Timex WS4 Expedition Watch

Review by Arnie P

Timex WS4 Expedition Watch

Timex WS4 Expedition Watch

Timex WS4 Expedition Watch

The WS4 Expedition watch was provided by Timex for the purpose of this review.

The Timex WS4 Expedition watch is named for its wide screen and four function capability, the functions being; altitude, barometer, thermometer, and compass. The screen is rectangular and is about 1.5 inches by 1 inch, and the band is almost as wide as the screen on the watch. This is the widest band I have worn and I am finding it very comfortable. It has a camouflage design which I find looks better on my wrist than when I was looking at it on the web site.

From information published by Timex

The WS4 technology is sealed in a lightweight composite casing, and fortified with a stainless steel bezel for an ideal combination of mass and durability. It boasts the following key features and benefits:
Target altitude setting and altitude alarm help set goals and warn of exceeding limits;
Four altitude reference settings for one-touch calibration and improved accuracy;
Graphic altitude and barometer displays for at-a-glance review of trends;
Weather condition forecast with current temperature and future alerts;
Digital compass headings and digital needle for quick directions;
Time display in 12 or 24 hour format, in dual time zones;
100 hour chronograph;
100 hour timer with repeat function;
99 lap count with display of lap or split time;
Daily, weekday, weekend, or weekly alarms;
Water resistant to 50 meters;
INDIGLOW night light with night mode feature for easy viewing in low light conditions.
Additionally, the WS4 captures adventure highlights such as:
Highest/lowest altitude;
Altitude/barometric pressure/ temperature graph;
Highest/lowest/average barometric pressure;
Highest/lowest/average temperature.

Using the WS4

One of the first things I did was calibrate the WS4. The directions were short, simple and clear. I first set the compass and received a signal that I was successful. I then had a choice of altitude or barometric pressure and I choose barometric pressure to calibrate. I synchronized the weather icon and the calibration was done for the time being. The booklet suggests recalibrating for continued accuracy. The instruction booklet consists of 45 pages which are about twice the size of the watch screen. The features I use the most are barometric pressure, compass direction, and altitude. When hiking I also have a standard compass and a map, but having the watch for a quick look at direction and altitude is very convenient, especially when I have a hiking pole in each hand. I use the altitude reading to estimate the remaining hiking time to reach the summit. I can take a quick look at my watch without having to stop to read my traditional compass. The altitude indicator also helps when trying to locate where I am on a map. The weather forecast feature is very handy especially when the sky starts looking strange. At these times it is nice to know if the barometric pressure is going up or down. I think I will find the WS4 very useful in New England where the weather changes a lot and is sometimes a mystery even to the forecasters. Check back in about a month when I will have more to say about this amazing watch.
Timex WS4 Expedition watch provided by Times for review purposes.
Timex Expedition WS4 backside

Timex Expedition WS4 backside

Timex WS4 update

9-5-2010

It has been a little more than a month since my last report. The weather has been hot and mostly dry. During this period, I did 5 backpacks and a few day hikes, with rain only on one day of the backpack. The Timex WS4 has been on my wrists most of my waking hours. I do take it off nights and sometimes when I am typing on the computer. The functions I use the most while hiking and backpacking are altitude, barometric pressure, compass, and temperature.

Altitude

All my backpacks have been in the altitude range of about 500 ft to 3000 ft. I use mountain tops as points of reference and have found my readings to be within 70 ft of expected altitude. Since all my hiking and backpacking has been done in temperatures above 80 F, I have been stopping a lot to rest and drink water. I have used these rest periods to check altitude and progress on a trip. At home I have noticed a 10 foot increase in elevation going from first to second floor. Over time, I have noticed there is a small amount of drift in the altitude and barometric readings, however calibrating the watch solves that. I will speak more on that in the next section.

Barometric pressure

I used the barometric pressure feature a lot especially on the backpacks since for all of them the weather predictions were for a 30% to 70% chance of rain. It was interesting to see the changes in the weather pictures as we progressed on hikes. A typical picture would be rain falling from clouds and the sun to the right. A mile later it might be just the sun or just clouds. The night it rained late in the night and continued the next morning the barometer had been dropping slowly and the picture was rain and clouds. The weather is very spotty in New England. The rain this summer came in small areas for 5-15 minutes and then moved to another area. An example is one day I left the gym in heavy rain and during the 3 mile trip back to my house the road became dry and there was no evidence that any rain had fallen at my house. I am pleased with the weather prediction feature on the watch, fully realizing the difficulty of predicting the quickly changing weather patterns in New England. I live within 15 miles of the government weather station in Bedford Massachusetts. I can get an accurate barometric reading from their web site and quickly calibrate my watch.

Compass

I have used the compass a lot on my hikes and backpacks especially during times of cloud cover. I find it nice to be able to take a quick reading especially when reading a map description. On one of the backpacks someone asked for the location of east and I was standing on the tent platform and realized that it was aligned with the 4 cardinal compass points.

Temperatures

I found temperature readings can be influenced by my body depending on how my watch is worn. This is especially true when body temperature is a lot higher than the atmospheric temperature. This is when I am likely to put on a jacket and cover the watch, this traps warm air from my body and gives a much higher reading. I have found that when I wear the watch over a long sleeve shirt and fairly loose on my wrist, the reading is less than one degree higher than if it was off my wrist. When I settle down for the night I put my watch, light, and any other item I may need during the night in my hat. This makes it easy to locate any needed items during the night. Thus I have the capability of checking temperature, etc. during the night.

WS4 in hat on tent floor

WS4 in hat on tent floor

Now that I have used the WS4 for about a month I find that the information I get is very useful and comforting. Before I had the WS4 I did not realize what I was missing. Check back in about a month for my last look at the Timex WS4 watch.

Timex WS4 a last look

10-1-2010

This month, being September, was a busy time for me.  I continue to use and enjoy this watch more each day.  I went on one backpack and several hikes during this period.  There would have been more but a few outdoor activities were canceled due to weather.

Harold Parker State forest

This area has a lot of trees and it is not always easy to see very far ahead, except when near a pond.  The area is honeycombed with unmarked paths, and although it is very difficult to get lost, occasionally I found it comforting to check the compass on my watch to get my bearings.  On a hot day it is also nice to be able to check the temperature which that day was about 86 F.

checking compass in Harold Parker forest

checking compass in Harold Parker forest

Horn Pond Reservation

Horn Pond reservation features a large   pond, several smaller bodies of water, a good sized hill, and great views of the surrounding area.  On this hike my wife and I had a special mission.  She had heard about an “Indian bowl”.  I envisioned a natural bowl in rock.  On all our hikes there we had not found the natural bowl.  This time, with her memory of where people had said it was, the use of the watch, and a bit  of luck we did find the bowl.  I took a picture and verified later on the internet that we indeed had found the natural bowl probably used by the natives to grind grains.

checking WS4 on hill near Horn Pond

checking WS4 on hill near Horn Pond

natural bowl in rock

natural bowl in rock

Backpack to Moose Outlook Shelter

This was the only campsite or shelter I had not used on the Monadnock Sunapee Greenway Trail.  Each one of these campsites has some unique feature which makes each one special for me.  This time I remembered to take a picture of my watch and recorded the temperature and altitude at about 78 F and 2139 ft respectively.  I find it difficult to carry a notebook to take notes.  A big part of that is most of the time I cannot read my own writing after the trip is over.  This picture reveals that it was taken just after the tents were set up and just before getting ready to eat.  Until recently this was campsite called the Moose Lookout campsite, but after the shelter had been added to the tent platform it is now called The Steven Galpin Shelter at Moose Lookout.

view near The Steven Gapin Shelter at Moose Outlook

view near The Steven Gapin Shelter at Moose Outlook

checking data on Timex WS4

checking data on Timex WS4

camping at The Steven Gapin Shelter at Moose Outlook

camping at The Steven Gapin Shelter at Moose Outlook

The Steven Galpin Shelter at Moose Lookout

The Steven Galpin Shelter at Moose Lookout

Other uses

I am now using the Timex WS4 everyday and only take it off when sleeping or typing at my computer. I have one small comment about the face of the watch. The words “Altimeter”, “Barometer”, “Thermometer”, and “Compass” appear on the left side of the watch, and 4 symbols appear on the bottom right side of the watch. I think both the words and the symbols could be eliminated and might provide for either more information to be displayed or more space on the present configuration.

This is a very comfortable watch to wear. I had not expected a watch of this size to be this comfortable. I am partially ambidextrous and have worn the watch on both wrists. I really don’t have a preferred wrist fot the watch. I had no problem operating the watch no matter which wrist it was on. I am grateful to Timex and 4Alloutdoors to have been chosen to write about the WS4 Expedition watch.

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