so last week my Timex Expediton Vibration Alarm finally arrived (USPS shipping seems to be slow at the moment - took about 4 weeks all in all til I got it) - time for a little review and comparison to some Casio vibration watches.
First a group shot of the watches in question:
The most obvious quality of the watches in question. Basically - I like them all . But a little more detail:
Size, display, strap - all pretty good. I like the uncluttered display with the high contrast and big digits - the digits could be a tad thicker however. The only thing I don't like about the design is the completely useless compass bezel - the watch has no compass, it's also not analog (so you could at least use the sun-compass method) and the bezel doesn't turn - so it's purely cosmetical - the only use I see in it is that it's about 1mm raised above the acrylic crystal which gives it at least minimal protection against scratching.
The tonneau shape is not for everyone - my stepdaughter likes it - it's the only G-Shock she ever complimented me about - maybe because of the color. The pie-charts to indicate functions are pretty useless - the letters are too small. And the moonphase could also be a bit bigger. The digits are big and the contrast is also pretty high - one of the best on the G-Shocks I have. The display is deeply recessed and well protected by the bezel. It has a 6-button layout but frankly - the features could all have been realized with 5 buttons, too. It can be slightly confusing when you wanna start the timer and press the lower right button and nothing happens because the timer is started with the middle button.
I really like that design - the display layout and form factor reminds me a little bit of the vintage Mudman DW-8400. The acrylic crystal is recessed and well protected - the buttons are a joy to use. Display contrast is also very good. The pie-chart indicator for VIB, SPL, ALM and SIG is also much more useful than the tiny ones on the GL-7500. The gray model is the nicest to my taste but the others look pretty nice, too.
Big, bold and chunky - that sums it up pretty nicely. Big digits, contrast is not quite as high as on the others but good enough. The dark gray is nice and the wings and buttons are a very dark blue - not as bright as on most product pics. The metal start button is a nice extra. The resin is very smooth and flexible. The wings were a little uncomfy at first but I got used to them.
The watches are all pretty thick and chunky - probably because of the vibration mechanism (somebody should take one apart so we could see how it looks like):
They are all between 16-17mm.
The 4 watches are all pretty comfy and hug the wrist nicely:
It's very comfy with the nylon strap and because of the large size it doesn't move around much.
Like I already mentioned - the wings can be a bit uncomfy depending on wrist geometry - they probably work better on a rounded wrist - mine's more flat and wide.
Very comfy, too and wears about the same as the GL-7500.
The watch is rather long - about 50mm lug-to-lug - so it works very well on my wrist.
Of all 4 the Timex is IMO the most comfy because of the nylon strap.
It's probably not fair to compare the Timex with the two G-Shocks because they are more expensive. So I'd rather compare it with the W-735H. Both have an acrylic crystal and a plastic case but the Timex feels a little cheaper in build quality especially the buttons which offer no real pressure point and are a bit wobbly. The W-735H has great buttons - even slightly better than the two G-Shocks IMO. Well defined pressure point - just the right amount of resistance when pressing them - not too hard, not too soft. IMO they're about perfect - also because of the size - of all 4 watches the W-735H has the biggest buttons. The nylon strap of the Timex feels a bit flimsy but let's wait and see how it stands up to daily use - or at least - to the amount of use it's gonna get from me - it's not like I wear the same watch every day. The strap does have a steel buckle while the W-735H, like most cheapo Casios, has only a plastic buckle.
The two G-Shocks offer the usual G-Shock quality - nothing to complain here - some have criticized the buttons on the GD-350 - they might not be the best of all my G-Shocks but they're OK. Nice and easy to press. But due to the construction they also do slightly move to the side - similar to the Timex. The strap is great on the GD-350 with the nice double prong keeper.
All in all considering the price - the W-735H offers the best quality for the buck IMO. But all 4 are not that far apart. Everything works like it should even though the Timex feels slightly cheaper than the rest - maybe because it is cheaper .
Before I continue with the features - probably the most interesting part - first a look at the displays. Funny coincidence is that all 4 have a very good display contrast - but like I mentioned in another thread - high contrast sometimes means small viewing angle. So 3 of them show a considerable amount of ghosting with the Timex being worst:
The pic is not too good - looks like the camera focussed on all the dust that I didn't even see before I looked at the pics on a computer screen - but I think it shows the ghosting effect well enough.
Definitely worst of all but that might also be because the display is not as recessed as on the W-735H and GL-7500. When I hold the W-735H next to it and tilt them both the display seems to start ghosting at about the same angle.
The only one showing no ghosting is the GD-350:
Crappy pic once again but no matter which angle I use - I can not see any ghosting on the display.
Now it gets interesting:
first a link to the different manuals and an overview:
Like I already mentioned in another thread - the module is based on the W-93 - it has:
time-keeping, 24hr mode, weekday, date
timer - up to 24 hrs setable in 1-sec increments - current time not displayed
stopwatch - 24 hrs - current time only displayed as long as stopwatch is not running
alarm - just one, no snooze, current time displayed
dual time - with current time displayed
quick return to time-keeping if a button is pressed in another mode (not the light however but start/stop, reset or adjust)
vibration feature with one-button access
Made in China
timekeeping, 24 hr mode, DST on/off, weekday, date, tide can be displayed on main screen
timer - 60 min with repeat and current time displayed - it also offers a 2nd start time (up to 5 min) with one-button access, setable in 1-min increments with repeat or count-up feature for up to 99hrs, the timer has a progress alarm which cannot be disabled
3 alarms + 1 snooze, hourly signal
stopwatch - 24 hrs - no current time displayed but if you want a stopwatch with current time you can use the timer and set it to 1 min - so you basically have a 99hr stopwatch with 1-min prestart countdown
vibration feature with one-button access
EL-illumination with auto-EL
Made in Thailand
timekeeping. 24 hr mode, DST on/off, weekday, date, timer can be displayed on main screen, one-button access to timer from main screen
4 alarms + 1 snooze, hourly signal
1,000 hr stopwatch with current time displayed
24 hr timer, setable to the second but no repeat
vibration feature - access through menu
LED-illumination with auto-illumination
Made in China
Timex Expedition Vibration Alarm (my model is the T498549J - no way I'm gonna remember that )
time-keeping, 24hr mode, weekday, date (date format can be changed between DD/MM and MM/DD), two seperate timezones can be accessed from main screen
stopwatch - 24 hrs - no current time displayed (or in any other mode)
24 hr timer with repeat, setable in 1-sec increments
hydration alarm (up to 1 hr)
occassion alarm (haven't tried that one yet)
3 alarms with snooze, but it only repeats once
menus can be hidden so the watch offers a great deal of customization
quick return feature - slightly different from Casio - the quick return works if you press a button in another mode OR when you stay in another mode for about 3 seconds
vibration feature - access through settings menu
indicators for running timer, stopwatch, alarm and hydration alarm on the main screen (don't know about the occassion alarm since I haven't tried it yet)
battery: CR2032 (this is also stamped on the caseback)
Indiglo reversed illumination with night-function (once activated every button press will illuminate the display and the illumination will stay on as long as buttons are pressed, which is also true when nightmode is not enabled)
Made in China
So far the features - now the details and some stuff that's not really in the manual - especially on the Timex.
Two of the 4 models (W-735H and the Timex) offer the quick return feature which many people like. But there are some major disadvantages to that. In case you wanna set the timer and alarm(s) you have to scroll through the modes again. And in case of the Timex - the 3 alarms are separate from each other (not grouped together in an alarm menu like on the G-Shocks) so you cannot set them right after each other.
And there's another IMO major flaw on the Timex - the watch cannot be completely muted - the watch still beeps when you start and stop/reset the timer and stopwatch - the hourly signal can also not be muted and it can only be accessed from the main time-keeping menu - not from the alarm menu like on the Casios.
The settings menu is a little more user-friendly on the Timex however - some pics I took of the timer setting - you 1st press the adjust button (at first I thought it needs to be held but that's not the case - you only need to press it once) - then the watch displays "timer set" - then "set" and on the right side the watch has a blinking "+" and "-" next to the buttons - on the left side "done" and "next". Pretty easy and intuitive but really not that much better than on the Casios once you're used to them. Upwards and downwards scrolling is done with the upper and lower button - on the Casios it's reversed.
Once the timer is running the upper part of the display indicates the start time and the lower part is for the running timer:
The GL-7500 and W-735H have the advantage of a one-button access of the vibration feature which on the Timex and GD-350 can only be activated from the settings menu. On the Timex the illumination also flashes with the vibration and on the GD-350 it flashes with the alarm beep and timer beep - both cannot be disabled. So you cannot set the GD-350 to just alarm beeps without LED flasher. But that doesn't bother me much since I always have it on vibrate anyway.
The W-735H and GD-350 both feature the "super illuminator" which is a little too bright - the W-735H looks even slightly brighter than the GD-350 (the pics are a little overexposed - so they are both not really as bright as on the pics but still can be used as an emergency flashlight):
GD-350 (illumination duration can be set between 1.5, 3 and 5 sec)
The GL-7500 (illumination duration can be set between 1.5 and 3 sec) has the standard EL:
And the Timex has the famous inverted illumination which I really like (some Casios have it, too but it should really be incorporated more often as it makes for a very nice and nightvision-friendly illumination):
The W-735H, GL-7500 and GD-350 are all pretty much the same - IMO the GL-7500 and W-735H are slightly stronger. But strongest of all is definitely the Timex. The vibration once startled me so much that I almost dropped a plate I was carrying . I only wish the snooze would repeat more often - so I don't really trust it to wake me up reliably even with the strong vibration. On the W-735H the missing snooze is a disadvantage - if you're a sound sleeper you probably won't wake up by a single 10 sec vibration. In that aspect the G-Shocks clearly win with their 30 min snooze feature (alarm repeats every 5 min).
The Final Verdict
All 4 models have their advantages and disadvantages - if you want a long timer with repeat - the only option is the Timex. But if you want all the bells and whistles (albeit no repeat on the timer) and 5 alarms - go with the GD-350. If a basic feature set is enough - the W-735H offers great bang for the buck and IMO a great overall quality. But the Timex is also very strong in the bang-for-the buck department. In case you want moon/tide - the GL-7500 is the watch of choice (too bad it's discontinued) and the count-up timer is also a nice feature but the timer could be longer.
long timer with repeat
standard lugs for ease of strap swapping
no current time in other modes
watch cannot be completely muted
separate modes for each alarm
slightly cheaper quality IMO than the rest
good quality considering the price
basic feature set
illumination may be a little too bright
no repeat on the timer
no current time in other modes
timer could be longer
current time in alarm, stopwatch and timer mode
vibration indicates return to home screen
great timer feature with one-button access from main screen
no repeat on the timer
To me the GD-350 is the winner. But the others are close - and the two cheapos - the Timex and W-735H offer great bang for the buck - with the Timex having better features but the W-735H offering slightly better quality IMO.
That's it .