Pros: More intuitive, full features, analog and digital, multi-time zone!
Cons: steel is heavy, band doesn't bend enough, can't see in dark
Before purchasing this watch (steel version), I purchased a previous generation digital & analog, multi-zone Skyhawk (titanium version). Though you probably already know, just in case, the Eco-Drive series of watches gets its name from being "drive"-n (or powered) in an "eco"-logically friendly way...in other words, it's solar-powered. Any light source will do. The previous generation titanium watch was great but not intuitive and a little hard to use, especially because for some settings, you had to hit two buttons simultaneously, and it was often hard to get it exactly right.
With this new watch, there is no simultaneous button pressing and all the settings are easy to configure. The knob allows you to move between different modes and you pull the knob half out for some settings, and all the way for others.
Also, the analog is now completely in sync with the digital readout (on whatever time zone you choose). This is especially useful as you never have to manually sync the analog dials and digital clock. Additionally, you can easily change the analog dial to any time zone you have setup.
Going back to setting it up, the original watch was frustrating whenever I wanted to change from summer savings to standard time. This was the single biggest irritation for me. So my previous watch still works, but I almost exclusively use this new one.
Feature-wise, both units are identical except for the additional alarms on the new watch.
I agree with the previous reviewer that the steel version is too heavy, and if a Titanium was available at the store I purchase watches at, I would have gotten it. But the steel version is not bad. Heavy, but not bad. Regarding the wrist band, the previous titanium version was much better, though. This steel band doesn't bend very far, just enough to contour a wrist, and no more. My titanium bends at much sharper angles, so can become almost flat. Wish this steel band could do that. Oh well, can't have everything.
So, what features does this have?
There is the main analog dial showing you time with the short and long needles, but on the face, there are three smaller dials. Very intuitive. The upper left shows you the hour in 24-hour time, and the upper right always shows UTC hour, also in 24 hour time. The bottom dial is just to know which mode you are in. The order in clockwise is: TIME, DATE, ALARM1, ALARM2, ALARM3, CHRONOGRAPH, TIMER (Max 99'99"), and SET.
To the right, there are two buttons and a knob.
There is also a left and right display. In TIME mode, the left display has a three charactor name for the time zone. and the right side shows the time digitally (12 or 24 hour mode), and SMR shows to let you know you're in summer savings (not there if you're not in summer savings). In DATE mode, the left is the same and the right shows the date. In ALARM1, 2, 3 mode, you can set alarms by time-zone as well, so it will show you the alarm time for the time-zone, so again, time zone on left display, and alarm time for that time-zone on the right. In Chrono mode, well, standard stopwatch there....In Timer mode, well, again, standard timer, and SET mode looks just like the TIME mode.
Normally, when the knob is all the way in, turning the knob simply switches modes, and it is linked to the MODE dial. Again, very intuitive, you can always tell which mode you are in by looking at the MODE dial. I hardly ever
There are 27 time zones on the watch, with each one having summer-savings on/off settings. You can set time for any time-zone and it will automatically fix the time-zone for all others. but for summer savings, you have to turn each one on or off individually. in "set" mode, you scroll through all time zones. But in time mode or alarm mode, you scroll through only those time-zones you have turned on. (In my case, I have Tokyo, Paris, LA and New York turned on and all others turned off).
Like with any setting, to make an adjustment of any kind, you have to first pull the knob halfway or all the way out. Again, this is intuitive. Just try it once and you'll get it. You set the date for the time-zone you want, and that's pretty much it. After that, you just fiddle with time-zones, so you really never have to touch this again. (not even for leap year)
ALARM1, 2, 3
Really, this works like any other watch with one exception, whatever you set will be for the time-zone shown on the right. So just make sure you take a look. Sometimes, I mean to set an alarm for the time-zone I'm in (say California time), and I set the alarm without looking at the left dial and don't realize until later that the time-zone I had set up for was for TKO (Tokyo)....hahaha, it's not a mistake you tend to make twice....
Nothing to it really. Hit the top button to start, the bottom button for a first stop, the top button for a second stop, and again to reset....pretty standard
Same thing, works like any other digital watch. Pull the knob, and hit the buttons to set the timer, close the knob and hit the top button to start the timer.
Set is where you set the time for each time-zone. It's also where you turn on or off summer savings. Finally it's where you turn on or off each time-zone that you displayed or not displayed. With all 27 time-zones turned on, you will have to scroll quite a bit in TIME mode to get to a particular time-zone, so you might want to just turn on the ones you need to minimize scrolling. I typically have 4, my wife's home, my parent's home, my other friends' time-zone, and my time-zone.
The only con for me apart from the band not bending more and the weight is the lack of night time viewing ability. I wish there was a light for the display. But it's pretty rare that I need a backlight. Actually, that's never happened, because anywhere I'm in that's too dark to see the watch, there's another clock somewhere...In the car driving at night....in bed, heck the only time I regretted it was when I was camping in a tent, and even then, I had a flashlight (^-^)
That's pretty much it.
Next on my watch "to-buy" list: The Seiko Sportura....review when i get one.