The world's most in-depth and scientific reviews of outdoor gear

Casio PRW-6000Y Review

This solar-powered altimeter watch is the best option for those looking for limitless battery life and great durability.
Casio PRWS6000Y-1A available on manu 1/20/17
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $600 List | $600.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Solar-powered, durable carbon fiber strap, quality non-reflective mineral glass, accurate, atomic clock
Cons:  Steep learning curve, archaic features, expensive
Manufacturer:   Casio
By Amber King and Ben Applebaum-Bauch  ⋅  Dec 6, 2018
  • Share this article:
68
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#6 of 9
  • Altimeter Accuracy - 30% 7
  • Battery Life - 20% 10
  • Ease of Use and Interface - 20% 4
  • Features - 10% 5
  • Display quality - 10% 6
  • Comfort and Fit - 10% 8

Our Verdict

The Casio PRW-6000Y is a multi-function watch that is built to last. The triple sensor can provide data on altitude, barometric pressure, and temperature. It also features a basic compass and an atomic clock. The solar-powered battery stands out from the rest, making it one of the most reliable watches that we tested. We love the durable strap, featuring a carbon-fiber insert. It's accurate and relatively easy to use with practice. However, this model has a steep learning curve. Unlike many of the other models, we needed the user's manual to figure out how to access many of the features. We like the unique analog-digital display, but think that a lot of the functions are dated. For example, the compass is not tilt-compensated like most of the other watches tested, and the graphs are low-quality. That said, it does track weather patterns, store trips, and provide the essential functions of any great altimeter watch. Overall, it's a decent option if you are in the market for something that is tough, reliable, and old-school.

Though, if you want something with a similar level of reliability, a lower price, and a few more features, check out the Suunto Core Alu instead.


Compare to Similar Products

Our Analysis and Test Results

The PRW-6000Y has a built-in solar panel and simple functions. It's reliable and perfect for extended missions.

Performance Comparison


Steeeerrreeecccchhhh! Hiking over Dominguez Canyon in Colorado proves to be a great way to reconnect to nature. Oh! The PRW-6000Y accompanies us on our mission of exploration.
Steeeerrreeecccchhhh! Hiking over Dominguez Canyon in Colorado proves to be a great way to reconnect to nature. Oh! The PRW-6000Y accompanies us on our mission of exploration.

Altimeter Accuracy


After walking, running, and hiking over 10,000 feet of vertical terrain, we learned that this was one of the most accurate watches that we tested. It was never more than 100 feet off the actual altitude (with calibrations). In the world of altimeter watches, this is incredibly accurate.


Like all watches, make sure to perform regular daily calibrations at known altitudes to ensure the accuracy of the altimeter — especially on long adventures.

The only time it lost its accuracy was when we didn't calibrate it properly before a trip, or when the weather changed drastically (which is also typical of altimeter watches). In general, you can rely on the altimeter readings with this Casio. That said, it didn't score super high in this metric because the increments are 1m/5 ft. Most high-end altimeter watches like the Suunto Traverse have an altimeter increment of 1m/3ft.

Battery Life


Earning top marks in this category, this solar-powered Casio is among the longest-lasting watches tested (along with some of its other Casio companions). You won't have to worry about running out of juice on the trail — even if you are gone for months.


Throughout our three-month testing period, we didn't have to formally charge it once. Depending on the type of light used to charge (i.e., direct sunlight, indirect sunlight, or fluorescent lights), this solar-powered watch can take anywhere from just three to six hours to charge from a dead battery. For those in search of a watch that won't lose battery life during an adventure that lasts more than a week, this is your best option. Taking a simple walk outdoors will keep it charged and ready to go.



Ease of Use


Of all the watches tested, this was one of the most difficult to figure out. We couldn't even figure out how to set the time, look at a barometric reading, or determine the altitude without reviewing the user's manual. This watch has the steepest learning curve, but once we figured it out, it was easy to use. If you're looking for an easier-to-use option, check out the Suunto 9 Baro.

Features


The PRW-6000Y is a quality watch that offers some great features. However, they are a little more basic than other watches that we tested, and there aren't nearly as many as comparably priced models like the Suunto 9 Baro. That said, it does perform the basic functions of any quality altimeter watch. It has a good altimeter-barometer, compass, temperature gauge, timekeeper, and data log.

This Casio comes with all the basic features of a great altimeter watch: barometer  altimeter  timekeeper  and compass.
This Casio comes with all the basic features of a great altimeter watch: barometer, altimeter, timekeeper, and compass.


Altimeter and Barometer


The alti-barometer allows you to view your altitude and the barometric pressure for your current location. You can record logs of any uphill (or downhill) activity, and determine an altitude differential between two areas. It automatically logs your maximum and minimum altitude, while data recall allows you to see up to 30 logs that you have saved. The barometer can be used to track weather trends and turn on storm alerts for severe changes in barometric pressure. It has poor graphs for both barometric pressure and altitude. They are small, hard to see and don't contain a whole lot of information. The trend line is also extremely short. Even though it still allows you to track trends in altitude and pressure, the graphs featured in other battery-powered watches like the Suunto Core Alu are much better.

The barometric reading on the PRW-6000Y
The barometric reading on the PRW-6000Y

Compass


The compass on this watch is functional but fairly archaic in comparison to the rest of the watches tested. It allows you to take a current bearing to determine where you need to go (with the use of a topographical map).
Map reading skills and experience are required to determine your location using this watch.
A bi-directional calibration is required before each use, and manual magnetic declination should be set appropriately. Also, it makes you keep your wrist horizontal for a proper reading, unlike most of the other watches that we tested which are tilt-compensated.

Time Keeper


This watch features an atomic, radio controlled watch with both a digital and analog display. It has a world clock, complete with 29 different time zones, five alarms, a stopwatch, and countdown function. The world clock is helpful to have. However, a GPS-enabled watch that can update the time automatically is more convenient when traveling.

A look at all the displays tested. From top left to right: Casio SRW300HB  Casio PRW-6000Y  Garmin Fenix 3. From bottom left to right: Suunto Core Alu  Suunto Ambit3 Peak  Suunto Traverse
A look at all the displays tested. From top left to right: Casio SRW300HB, Casio PRW-6000Y, Garmin Fenix 3. From bottom left to right: Suunto Core Alu, Suunto Ambit3 Peak, Suunto Traverse

Display Quality


The liquid crystal display is durable, clear, and crisp. We love that there is little to no reflection, regardless of the light. That said, the watch face isn't as large as the other watches tested and the box that provides a digital readout of altitude, pressure, and other features is tiny.


The LCD light is also pretty poor. It doesn't last long enough or provide a lot of light to see the entire face of the watch during the night (only one and three-second options). If you're looking for a watch with incredible display quality, check out the Garmin Fenix 5x Plus Sapphire or Suunto 9 Baro.

The carbon fiber band is durable  light  and feels nice on the skin.
The carbon fiber band is durable, light, and feels nice on the skin.

Comfort and Fit


This watch stands out for its ergonomic fit and lightweight. It often feels like you weren't wearing anything at all.


We also love its durable carbon-fiber wrist strap that is bound to last a long, long time. When comparing it to our top contender, the Suunto Ambit3 Peak, we noticed that this watch is lighter, with a slimmer profile. However, we liked the Ambit3 Peak better because of its longer straps (that fit better over layers) and thicker strap material. Several Suunto watches are even more comfortable though, as is the Garmin Fenix 5x Plus Sapphire.

It fits easily over and under jackets as well.
It fits easily over and under jackets as well.

Best Application


The PRW-6000Y is the best watch to take on extra long adventures into the wild. It's a great option for those backpacking a long trail for months or just taking it on a day hike. This simple solar-powered watch allows one to adventure far and wide, for months or even years, without a single recharge. Just place it in the sun for a few minutes a day, and you're all set. Its battery life made it one of the most reliable watches tested. Just make sure that you know how to use it before setting off for any adventure. If you're in the market for a GPS fitness trainer that also gives you some altitude information, check out the Garmin Fenix 5x Plus Sapphire.

Take it day hiking  backpacking  or on multi-month missions. The sky's the limit! It's just not a very good fitness tracker like all the GPS watches we tested.
Take it day hiking, backpacking, or on multi-month missions. The sky's the limit! It's just not a very good fitness tracker like all the GPS watches we tested.

Value


This watch doesn't have a whole lot of value. It comes with a super high price and not a whole lot of features. However, it is highly durable. We love the built-in solar panel, but the features and ease of use of the watch don't match the price. Even though this piece of technology provides decent accuracy and simple features, it is fairly outdated in function performance and doesn't include any bells or whistles that other (less expensive) watches have. If you're in the market for a cheap watch that will tell time and provide a basic altimeter function, check out one of our Best Buy winners, the Casio SGW300HB for just $65. If you want the ultimate in accuracy and simplicity, check out the Suunto Core Alu. However, if battery life is a top priority and you are willing to spend a little extra, this might be your best option.

Conclusion


This Casio is one of the most reliable watches tested in this review. The solar-powered functionality coupled with durable features makes it a perfect compadre for extended missions in remote territories. However, it lacks fancy features, and the price is high for what it provides.


Amber King and Ben Applebaum-Bauch