Casio Wrist Camera - WQV-1 / WQV-2

The Watch

Specs

www.elvispayne.co.uk

My verdict

The Watch

The WQV-1 is the original Wrist Camera from Casio that was first released in September 2000.  The watch was initially sold in two versions, both had the same technical specifications except that one had a resin case and strap whilst the other had a stainless steel one. This watch is  the first digital camera watch in the world and so for that fact has both innovative and perhaps one day historical value. With the watch you can take and store up to 100 monochrome photographs ready to view on screen or upload to your PC.

WQV11CR

Specs

If you want the full techinical specifications please click here.

For the rest of you, the WQV-1 is a compact digital watch that has a digital black and white camera built into it.  Thanks to the 1Mb memory, the watch will store 100 images in its databank at 120 x 120 dpi  (20mm x 20mm) in 16 bit greyscale monochome.  Via Infra Red the images can then be beamed from the watch to a PC (in JPEG format)  when used with an Infra red receiver or images can be sent directly to another WQV-1 watch. The watch works just like a normal digital camera and so as soon as you have taken the picture you can review your results on the watch screen. You can then either keep the image or delete it and take another. Better still the watch has a facility to type a person’s name, details or phone number on that page and so you can call up a person’s photo and then see their details.

The watch also features contrast controls so that you can set the contrast of the screen in different light and also has a facility to tell the watch if you are indoors or outdoors to help take better pictures. Photos can be taken in three ways.  In “normal” node you just press the shutter button and you have a normal monochrome photo, in “Merge” mode you can take two photos and each will fill half the screen so that two images are merged together. There is also an “art” mode that takes the image and turns it into a black and white blob that a few of us might call “art”.  

Oh yes, the watch also tells the time, has a 1/200 second stopwatch, a timer and 5 alarms.

Power for the watch comes from a CR2032 battery, that might not mean nuch but they are standard watch and motherboard batteries for PCs and at the right place can be brought for as little as £1.00 each.  Casio say they will last around 6 months and I agree. I have had my WQV-1 for around 10 months and changed the battery after 7 months after taking literally hundreds of photos.  The watch has a great feature that actually turns off the screen when ever you take the watch off and so helps conserve power. When the battery is running low the watch will display a low battery warning.  Best of all if the battery dies you do not lose the images and so you can change the battery without worry

My verdict

I have to admit that I may be biased as I have always brought Casio watches for as long as I can remember.  I love “gadget” watches and as Casio seem to always bring out new and innovative watches I have never wanted another other watch apart from a Casio.  So bearing this in mind, if you love gadgets and you want something everyone will talk about this is the watch to get. I have took hundreds of photos with mine and nothing seems to amaze people more than when you point the watch at them then show them their picture a few seconds later. The watch WILL cause interest and WILL have everyone amazed at its capabilities. But what are its capabilities?

Well if you are thinking of taking the watch to a nightclub then don’t expect much ... if anything. The WQV-1 doesn’t like night time at all and only works well in the day time.  I once took it to a friends stag night and was actually amazed the images turned out.  There were strobe lights however and so I tried to take a photo as the strobe light flashed on. (Yes I know I'm sad but when you see huge signs saying “No Photography” you just have to have a go).  On the whole though unless you are under a bright light night time shots will not work. I also tried it at a U2 concert which was well lit with stage lights but the images were just a blurr as the lights just created star burst on all the photos..

In the day time, especially on a really bright day, the WQV-1 can take some stunning shots, you have to keep your wrist still though as you will often just have a blurr on screen if you arm moves. If you want the watch as a visual reminder then its excellent.  Go to the gym, put your clothes in Locker number 43 and take a photo, park your car in a certain area and take a photo of the area. I have even taken a photo of phone numbers or web addresses when I do not have a pen Visual things like this are great and its for this use I find the watch excels.

The WQV-1 has the ability to type details over a photo so that you can type in names and phone numbers etc. If you thought sending a text message on a mobile was hard work then this is worse as you have to cycle through every letter each time. The best way I found was to load the image to the PC, enter the details you want via the Casio software, then upload the photo (along with its data) back to the watch!!  Of course this also means that you are able to edit photos taken from anywhere and after converting them to 120x20 and greyscale, download them to the watch.

The WQV-1 is in no way a replacement for your current camera as the quality of the photos are quite grainy.  Saying that the WQV-1 is one of the best gadgets I’ve had and technology wise this is James Bond stuff. There has never been a day gone by that I regretted buying it and I highly recommend it to anyone.

NOTE:  The WQV-2 range were launched shortly after the WQV-1. These watches have exactly the same technical specifications as the WQV-1 but have different cases and straps.

Elvis Payne September 2001