I have been a protagonist of the PRG-80 since the watch`s release back in 05, big bold super resilient. One the very best field watches ever made, thanks to the readability and ease of use. The 80 does however have an Achilles heel in that the Chronograph & CDT are weak (10 hours & 60 minutes), no declination correction for the digital compass, in testing across the forum we have seen somewhat of a mixed bag regarding thermal compensation (barometer & altimeter.. all my 80`s are extremely stable when exposed to rapid & significant temperature change, on the whole the majority appear to be very tolerant to temperature change. Enter the Challenger the new PRG-240...
The first and foremost impression the PRG-240 gives you is the lack of mass, this watch is by no means trying to hide it`s size, however the watch is surprisingly light weight, for the first time I can remember this Protrek offers an almost perfectly balance between the watch head & strap (PRG-240B), most ABC`s are heavy in the head, which for those that prefer to wear the strap loose, may result in discomfort or irritation, due to the watches movement.
The primary time display is typical Protrek with large clear digits, a touch smaller than the PRG-80. Clarity of the PRG-240`s display is near perfect given the nature of the duplex LCD, noticeably sharper than the 80`s. Contrast level is very good, however the 240`s display is more neutral (grey) versus the 80`s greener LCD which just seems allow the digits to pop a little more. The 80 can display day or date, while the newer sibling can either display barometric trend, day or year day and month are prevalent throughout.
The setting display is often not discussed, the PRG-240 makes setting the watch up a breeze utilizing the upper dot matrix portion of the LCD to indicate parameters, while the PRG-80 relies on very small indicators on the LCD that are either in an on or off state. The 240 is a little more complex to set up than the 80 due to the broader feature set, and it can be set to mute which will be important to some. The 80 you have to live with the ever present “beep” on each push of a button. All the same Casio have done a very good job, as the new watch is extremely intuitive making the whole process painless.
The EL on the PRG-240 is noticeably brighter than all of my other solar Protrek`s and as ever the automatic function will only trigger in low light conditions, no fuss. When selecting “Auto EL” the 240 does not have any audible conformation same as the 130/1500, while the 80 offers that reassuring “beep” confirming the function audibly.
Sunrise Sunset, not new to Protrek, thanks to the PRX range and the PRG-200/PRW-2000, as long as you know you longitude & latitude very easy to set up. So far I have found the sunrise/sunset times to be spot on. The secondary pointers (duplex LDC) were initially a little confusing until I realized that the times are represented in 24hr format in that midnight is at the top of the watch display and midday is at the bottom. this is a feature that the 80 and most Protrek`s do not have, for a serious field watch this has to be a must, imagine being out in unfamiliar territory the importance of knowing when you will loose usable daylight
Worldtime on both watches simply works, the PRG-240 brings more city locations and displays UTC as opposed to the older PRG-80`s GMT and employs the duplex display to indicate current time in the same 24 hour format, both watches execute this with ease, with the 240 accomplishing the task with a little more style.
Chronograph is a full 24 hours, compared to the PRG-80`s limited 9 hours, 59 minutes & 59 seconds, same with CDT the PRG-240 offers 24 hours, which can be set to the minute while the 80 an only count down from 60 minutes, however it can be set to repeat which is a very useful feature in it`s self.
Alarms are pretty much the same (5 alarms & hourly signal), with the PRG-240 being visually easier to set thanks again to the use of the dot matrix display to indicate on/off. As for volume very few watches beat the 80 on volume, and the 240 is softer and less audible than it`s older sibling.
Aesthetics, build quality & comfort; the 80 is best described as huge, a behemoth of a watch and the 240 is not far behind, although it does wear much smaller. The new Protrek`s heritage can be clearly seen, stylistically very close to the PRG-40 from 2K, which is exactly what many Protrek fans have been waiting for over the last few years. The PRG-130/PRW-1500 is close, yet failed to really capture the essence of the PRG-40 that so many sought after. The PRG-240 accomplishes this superbly, coming out as a leaner smarter performer. The compass bezel is de facto Casio eye candy as it lacks any form of locking mechanism or ratchet, again it`s reminiscent of the PRG-40 being tight to turn. I would never rely on it to solely hold a compass bearing, however the 240 has other tricks up it`s sleeve (wink) The 240`s bezel is a fair improvement on the 130/1500, this ABC does have a ratchet mechanism, however the bezel moves far too easily to be of any use for any form of navigation.
The PRG-240`s build quality is as with all Protrek`s at the very top of Casio`s production, the colour of the watch is a little less interesting to the eye in comparison to the PRG-80`s which under close inspection are not a flat base colour, being almost chameleon like thanks to the impregnation of an almost “metal-flake” material in the watches resin case. The 240 is more staid. This may have more down to earth relevance as many unwanted creatures can be attracted by shine & shimmer. The buttons on the 240 are positive and do not require effort to use, the 80 well it`s bruiser in all respects and on a cold day in winter the buttons can be stiff to use on a new watch.
Comfort, very difficult to compare, I have been wearing this particular 80L-2VDR for close to six years, so long it`s almost part of me and despite it`s gargantuan size one of the most comfortable watches I have ever worn, if not the most. The 240 comes in three guises, resin, ballistic nylon & synthetic leather and titanium bracelet. I went for the PRG-240B-2DR, (blue) the strap is extremely solid and pleasingly thick. One of the very best straps I have seen on a Casio to date, significantly bettering my PRG-130C and an imported PRW-1100BJ-1JF strap. As for comfort time will tell as this hefty strap will take time to break in and mould, although it`s definitely not in the “Death Grip” territory of the modified PRG-80YT & Hirsch “Extreme” rubber dive strap . The 240`s buckle is nicely muted, no more polished areas as per the 80 and typical of the more modern Protrek`s. For those that are interested the PRG-130/PRW-1500 strap adapters will be a perfect fit on the 240 Visually the 240 is far more balanced than the majority of Protrek`s, with the ratio of display to case being spot on, something that Casio failed at with the 130/1500...
The PRG-240B`s sensor has so far proved to be very stable and the equal to all my most accurate ABC`s as usual Casio are not overly forthcoming with technical details. As the 200/2000 & 500/5000 and PRX line now have a pressure sensor with the temperature diode mounted directly on the back, it`s not unreasonable to assume that the PRG-240 also employs this unified sensor given that the PRG-200`s module (3173) is virtually identical. Besides the speculation the PRG-240 sensor is as accurate as the best of them easily keeping pace with the likes of Suunto`s Core & Timex`s WS4 (great)
Altimeter, well what to say Casio is well Casio and their implementation of barometers & altimeters is very different from the majority of the industry, so much has been discussed previously on this subject. Bottom-line is no altimeter locks, so as per the rigor with all Protrek`s frequent altitude calibrations are must, even if no real assent or decent has been made, simply to offset any changeable weather. PRG-240 offers variable logging rates which is a bonus for those ascending or descending rapidly, while the PRG-80 offers an altitude alarm which once preset, sounds once you exceed a predetermined altitude. I like the feature in principle, however realistically as altitude is very much associated with wind and the need for cold weather gear, it`s rather akin to an ashtray on a motorbike
Barometer so far it has proved to be very accurate straight out the box, no calibration required, as with all Protrek`s absolute/relative air pressure is displayed, no Mean Sea Level conversion. The PRG-240`s trend graph is again small and lacks resolution, compared to the PRG-80, with it`s trend graph being three times larger. The 240 does display current time in the barometer mode, and the display will auto return to primary time after one hour versus the 80 which only displays the barometer for a couple of minutes. I have frequently bemoaned the use of these smaller, lower resolution trend graphs, however the 240 does make up ground by using the duplex LCD as an air pressure differential indicator, combined with the far longer display period. Any rapid change in weather will easily be seen, by the graph (which can be displayed in primary time) and what is more important the clearer differential indicator will show rapidly deceasing air pressure. The 80 can do the same only you will need to continuously select the barometer, to get a reading, which in reality is not as practical if both hands are occupied, as can be frequently the case when one is in the field...
Compass performs as well as any other ABC on the market, the duplex display on the PRG-240 has a higher contrast ratio compared to the PRG-80 and is on the whole is an improvement. The 240 adds an electronic bearing lock, which is a great addition as new Protrek`s only display`s the bearing measurement for around 20 seconds, then blank`s the display. The Older 80 lacks the bearing lock, and will freeze and display the last bearing for a couple of minutes or so. Having the bearing lock simply makes the 240 far more intuitive and usable in the field.
Ease of use, both watches are easy to use and live with, the addition of Sunrise/Sunset on the 240 give the watch seven timing displays and three ABC displays not counting any of the setting displays, so I cant help but thing why Casio did not implement a shortcut to the primary time as has been done with the 5000`s, by simply holding the mode button for a couple of seconds the PRW-5000 will return to it`s “home” display on the LCD. The 80 has fewer features and subsequently requires less button pushing. Both watches have auto return to primary time and depending on the function the return time varies. The 240 shows the current time in all display screens barring the logging feature, the 80 is similar, with the logging & barometer not displaying current time.
Conclusion: The 240 is without any doubt Casio`s new definitive field watch, the positives far outweigh the negatives. Casio`s implementation of the barometer & altimeter is unique and I guess now part of the Protrek experience Altimeter Locks, Mean Sea Level may or may not ever be implemented, aside this the 240 is a excellent choice for a field watch, time will tell regarding the watches durability, however I would be amazed if this proves to be a concern. If you have an 80, keep it they are phenomenal in the field, if you don't have a 240 it`s time to get one...
PRG-80 is a little like “Technicolor” offering a warmth and depth of colour a little lost in our new digital age, and something not to be missed PRG-240 offers everything barring “Atomic” reception in a case designed for field work, The PRG-80 still wins in some areas, yet overall the PRG-240 simply “Ace`s” it`s older sibling