Featuring traditional for the Japanese brand design, the new Casio Edifice EQB-500D-1A features a handy Bluetooth module. To make all of its features work you will only need to accompany it by
The Japanese megacorporation Casio is often associated with relatively inexpensive timekeepers designed for persons more interested in functionality on a budget rather than in style and innovation. However this guy is clearly isn’t dirt cheap with its impressive MSRP of $520 USD. However, for four hundred dollars and some change that the EQB-500D is currently offered on eBay, you get a lot of a watch.
I am not, of course, talking about its size although, at 48 millimeters in diameter, the device is by no means small, but about its functionality that, besides such things as solar charging and full auto-calendar, also includes Bluetooth connectivity that allows the EQB-500D to wirelessly connect to your smart phone. Once connected, the wristwatch will download all the data it needs to automatically display time in your current time zone. It even knows whether the country of your stay uses daylight saving time!
And if you get on a plane, you can always activate safe airplane mode with just a push of a button.
To get the features enabled, you only need a smartphone (or probably a tablet) and an installed app that makes synchronization possible. As soon as you install the app, you can either receive time zone updates automatically or simply choose your desired location either from a list of 309 cities or, if you happen to live in the middle of nowhere, just position your place on a map (it is not clear from the press release whether the app supports geolocation, but I would be extremely surprised if it didn’t).
When you first connect the watch to your iPhone, it takes approximately 15-20 seconds for the device to be found by the app and all necessary data transferred back in forth. Then, you will have to wait some more till the timekeeper’s hour and minute hands (slowly) rotate to their new position. If time is of the essence, you may be mildly irritated by how slowly the tiny motors inside the stainless steel case move the hands: from my experience, setting the time by hand would be way lot faster. Still, the “complication” looks extremely cool and, from where I stand, makes the watch more interesting and more entertaining.
What disappoints me a little is that the list of platforms that the watch supports is so far limited to just Android and iOS: no wireless goodness for you, Windows Phone fans. Now, I understand that WP’s market share is ridiculous at this time, but it also is a third most popular mobile phone platform in the world and for such a huge brand as Casio, developing and supporting software for WP phones is clearly not a problem. It more looks like they just shrugged off those millions of users that, well, think different.
The watch itself looks quite nice. The design is easily recognizable, but still original. I especially dig the unorthodox tachymeter scale that has finally been removed from the bezel and assigned its own sub-dial between three and six o’clock. The “UNIT/H” inscription on the display suggests that the watch can be set to display your current speed in either kilometers or miles per hour, which is quite nice, although it doesn’t make the function any more useful: in a car you always have a speedometer and if that’s not enough, you always have a smartphone with a GPS app, which is even more precise.
Measuring 52 mm lug to lug, 48 mm wide and being a bit more than 14 millimeters thick, the gadget is more massive than most consumers would probably care to, but, for a sporty chronograph, it seems to be acceptable. As you can see on a wristshot below, the watch is large, but still looks good on a hand of a normal man in his 30s. Also, a lot larger dial opening allowed Casio’s designers to place and extra pair of sub-dials that give you not only dual time display, but also add an extra indicator for built-in alarm: a very nice thing to have for a frequent traveler.
Still, be warned: the gadget takes a great deal of space on a normal wrist and would probably look intimidatingly massive even on a man of heroic proportions.
At the time of writing this review, Casio experienced some difficulties with making their app working on the new iPhone 6. Well, I hope they will resolve the problem soon.
WWR preliminary verdict
Build quality: 5/5
Value for money: 4.5/5
Casio Edifice EQB-500D-1A Bluetooth watch specification
Price: $520 (MSRP)
Movement: Quartz, Tough Solar, Made in Japan
Power reserve: 33 months (fully charged, Power Saving mode engaged)
Functions: Hours, minutes, seconds, date, chronograph, tachymeter, stopwatch, dual time (GMT), Mobile Link Functions (world time:309 cities etc.), daily alarm, EOL, airplane mode
Case material: Stainless steel / Black Steel
Bezel material: Matches case
Crown material: Matches case
Case shape: Round
Bezel shape: Round
Case size: 52.00 mm x 48.10 mm
Case height: 14.10 mm
Lug width: No data
Hour markers: Applied, additional luminous rectangles
Water resistance: 100 meters
Strap: Stainless steel bracelet
Crystal: Mineral, scratch-resistant
Case back: Solid