Featuring traditional for the Japanese brand design, the new Casio Edifice EQB-500D-1A also sports a handy Bluetooth module. To make all of its numerous features work you will only need to accompany it by
The Japanese megacorporation Casio is often associated with relatively inexpensive quartz timekeepers designed for persons more interested in functionality on a budget rather than in style and innovation. This little guy was designed with different customers in mind. First, it isn’t dirt cheap with its impressive MSRP of $520 USD (yet, for four hundred dollars and some change that the EQB-500D is currently offered on eBay, you get a lot of a watch.) Second, unlike your normal quartz-powered Edifice, the watch was built to take full advantage of modern mobile technology. Or, putting it simpler, the EQB-500D-1A is a geek’s watch.
While talking about “a lot of watch,” I didn’t mean that it is just physically big, although, at 48 millimeters in diameter, the device is by no means small. I was talking 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 at a push of a couple of buttons on your iPhone or Galaxy screen. 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.
How it Works
To get the features enabled, you only need a smartphone (or a tablet) and an installed free app that makes synchronization possible. As soon as you install the application, 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.
Case & Dial
The watch itself looks nice. The design makes the timekeeper easily recognizable as a member of their entry-premium Edifice family, but is still somehow original in the way all the elements are put together. 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: compatibility with devices manufactured Apple is often what makes or breaks a gadget these days.
Availability & Price
The watch is already available at both online and brick-and-mortar stores throughout the world with pricing ranging from $400 (and change) to $600 USD depending on the market and local taxes and customs. The price looks adequate, although there is a risk that at some point in time Casio will stop updating the app for future iOS and Android version and your fancy Bluetooth watch will turn into just another quartz chronograph. So, keep this in mind.
Build Quality: 5/5
Overall Legibility: 4/5
Nighttime Legibility: 4.5/5
Value for Money: 5/5
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Casio Edifice EQB-500D-1A Bluetooth watch specification
Price: $520 (MSRP)
Movement: Quartz, Tough Solar caliber, 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, engraved