little ambient light from a nearby window or desk lamp.
You won’t have to worry about taking this watch into tough situations. I have taken it kayaking, hiking, biking, & swimming without any problems. It’s rated to 100m underwater and in temperatures down to 14°F. I have bumped it into everything from wooden doors to cement walls and haven’t had a single problem yet. Even though “Q” doesn’t go on a lot of missions himself, I am not sure “Q” would be willing to give this to 007. Like me, I think “Q” would want to keep this awesome watch for himself.
If you like to frequently spend time in the great outdoors and want to be able to quickly check your heading, altitude, ambient temperature, or if a storm might be moving in, then I highly recommend the Pro Trek by Casio. It is definitely an effective and powerful tool to add to your outdoor gear collection. It without a doubt will save you from the hassle of carrying multiple individual devices that take up much more space and will never be as convenient or as practical as having them all tucked neatly into a normal unsuspecting wristwatch such as this. 007 is only going to have one item on his wish list for “Q”, and it’s going to be the Pro Trek, Triple Sensor, Solar Powered, Atomic wrist watch by Casio.