Do more comparison shopping now in the Geek.com Store
CONSUMER ELECTRONICS REVIEW
Casio WQV1-1CR Wrist Camera Watch
Okay, you can. Now look around the room you're in. How many things you see have a rational justification for their purchase? I'm willing to bet that at least a few of them were bought just because "you can."
Well, I'm no different than the rest of you geeks out there, so a few weeks ago while I was waiting for a plane home at Heathrow (London airport, for the non-air-savvy) I happened to wander into one of the rare shops open at 11 P.M.--an electronics store in the duty free area.
Psions. Seen them. Palms. Seen them. WinCE/Windows Powered devices galore. Seen them. A wristwatch with a digital camera. Seen ... wait a second ... WHAT?
Out comes AmEx. Cha-ching. A new toy to play with on the way home is in the bag.
Since it measures a mere 40 (W) x 52 (H) x 16 (D) mm and weighs 32 grams, you usually notice that the Wrist Camera is there. If not sooner, you notice it when it gets caught on something. Granted, it's not huge, but my trusty Swatch Access is a tad thinner ;)
You can choose from among three different modes when recording an image. The Normal Mode records the 16-grayscale monochrome image that appears on the monitor screen of the Wrist Camera. The Art Mode produces "artful" two-tone images (translation: you better remember what you were taking a picture of because the picture itself will NOT help you figure it out). The Merge Mode combines two different images into a single image (mother left, father right).
There's also Visual Data Bank feature for storage of portrait, name, and phone number records. After you record an image you can input up to 24 characters (12 characters in the upper line, 12 characters in the lower line) of memo text. You can input alpha characters or numbers so you can record a person's portrait and then input his or her name and telephone number. Of course, when I tried to take a picture of the girl sitting next to me on the plane from my wrist, she just thought I was insane. My Palm worked much better there--although I did get her picture ;)
There's also (umm ... only) infrared data transfer with/to a computer or another Wrist Camera. The thing is ... the IR transfer is Casio proprietary. You can upload images to your computer for editing and archiving, and download them back to the Wrist Camera when you need to take them somewhere. You can even use your images as screen savers--but trust me, you don't want to use 120x120 images in that way ...
Oh, and there's another catch. In the US, Casio is selling the IR pod and the software you need to connect it to the PC separately from the watch ... which means that you need to throw more money into the wind to get some actual use out of the not-so-cheap watch. Lucky for me, my package contained the watch, pod, and software. And a 400-some page manual that had 30 pages in English.
All in all ... it's a toy, although you can see my ugly mugshot in the picture above. Okay, it's not a total toy; I mean, I can envision a use or two for it, but actual, PRACTICAL application ... umm ... nope.
I give the Wrist Camera Watch 5 Geekheads for "entertainment value" ... I mean Geekness. It's a definite conversation starter, and the ability to take an immediate picture of anything you happen to see while out and about is a definite plus. If you ever wanted to feel like Dick Tracy (well, almost) or, heaven forbid, Tom Cruise in MI:2, this is just the watch for you. The camera itself would be much more useful if it took slightly bigger pictures--something like 300x300--but that would mean you could only put about 30 pics into the camera if you were using black and white. Maybe in the next version ...