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Casio Edifice EQB-501XDB smart watch review

Casio Edifice EQB-501XDB-1AER

£325
8.8

Build quality

9.0/10

Design

9.0/10

Ease of use

8.5/10

Performance

9.0/10

Value

8.5/10

Pros

  • Solid build quality
  • Elegant yet tough
  • Functionality
  • Solar powered
  • Water resistant

Cons

  • Might be pricey for some

Casio Edifice EQB 501 left side longWhat makes a smart watch smart? I have been living with the latest from Casio, the Edifice EQB-501XDB-1AER, to see if it makes the grade.

Smart watches. We expect them to tell us how healthy we are (or not), pass on messages and even get us back on track when we are lost. But not all smart watches are so eager to want to impress with tricks.

The Casio Edifice EQB-501XDB-1AER (catchy name, huh?) may not be packing myriad of sensors but is it still smart?

Casio Edifice EQB-501XDB design

Before we decide if this is a smart watch, I think that we can all agree it is a smart watch.

I might be a self-confessed tech addict but I do love my time-pieces analogue. The EQB-501 certainly ticks that box.

Casio Edifice EQB 501 on wristThe sports chronograph styling of the EQB-501XDB looks good on the wrist whether paired with a crisp white shirt and cuff links or my tattooed forearm.

The watch weighs a fraction under 200g. It has a reassuring heft to it.

The case and bezel are made from stainless steel and the face is fronted by mineral glass.

Casio Edifice EQB 501 Tough Solar Connected WatchThe face has three sub-displays. They look complex but their general duties are quite straightforward. Although, they do multitask.

There are four buttons, one either side the screw-down crown and another two over on the other side.

Casio Edifice EQB 501 BluetoothThe one that gives away the Edifice’s smarts is marked with the Bluetooth bind-rune.

It’s not a small watch, the case measures 52 x 48.1 x 14.2 mm, but it isn’t oversized. I have quite skinny wrists and it still looks fine on me.

Casio Edifice EQB 501 claspThe watch is completed by an equally chunky stainless steel bracelet and squeeze to release clasp.

A very smart watch indeed.

Casio Edifice EQB-501XDB performance

Let’s start with one thing. You will not need to wind this watch, nor will you need to replace a battery. This baby is powered by the sun!

It is also water resistant to 10 Bar / 100 meters. This means that the watch is also suitable for swimming or snorkelling

Tough Solar

The Casio Tough Solar power system not only utilises the sun’s rays but transforms even weak light from sources such as fluorescent lamps into go-juice. If you happen to work in a darkroom or sleep in a coffin, worry not. The Edifice’s hands will actually go in to hibernation when it goes dark.

Casio Edifice EQB 501 low angleThe watch will give you a low battery warning and you can always check on charge via the Casio+ app. More on that later.

While we have the watch in the dark, it is a good time to mention its Neobrite-equipped hands and markers. These luminous additions really cut through in the night so you can tell the time.

Modes and functions

Time telling

It tells the time. I guess you assumed as much, right? Well, as well as telling the time where you are, the little sub-dial at the 9 o’clock position tells the time in another city of your choice. You have 300 choices, by-the-way.

I currently have it set for Calgary as that’s my birthplace and where my brother and his family lives. I am also heading over there next month (much excitements!).

The Casio Edifice stays accurate by checking a time server four times a day via the mobile link. This not only prevents you from being late because your watch is wrong, but also means when you land in another country, your watch will always be correct. Of course, you can update your watch via the app at any point.

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The top sub-dial gives you the 24 hour time helped by an even smaller dial that indicates PM and AM – just above where it says Bluetooth at the 7 o’clock position.

The days are pointed out in the right-hand side sub-dial. There is also a large date window to be found here. Beneath which is a little plane picture. If the pointer is pointing at it, that means your watch is in airplane mode.

Smart functions

The smarter functions, as with most smart watches, comes by way of a companion app.

The Casio+ app is really simple to use and pairing your watch with it is a breeze, once you know how.

Casio Edifice app Bluetooth pairingTo pair, open up the app and follow the wizard.

It’s basically a matter of holding down the Bluetooth button on the watch. The second sweep hand will point to the blue R between 7 and 8 o’clock. This means that it is findable by your device and the app.

Casio Edifice app watch foundOnce the watch has been discovered, the second hand will point to the Bluetooth symbol between 10 and 11 o’clock. Sorted.

From here you can start getting things set up.

Casio+ app

The app packs a handy guide. This really helps, and this is coming from someone who generally only refers to instruction booklets when things go horribly wrong.

Casio Edifice app guideI think I like it because it’s so clear and easy to take in. If you want more in-depth details, there’s always the PDF manual.

In the app you can set your alarm. Actually, you can set four alarms if that’s what you want/need.

Casio Edifice app alarm and world time settingsYou can also set the World  Time city. These are listed in a drop-down pick list. Once selected just send the setting to the watch.

Also in the World Time section, you can swap your local time and the World Time by pressing an icon in the app. Hey presto! The hands move around until the main dial displays the overseas time, and the secondary one, home.

It wouldn’t be a smart watch if it didn’t pester you with notifications, now would it?

Email notifications

Well, the Edifice EQB-501-XDB can link to your email accounts.

Casio Edifice app email alertsThis a nice touch, but I am still unsure if I like it or not. If I include my work email account, I do manage five inboxes.

Being almost constantly notified would drive me bonkers. It’s bad enough that my phone flashes at me. Well, the Edifice is much more refined than that. Pressing the lower right button when connected will make the watch check to see if you’ve got any new mail. It will simply indicate a yes or no by pointing at one of the dots at the top of the day/date window.

You can also filter out spam from people who are not in your contacts list.

Stop watch

Yes, a lot of watches can act as a stop watch. But, if you happen to be a sporty type, and utilise the Edifice’s stop watch function you get more. You see, you can then send the data back to the app to be stored and reviewed later.

No need to jot things down on a pad.

Comfort

Wearing the watch is really comfortable. Yes, it might feel like you could kill someone with it when you get it out of its box, but the weight soon becomes unnoticeable.

casio edifice eqb 501 topThe luminous markers and hands are really clear in low light, as well as absolute darkness.

The display is actually easy to read, even with all of the sub-dials.

I have received a number of positive comments about it. Most of my friends are familiar with my old Rado automatics but welcomed the Casio as dragging me in to the 21st century.

Some nearly fell of their chair when I added that it has smart features.

The bracelet is very secure thanks to the locking clasp and the EQB-501 just feels good and well made on my wrist.

Edifice EQB-501XDB review conclusion

The EQB-501XDB is a smart watch in both senses of the word.

Not only will this time-piece be at home in the boardroom, it will equally look right if you’re wearing jeans and a t-shirt. That’s the beauty of a well-designed chronograph.

Casio Edifice EQB 501 crownTrue, the EQB-501 might lack some of the sporty smart features of other makes but, what it is packing, is actually useful.

This watch will not need plugging in or winding up. This watch will always be correct. Furthermore, it will always be correct no matter which country, or which city you are in.

It will even help you find your phone.

I am smitten. I think my collection of Rado watches dating between 1940-1980 may all be consigned to their boxes. Well, until I have to hand the Edifice back, anyhow.

Edifice EQB-501XDB price and availability

You can buy the Edifice EQB-501XDB-1AER right now direct from Casio for £325.

Specifications at a glance

Airplane ModeRadio wave signals can be disabled when flying or in a medical facility.
Alarm FunctionDaily Alarm: sounds each day at the time you set
Auto CalendarOnce set, the automatic calendar always displays the correct date.
Average Speed DisplayA dial on the watch face displays your avaerge speed travelled over a set distance
Band MaterialStainless Steel
Bluetooth® ConnectivityThe watch can connect to compatible smartphones to offer a range of features
Case/Bezel MaterialStainless steel
Countdown TimerCountdown range: 24 hours
Dual TimeSimultaneous display of the current time in two different time zones.

Home city time swapping

Mineral GlassHard glass resists scratching
Neobrite DisplayA luminous coating on the watch hands and index provides long-term illumination in the dark after only a short exposure to light.
Phone FinderPhone will emit a tone when a watch button is pressed
Solar PowerA high-capacity solar-charging system harnesses the power of any light source for reliable watch operation with minimal impact to the environment.
Stopwatch1/100th Sec Stopwatch

24 hours

Water Resistant100 Metre/10 Bar

10 Bar Water Resistant means that the watch is also suitable for swimming or snorkelling

Casio Edifice EQB-501XDB smart watch review

by Jay Garrett time to read: 6 min
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