Casio AE1200 – The best digital watch

I’ve been wearing a non Smartwatch for a few months again and I’m slowly finding out some of my favourites.

First up for a digital is the Casio AE1200, which you can pick up for less than £30. I love the design, it looks like something from Star Wars or Blade Runner. It’s light, the strap is comfortable and it’s very legible. The light is also very good, especially when compared to something like the F-91w.

I’ve started to wear it to time workouts and with its analogue watch face in the top left you can still see the time when you have the stop watch running.

If you want to get back into watches and want one digital watch then check out the AE1200.

What I want from a watch

I’m a sucker for reading about and buying watches, it’s something I’ve been into since I was a kid and got my Star Wars 80’s one. I’ve been out of the Apple Watch for a bit now and starting to appreciate the things that I like to see in a watch.

I’m into both digital and analog and I wear either a 70’s Seiko Automatic, 90’s Tag Heuer 200m Professional or Casio F-91w.

As I get back into watches I’m realising what I want from a watch. This has strangely affected some of my long term plans in terms of saving for a new one. I’ve been eyeing up an Omega Speedmaster but now I’m back used to wearing watches I’m not sure it’s for me anymore. I love the history and design but…

I like a watch with a date and I think I prefer something a little smaller. My main (current) want in a watch is

  • Date
  • Easy stop watch
  • Light and comfortable
  • Easy to read display

It’s not about the price or prestige brands for me but I think I have to meet at least these 4 tick boxes.

A minimalist watch

I’ve been going through a bit of a resurgence in my love of watches over the last six months or so and starting to think about how I can share one of my other passions on my blog. My first post is around finding that one watch that is both minimal and functional. After looking through my collection I settled on the Casio F-91w as my favourite minimal watch.

It’s got everything I need (date and stopwatch) and is light and small enough that I don’t even notice I’m wearing it.

The only thing I miss is being able to see the time at the same time as running the stopwatch.

At less than £20 this is the perfect watch to buy if you want to get away from a smart watch or just start wearing a watch again.

Casio AE1200 Mods

One of the great things about Casio is that at less than £20 there’s a chance to made it your own through some simple modding.

I’ve been wanting to mod my AE1200 for a while so whilst I had 30 mins to spare I decided to have a go.

All I used was a small screwdriver, a sharpie, spudger, some nail varnish remover and a cotton bud.

First thing I did was to remove the white text from the case above and below the display, with a cotton bud and nail varnish remover and it came off pretty simply.

I then had to take the watch apart to get at the front template with all of the text on. It’s just 4 screws holding the back on, don’t forget to keep the water seal safe when it comes off.

Use the spudger to take out the unit and the front plate will come out easily.

I tried nail varnish remover again on the text I wanted to get rid of but it didn’t work so I removed it with a sharpie.

After I was done I simply reversed the process and got it all back together.

I’m pretty pleased with my first mod on the AE1200.

You can see where it started off in my review.

Casio G-Shock GBA-800 review

I’ve been using the Casio G-Shock step tracker for a good few weeks now and feel like I’m now in a position to share some opinions on using it.

Design and comfort

I feel that with G-Shock you either love or hate them, for me Initkwlly I wasn’t sure. It’s chunky but not uncomfortable when bending your wrist. If like me you tend to wear beads or wrist bands too then the buttons are stiff enough to also not be activated, something that happens with most of my other digital watches.

The design has grown on me though and I’m now really into this look, also glad I got the sand colour. As much as I like bright colours the bright neon version might have been tough to pull off.

The strap is thicker than your typical Casio Resin and feels like a different material. Soft but fairly rigid. I find it comfortable but does get a little clammy on walks or when it’s hot. I found myself loosening it a few times over the day to keep it comfy.

Overall it’s not as comfortable (for me) as something like an F-91w.

Legibility

Here’s where the experience falls down for me. Having both an analogue and digital display is nice but I find the digital one almost useless. With the reverse LCD it’s hard (almost impossible) for me to see that display without turning on the backlight. It’s a pain when you need to set a timer as it’s on this smaller display. It’s also impossible to see in bright daylight. In fact it might be reason I never wear this watch again to be honest. Coming from an easy to read F-91w where I can quickly glance and see the info I want I struggle to do the same with this one.

If like me you wear glasses or struggle generally with smaller fonts or display colour then check it out in store first.

The backlight is bright and very good.

Step tracking and Bluetooth

It’s got Bluetooth on board and uses this connection to sync accelerometer data to your phone. It’s basic but work’s reliably.

The app experience is pretty bare bones but gives you an overview of how active (in my case inactive) you’ve been.

You can view steps today or get a more in depth look over the weeks or months. It’ll also use your phone location services to show on a map, I work from home so not much here for me.

It doesn’t hook into Apple Health at all and if you’re used to an Apple Watch then it’ll seem a bit rubbish.

For me though it’s been quite nice going back to basics.

It does have functionality around setting timers if your into interval training but as someone just walking then it may as well not be there.

Value for money

I picked mine up at an outlet mall so the retail was lower, I paid £70. Retail is around £100 at the time of writing, which I feel is a little high. £50-£80 seems about right here. I think I’ll carry on using it intermittently but my trusty F-91w is the watch I gravitate towards still on a daily basis.

If you’re looking at a non fussy way to track your activity levels then I can’t recommend it highly enough though. It’ll take a beating, comfortable and sync setup (follow the instructions!) is pretty straightforward. Just make sure you don’t pay more than £80 for one.

Casio F-91w review after 1 year

The Casio F-91w is still my go to no fuss watch, there’s a lot to love and at £20 or less then it’s a watch most people should have in their collection.

As I’ve said before I’ve worn some form of this watch since the 80’s and it continues to be one of the lightest and most comfortable watches I own.

There’s only two downsides

  1. The light is dreadful but remember the cost here. It hardly lights up and in the middle of the night I find I can only see the hour element.
  2. When you are using the stop watch you can’t see that time. Coming from an Apple Watch this is the one thing that I miss. I set a lot of timers and not being able to see the time when running one is a little frustrating.

In terms of how it’s held up, few dings and scratches but great.

I can still read the face ok and the buttons all work great.

The straps usually fall apart after a few years but mines fine, bear in mind until recently I haven’t worn it every single day and night.

I’m not sure how much longer I’ll wear this one but that’s just because I want an orange or yellow variant but there’s only two areas the be prepared for if I keep on using this one – battery change and a new strap (which may turn out being more expensive than the watch).

At £20 or less this is the only watch to buy if you’re after something to begin your watch collection with or want to take a break from a smart watch like me.

The simplicity of the Casio F-91W

I’ve been wearing Casio’s since the 80’s and after testing out the really great G-SHOCK 800 with it’s Bluetooth and step tracking I’m going back to the F91.

It’s light, has a stop watch, backlight and most importantly it’s simple. I got a bit frustrated syncing step data to the Casio app and in my bid to be more at ease with my technology I gave up on it and going back to what might be my favourite watch of all time – well, with my budget 😀.

A G-SHOCK with heart rate monitoring and GPS

This announcement looks pretty interesting from Casio. I’m enjoying my step tracker G-SHOCK but it seems Casio are joining the smart watch crowd. Not for me I don’t think as I’m keeping it simple but I’d be tempted to give it a test.

12 month battery for step tracking, 14 hours for heart rate and GPS.

No UK retail price but quick conversion seems to work out around £380.

I’ll see if I can pick one up closer to the time.

Casio G-Shock GBA 800 first impressions

I’m a couple of days in with the G-SHOCK 800 and it’s been a nice step back from something too smart.

I’m taking stock of the tech around me and taking a break from Apple Watch was top of my list. I’ve been struggling with a few issues lately and the Apple Watch has made things worse but I didn’t want to stop wearing a watch. I’ve been into watches as long as I can remember and whilst I’ve been wearing old school Casio and automatics lately I looked into Casio options for something that could keep me honest with my activity.

The 800 series had an accelerometer on board to monitor steps, something that I wanted. A more basic way to tracking felt a bit less heavy handed.

It’s also a G-SHOCK so super durable and the soft strap is comfortable.

I’m still getting to grips with the iOS app but it works fairly well but doesn’t sync with Apple Health, a bit of a bummer.

Overall for £80 I’m really pleased so far and I’ll have a full review in the coming weeks.