Casio calls their second generation smartwatch the “smart outdoor watch” – a fitting title for the very decent Casio Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 that we see here. While Casio is the only of the three major Japanese watchmakers to embrace modern smartwatches, the segment of “intelligent connected timepieces” was arguably invented if not dramatically improved by companies such as Casio since the 1980s. Now in 2017, a smartwatch is by today’s definition, quite radically different from what the Japanese more or less invented over the last 30 years.
Modern smartwatches (at their best) are a merger between reliable, functional hardware and robust sophisticated software. While sometimes the same company produces both (e.g. Apple), most of the time in the context of smartwatches, the hardware and software are produced by different companies. This is very distinct from more traditional watches where the same company developed or at least had control of both the outside and “inside” of the watch. I always tend to keep this in mind when reviewing smartwatches, since it does change the way they are evaluated, given that there is both a hardware and software component to the review. In this case, the WSD-F20 runs Google Android Wear 2.0, with some exclusive software developed for Casio, inside of a piece of hardware produced by Casio. Thus, the operating system in many ways is a separate element, which merits it own review discussion that will be better explained elsewhere. This review is best for people who already have an understanding of what Android Wear 2.0 is and how to use it.
Smartwatch development is going in a predictable direction as far as I am concerned and timepieces like the Pro Trek Smart in some ways are transitional items of technology, but in other ways serve as excellent niche-appeal products which demonstrate that not all Android Wear 2.0 watches need to look and perform the same. Casio isn’t trying to reinvent the smartwatch segment, or outperform the competition on all levels. Rather, Casio hopes that the Pro Trek Smart WSD-F20 will be the smartwatch of choice for those who want better than average durability and features designed especially for hiking and outdoor exploration – plus a connection to their smartphone and the Internet.