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Apple’s Watch Is Smarter, but My Casio Keeps Getting the Job Done (nytimes.com)
58 points by eigenschwarz 49 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 43 comments



About 5 years ago I bought probably the last watch I'd ever need. It's a solar powered Casio with timezones, and the normal 'digital watch' accoutrements. The little energy-saving details are fantastic. It has analog hands with a small digital screen. Why waste energy on backlighting when you can use glow in the dark paint that charges with the same light as the energy source? Too dark or too still? Turn off the screen until you move the watch. There was a time when it was in a drawer for a couple months while I was traveling, and when I got it out and put it in the sun, it fired right back up, and adjusted the time itself. I've seen it drop into a low charge maybe twice. It feels like it's meant to last forever, and I believe it's probably some of the best 50 bucks I've ever spent.

I've used a Fitbit and a couple friends have Apple watches, but the entire concept of charging an always connected timepiece just makes no sense to me.


I think I have the same watch - a Casio WaveCeptor Tough Solar. It was a 21st birthday present. The complete lack of need to replace batteries is amazing. I have the titanium version, which is astonishingly lightweight. And it is indeed tough - I've gone travelling, swimming, diving with it and it's fully functional. The timezones feature is also extremely useful when travelling, being able to swap between home and local easily. My current apartment makes it difficult to pick up the time signal though.

However, I bought a Pebble a few years ago, and I have to say there is definitely a way to do smartwatches right. The idea of charging a watch regularly is annoying, I can't deny, but Pebble did something right when they prioritised battery life. I routinely get over a week of use out of the Pebble, and that's with an always-on LCD screen (contrary to popular belief, it's not a traditional e-ink display, but a 'memory LCD', which has a refresh rate fast enough to display animations), which for all the watch does is quite acceptable battery life. It can fully charge from USB in an hour. And the ability to have a watch face showing a large amount of information at once (just like the 'complications' on traditional watches) really helps - on the main one I use, I can see the local weather at a glance. Having certain notifications pushed from my phone is also useful. Although sometimes, I do find myself ensuring the watch is exposed to sunlight like my Casio, trying to charge it.


How did it adjust its own time? I'm guessing GPS receiver?


Casio have a brand called WaveCeptor that picks up radio time signals transmitted from around the world; GPS is an enormous power-suck (receiver and processing) so using it for time is impractical on a low-power device.


Probably a radio time signal: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radio_clock


The Casio is from a time when there wasn’t a clock staring at you every time you turn around. If the choice were Casio or nothing, I’d just stick with nothing. A time keeping device on my wrist solves no problems for me (except running, in which case the Garmin comes out). A Casio “gets the job done” in the same way a buggy whip still gets the job done: it’s a job that kinda doesn’t need doing anymore, at least for me.

If there were a wrist-worn device that can track my runs, open my garage door, turn on the lights, remind me to water the neighbor’s plants tomorrow at noon, play me some music and...oh, what the hell, tell me the time, too...THEN we’d have something worth wearing on my wrist all day. Which is why I have an Apple Watch and not a Casio.


I always wear a cheap Casio watch (and mean always: in the shower, when I sleep...) And it's been great for me. I was fed up of pulling my phone out whether I wanted to check the time because I would always get distracted and sometimes not notice the time anyway. It also felt like a regression to the days of pocket watches.


I've found that sometimes I want to know the time without pulling out my phone, had a citizen eco drive that was solar, loved the thing until it just created a rash on my wrist.


I think this is why I like my dumb watch. I already spend too much time on my phone and checking the time on it just triggers further procrastination.


A relative of mine recently got an Apple Watch as a gift. He has since been transformed by it. The health/fitness reminders/achievements are huge motivators for him - he was fairly fit, but now he is in the best shape since I have known him. Im thinking of getting one too :-)


This is the same for me. I don't know what it is about it but when I get the notification that there's an award available for a certain holiday or season, I have to get it. I don't really even share that I've gotten the award or tell people about it even though I should. Just the thought of not being able to do one of these challenges physically makes me so much more motivated to do every one of them. It's almost like I'm trying to prove to myself that I'm not out of shape. Once that got me hooked, then I got to where I wanted to close all my rings every day. Now, it's just something that isn't really an option for me anymore unless I absolutely can't (because I'm on a long plane flight or somehow otherwise incapacitated). I'm not in the best shape of my life but I'm in much better shape than I have been in a very long time.

It's so stupid but this watch plus my AirPods are kinda life changing. I swear I'm not being paid by Apple to say this, either. There are still some issues obviously but, on the whole, it would take a lot to get me to stop wearing this thing.


I too love the Apple Watch and the AirPods combination. Seems like the iPhone is becoming the computer and the watch is the new smart phone.


All I want is another Pebble...such a shame how the company folded and "acquired" by Fitbit. I own a Versa and I can definitely see the similarity to the Pebble app but it's not quite there. I wish Fitbit will bring back the E-ink like screens.


I own two classic watches and a Fitbit Versa. Personally, found notifications from the watch to be more distracting as a I try to escape my phone screen. Additionally, having all that health data may seem like a blessing, but for me it was just more worry in disguise. I’d constantly analyze the data, research anomalies, and maybe even give myself health anxiety all while my health was perfectly fine. Smart watches are certainly not for everyone!


I keep email notifications completely turned off, and only turn on app notifications for a few select apps.


I use my smartwatch(A fitbit versa) to tell me my heart's rough bpm, steps I walked, notifications from my phone, time and as a stopwatch. I could certainly take out my already 'obsolete' smartphone, but the wristwatch is a more convenient form.

That's it.

All I wanted is e-ink for longer battery life so that I can charge less, and bluetooth that actually fucking work.

I wasted so much time trying to troubleshoot bluetooth issues to sometime to no avail.


I used to be a huge fan of the FitBit. I've got multiple FitBits from multiple product lines (meaning I have more than 1 of the same device for multiple devices) and I have all the accessories that went with them (Aria scale, watches, etc.). Every single one of them has been replaced either under warranty or purchased specifically to replace another device that failed within the first six months of the 1-year warranty. The customer support has been pretty fair about replacing them and even replaced one that we admitted accidentally went through the washer because we had emailed about the same issue while it was in warranty still.

But... I'm over the regular hassle of everything just suddenly not working at all. On some of them it's the strap which is less of a deal. On others it's the display. On other things it's the motion sensing. On another it's the pairing and bluetooth. Everything is just such a headache that, cumulatively, I couldn't do it anymore. The fact that they also don't sync to anything except their own portal unless you pay for a third-party app to connect to it is another nail in the coffin.

Haven't so far and don't ever plan to go back to the FitBit world. Once this latest scale and tracker die, I'm out.


I thought most (if not all) fitbits are set to only activate the display when you rotate your wrist to look at it. Given that the screen isn't on for a majority of the time, wouldn't e-ink barely affect the battery life?


I still can't get mine to sync with my car.


I recently went back to traditional watches because I was frustrated with being able to control notifications in a granular way.

Ultimately, I need the time, preferably in two time zones, and the date. I've got a GMT watch now and a Casio I use for when I'm working on the house of in the yard.

I like my Apple Watch for workout tracking, but that's the only mileage it gets these days.


What's your use case for the notifications? I took some time to pick which notifications get sent where and it helps me keep off social media and keeps me focused on what I'm doing. If it doesn't come to the watch, it's not important and if it comes to phone and watch, then it's not time-sensitive and I can respond whenever. If it just comes on the phone, then it's an alert for a game or something mindless that I only care about when I'm bored.


It's not so much a problem with the watch as it's not really in line with the way I want to interact with my watch.

As I've gotten busier, I prefer a pull model, not a push. I block off parts of my day and don't want to be disturbed. It became a hassle to police and that's okay.

I originally bought it to give me a better sense of my activity level. I now understand that and will continue to use it for workouts but it's just not interesting as an every day wear sorta thing.


Hmm... you can't set up Do Not Disturb to turn on during those times? I'm not trying to be argumentative, I'm just surprised because I've experienced the exact opposite. As I've gotten busier, the watch has helped me prioritize what contact is important and what's not. My wife, for example, can always contact me, even if I'm in DnD. No one else can, though.


What kind of GMT watch do you have. I have a Glycine Airman, and I’m not aware of others than 24 Hour Watch Company (which I went through two of).


I wear a Christopher Ward C65 GMT. It's got the ”pepsi face” with a 24 hour hand I keep on UTC.


The two features I probably find most valuable with my Apple Watch are that it's usually easier look at my wrist to see if I'm getting an important call rather than having to dig into my pocket, jacket, or bag to find the phone, and then I wake up 1.5 hours earlier than my wife and the vibrating alarm means I'm much less disruptive.


Question from a non-Apple watch user, but an interested prospective consumer: if you have to charge your watch at night, how do you use it to wake you up?


It charges very quickly, and I usually charge before bed, during shower, etc.


I like that feature but, for some reason, I always have issues answering the call on my watch. It doesn't happen every time but it happens often enough that looking at new routers and cell carriers. From what I can tell, no one else I know that has an Apple Watch has this problem. They're always Dick Tracy'ing everywhere and I'm always staring at my wrist saying "Hello... hello... hello..." like some crazy person. I wish that feature worked more for me. It might even be a minority of the time but it's just far more memorable for me when it doesn't work because it's always when I need it to work the most (when my hands are full and I need to answer with my nose, for example). It'll get there at some point for me, I hope. It's very convenient.


I prefer my Hamilton Khaki. Never needs a new battery, and looks nice and clean. About the same price as an Apple watch for almost none of the functionality, but I really like the idea of a mechanism keeping almost perfect time, just powered by the movements of my arm.


Beautiful watch. On top of looking good, it will never be 'outdated'. Your average _insert here smartwatch_ will be outdated in 2 years as technology evolves.


I've a series 2 Apple Watch and it surprisingly still do its job well. I don't except much from it, and it even became better with time with new watchOS releases.


I don’t know what is the point here in comparing to a regular watch. Does the Casio allow one to leave the phone behind and pick up a call on watch and AirPods ? Does it slightly nudge if you have sitting too long in an hour?

Clearly Apple Watch is meant more for that.


>I don’t know what is the point here in comparing to a regular watch.

The author is questioning the utility of doing all that bullshit from something strapped to his wrist.

>Clearly Apple Watch is meant more for that.

You don't say?


Bah, newfangled DIGITAL watch!? Kids these days... What's wrong with winding up your watch every now and then? And he even admits when it breaks he just throws it away and buys a new one! In MY day, watches were built to last for generations! Why did they have to fix what wasn't broke with all these electronics!

(looking forward to the day when I'm the one clinging to my old-fashioned Apple Watch, complaining about the kids with their wrist live-tattoos or eyeball implants or god knows what is coming)


Sir, disposable watches have been put together with rivets and spot welds since time immemorial.


There is so much to be said about mature technology.

I still carry and pen and paper everywhere I go smart phone be damned.


Another <sn followed by a number> user agrees with you.

My problem is the only way to retain notes over 8 years or more is plain paper and pen, or plain text. Of late, I've also started using ruled index cards.


> SN76477

... Ah, you're a sound chip! I had one of those. The sweet memories of teenage electronics projects circa 1985...


Thanks for noticing!


I've got the solar-powered Casio that synchronizes with WWV every night, and it is splendid. However, I have read that WWV is going QRT this year. Is that so? When?


Pedantically its WWVB, the LW digital code version, not WWV the SW station. WWV/H/B were at risk for defunding, but their funding was renewed.


I must admit I bought a F-91W just because it's the terrorist watch, but after wearing it a few times got sold and haven't taken it off.

I forgot the pleasure of wearing a simple watch.




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