REVIEW – I love tech but sometimes simpler technologies can carry big benefits. Enter the Casio DW291H digital watch with 10-year battery, 200 meter water resistance, and more great features.
What is it?
The Casio DW291H-9AVCF (black bezel version) is a digital watch in their Heavy Duty series, hence the red ‘HD’ on the face.
The 291H has some clear advantages vs. the old classic DW5600 G-Shock that are way beyond its lower price. Let’s dive in. (200 M limit, please.)
What’s in the box
- One DW291H watch
- Manual in English, Spanish and French
- 1 year warranty sheet
- Height: ‘Lug to lug’ 50mm
- Width: 46.5mm, (50mm button to button)
- Case thickness: ~13mm
- Band connection: 18mm
- Band: 26mm tapered to 20mm at buckle
- Weight: 63 grams / 2.2 oz
Design and features
The 291H has a rugged look and I’ve never seen anyone wearing one, so you may enjoy a ‘first on your block’ thing. The push-button guards haven’t appeared on any watch other than ‘sort of’ on Casio’s DW290, and then they only used them on the bottom 2 buttons. These guards are the same hard resin as the rest of the case. Some wish they were squishy rubber but that would probably fail before the battery does.
There are 2 other color variations. The 1AVCF with gray LCD, silver-gray bezel combo, and the 1BVEF with gray LCD, silver-gray bezel and a red surround panel under the crystal.
This shot is with ambient light in the room. In partial or full darkness the backlight is great.
The amber backlight is generated from two LEDs located on the lower left and lower right screen corners. They nicely illuminate the entire dial but won’t be a disturbance at a movie or performance. You can set the light to stay on for either 1.5 or 3 seconds from a single button push.
There are 4 time zone ‘spaces’ you can preset to any of 48 cities in 31 time zones across the globe.
5 alarms can be set to either alert you daily or as one-time alarms that would not trigger again unless you manually turn them on again.
The countdown timer is a plus for so many things. Casio puts only a stopwatch function in its cheaper watches and that just won’t do when grilling, baking, making tea or needing an alert for any ‘must notice now’ event. Both should be standard features and the 291H has both countdown and stopwatch style timers.
When does a tech-guy not use a smartwatch? I had a Pebble (by Julie’s push), an Asus, and now own two Samsung smartwatches – but for me, it’s when I tire of everyday charging and / or being hyper-connected. And when I want guaranteed water resistance (water-proof requires serious proof) and would like to wear one timekeeper 24-7, for days on end.
As best I can tell this watch is about a year on the market but I still have never seen it in stores. It passed me by until this Christmas season when I spotted it online. It was love at first sight fully confirmed when it showed up via Amazon.
What I like
This macho-chunk watch fits my 7.25” wrist comfortably but doesn’t look like wearing a wall clock. My daughters haven’t accused me of buying the ‘large print edition’ – and they would if it crossed their minds. The 291H is lightweight, has a bold design with great digit visibility, an outstanding backlight, and suitably audible hour chime and alarms without being obnoxious. Those are easy to push buttons, even with gloved hands, and few can make that claim. The world time zones, countdown timer, and multiple alarms are features I use daily. The gold LCD is a new favorite for me. The color is really tough to portray in pics. In real life, it’s more towards gold, not green and definitely not gray. Of my dozen-plus digitals over time, this is a welcome first. And 10 year battery? Even if it’s a 7 year battery, cool!
What I’d change
Fix the nearly invisible, barely legible, round analog clock window. C’mon Casio, you’ve done that function better on models cheaper than this one. An identical smaller 291H version would likely broaden the appeal to men or women with smaller wrists. The time of day in the home timezone should appear in the timer and stopwatch screen and does so on some other Casios. But, this is a $30 watch.
While not a Casio G-Shock watch, for $30 after tax (Amazon Prime) it’s a close enough cousin with 200 meter water resistance, very long life battery, and has advantages over some G-Shocks such as an adequately louder alarm sound, larger digits and easier to manipulate buttons. If I wanted to spend $60 I’d pass on the G-Shock 5600 in favor of the DW291H. I actually did just that.
My Casio DW291H, now 7 months old, showed signs of a failing battery. So much for that ’10 year battery’ claim stated on the watchface in red, on the watch box and in the description everywhere this watch is sold.
Four months ago, when setting the countdown timer, the watch made a high-pitched sound, showed odd characters on the face, then factory reset itself. January 1, 2010 was the date it displayed and my alarms and timer settings were zeroed out. This has happened 3 times over 4 months, all when adjusting the countdown timer.
A couple of helpful forum members at watchuseek.com advised me to check the battery, as low power seemed the culprit. The 3V lithium ion battery read 2.87 V. These 2025 batteries are often 3.3 V when new. Assuming my battery was 3.0 V when it left Casio, it lost .13 V over 7 months? That leaves little margin for the remaining 9 years. Watch batteries don’t function all the way down to being fully drained. I barely use the backlight but do use a daily alarm and hourly chime.
Maybe it’s a 10 year battery if you don’t use any watch functions?
I replaced the battery and I’ll see how long before the reset crash happens again.
I continue to dislike the illegible round analog dial on the face that just takes up space.
The appearance, fit, features and most of the design of the DW291H are great. But I’ve never had to replace the battery of any watch I’ve owned at the 7 month point.
Price: $39.95 MSRP
Where to buy: Amazon
Source: The sample for this review was purchased with my own funds.