Casio and ana-digis - a never-ending story that can be quite frustrating when you're always on the lookout for "the perfect watch". So I think the recently released AQ-S810 (non-G model) comes pretty close to being that perfect ana-digi. There was the AQ-S800 which was released earlier and has the same module but I didn't quite like the looks of it and the strap seemed a bit flimsy. I didn't like the small battery on the GA-100 and the button protectors. And I don't like the short timer on most other Casio ana-digis. I like my AMW-707 but it only has one alarm. And I like the GW-2500/3500 but the timer could also be longer. So let's take a look at the new contender for the title .
I'll start with:
IMO it looks a little bit like a crossover between a G-100 and GA-100 which is a good thing:
It looks nice and chunky and very "G-like". The LCD is a bit small but I can still read it at arm's length which is good enough for me - might be different if my eyesight gets worse. The dial is very uncluttered and easy to read at a glance - the hands could be a tad longer though, but since the hour markers are protruding so far into the dial it was probably not possible. The grey plastic covering the solar panels underneath has a nice pattern on it looking a bit like wire mesh.
I really like that design.
Buttons are easy to press as they're not recessed like on Gs. One thing I didn't like about the GA-100 was the button protectors. So no problem on that one. The strap is a bit short and has a plastic buckle which I exchanged for a steel one - once again Casio used an odd 21mm buckle which makes it almost impossible to find an aftermarket one that fits so I had to take one from a a G-Shock. The strap is nice and soft and the watch wears comfy on the wrist.
The module is basically the same as on the new AWG-M100 just without the hand-moving feature and the atomic capabilities.
- worldtime with time-swap
- 5 alarms - unfortunately no snooze - therefore it's only close to being perfect
- the great timer of the GRX/GWX-5600, WS-200/220, STW-1000: two consecutive 100min timers with up to 10 times auto-repeat setable in 5 sec increments - IMO that's perfect and long enough for most things I need it for
- 60 min stopwatch - too short
- but here comes the good part and the reason why it's different from almost any other (solar) ana-digi: it has an LED-backlight on the LCD - to my knowledge the only other solar Casio ana-digi with a backlight on the LCD was the PAG/PRG-60
There are a few non-solar models of course which have a backlight on the LCD.
- the main display can be switched between showing either date, weekday or current time - so before I go to bed I change it to current time to make use of the backlight in the dark
- lume is not so great but we're already used to that - only the 12, 3, 9 and the inner marker at 6 are lumed - not the rest of the hour markers - but I don't really care as I got the backlight at night
- powersafe mode can't be turned off
- it has an extra mode for battery status while the graphic sector on the right is used for seconds and 1/10 sec in STW and CDT
- no indicators for alarms or hourly chime
- I really do like the graphics on the right however as it makes a fast sweeping upwards motion in stopwatch mode and a downwards motion in timer mode - I like that instant optical feedback when using timer and stopwatch and it looks cool IMO but the graphic could also have been used for the battery
- weekday can be set in different languages
- setable illumination duration between 1.5 and 3 sec
- button beeps can be muted of course and it does beep when changing modes and starting CDT/STW unlike the GW-2500/3500
- acrylic crystal
- CTL920 battery
- runs 10 months on full charge with daily use in absolute darkness
- resin case and strap
- steel back "Japan Mov't cased in China"
- +/-30sec/month - mine seems to run much better however
Some more pics:
- IMO very close to perfection because of the combination of solar with LCD backlight and a decent timer
- fails at being perfect because of missing snooze and short stopwatch
A strong buy in my book despite the minor flaws as it has great features and looks good - it's also cheap so it makes the perfect ana-digi beater. I think it'll stay on the wrist for a while .