Published on September 9th, 2014 | by Greg0
Casio’s STB1000 Is A Fitter Smartwatch
Fitness trackers and smartwatches have a lot in common, but typically serve different needs- the former category focuses on lighter, smaller devices with more sensors meant to be worn in harsher conditions while the latter group are typically bigger and meant for all-day wear with less concern for water- and weather-proofing. Trying to meld the two sets of needs is tough, but makes a lot of sense, because who wants to switch watches every time they go running?
The Casio STB1000 Men’s OmniSync Sports Bluetooth-Enabled Watch makes a solid case for the smart/fitness wearable combination accessory. On the eve of Apple’s potential announcement of their own iWatch, it’s worth considering the many use cases and scenarios that have led to overheated expectations (‘the year of wearables’) as well as the success of quite a few niche products. And while Casio’s watch might not offer a catchy name, or any cutting-edge functions, it does a remarkably good job at upgrading the classic Casio watch with some nifty features while maintaining a surprisingly reasonable price point.
Water resistant to 100m, comfortable on the wrist, and it looks to the casual eye just like one of the many other Casios we’ve liked in the past- but the STB1000 has a few tricks up it’s sleeve. Setup is simple- just connect to your smartphone using Bluetooth. Then, you can control your music (though it’s a bit difficult), and display alerts (push notifications are visible on the face, though barely so considering the size of the space and the greyscale screen). Bluetooth Low Energy 4.0 means that it won’t drain your battery life- but few phones currently work (iOS7 iPhones 4S and newer only), and we did have some issues with occasional disconnections and drop-outs. The fitness portions, though work quite well, and you can connect to MapMyFitness, Runtastic, and other supported apps. We tested it during a run session, and found it easy enough to use, though did not test out the heart rate monitor connectivity.
With a battery life of two years, and an OK backlight, the STB1000 is a better watch than almost any fitness tracker, and it’s durability sets a high bar for others. It doesn’t offer sleep tracking though, which is a fairly common feature, and also lacks the built-in sensors of higher-end competitors (GPS, blood oxygen, not to mention things like temperature or altitude that are great for dedicated athletes). And it doesn’t handle notifications as well as the Martian line, with their impressively customizable vibration patterns. But as an all-around watch for those wanting to dip a toe into fitness monitoring without compromising, the Casio STB1000 is a sturdy friend and an alternative to more expensive gadgets that offer little battery life. Available now for around $70, online and in stores.