The Casio PRT-B50 is a stylish hybrid workhorse of the Casio ProTrek series of outdoor watches – it has both analog and digital sides, and pairs with a smartphone app for settings and customizations. The newly released YT-1 model adds to the line by featuring a black ion plated titanium bracelet and clasp, giving the whole package a sleek, stylish look.
Like their predecessors, the new PRT-B50T-7 and PRT-B50YT-1 are equipped with a quad sensor technology that can detect compass bearing, barometric pressure/altitude, temperature, and steps. Using Bluetooth® and Casio’s Smartphone Link functionality, the timepieces can connect to the PRO TREK Connected app providing additional useful information for the outdoors, such as Route log, Calories burned, Location indicator and more! Additional features include world time (38 cities + UTC), water resistance up to 100 meters, a full auto double LED backlight, 1/100th second stopwatch, countdown timer, hand-retract function, full auto calendar, 5 daily alarms, and 2-year battery life.
That titanium bracelet – cool! It’s solid, smooth, looks great, integrates with the watch perfectly… and is SO lightweight. Paired with the lightweight plastic build of this watch, it’s a great combination. Also on first glance, I’m struck by the AWESOME UV illumniator. By using a UV LED, only the lume in the watch hands are made to glow, without washing this entire face in bright light – this works brilliantly, and is such a great idea, I wish they did it on all of my watches. Finally, first impressions of the app integration – it pairs easily, automatically sets the time, and takes me through a brief tutorial – nice. My only big confusion here is, why are there so many Casio apps in the app store? It took 3 downloads until I found the correct app to use. Casio, make one single Casio syncing app, and then customize the branding and UI to suit the specifics of the watch paired. Don’t use multiple apps – it’s a pain. You could even let users select which app icon they want to use, to match their watch or personal preference.
On the Wrist
Wearing the PRT-B50 series watches is comfortable, in general – the caseback is stainless steel, shrouded in contoured, smooth plastic, which is molded smoothly into the band – it’s easy to wear. Adding to this easy wearing form factor is the “YT”‘s black IP titanium band – solid feeling links, a solid clasp and smooth operation – but light weight still, on account of the titanium. Once sized, the watch is easily wearable all day, and looks good too. I really do love that titanium link bracelet – the lightweight compliments the lightweight plastic build of the watch.
The watch isn’t overly large, but is easy to see the face, with big bold numbers, and easily visible hands. And while the digital display is somewhat small in the bottom of the face, it makes the most of the space, showing numbers fairly clearly. But what’s that blank space on the upper half of the face? How about putting some tough solar cells there? 🙂
Buttons are easy to push, even with gloved hands – all except for the illumination button, which is on the face of the watch, just below the bezel. Took me a minute at first to find it.
The smartphone app – works just fine. It sets the time, helps setup features and customizations, and passes along notifications, bearings, locations, etc – but honestly, given this relatively low level of integration, I doubt I’d use it much. In my kit, if I’m going on a big adventure, I want a reliable watch that definitely won’t let me down – but I rarely care about pairing it to my phone. On the flip side, if I’m going on more of a race/workout/hike type activity, I’ll go with a fully integrated wristtop computer, which tracks full workouts with heartrate, has its own GPS, etc (Such as the ProTrek WSD-F30RG perhaps? I’m yet to get my hands on it). The PRT-B50 sits in the middle, with basic smartphone integration, and which I feel does both sides of the coin just ok.
The PRT-B50YT combines a black ion plated (IP) band with a black case and face. The black coloring of this model improves readability and creates a bold design. The large Arabic numerals on the multi-dimensional face enable easy, at-a-glance time reading, while metal parts combine to create a look of quality and elegance.The fine resin back cover is made using tough, lightweight glass fibers in a structure that integrates the band connection lugs, and button guards protect against operational error. Both of these features enhance the ruggedness of these models. The large rotary bezel allows easy operation outdoors, even while wearing gloves, and adds to the wild look of these designs.
- Quad Sensor (Thermometer, Altimeter/Barometer, Digital compass, Step counter) – They all seem to work just fine. Of note, I appreciate that the compass both gives a numeric bearing on the LCD, as well as points the minute hand of the watch face to north – actually makes this useful for orienting yourself.
- Smartphone Link (Bluetooth® connection connect with a smartphone) – The link is easy to use, and connects quickly to my iPhone. Additionally, I appreciate that basically all of the watch functions are settable with the smartphone app – instead of hunting around with the buttons on the phone. And although this watch dosn’t have “multiband 6” atomic timekeeping, it does set itself automatically from your smartphone clock – with should be fairly accurate time in any case.
- Hand retraction function – yep, seems to work, and the hands get out of the way when necessar.
- Sunrise/sunset time display – Almost indespensible in the field, an da worthwhile feature in any outdoors watch.
- World Time (City Swapping) – Not super necessary for an outdoors watch, but still a nice feature to have for everyday wear.
- Double LED Light (Auto Light) – This one of the coolest features. The “Neon” Led illuminator is actually. a UV LED illuminator light, which, instead of illuminating the entire dial, simply energizes the lume on the watch hands, making them glow bright. This is such a brilliant concept, I’m glad to see it used here. Solid!
Should You Buy It?
If you’re ok with a battery operated watch, and want a good looking, feature packed wrist instrument that can accompany you on hikes, adventures, and into town, then this might be a great bet. It features easy settings via smartphone app, its multiple functions truly compliment outdoor use, and its ruggedness and waterproofness make it a reliable companion. However, if you’re looking for the ultimate in bulletproof durability, need a watch you can scuba dive with, or never want to change a battery, then keep looking – this is not a g-shock, nor does it have “tough solar” charing. Additionally, if you’re looking for a super hip casio to go to the bars with – again keep looking – while this is a great looking watch, it’s ceratinly not in the super stylish category.. at least by my standards.
I think, honestly, my biggest issue with this piece is for a field watch, it either needs to have a field replacable battery (Like my Suunto Core – which I replaced the battery in with a coin and fresh battery cell while sitting in a tent in western Antarctica – true story), or a solar charging model (Casio makes a bunch of great ones). Update that feature of this watch, and you’ve got a winner. casio.com
Review Summary xxx
- Brand & Model: Casio PRT-B50YT-1
- Price: USD $380
- Who we think it might be for: The outdoor enthusiast who goes for the occasional adventure and wants a reliable watch, but who usually has a smartphone with them, and doesn’t venture way too far from home.
- If I could make one design suggestion, it would be: Add tough solar charging.
- What spoke to me the most about this watch: That UV LED face illuminator light – so cool!
- Double LED light
- LED light for the face (Auto LED light, Neon illuminator,
- selectable illumination duration (1.5 seconds or 3
- seconds), afterglow)
- LED backlight for the digital display (Auto LED light,
- Super illuminator, selectable illumination duration (1.5
- seconds or 3 seconds), afterglow)
- Low-temperature resistant (–10°C/14°F)
- Mobile link (Wireless linking using Bluetooth®)
- Digital compass
- Measures and displays direction as one of 16 points
- Measuring range: 0 to 359°
- Measuring unit: 1°
- 60 seconds continuous measurement
- Hand indication of north
- Magnetic declination correction
- Direction calibration (2-point calibration, figure eight
- calibration, auto calibration)
- Measuring range: –700 to 10,000 m (–2,300 to 32,800 ft.)
- Measuring unit: 1 m (5 ft.)
- Hand indication graph of altitude differential
- Manual memory measurements
- (up to 14 records, each including altitude, date, time)
- Auto log data (High/low altitudes, cumulative ascent and
- Others: Relative altitude readings (±100 m /±1000 m),
- selectable measurement interval: 5 seconds or 2 minutes
- (1 second for first 3 minutes only)
- *Changeover between meters (m) and feet (ft)
- Measuring range: 260 to 1,100 hPa (7.65 to 32.45 inHg)
- Measuring unit: 1 hPa (0.05 inHg)
- Hand indication of pressure differential (±10hPa)
- Atmospheric pressure tendency graph (last 20 hours or
- last 56 hours)
- Barometric pressure tendency information alarm (beep
- and arrow indicates significant changes in pressure)
- The atmospheric pressure tendency graph can show the
- last 20 minutes or last 56 minutes of measurements. The
- hand indication of pressure differential shows values in
- units of ±1 hPa.
- *Changeover between hPa and inHg
- Measuring range: –10 to 60°C (14 to 140°F)
- Measuring unit: 0.1°C (0.2°F)
- *Changeover between Celsius (°C) and Fahrenheit (°F)
- Step count using a 3-axis acceleration sensor: 0 to
- 999,999 step count display range
- Power Saving: Auto sensor sleep state entry after fixed
- period of non-activity
- World time
- 38 time zones (38 cities + coordinated universal time),
- daylight saving on/off, Home city/World time city swapping
- Sunrise, sunset time display
- Sunrise time and sunset time for specific date
- 1/100-second stopwatch
- 00’00″00~59’59″99 (for the first 60 minutes)
- 1:00’00~23:59’59 (after 60 minutes)
- Measuring unit:
- 1/100 second (for the first 60 minutes)
- 1 second (after 60 minutes)
- Measuring modes: Elapsed time, split time, 1st-2nd place
- Countdown timer
- Measuring unit: 1 second
- Countdown range: 24 hours
- Countdown start time setting range: 1 second to 24 hours
- (1-minute increments and 1-hour increments)
- 5 daily alarms
- Hourly time signal
- Hand shift feature
- Full auto-calendar (to year 2099)
- 12/24-hour format
- Button operation tone on/off
- Regular timekeeping:
- Analog: 3 hands (hour, minute (hand moves every 10
- seconds), second)
- Digital: Hour, minute, second, am/pm, month, date, day
- Accuracy: ±15 seconds per month (with no mobile link
- Approx. battery life: 2 years on CR2025
- Module Number: 5601