Protrek PRG-600 In Depth Review
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  1. #1
    Member Watch_Geekmaster's Avatar
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    Pen Protrek PRG-600 In Depth Review

    So, I'm weak , I pull the trigger on the PRG-600. I got it for a pretty good price for this recently released watch. It's basically the cheapest Casio watch you can get for new with a smart crown. Without further ado, here are my initial impressions for this watch. I will explain a little further after the Pros and Cons lists.

    Cons:
    1. Different buttons layout & use of smart crown meaning a steeper learning curve.
    2. Hand alignment is fully automated and not user adjustable.
    3. Mode hand is mostly unnecessary and can be easily obscured.
    4. Bezel provides little or no protection to the crystal, since it's not recessed.
    5. Steel backplate is a little heavy and could give strain to wrist when worn for a long duration.
    6. Some cost cutting in plastic fit and finish for the watch case.
    7. Smart crown can still be wobbled slightly in fully locked position.
    8. Only a 60min timer.


    Pros:
    1. Excellent dual LEDs illumination for face and LCD. Not too bright and not too dim.
    2. Decent amount of traditional lume on hands and markers.
    3. Excellent legibility for the STN negative LCD display for day and night, as well as in different angles.
    4. Very comfortable silicone strap, which does not attract much dust either.
    5. Versatile lug design and can fit many aftermarket straps.
    6. Latest gen Casio analog automation technologies, including tough movement, independent hands and smart crown.
    7. Second hand hits every marker accurately.
    8. Accurate and familiar Version 3 ABC/T sensors. Though no horizontally compensated compass.
    9. Just the right size, not too big and not too small.
    10. Overall a great field watch design, with some dressiness yet subtle and functional.


    In this watch the smart crown replaces the adjust button (10 o'clock). The 10 o'clock button is now for some other functions (not much in the PRG600). While the crown is not too complicated to use, it certainly adds an additional step to unlock it if not already. Some of the button controls could be a little weird at first, such as the time settings are divided into 2 portions: part of the settings via 8 o'clock button and part via the 10 o'clock button. Such as to do a manual hand parking (to 2 o'clock resting position), you need to press the light button first, hold it, then press the 8 o'clock button, NOT press them simultaneously! So it could be a bit of learning curve to those used to normal G-Shock button operations. Here's the manual for those interested in the detail operations.

    http://support.casio.com/storage/en/...009/qw5497.pdf

    In my opinion I think the smart crown is a totally optional design, and the PRG600 can easily be designed with just button operations for all its functions. Having a smart crown does not reduce the overall number of buttons, yet adds unnecessary complications and potential source of failure. The PRG600 also suffer some observable cost cutting in the plastic fit and finishes. The plastic case under the metal bezel looks obviously cheaper (see 1st pic below). You can see in the 2nd picture below my crown is not exactly flush with the watch case in the locked position. I can use my finger to wobble the crown a little bit sideways (toward its guards each side), even in the locked position. Although the movement is very small and I am sure it does not affect water resistance, it's never the same sense of security as a true lock crown in a traditional metal diver watch.

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    There's a hand home alignment mode, but the alignment is done automatically via its tough movement self-correction capability. Unlike in some other Casio watches, such as the GA1100, where user interaction is required for aligning the hands, the PRG600 does not allow any user interaction. So you're basically stuck with whatever alignment given by the manufacturer. Gladly mine is accurately aligned, even though it doesn't seem so in the picture below.

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    You can see in the picture above the mode indicator dial is fully in view, but in reality in the timekeeping mode it is being obscuring most of the time. It can be obscured by the second hand slightly. It can be obscured by both the tip (white part) and the back (black part) of both the minute and hour hands. The mode dial does not provide indications for the compass and altimeter modes either. Since the mode names are also indicated in the LCD, the model dial is truly redundant. The watch can do without it for sure. Without the crown and the mode dial, Casio could have a watch even cleaner in its look and even lower in cost.

    The back of the watch is consisted of a big slab of steel with the raised section beautifully etched. Good thing, bad thing. Good thing is that it makes the watch feel more substantial. Bad thing is that it adds weight and makes the cheaper plastic case sandwiched between the steel bezel and steel back even more out of place. I tend to get more skin irritation from etched steel than polished steel too.

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    The band is very soft and comfortable for both wearing it a bit loose or tight. As noted in my Pros, the PRG600 with its excellent LCD legibility, night time illumination, and the "good old" ABC/T sensors is no doubt a competent field watch. It has its shortcomings, but just as in any Casio watch or any watch for that matter.
    $teve, d2mac, Worker and 14 others like this.

  2. #2
    Member Watch_Geekmaster's Avatar
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    Re: Protrek PRG-600 In Depth Review

    Here are two more pics from this morning. You can see how the hand is obscuring the mode dial and how good the lume is.

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    Last edited by Watch_Geekmaster; March 19th, 2017 at 14:59.
    n4speed, Worker, ccm123 and 8 others like this.

  3. #3
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    Re: Protrek PRG-600 In Depth Review

    Great review and the watch looks very nice!
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    Member GaryK30's Avatar
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    Re: Protrek PRG-600 In Depth Review

    Thanks for your review. It's a good looking watch.

    The PRG-600 seems more similar to than different from my PRW-6000 (full model no. PRW-S6000Y-1) in overall design and function. Not surprising, since they are siblings, although yours is a newer design.

    It appears that the PRG-600 has a plastic, screw lock Smart Crown. Mine has a metal, cam lock Smart Crown.

    Is the bezel on the PRG-600 resin or metal? I believe mine in stainless steel.

    Edit: From what I've read, the PRG-600 bezel is stainless steel.

    I still wish Casio would put a 24 hour CDT on their higher-end ana-digis. It can't be that difficult.

    I also wish they'd add a user-selected offset for the hand alignment to help compensate for factory misalignment. For example, say the hour hand is 1.5 clicks slow. The user could add 1 or 2 clicks and get it much closer to where it belongs, although not perfect. Having independently moving hour and minute hands without the ability for the user to fine tune their positions seems like a missed opportunity.
    Last edited by GaryK30; March 19th, 2017 at 20:49.

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    Re: Protrek PRG-600 In Depth Review

    Very detailed review, thank you.
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    If you don't think every day is a good day, just try missing one. ~Cavett Robert

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    Re: Protrek PRG-600 In Depth Review

    Great review. I love the look of it. Down the line I want a bigger function-y (if that's a word) analog watch. The Mudmasters and Gulfmasters were the contenders, but this definitely joins them. If the price comes down a bit, pretty much only the negative display would be holding it back for me.

    Grats on the great watch!
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  7. #7
    Member GaryK30's Avatar
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    Re: Protrek PRG-600 In Depth Review

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkBishop View Post
    Great review. I love the look of it. Down the line I want a bigger function-y (if that's a word) analog watch. The Mudmasters and Gulfmasters were the contenders, but this definitely joins them. If the price comes down a bit, pretty much only the negative display would be holding it back for me.

    Grats on the great watch!
    There is a positive display version too, the PRG-600-1. The one reviewed is a PRG-600Y-1.

    PRG-600-1 | PRO TREK | Timepieces | CASIO

    Last edited by GaryK30; March 19th, 2017 at 22:51.

  8. #8
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    Re: Protrek PRG-600 In Depth Review

    Yup, the main case of the PRG-600 is plastic/resin. The case is kind of sandwiched between the steel bezel (likely painted not DLC) and the steel back. There are obviously creases on the plastic/resin case (see 1st pic in my 1st post), that indicate it's not made from a single piece. But rather the case's made from multiple pieces of plastic/resin that fused together.

    The watch MUST be metal to be tough... LOL I shouldn't be too picky, as this IS a better quality watch than say a < $30 bucks Casio. Also it's a Protrek with 100m WR, not a G-Shock, so it wasn't design for the same level of toughness. It's forgivable, given the quality on the other parts of the watch and the competitiveness of the pricing.

    Agree with you for the CDT and hand alignment. Also if one already has a PRW6000/6100, this watch is probably not necessary. But then necessity is not always the priority for us watch addicts.


    Quote Originally Posted by GaryK30 View Post
    Thanks for your review. It's a good looking watch.

    The PRG-600 seems more similar to than different from my PRW-6000 (full model no. PRW-S6000Y-1) in overall design and function. Not surprising, since they are siblings, although yours is a newer design.

    It appears that the PRG-600 has a plastic, screw lock Smart Crown. Mine has a metal, cam lock Smart Crown.

    Is the bezel on the PRG-600 resin or metal? I believe mine in stainless steel.

    Edit: From what I've read, the PRG-600 bezel is stainless steel.

    I still wish Casio would put a 24 hour CDT on their higher-end ana-digis. It can't be that difficult.

    I also wish they'd add a user-selected offset for the hand alignment to help compensate for factory misalignment. For example, say the hour hand is 1.5 clicks slow. The user could add 1 or 2 clicks and get it much closer to where it belongs, although not perfect. Having independently moving hour and minute hands without the ability for the user to fine tune their positions seems like a missed opportunity.
    Rocat, Ard and GaryK30 like this.

  9. #9
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    Re: Protrek PRG-600 In Depth Review

    Quote Originally Posted by MarkBishop View Post
    If the price comes down a bit, pretty much only the negative display would be holding it back for me.
    It's an STN LCD (Super-Twisted Nematic Liquid Crystal Display). For this one, even the negative display is very easy to see. You're totally safe to try a negative display for the first time for this model.

  10. #10
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    Re: Protrek PRG-600 In Depth Review

    Here's a side-by-side comparison with the PRG600's older brother, the PRG550. The PRG550 uses no smart crown, only buttons in a familiar Protrek layout. It has no tough movement (hand self-correction) and no hand shift/parking (out of view) features. It's using an older gen analog automation, as well as older gen V2 ABC/T sensors. Also it's only 60min for both stopwatch and timer, even worse than the PRG600 in that aspect.

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    Other than the differences mentioned above, all other functions are very similar between the 550 and 600. For fit and finish, while the 600 has more metal parts, the 550 has an overall better quality resin construction. I don't think their bands are interchangeable, since they use different lug design. The 550 can just as easy fitting a NATO or other third party straps.
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    Luminosity of the hands and markers are about the same, although the 600 used more volume of lume due to bigger hands and markers. When charged with a CFL lamp, both lit up nicely, but it's relatively short live for both. After about half an hour, lume on both would be down to a level not able to be photographed with a normal camera. Though it's still observable by human eyes. Neither can compare to the lume of the GA1100, which is my best G-Shock/Protrek lume so far.
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    Both use LED lights. The 550 only has 1, and able to lit up the analog face only. The 600 has 2 and able to lit up both face and LCD. The improvement is obvious. I also like that the 600 LEDs are not super bright like the one in the GA1100. It's much more easy to the eyes, and will not destroy your night vision.
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    In short, despite its age (first released in 2012), the PRG550 is still a strong contender compare to the new PRG600. The PRG550 probably face lesser issues due to its older tech. Sometimes, low tech still rules. The 550 also has a better protected crystal, so it may be more "beatable" than the PRG600.
    Last edited by Watch_Geekmaster; March 21st, 2017 at 16:08. Reason: Add conclusion.

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