Casio has decided to try their luck at another GPS watch. While their first GPS watch was more of a smallish hand-held GPS strapped to your wrist, the GPR-100 is actually the smallest GPS watch available (63.1mm x 49.5mm x 17.1mm). And it actually looks like a watch, so it won’t get you pulled out of an airport security line and escorted into a mysterious back room.
This time, Casio has decided to focus on runners. It’s going to be a while before you can strap a really functional general purpose GPS to your wrist (why bother when there are so many amazing and compact hand-held GPS devices out there), so I think it’s smart of Casio to narrow down their focus.
Why is GPS such important technology for runners? As long as a GPS device can receive a signal from at least three different satellites, it can can tell you where you are, how fast you’re moving, how far you’ve gone, how much further you have to go, and it can calculate information on your pace. That means no more measuring your route with your car’s odometer. The obvious advantage to packing all this functionality into a watch is to make it comfortable to run with, and easy to glance at.
The Casio GPR-100 isn’t available in the US yet, so I’m having to glean details from Casio’s Japanese site. As far as I can tell, here are the big features:
- Automatic time zone adjustment. The watch gets its time and location from the GPS signal, so it can automatically adjust to your location. It also automatically adjust for daylight savings.
- Points of Interest (POI). Record where you are on the globe, and what time you were there. Up to 100 POIs can be stored. The watch will also calculate the distance between where you are, and one other point.
- Automatic electro-luminescent backlight. Lift up your wrist and tilt it toward your face to automatically illuminate the LCD. (Useful while training in the early morning.)
- Water-resistant to 5ATM, 50 meters, or about 165 feet.
- Stopwatch with 1/100th of a second resolution. You can also record data (lap/split times, total time, average pace, total distance and more) on up to 50 workouts.
- Pace verification. Since the watch knows how fast and how far you’re going, it can give you feedback on your pace and let you know whether you need to speed up or slow down.
- Countdown timer.
- Rechargeable battery (recharging cradle is included). Unfortunately, the battery only lasts about 2 hours in “normal” mode, and 4.3 hours in “low power” mode (if you are in good enough shape to run longer than that, you’ll have to stick to more conventional training methods). The Casio GPR-100 takes about 3 hours to fully recharge.
- Standard alarm.
The Casio GPR-100 isn’t cheap. It goes for 54,000 yen, or about $467.00, as of today. I can see paying that much for a high-end training watch, but frankly, they’re going to have to extend the battery life significantly. In case you can’t wait for Casio to get around to shipping this watch to the US, check out the Garmin Forerunner 205 (they claim a battery life of 10 hours). I’ve used its predecessor, the Forerunner 101, pretty extensively, and it’s a pretty decent training watch, so I’m anxious to get my hands on the 205.