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Reviews > Electronic Devices > Watches > Casio Pathfinder PAG80T-7V > Owner Review by Aric Swanger

CASIO PATHFINDER PAG80T-7V
BY ARIC W. SWANGER
OWNER REVIEW
January 15, 2009

TESTER INFORMATION

NAME: Aric W. Swanger
EMAIL: aricswanger"AT"nc.rr"DOT"com
AGE: 33
LOCATION: Raleigh, NC
GENDER: M
HEIGHT: 5' 11" (1.80 m)
WEIGHT: 265 lb (120.00 kg)

I grew up camping in Pennsylvania but most of my camping and all of my backpacking has been in the last 2 years in North Carolina. I really got excited about backpacking when my son started to get interested in it. I do some car camping but most trips will be backpacking with my son for 1-3 nights. I use a tent as my typical shelter. I try to get out about 12 times a year. I like to keep my pack under 35 lb (15.88 kg) and hope to adopt some ultralight skills and equipment.

PRODUCT INFORMATION

IMAGE 1
Picture from manufacturer's website.

Manufacturer: Casio
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.casio.com/
Year of Purchase: 2007
MSRP: US$300.00
Listed Weight: 4.16 oz (118 g)
Measured Weight: 4 oz (113 g)
Case size: 2.45 x 2.06 x .56 in (6.22 X 5.23 X 1.42 cm)


The Casio Pathfinder PAG80T-7V is a large display watch with a titanium band and many functions that can be used on outdoor adventures. It is solar powered and has radio controlled atomic timekeeping. It has a digital compass, barometer, thermometer, altimeter, stopwatch, countdown timer, auto light, 5 alarms and it keeps time too.

The ends of the watch case that connect to the bracelet curve down to make for a more comfortable fit. At only 4 oz the watch feels very light. The display is large and easy to read. All of the function buttons are large enough to use with or without gloved hands. The clasp is easy to manipulate with an ungloved hand however very difficult to manipulate while wearing gloves.

The solar cell charges the rechargeable battery. It is important to leave the watch out where it will receive direct light to charge. If the watch is placed in the dark it will slowly drain the battery. On the display there is a battery power meter that will indicate the current status of the battery. There are high, medium and low indicators on the meter. When the high or medium indicators are illuminated all functions work. When the low indicator is illuminated then some functions start to shut down until recharged.

The radio controlled atomic timekeeping feature insures the correct time is displayed on the watch at all times. Six times a day the watch automatically sends and receives signals with one of 5 different atomic clocks depending on the watch's current location. This feature can be manually operated at anytime to update the watch's time.

The digital compass is activated with one touch of the compass function button on the upper right hand side of the watch case. Two seconds after the compass button is pressed, four pointers appear on the watch face. The north pointer has three lines and the south, east and west pointers are just one line. In the center of the face there is a numerical reading in degrees for the direction that the 12 o'clock position is facing. There is also a heading readout at the 12 o'clock position. This reading tells which of the 16 directions the 12 o'clock position is facing (i.e. N, NNE,NE, E). The watch will take a new reading every one second for twenty seconds. After twenty seconds all of the pointers and readings freeze at the last positions.

The barometer / thermometer function is very handy for outdoor activities. When the middle button on the right hand side is pressed the barometer / thermometer function is activated. Like all the other functions, there is a two second delay and then the function data is displayed. At the 12 o'clock position there is a barometric pressure graph. This graph shows barometric pressure change trends. This watch takes barometric pressure readings every two hours regardless of the current mode. These readings are used to produce the graph. A rising graph generally indicates improving weather. A falling graph generally means deteriorating weather. The current barometric pressure reading is displayed in the center of the watch. The current temperature is displayed in the six o'clock position.

Press the lower right hand button on the watch and the altimeter function is activated. When left in this mode the altitude can be monitored. The current time is displayed in the 6 o'clock position and the altitude graph is displayed in the 12 o'clock position. The altitude graph displays the current and past altitude readings.

All of the stopwatch functions are found by cycling through the watch modes with the mode button on the lower left hand side of the watch. Once in the stopwatch mode pressing the altimeter button will start and stop the stopwatch. Pressing the compass button will reset the stopwatch. The countdown timer operates the same way. All of the normal watch functions operate as they would on a normal watch including the five alarms.

The auto light feature, or the EL feature as the manufacturer calls it, illuminates the watch face when the watch is raised to the face for viewing. EL stands for electroluminescent. Moving the watch from a position parallel to the ground and then tilting it towards the wearer's face by more than 40 degrees turns on the light. The light can also be manually turned on by pressing the light button located in the 6 o'clock position. The light will not turn on if the surrounding light is bright enough to read the display without the light.


FIELD USE

I have used this watch in dry and rainy situations with temperatures ranging from 20 F to 98 F. All of my usage in the woods has been on about ten 1 to 3 night camping trips. I also wear this watch whenever wearing casual clothes.

I normally stay on the trails when hiking so I typically don't need a compass but I have used it on the trail for general, N S E W, readings. I really got a chance to test out the compass when I was assigned to guide a team of scouts through an orienteering course. The boys were using regular compasses. I had to follow behind them and make sure they didn't get lost in the woods. The digital compass is a lot more sensitive than the regular compasses. I was able to take a very accurate reading and always keep them on course.

I use the barometer / thermometer function on every trip to check the weather. By using the barometer graph I have accurately predicted the rain forecast three separate trips. Once when camping with a bunch of fathers and sons, several fathers had their PDAs and went to the weather channel. They all said that it was not going to rain. My watch was showing rain was coming so we put on our rain fly. We were dry and everybody else was wet. Because this watch measures pressure right where the watch is vs a general area such as a city the reading is more accurate than the weather channel. I have had similar forecasting situations with the whole family and with the Boy Scouts. To get an accurate temperature reading the watch must be taken off. Body heat will throw off the reading.

The EL feature is probably my next most used feature. Two hands are not needed to operate the light. Just lift the watch up and it lights up. This feature is nice when lying in a sleeping bag and wanting to know what time it is.

SUMMARY

I absolutely love this watch. It is very durable and light. This watch is very well made. The solar power means there is no need to pack extra batteries. The atomic setting means the time is always accurate. With all of the functions, I will always know if it is going to rain and will always have a backup compass.

THINGS I LIKE

Durability
All of the functions
Very good looking
Lightweight

THINGS I DON'T LIKE

Having to take the watch off to get an accurate temperature reading.

This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1. Copyright 2009. All rights reserved.

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Reviews > Electronic Devices > Watches > Casio Pathfinder PAG80T-7V > Owner Review by Aric Swanger



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