I'm sure this watch has been reviewed to death so I will skip any overly technical banter..I'm not that technical anyway. This is just a quick overview of what I think of the Rangeman after using it in the field over the past month.
I started out on WUS with a heavy focus on G-Shocks and Pathfinders. I've had most of them at one point in time. The squares, 6900, Riseman, mudman, gulfman, king, frogman GW-1000, and most all variations of the pathfinder. I ended up selling most of them and sticking with a GW-5000 and GW-6900 for the past several years. When the Rangeman came out a couple of years ago, I decided to look the other way, despite being pretty excited that they finally made an ABC G-Shock. I just feared it would be too big, and that it would look a little too sci-fi for my aging tastes. I didn't even look at any pictures to tempt myself.
Fast forward to now. I just moved to close proximity to some really good hiking, including the Appalachian trail out here in Northern Virginia. Having the ability to hike on a regular basis really got the "gear junkie" in me all excited. Even though I wrote off most of ABC functionality to be "gimmicky", I decided to have another look at Casio's new lineup. What's this? New sensors? More accurate and responsive? Hmmm. My interest was certainly aroused. Suunto always seemed to have the upper hand for sensor quality and reliability, but I could never get on board with the 6 month battery change thing and it's lack of water resistance though. So, I decided to give the Rangeman a closer look. I really liked the other reviews I read regarding the quality, and more importantly, the size. I loved the pics and thought it just might work on my wrist. I had to give it a shot.
After pulling this one out of the packaging, I was indeed pleasantly surprised with the quality. The watch has an overall heft that feels just about right. Not too heavy, but not so light that it feels like cheap plastic.
Obviously the metal buttons have a lot to do with the heft and feel of quality. A big thumbs up and job well done on the part of Casio. Quality textured metal buttons that are functional…and look great! One of my biggest gripes with the old Riseman was the big shiny metal button on the front, cheesy red button on the side, and the bright red ring on the dial.
I was very pleased to see that not only were the buttons not shiny, but they were a very cool gunmetal grey. Some don't like the big center light button, but I find it very useful in the dark. Sometimes I take my watch off at night and set it beside the bed. If I'm reaching for the watch in the dark, there is no mistaking where the light button is. If the button is on the side you are left trying to figure out which side it's on and by the time you find it, you're not even in time mode anymore. The ring on the dial is also much more subtle. It's a similar layout, but I do believe legibility is better on the Rangeman as well.
But how does this big monster fit on my puny 7 inch wrist? Yeah, it's big, but not as big as I feared. I'm not even going to try to pawn this off as a small watch, but I will say that it is indeed comfortable. It sits very flat, and not overly tall on my wrist with 0 overhang on either end. From my past experience, I would say it's smaller than the GW-1000 Frogman and King series, but certainly bigger than older 6900's etc. I saw one recent review that showed it about equal in size to the Suunto Vector.
Definitely bigger than my Tuna
Overall, I feel like the case, strap, buttons, etc, are all of very high quality. I really like the strap and the added touch of a metal keeper. But how does it fare in real world use!? Is it uncomfortable? Are these sensors really any better? With past ABC's, I've usually had to do some calibration right out of the box. They were all off to some degree. Not this sucker…dead on right out of the box! Maybe it was a fluke, but I was not expecting that.
After playing with the compass, the sensors are indeed faster. the compass swung much quicker and cleaner than any past ABC I've had. Much more on par with Suunto. So far so good.
I've worn the watch on the trail now for 3 hikes consisting of about 10-15 hours of wrist time. I wear the watch just a notch loose and it's comfort has not been an issue yet. I rarely even know it's on my wrist and I don't feel like it's overly bulky, however, than might change when I start throwing long sleeves and coats on. We'll see.
2 new features I LOVE for hiking. The one button push stopwatch in the lower right corner, and the one button push event record button in the upper right. I usually time my hikes and I like to know exactly when I started. With both of these new features, it makes life a little easier. I'm a big fan of those new features. On my first hike I changed about 900-1200 feet in elevation and the watch tracked the progress in 5ft increments without any issues. The large center side button made swapping between modes fairly painless. As always, the temp is useless but I knew that going into it. Still glad it's there in case I ever want second guess my own skin as a temp gauge
I would say I rechecked the accuracy about 4 different times at different points in the hikes. It always matched my compass within a few degrees depending on wrist tilt. Overall I'm really pleased with the Rangeman. The sic-fi looks have grown on me and it really is a rugged looking piece. The manly look, buttons, construction, all come together in a cohesive package and serve its intended purpose of being a deadly serious outdoor watch. It hasn't had any issues syncing or holding a charge either. What would I change? I still think the circular sub-dials on G-shocks are too gimmicky and only serve to clutter the dial. They could take a lesson from Suunto on that one. Otherwise..it's an ABC Gshock with 200m WR, atomic, solar, multi-band 6, world-time, a bazillion alarms, sunrise/sunset, stopwatch, timer, coffee maker, laser, flamethrower, ….anyway, you just can't beat what's being offered for the price. Great watch