Taking steps with the Casio ProTrek PRT-B50-4

Taking steps with the Casio ProTrek PRT-B50-4

Over the last year or two, I?ve reviewed a number of watches in the Casio ProTrek lineup. Those most prominently have featured their Triple Sensor technology, which give you compass, altitude/barometer, and temperature readouts on your wrist. Well, friends, we?ve now reached the realm of the (wait for it) quad sensor. What does this do, you ask? Well, read on for our review of the Casio ProTrek PRT-B50.

Apologies for the click-baity intro there, but if you?ve followed along, now we?ve got the true ProTrek fans along, and we can reveal the secrets that the Casio ProTrek PRT-B50 are packing along. The fourth sensor that?s come into the mix is something I?ve long looked for in the line – an accelerometer. What this means, in practical terms, is that you?ve got a step counter built into the watch. Which, if you?re hiking along in the outdoors, for instance, could be handy to know. But that?s not all.

The Casio ProTrek PRT-B50 also packs a Bluetooth radio in there, which means it can talk with the PRO TREK Connected app (yes, another app from Casio – they really need to work on consolidating these). When you combine the sensors with the smarts in the app, you can get some rather interesting insights into what you?ve been doing:

Calorie calculations use both step count and altitude information to take upgrades and downgrades into consideration, and calories burned values are recorded by the app. The app automatically records altitude data measured by the watch and route information acquired by a smartphone?s GPS, and you can manually plot altitude points along your route using a Route Log feature.

Interestingly, you can also mark your current location, then move along, and calculate the distance from where you were to where you are now. Orienteering, anyone? The app also makes setting and configuring the watch a cinch, and really does make the case for this sort of low-energy Bluetooth connection to exist in a watch that relies on a standard watch battery (no charging up required for this one).

As with prior ProTrek watches, the Casio ProTrek PRT-B50 is not what you?d call a compact watch. For one, packing all those sensors in requires space. Second, when you?re banging around outside, you want something that?s both easy to quickly read and easy to work the buttons as you?re logging miles on the trail. Fortunately, with the primarily-resin construction, the watch is an almost featherweight 64g. So, so long as it fits to your wrist, you won?t really notice it there until you need to reference it for something.

There are obviously a lot of outdoors-oriented features on the Casio ProTrek PRT-B50, and that?s what we expect from the line. However, I found that it does work just fine as a day-to-day watch even when you?re not in the woods. Sure, with it?s size, it?s definitely more of a casual watch, but it eschews crazy colors (with a simple, but high-contrast, blue and white palette on our loaner) that means it wouldn?t look totally out of place in the office (unless you?re in a suit-and-tie environment).

Frankly, if you?re a fan of the ProTrek lineup (as I am), there is a lot to like with the Casio ProTrek PRT-B50. The accelerometer and bluetooth may feel like a marketing ploy, but they combine to create some interesting, useful functionality. Oh, and there?s one more surprise in the watch as well – it?s backlight. Yes, it?s got one for the LCD, but there?s also a UV light that comes on, which means you?re charging the lume on the handset, which is another great thing for being in the outdoors in my book. In short, there?s a lot to like about the $200 Casio ProTrek PRT-B50-4, especially if you?re spending a lot of time out of doors. protrek.casio.com

Review Summary

  • Brand & Model: Casio ProTrek PRT-B50
  • Price: $200
  • Who?s it for? You’re looking for a wrist-mounted companion for your outdoor adventures
  • Would I wear it? Sure would!
  • What I?d change: The 50 different Casio “smart” apps – I get the branding aspects, but these really should be consolidated to simplify things for the consumer
  • The best thing about it: While the accelerometer and Bluetooth could have been gadget-like checkmarks on the spec sheet, they’re actually being used for something useful and cool

Tech Specs from Casio

Quad Sensor (Thermometer, Altimeter/Barometer, Digital compass, Step counter)

  • Smartphone Link (Bluetooth? connection connect with a smartphone)
  • Hand retraction function
  • Sunrise/sunset time display
  • World Time (City Swapping)
  • Double LED Light (Auto Light)

Specifications

  • Case / bezel material: Resin
  • Resin Band
  • Mineral Glass
  • Direction Bezel
  • 100-meter water resistance
    • Double LED light
    • LED light for the face (Auto LED light, Neon illuminator, selectable illumination duration (1.5 seconds or 3 seconds), afterglow)
    • LED backlight for the digital display (Auto LED light, Super illuminator, selectable illumination duration (1.5 seconds or 3 seconds), afterglow)
  • Low-temperature resistant (?10?C/14?F)
  • Mobile link (Wireless linking using Bluetooth?)
  • Digital compass
    • Measures and displays direction as one of 16 points
    • Measuring range: 0 to 359?
    • Measuring unit: 1?
    • 60 seconds continuous measurement
    • Hand indication of north
    • Magnetic declination correction
    • Direction calibration (2-point calibration, figure eight calibration, auto calibration)
  • Altimeter
    • Measuring range: ?700 to 10,000 m (?2,300 to 32,800 ft.)
    • Measuring unit: 1 m (5 ft.)
    • Hand indication graph of altitude differential
    • Manual memory measurements (up to 14 records, each including altitude, date, time)
    • Auto log data (High/low altitudes, cumulative ascent and descent)
    • Others: Relative altitude readings (?100 m /?1000 m), selectable measurement interval: 5 seconds or 2 minutes (1 second for first 3 minutes only)
    • Changeover between meters (m) and feet (ft)
  • Barometer
    • Measuring range: 260 to 1,100 hPa (7.65 to 32.45 inHg)
    • Measuring unit: 1 hPa (0.05 inHg)
    • Hand indication of pressure differential (?10hPa)
    • Atmospheric pressure tendency graph (last 20 hours or last 56 hours)
    • Barometric pressure tendency information alarm (beep and arrow indicates significant changes in pressure)
    • The atmospheric pressure tendency graph can show the last 20 minutes or last 56 minutes of measurements. The hand indication of pressure differential shows values in units of ?1 hPa.
    • Changeover between hPa and inHg
  • Thermometer
    • Measuring range: ?10 to 60?C (14 to 140?F)
    • Measuring unit: 0.1?C (0.2?F)
    • Changeover between Celsius (?C) and Fahrenheit (?F)
  • Step count using a 3-axis acceleration sensor: 0 to 999,999 step count display range
  • Power Saving: Auto sensor sleep state entry after fixed period of non-activity
  • World time: 38 time zones (38 cities + coordinated universal time), daylight saving on/off, Home city/World time city swapping
  • Sunrise, sunset time display: Sunrise time and sunset time for specific date
  • 1/100-second stopwatch
    • 00?00??00?59?59??99 (for the first 60 minutes)
    • 1:00?00?23:59?59 (after 60 minutes)
    • Measuring unit:
    • 1/100 second (for the first 60 minutes)
    • 1 second (after 60 minutes)
    • Measuring modes: Elapsed time, split time, 1st-2nd place times
  • Countdown timer
    • Measuring unit: 1 second
    • Countdown range: 24 hours
    • Countdown start time setting range: 1 second to 24 hours (1-minute increments and 1-hour increments)
  • 5 daily alarms
  • Hourly time signal
  • Hand shift feature
  • Full auto-calendar (to year 2099)
  • 12/24-hour format
  • Button operation tone on/off
  • Regular timekeeping:
    • Analog: 3 hands (hour, minute (hand moves every 10 seconds), second)
    • Digital: Hour, minute, second, am/pm, month, date, day
  • Accuracy: ?15 seconds per month (with no mobile link function)
  • Approx. battery life: 2 years on CR2025
  • Size of case / Total weight
    • Size of case : 57.5?50.8?15.8mm
    • Total weight : 64g
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