Gadgets 560

Published on September 15th, 2009 | by Greg


Casio and Highgear Watches Tell Much More Than Time

You can buy a super-cheap watch almost anywhere these days, and it will keep excellent time. So, watch manufacturers have turned to more functions, as well as style and durability, to distinguish their wares. The two companies we’re looking at today are quite distinct: Casio is world-renowned for their timepieces, but also makes pianos, digital cameras, calculators, and label printers; Highgear makes great compasses and altimeters along with some adventure tools. Both offer up deep feature sets, but aimed at different audiences.

We’ll start with the Casio Waveceptor Edifice, aimed at men, and a truly serious watch. At 185 grams, it’s not light, and the band tends to scratch a bit easily and show fingerprints as well. The manual is immensely complicated, hard to read owing to fine print, and because the watch is so complex, you’ll definitely need the manual! With an MSRP of $450, it’s also pretty expensive- not nearly in the top tier of timepiece prices, but certainly an investment. It can also be overwhelming, and a bit hard to read, with three tiny sub-dials and many moving parts. And there isn’t even a backlight!

But that’s all of the bad stuff, and it is rendered almost besides the point by the sheer awesomeness of this watch. We’ve gotten more comments and questions on this watch than any other single item we’ve reviewed, as every guy wants to see what makes it tick. It looks and sounds and feels magnificent, far more expensive than the price, and once you figure it out, you miss wearing it when you leave it behind. The watch feels solid and stable and durable, is water resistant to 100m (330 feet), and has quite bright glow-in-the-dark hands and time markers. True, you can’t see the sub-dials in the dark at all, but the trade off is likely that the battery life of the watch is five months. If that doesn’t sound like much, it leaves out a crucial piece, and perhaps the coolest thing about the watch- it’s solar powered, and recharges as long as there is any light, even artificial!

Wait, maybe we spoke too fast. The coolest thing about the watch is probably the fact that it can synch with atomic clocks in the US, Europe, Japan, and most of China, ensuring that your clock is more accurate than anyone or anything else. Don’t fret about needing to do it manually, either- it will automatically calibrate up to six times a day. There is a 24 hour timer, but you can get that on most any watch, and there is an alarm (though a bit hard to set, it gets the job done). One other unique thing is that it can easily switch between time zones, and also the badass stopwatch. If that sounds odd, it’s because you aren’t using a Waveceptor Edifice, a watch that makes time beautiful and even a bit dangerous, with the red second hand and sharp black face, precision engineering and futuristic solar/atomic feature set. If you can get past the difficult manual, and have room on your wrist for a weighty timepiece that is sure to grab attention, look no further.

If, however, you want to spend less on a watch (closer to $135), and want more features on your wristwatch, you can’t do better than the Highgear AXIO Max. Great backlighting and a a set of timers and stopwatches, sure, but add more alarms than any watch we’ve seen- two daily ones, and even ones for altitude (!), hydration (!), and rest. Those may have tipped you off to the killer features on hand here- an altimeter, barometer, compass, and thermometer combine for pretty much the ultimate hiking and exploration watch. None of them are perfect, but combined make for an easy way to track your backcountry adventures.

But wait! That’s not all! Another great addition is the data log, which is perhaps a little difficult to read at a glance. It keeps track of some important data like exercise time, altitude traveled, as well as starting and maximum altitude reached. Weather tracking is a neat idea, but we didn’t find it to be well-implemented here (it uses the barometer, and perhaps our weather is a bit too funky around the Bay Area). Water-resistant to 50m, the Axio Max is quite comfortable, with a durable band and a wide, readable face. Sure, we’d love to be able to export the data, but maybe next version. A smaller, mini version aimed at women is available, as is the original version (neither offer the compass). Finally, the Axio Max is available in three colors, brown, black, and moss, online and in stores now.

About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Apple’s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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