I've reviewed a lot of Casio Pathfinders here; they're highly functional outdoor watches that combine toughness with utility. Today, I was pleased to present the new PAG40-7V, a new model with a few interesting tricks up its sleeve. Let's start with a feature list:
- Triple sensor: Altimeter/barometer, compass and thermometer.
- Mineral crystal.
- Rubber and plastic case with steel caseback.
- 53mm by 18mm and very light at 74g.
- New 3-color design: white, black and green, with a distinctive asymmetic bicolor bezel.
- Water resistant to 100m (330ft).
- Five alarms plus optional hourly beep.
- Dual-layer LCD with compass on the second layer in blue.
- Multifunction graph (green rectangle) for plotting barometric pressure or altitude, either current or saved.
- 50-sample memory (15 minute intervals) of altitude or pressure.
- Low-temperature resistant.
- Non-ratcheting compass bezel for trekking.
- Auto or manual electroluminescent backlight.
- Casio movement module 2271 (PDF of manual).
Getting back to the actual watch, it's a pretty normal Pathfinder -- the watch you grab when it's time to get outside. It works well as a daily wearer, but the 53mm width is a bit large for most of us at the office. That said, the display is super-large and thus easier to read, especially the time, altitude, compass bearing, or pressure displayed on the large center digits. The use of a second LCD layer for the compass is a treat, as you can see here, with north indicated by triple needles and the the other cardinal directions lit up, as well, for quick orientation. Simple and effective. The nearest-quadrant abbreviation (NNW shown here) is displayed as well, allowing both precise and approximate readings.
Yep, I immediately took it hiking! On the wrist, the three color scheme is not overly ostentatious, and of course the functionality and readability are excellent. I like the fact that day, date, month, year, and time are all visible at once, yet it's uncluttered and reads well.
Compared to the ultimate Pathfinder, the PAG40-7V lacks solar power, radio set, countdown timer, and moonphase/tides, but not much else. We still have the shrouded buttons, similar displays, and overall functionality at a fraction of the cost. The PAW1500T-7V is $350 or $400 for strap vs bracelet respectively; the PAG40-7V is $200. For half the price, you're getting more than half features, which seems like a good deal to me.
The strap is a standard Casio, meaning that it's custom to the watch, well-designed, and very comfortable. On the right, you can see the L-shaped attachments to the strap which keep it shaped for your wrist, and also that part of the 18mm thickness is a plastic layer on top of the stainless steel caseback.
Casio has long made excellent outdoor watches, and this one continues that tradition. They managed to reduce the price while retaining many of the features that made the Pathfinder so great. I thought that the lack of solar power would bother me, but in fact the only thing I really miss is the countdown timer which I find to be very useful for cooking, parking meters, and the like.
If you need a reliable, inexpensive hiking or everyday watch, give the PAG40-7V a look. Available this fall on Amazon.com only.
Our thanks to Casio PR for this review unit. Always appreciated!