Once again arguably the best Protrek Casio yet is NOT available here in the UK. The model PRW3000 series improves on the current range and uses the Ver 3. Triple Sensor (Altimeter/Barometer, Thermometer & Compass), it’s solar powered and Radio Controlled with Multi-Band 6 Atomic Timekeeping, with a 100m Water Resistance case.
Owing to the improved and updated modules the direction sensor is smaller (plus improved power consumption) means that the overall dimensions of this model are at last reduced. And if familiar with my web site you well know this is an ongoing issue I have with watches today. At 47mm diameter x 56mm x 12.3 height and only 62g weight, this is at least moving nearer the normal wrist size, without looking like a Marvel comic character.
Accuracy too has been improved with Altitude measured in 1m increments and the display compass readings have 60 seconds of continuous measurement. Added to that there is a Barometric Pressure Tendency Alarm that alerts the wearer to sudden changes in pressure readings – more like GPS units.
As I understand it – can only be purchased from outlets in the Far East and if you need one, then that’s what you will have to do – and run the gauntlet of customs delays, high customs Duty and VAT charges and perhaps an overpriced model at the end of it all.
Of course some will ask if an ABC model is worth all the hassle at all and perhaps rightly so. If into trekking or mountaineering, then you are presumably pretty efficient with map and compass already and maybe have a GPS unit, which after all gives the same data (possibly more accurately as it’s not as confined space wise?) plus a positional indication moving map.
And that’s a valid point – most GPS units are very, very good at horizontal positioning, which is arguably the most important aspect for the majority of recreational walkers, as opposed to serious mountaineering. It actually tells you where you are! The ABC watch of course doesn’t have that function!
And there are the gadget freaks who simply must have the model as it’s the latest high tech wrist fashion. How often have I seen a Tube video of someone showing off his ABC and saying – “Well I know I’m at 400ft, though the watch says 320ft – not too bad is it?” My own thoughts are he’s used the wrong description – not too bad? I think a better one would be “utterly useless”. Or being charitable – perhaps he doesn’t yet know how to calibrate the thing.
And that IS a point. With all ABC watches you have to calibrate them . The Compass and the Altimeter, Barometric pressure and so on, all have to be calibrated otherwise the unit will NOT be accurate. And if as in Scotland where the atmospheric pressure changes often by the minute (our weather is unpredictable to say the least) you might as well forget it, as most readings will be worse than useless.
However if using GPS with a barometric/altimeter and pressure is changing due to weather and not elevation change, at least on some units you have the option of selecting “fixed elevation” mode when it then uses the GPS only for elevation data. But I don’t think you can do this on a wrist watch – yet.
I’ve decided already not to rush to the Far East for one just yet. I’m thinking why do I need one? Maybe I’ll wait for a few UK or USA reviews (not the hype) and consider carefully if I really want one at all.
And when you sit and think about it – time is actually on your side. These units will surely get better and who knows – v4 might just be around the corner – accuracy and calibration factors could improve out of all recognition next week or month!
Imagine Calibration could even be a totally automatic process for Altitude, Pressure and Compass! Carrying around a 90 page instruction booklet is not my idea of fun! The ultimate goal has to be – buy it, strap it on and go!
Now OK just supposition on my part of course and don’t let my hangups stop you rushing out and getting one, from wherever. But personally even with the latest ABC’s, I have to admit to viewing them in the gadget category, albeit a “work in progress” – so I’m quite happy to wait.