Hidden gem - AQ-S810 budget model - review
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  1. #1
    Member Sedi's Avatar
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    Hidden gem - AQ-S810 budget model - review

    Hi,
    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:

    Looks:
    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.

    Functionality:
    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.

    Module:
    The module is basically the same as on the new AWG-M100 just without the hand-moving feature and the atomic capabilities.
    Features are:
    - solar
    - 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

    Technical:
    - 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:

    German weekday:

    Timer:



    pros:
    - IMO very close to perfection because of the combination of solar with LCD backlight and a decent timer

    cons:
    - 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 .

    cheers, Sedi
    Cheers
    Sedi

  2. #2
    Member Chrisek's Avatar
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    Sedi, congratulations on the watch! I've been waiting for this as every time you bring it up your words are glowing :beer:
    Yes, I am OCD. What gave it away?

  3. #3
    Member Sedi's Avatar
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    Re: Hidden gem - AQ-S810 budget model - review

    Thanks Chrisek!
    Yeah, I really like that watch, IMO it would be great if Casio would release a solar ana-digi G-Shock with backlight on the LCD.

    cheers, Sedi
    Cheers
    Sedi

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  5. #4
    Member Sedi's Avatar
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    Re: Hidden gem - AQ-S810 budget model - review

    Some more info I forgot to include in the start post:
    module number is 5208:
    http://ftp.casio.co.jp/pub/world_man.../en/qw5208.pdf
    Here's the link to the description at casio-intl:
    AQ-S810W-2AV - Watches - CASIO
    It also comes in a nice drab green version which (once again) isn't sold in Germany . But I might get that one, too.

    cheers, Sedi
    Cheers
    Sedi

  6. #5
    Member xevious's Avatar
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    Re: Hidden gem - AQ-S810 budget model - review

    Great and thorough review, Sedi. Belongs in the Review section!

    You know what quickly kills it for me? Those blasted silver Philips screws at the 4 corners. They couldn't have made them black? Or better yet, black Torx screws echoing the GW-7900 design. A few other annoyances:


    • "5 alarms" on the dial. This is not necessary and just adds to the visual noise.
    • Sufficiently loud alarm -- is it actually weaker than the DW-5600E? If so, then thumbs down.
    • "ILLUMINATOR" on the lower part of the bezel is also not needed, although maybe that can be sanded off.
    • The smallish hands. I'd rather that the minute and hour hands be extended outward another 1mm. Doing so may help align the gap in the minute hand so that the LCD is visible when passing over it.
    • No dual LED illuminator... should have a 2nd LED at the top to light up the hands. If that added $5 to the cost, so be it.


    Otherwise a very nice looking watch, reminding me of the G-Shock Aviator series, and the convex crystal is a nice touch as well. It's a real bargain at $40 shipped (from Amazon USA).

    Interestingly enough, there's another variation of this model, called the AQ-S800W-1B2VCF. $36 shipped on Amazon. Very interesting as this one has a different outer bezel (almost looks like it rotates, but it won't because of the button function labels), which eliminates "Illuminator" and "Tough Solar" on it. The hands are much longer too with more lume on them (but no lume markers on the dial), but there are some silly design aspects to it that are a bit off putting.

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  7. #6
    Member 1onehandwill's Avatar
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    Re: Hidden gem - AQ-S810 budget model - review

    cool I like it.its sporty and cheap

  8. #7
    Member Sedi's Avatar
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    Re: Hidden gem - AQ-S810 budget model - review

    Thanks xevious and 1onehandwill!
    I mentioned the AQ-S800 in the review. IMO it does not look as good and the crystal (it's not domed btw) is less protected - the strap also looks sturdier on the 810. The hands on the 810 can't be longer as they would be touching the hour markers that protrude far into the dial. I also think they should have made the hour markers a bit smaller and the hands longer. Lume is OK - just checked it before work when I took a nap. The lume was not charged in any way and still easy to read after one hour - which is good enough for me on a watch that has a backlight . IMO an extra LED to light the hands is unnecessary as long as I can have current time on the LCD. The alarms are as loud as on most Gs - certainly not weaker. But maybe not as loud as on a G-7900. I took some more pics to have a little comparison to my other favourite ana-digis - the GW-2500B and GW-3500B:




    The dial on the AQ-S810 is cleaner and less cluttered than the 2500/3500 but of course it also has less functionality on the home-screen (no second timezone or battery indicator, and only one LCD) - IMO this makes it more legible.
    Casio seems to love those screws on the cheaper models but it looks like they actually keep the top bezel attached to the rest of the case. The WS-200/220 also have those - they don't bother me as they are much more prominent on those close-up shots than when wearing the watch. They could be easily blacked out using a sharpie.
    I think for the price it's a great model - the only thing I really miss is the snooze alarm.

    cheers, Sedi
    Cheers
    Sedi

  9. #8
    Member dreski's Avatar
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    Re: Hidden gem - AQ-S810 budget model - review

    I stumbled on this model yesterday and for the price I couldn't let it go. As I was searching for info I just saw your topic. What a coincidence. I ordered the green one. I like the military look and feel of it.
    Last edited by dreski; June 27th, 2012 at 09:14.

  10. #9
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    Re: Hidden gem - AQ-S810 budget model - review

    hey Sedi

    You know that i already appreciate the veru functional cheaper Casios (Particulary the w-S200/220 series)

    I have long looked at the older version of this but your very of the newer one has swung it for me. Only downside for me again is the acrylic crystal, wonder how much it would add to the price to mass produce a mineral glass for this and the ws220??

    All the best

    Mark


  11. #10
    Member cal..45's Avatar
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    Re: Hidden gem - AQ-S810 budget model - review

    Nice and informative review as always Sedi

    Still, for me this watch isn't a contender for my Timex Ironman Shock ana-digi but at least Casio seems to improve a couple things. Wear it in good health


    cheers
    We are 12.6 %

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