Casio Pro Trek PRW-3500 review

Casio PRW3500Y-4 vs PRW3500-1 1

The Casio Pro Trek PRW-3500 is the latest model in Casio’s well-known line of Pro Trek watches.  The watches are geared towards adventurous and active outdoors men and women and often associated with mountain climbing, fishing, hiking, backpacking, kayaking, downhill skiing and so on.  Even when you are not into these types of activities, you still can look the part with a Pro Trek.

European PRW-3500 models have names as is common with other Pro Trek models: Cerro Lejia (PRW-3500-1ER), Cerro Tumisa (PRW-3500T-7ER) Cerro San Clemente (PRW-3500Y-1ER) and Cerro Miscanti (PRW-3500Y-4ER).  You may be an experienced mountain climber visiting South America if these names mean anything to you.  For everybody else, these are names of mountains in Chili.

Introduction

The v.3 Triple Sensor Engine was introduced with the PRW-3000 in 2013 and it was an instant success because of its size (less bulky than other Pro Treks) and features.  Improvements over the v.2 sensors are smaller size and lower battery consumption.  Casio claims the sensors are 95% smaller than the sensors in version 2.  Previous watches could only use the compass for 20 seconds while the new sensors allows for 60 seconds.

The PRW-3500 has the same features as the 3000 but is housed in a rugged case with a rotating bezel.  The most important difference for many is the ability to switch out the strap and replace it with a rubber, leather or fabric Nato / Zulu strap.  The lug size is 22mm which is a very common size so many possibilities to personalize your watch.

The 3500 line was introduced by Casio at BaselWorld 2015 in March.  It is available with a positive display in a black case with a silver bezel, black case with black bezel and orange inserts, and a Titanium version with grey case and black bezel.  There also is a negative display which has a black case and blue inserts.  The PRW-3000 is available in many different colors so it is safe to assume there will be new colors for the 3500 in the near future as well.

Casio Pro Trek PRW-3500 model range

Features

The PRW-3500 is an ABC watch which stands for Altimeter, Barometer and Compass.  There also is a sensor for temperature so it should be called an ABCT watch.  As with other Pro Treks, temperature readouts are most reliable when the watch is not worn for 15 minutes or more.

This watch synchronizes with an automic clock in five wordwide locations: US, UK, Germany, Japan, and China.  This usually happens at night and a small triangle left of the day/date display shows if time synching was successful or not.  I live in Michigan and it synchs perfectly with the transmitter in Colorado every night.  I also used one of my Pro Treks in southern Florida and it synched fine when positioned near a window.

Water resistance is rated at 200 meters so good for any outdoors and water activity except for serious diving adventures. Besides the specific ABCT features, the PRW-3500 also has World Time with 31 time zones, 24-hour count-down timer, stop watch, 5 daily alarms, hourly time signal, 12/24 hour format and a calendar programmed to year 2099. This watch is powered by light which can be sunlight or even low fluorescent light in case you’re dreaming of adventure but stuck at an office desk job.  The watch will continue to work up to 7 months when not exposed to light.

An interesting feature is the sunrise/sunset display where you can see the exact times for sunrise and sunset in your location specified with latitude and longitude in the watch settings.  This can be very helpful for any outdoors enthusiast but also for photographers and videographers.  The light conditions for shooting pictures or video is often best up to 1 hour after sunrise and 1 hour before sunset.  Using this feature makes it easy to predict the best light in your location.

Casio PRW-3500 Bond Nato Strap

On the wrist

This PRW-3500-4CR with black case and bezel and orange inserts and strap is also sold as PRW-3500-4JF or  PRW-3500-4ER where JF is a code for a Japanese market and ER for the European market model.  It’s safe to assume CR is for the rest of the world and this naming is consistent with other Pro Trek models.  Most newer Pro Treks are made in Thailand and this one shows a manufacture date of January 23, 2015.  The display is lightly orange tinted and doesn’t seem to distract for legibility.

The silver and black PRW3500-1 has a much more neutral look and the display shows a bit more contrast compared to the orange model.  There isn’t much of a difference in legibility in bright lights but the black/silver model is easier to see in low-light conditions.  It is not a huge difference but definitely noticable. This model is easier to pair with different color straps so a bit more flexibility than the orange model.

The strap is comfortable and the wings between the strap and case appear to be more comfortable than other Pro Treks I own (PAW-2000 and PRG-550).  There hardly is any wrist hair that gets caught in the wings and strap, something I couldn’t stand on my other watches.

The unidirectional rotary bezel moves smoothly without any play.  Casio says you can use this to help keep track of current and intended bearings but not sure how useful that will be in the field.    It’s a nice design feature without making the watch too busy too look at.  The bezel is made out of non-magnetic stainless steel and should hold up to daily use (and abuse) better then the aluminum bezel of the 3000.

The buttons are large and easy to push.  The ABC buttons on the right of the watch have edges around them on the bottom to prevent accidental pushing when you move your hand up.  It’s a larger sized watch but doesn’t feel too big on the wrist.  The weight is just right and you feel you’re wearing a watch without it becoming annoying in daily activities.  It’s heavier than the PAW-2000 and PRG-550 and the stainless steel bezel is probably what’s causing this weight increase.  A future blog article will compare the 3500 with these other watches.

The Barometric Pressure Change Indicator is a useful feature to alert you when there is a sudden rise or fall in air pressure.  A sudden drop indicates inclement weather like a thunderstorm is on its way or a sudden rise shows good weather will follow soon.  It also can show a sustained rise in pressure  and changing to a fall or sustained fall in pressure and changing to a rise.

casio-barometric-pressure-change-indicator

Casio-PRW-3500-Barometric-Pressure-Change-Indicator

Summary

The 3500 has the same recommended retail price of US$300 as the 3000.  The PRW-3000 is a nice watch but feels a bit less substantial, smaller and lighter than the 3500. Main drawback of the 3000 for me is the inability to easily switch out the strap which is a dealbreaker. Overall, the 3500 offers a bit more value for money but may be too big for some.

Street prices will be in the lower US$200s as most are discounted 30%.  The PRW-3500 is a very nice watch that fits perfectly in the Pro Trek line-up. It is a welcome addition with the newer 3414 module from the PRW-3000 and offering the same features in a larger and rugged case.

There are a few areas that could be improved on but that probably would make it more expensive as well.  None are dealbreakers though and I think the PRW3500 will be a long-term resident in my modest affordable watch collection.

I used both the orange/black and silver/black models for a couple of weeks so far.  Both are great but my preference goes to silver/black model for its better display contrast in low light and the ability to pair with different strap colors.

Do you have any comments, questions or experiences to share about this watch?  Please leave your comments below!

Good

  • Very functional with many features: ABCT, sunrise/sunset, atomic clock synching and solar power
  • Great looking rugged outdoors design without getting too big and bulky
  • Recessed protected crystal
  • High contrast display on the black/silver PRW3500-1
  • Large day and date display
  • Looks and feels like a quality watch
  • Very reasonably priced for what you get
  • Comfortable strap, can easily be replaced with other strap
  • Casio quality and reliability
  • It’s a Pro Trek!

OK

  • LCD display area small compared to size of watch
  • Mineral crystal, could be easily scratched
  • Orange strap looks ok, would look better with black strap
  • Orange tinted display legible but would be better with neutral display
  • Could be a little bit too big for smaller wrist sizes
  • Many features require the owners manual and some time to get familiar with.

Bad

  • Nothing!

Actual measurements:

Weight (including resin band): 88 g / 3.1 oz

Lug-to-lug: 50.1 mm
Bezel diameter: 46.0 mm
Case width: 53.2 mm (9 0’clock to 3’o clock)
51.3 mm (10 o’clock to 4 o’clock)

Height: 14.2 mm (15.0 mm at N E S W on bezel)

Check prices on Amazon through these links:

PRW-3500-1CR – PRW-3500Y-4CR – PRW-3500Y-1JF – PRW-3500T-7CR

Casio-Pro-Trek-PRW-3500-model-range-480

PRW3500 vs PAW2000

The Casio Pathfinder PAW2000 is an older model and has been around for quite a few years.  It has the v2 sensors but is still very competitive compared to PRW3500.  They both have similar functionality but the PAW2000 has a second LCD layer.  This makes the watch more user friendly with an easier to read compass display but also makes the display look a bit dimmer, especially in low light.

The PAW2000 has larger digits for the main time display area and the PRW3500 has larger digits for the date/day/month display.  The 3500 is definitely the better looking one of these two but some may prefer the lower height of the 2000.  Casio moved the Adjust button from the bottom of the 2000 to the top left on the 3500.  It’s easier to press the larger Light button in the dark on the 3500.

All pictures copyright Frank Wulfers except for stock Casio images, please do not use commercially without permission.

Casio PAW2000 vs PRW3500-1 compass

Casio PAW2000 vs PRW3500-1 time

Many possibilities for customization with different colors nato straps.  The black-red-green is often referred to as the Bond Nato.

Casio PRW-3500-1 on nato straps

Casio PRW3500Y-4 vs PRW3500-1 5

The PRW-3500-4 comes standard with an orange strap.  Pictures below show this watch on a 3-ring premium nato strap and a strap borrowed from a PRG-550.

Casio-Pro-Trek-PRW-3500-magazine

Casio-PRW-3500-models

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32 thoughts on “Casio Pro Trek PRW-3500 review

  1. Love the PRW3500-1 Positive Display & Black Band
    The rotating bezel ring is extremely helpful in the field if your a outdoorsmen and use a compass this is a particularly nice feature.

    As a Ham Radio operator I use the UTC time function only drawback is you must have it in the 24 hour function for the times to be correct but not a problem for me.
    I have a small wrist but hardly notice any issue there and as to the weight at 3oz. the watch sure does not feel like it.

    I highly recommend this watch for every day use or even going out on the town very good looking watch.

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  2. I have been wearing it for a few weeks now and still like all the features, the design and the feel of it. Definitely one of the better Pro Treks available right now and in the past. I am hoping Casio will bring out a new version with the same case but an analog version. Similar to the PRG-550 with a clean dial but with a nice case and bezel like this PRW-3500.

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  3. Beautiful watch. I love my PRW-2500 but I may have to upgrade to one of these 2015 models. I’m on the fence right now between this Orange/Black rescue-look and the Black/Blue military-look models (which for some reason is not available in the US but is on the Casio Europe and Casio Japan Web sites–or eBay, of course–as the PRW-3500Y-1ER PRW-3500Y-1JF respectively).

    The one thing I can’t figure out is why they removed the moon phase and tidal sensors that were in the 2500. Not that I ever used them but…why go backwards feature-wise?

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  4. Updated the review with some new details and pictures of the silver/black version, as well as a comparision between the PAW-2000 and PRW-3500.

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  5. May I ask what are the difference between 3500T-7CR and 3500T-7JF. The price of these watch are not the same at all. Other than the size of the case and band, any other difference?

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  6. These seem to be the most common codes that Casio uses for their models. The watches are the same but the box, manuals and other marketing materials may be different. Warranty coverage may be different as well.

    JF = Japan Domestic Market
    DR = International Market
    CR = US & Canada Market
    ER = European Market

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  7. Have the PRW2500T and happy with it but it sits a little higher than I would like. Had an older Twin Sensor model with same water pressure rating of 20 bar but its height was only 13 mm. which was nice. Large displays on Casio’s is really nice to see info at a glance with my less than perfect eyes. Interesting to see ‘huge’ discrepancy here with compass readings of the 2 different models pictured side by side. One would think they should be very near the same reading being relatively in same location and orientation. Maybe very close to some type of magnetic interference?

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  8. The PAW2000 and PRW3500 were on top of a laptop so I think that’s what caused the inaccurate readings. The PAW2000 also was adjusted for magnetic variation so pointed to true north. The PRW3500 was not so direction is to magnetic north which makes a difference of a few degrees as well. And the 2 watches may not have lined up exactly.

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  9. Very good review! It helps me on making the choice between 3000 & 3500. Think the blue/ black 3500 would be my final decision.

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  10. Thank you for a nice review, I’ve had PAW2000T since they first came out and love the watch. Would you upgrade from 2000 to 3500? The only thing I see different is the measurement units and the speed of calculations. Functions all stayed the same, except 3500 loses the floating LCD display.

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  11. Alex, both the PAW2000 and PRW3500 have their strengths. The dual floating LCD display is a pretty cool feature in the 2000 but also dims the entire display a bit. I really like the look and bezel design of the PRW-3500 and recently sold my 2000. But both are great watches and it is up to personal preference.

    Not sure what you mean with the difference in measurement units. Both can be set to metric or imperial/US units for temperature, air pressure and elevation. My video shows the orange 3500 watch set to imperial/US units but is easily changed to metric.

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  12. Just ordered one in Orange. But for me there is one important thing missing from the watch: Tide graph!
    I hope Casio soon release a triple sensor v3 with tide and moon graph.

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  13. I like the prw 3500t-7. I have the prw 2500t-7. I will miss the the moon and tide phase, they was very
    useful. You really should have kept those features. I will be looking forward to seeing them again
    in future models. Presently I have six and I will be purchasing the 3500t-7, Titanium band, etc., soon
    Keep the technology coming..

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  14. Thanks very much for such an in depth review with so many photos & measurements. The things I really care about- the ability to wear on a Zulu strap & comparison to the PAW 2000, which I have- you addressed at length. I appreciate it! A+

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  15. Dear friend
    I have been planning to buy a watch for over a year now. Came across Casio PRW-3500. Please let me know which model should I buy? Is there any difference between PRW-3500-1 and PRW-3500T-7?
    Please help.

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  16. The PRW-3500T-7 has a titanium band and the PRW-3500-1 a resin (plastic) band. Besides the difference in colors and price, they are basically the same watch.

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  17. great review. i am really thinking of picking this up. One question, off the top of this watch..I currently have a pag240b…what sort of band do i need to replace my broken one? and, where can i get the replacement pins? they have been lost.

    thanks a lot!

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  18. So I just got this watch and noticed that the manual say that the weather alert can only be active for 24 hours. Is that right? Why can it not say on all the time?

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  19. KJ, my best guess is weather alert requires additional battery power so it needs to be turned on when you expect to need it.

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  20. thanks for the in depth review and thoughts. Not 2 days ago I received my paw2000. Nice watch but a bit dark for old peeps. I just ordered a prw3500. thanks for the help

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  21. Thank you sir. Just the review I was in need of. Very helpful, you’ve ended my 12+ hrs. of shopping for a watch I don’t really need. Now I can get my order placed, get off this couch and go outside!!! Seriously tho, good work, and Crown & Buckle owes you one too.

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  22. Really excellent, thorough review Frank! I’ve been agonizing over many different models of Pro Treks for a few days now. Originally wanted a Rangeman, however I’ve read some troubling reports about cracking around the lugs. Regardless, I wanted a new Pro Trek to replace one I gave to my son. At this point I’m torn between the “Y-4” and the “Y-1” variants. Seems like I gravitate towards the obnoxious or unique. Not sure about the orange band though. Looks too much like a cheap watch? Also, I really like the looks of the negative display on the Y-1. Any thoughts, comments, or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again for the review.

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  23. The orange strap actually looks pretty but most suitable for outdoor activities. I like the black bezel on the Y-4 a little bit better than the silver on the black version. But the orange strap may be a bit too loud in regualr daily life at the office, for example.

    The negative display looks great but I haven’t seen it in person. I used to have a PRW-3000 with negative display and found it difficult to read, especially with reflections when using outdoors. And for this type of watch, I choose function over form.

    Thanks everybody for the nice comments! It is always good to hear this information and these pictures were helpful.

    Like

  24. Hey Frank, just ordered the orange one! I think the positive display is a better choice, and I like what you did by swapping out the PRG550 band as well. If the orange gets to be too overwhelming I might do the same. Thanks again for the in depth review. Reviews like this one are what helps so many other watch enthusiasts!

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  25. Any chance you could do a review on the new WSD-F10 watch? Especially comparing to existing triple sensor casio watches…. thanks!

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  26. Hi Frank just got an orange one. Its really nice everyway but there are two thinks what put me off. First is that is made in thailand and a casio china on a metal part of a strap and the second is that i can not chage a date format. Im used to dd/mm but this watch is mm/dd. Its not a disaster but be great to switched it over. Thanks

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I bought the PRW 3500-4 and then ordered a black ion plated titanium strap from Casio Japan. The result is a cool looking watch, which i consider second only to the Blue Moment PRW 3500 model!

    Liked by 1 person

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