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Gadgets

Casio Sea Pathfinder: Watch of all trades, master of none

The Casio Sea Pathfinder SPW-1000 has a plethora of features aimed at watersports enthusiasts, but how did it fare when we tested it out on a sailing expert?

The Casio Sea Pathfinder SPW-1000 is a watch designed with watersports in mind. It's similar to the Casio Pro Trek PRG-80L we checked out the other day, but aimed at people who love the sea. However, when we gave the SPW-1000 to a sailing aficionado to test, he was a little unimpressed.

It's not that the SPW-1000 lacks features -- it has a built-in compass, thermometer, depth gauge and barometer. It also has a timer, stopwatch, world time function and an LED light that automatically activates itself in dark conditions.

It even has a solar power cell so you can charge it up with the sun and a radio receiver so it can be automatically synchronised with the world's clocks.

So what's our sailor complaining about? Well, the compass stops after a while rather than staying live, so if you're in stormy conditions then you'll have to keep pressing the compass button to realign it.

Another problem is the lack of a tide predictor. This is featured on other Casio watches and is more useful than a barometer. A diving computer would also be better than a depth gauge as the gauge only tells you how deep you are, but not how long you can stay at that depth. Finally, the timer is slightly too complicated to operate, which will be irritating if you're using it in a race.

Altogether, the Casio Sea Pathfinder SPW-1000 isn't ideal for serious sailors, as it's not a complete backup to traditional sailing technology, such as a real compass, tide charts, GPS and VHF radio. However, it is a good all-rounder if you're looking for a water-resistant watch with some useful features. The watch costs around £190 and can be bought online or from various high street watch retailers. -AL