- Really great build quality
- A fashion accessory for many different styles
- Smart functions are a little limited
When you think of the term smart watch, I guarantee something like the Apple iWatch or maybe even a Samsung Gear comes to mind. They’re generally watches that can tell you if your heart rate is good, or a device that gives you directions when looking for a restaurant in the city. Unfortunately the Casio Edifice 501 doesn’t do that, and instead grounds its place within a more traditional watch setup.
Taking a look at the Casio Edifice 501 and it feels very premium. The main bulk of the watch is made from stainless steel and the face of the watch is covered with a layer of mineral glass. Everything feels very sturdy and feels like it could take a pounding before giving up. The weight comes in at just under 200g, so it’s got a bit of heft too but doesn’t feel intrusive on the wrist.
The watch uses a clamp system to attach it to your wrist which again feels solid. You pinch the clamp on either side to release it from your arm. The actual clamp has been branded with the Edifice logo. To be honest, there’s not much here letting any onlookers know that you are sporting a Casio. The only logo on the watch face is tiny.
Surrounding the face of the watch are four buttons which lead to different functions. The most notable, and one that gives this away as being a smart watch is the Bluetooth button on the bottom left. But more on the buttons in a bit.
One thing about the design which I found a little confusing at first were the several dials giving this watch a kind of sports-chronograph type feel. They’re pretty basic in terms of their functions, but it looks a little overwhelming at first.
The first and main face is for time-telling, which was automatically set to UK time when we opened the box. Whether this was set by the previous journalist who looked at this product, or it used the time of my mobile phone when synced to sort itself out remains a mystery to me. But no complaints here.
The second at 9 o clock represents the time in another city in the world. Inside the app you can choose from a drop down list which city you want to display. I chose New York because why not? New York is awesome. The third at the top gives you a 24-hour dial and the remaining bottom right dial gives you a day count. All dials are controlled within the app which I will speak about in a moment.
The Casio Edifice 501 watch doesn’t use batteries that you need to charge yourself like a conventional smart watch would. Instead it gets its power from light. That’s right. This is a solar powered watch and whether it’s out in the daytime or underneath a lamp in your house, it will keep the watch charged. If the watch finds itself in a dark room, it’ll power down and conserve battery power.
Okay, so now it’s time to open the app, which by the way, is so simple to use. I’ll say that now. Except for finding out how to activate Bluetooth on the watch, I never once looked at an instruction manual to find out how to use the app. Everything is so straight forward and laid out perfectly. Just open the app, follow on screen instructions and the watch will be found. At least that’s how it went with me.
The app can be used for a number of tasks. Some that you would associate with a watch like this like setting the time, or even up to four alarms. You can choose to display your local or selected city time using the main hands, and when you click the button, you can watch the hands shuffle into place to display the most accurate time at that particular city.
Another function and one that I actually found quite useful was that you could receive email notifications by syncing the app with an email account. It wasn’t too obtrusive either as all you need to do is click the bottom right button on the watch and see if it points at one of the dots at the top of the day dial.
As I mentioned earlier, there is a stopwatch dial which can house information inside the app. The stopwatch is controlled using the watch buttons, but if you want to store a specific time you can. Great for you runners out there timing your distances.
So what did I think? Sure, this is a smart watch to some degree. but it does lack the sensors that I feel most people who buy smartwatches would want such as a heart rate monitor or GPS. But it hasn’t been designed with those types of people in mind. It’s a fashionable piece, and one that can look equally as good if you pair with with a suit, right down to jeans and a t-shirt. It feels very premium and has a great weight to it.
The best feature is that this watch will always be correct, no matter where you are in the world. And if you go on holiday for two weeks, there’s no need to manually change the time, as the mobile app will do it for you. It’s a great looking premium watch that will not break the bank. They are available at the moment for around £325 and are available directly from Casio themselves.