The Timex Expedition WS4 will soon be available in the United States and on some of the overseas markets. With its comprehensive list of functions, all of them packed within a sturdy, rugged body, the new gadget will probably become a serious competitor to several watches from European and Japanese manufacturers thanks to its more than competitive price.
Although looking large on an average wrist, the Expedition WS4 is bulky, but not monstrously so. Compared to Suunto Core, one of its direct competitors, the wearable computer looks even better on a normal wrist thanks to its deliberately “technical” design. The model from Suunto, while looking good on pictures, doesn’t seem to be as comfortable on a wrist due to its more “classic” layout, which makes it look like a plastic compass with an LCD.
According to official specs, its boxy case of the gadget is just 50 millimeters wide and 40 millimeters high, making it just a little bit larger than an average box of matches and only a tad smaller than Linde Werdelin’s new Land Instrument II (aka The Rock,) which is supposed to ride piggy-back on their automatic watches making the whole assembly even larger.
Well, giving Linde Werdelin its due, the Rock is certainly a more technically advanced device, but at a price of just $199, the Expedition WS4 is also six times more affordable.
For such a humble price, you will get a great number of built-in gizmos, including an electronic altimeter, barometer, compass, and a 100-hour chronograph with a 1/100-second resolution up to one hour.
A USB or a Bluetooth interface for a GPS tracking device would be a good thing, too, but you can’t get everything in such a cheap instrument, can you?
My favorite toy in this kind of gadgets, the altimeter, works in the range between -399 and 8997 meters (the sensor will even work correctly on top of Mount Everest, although you’ll need real professional gear to climb on top of the mountain, anyway.)
The device tracks your current, highest, as well as accumulated altitude and it even has an altitude alarm making sure that you won’t climb too high and die of hypoxia.
All the information is presented in highly legible, easy to grasp way on a monochrome 2-inch LCD monitor.
The monitor is not touch-based, but the plastic buttons on the gadget’s sides are large enough to be operated even in heavy gloves.
Of course, you can set the LCD to display all the info in either metric or U.S. customary units.
My biggest complaint regarding this timekeeper is its water resistance rating. Although the WR of 5ATM is enough to keep the electronic components protected in case of rain or if you decide to wash your hands in a nearby creek, I would seriously not recommend you wear it for kayaking or some other activity where you may find yourself in the water (fighting for your life): you will most probably ruin the gadget. Well, I hope that for the next version Timex will design a new case with better waterproofing.
Build Quality: 4/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 4/5
Overall Rating: 4/5
Timex Expedition WS4 specification
Price: $199 (MSRP)
Functions: Chronograph, time/date, compass, altimeter, barometer
Case: Composite with a stainless steel bezel
Dimensions: 50.00 mm x 40.00 mm
Display: Widescreen, 38 mm x 25 mm
Total weight: 90 grams
Water resistance: 50 meters
Strap: Black / yellow / orange / white / blue / black rubber strap (depending on color of the case) OR an expandable fabric strap