Review: Can a Really Cheap Watch Be Any Good?

I recently ordered HONHX S-SPORTS digital watch from AliExpress for a mere price of 1.78 euros, including post and packaging from China to Finland. I put the cheap digital watch through a series of tough tests to find out whether it could endure them.

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HONHX S-SPORTS digital wrist watch.

I have always preferred digital watches over those with analogue display. For couple of decades I was using Casio digital wrist watch, but I lost it. Instead of buying a new Casio, I decided to test one of the cheap Chinese Casio clones.

The total price, 1.78 € (less than $2), which included post and packaging from China was suspiciously cheap. In fact is the cheapest digital watch I have seen! The watch was delivered roughly 6 weeks later in a simple envelope and it came with very simple cardboard package, which had all the instructions.

Operation

The HONHX S-Sports is fairly simple to operate and works similarly like any other 4-button digital wrist watch. It display 12/24h time, day, month and weekday. It can also be used as a stop watch and alarm. Pressing the light button causes the lights rotate at different colors and flash like in a disco. While this at first may appear cool, this is a bit less usable than standard back light, nevertheless it allows to read the time in total darkness. I couldn’t test the battery life, for reasons soon explained.

The watch made a beep every even hour. I didn’t figure out how to disable it, but setting time and date was simple enough.

Is it durable and waterproof?

My first test was to take the watch to a Finnish sauna. I stayed about 15 minutes in roughly 90 Celsius (194 F) degree heat. I was throwing water on the stones to make the air filled with lots of humidity. Professional watch repairmen recommend never to subject any watch to such test as even the water proof designs can leak in some moisture and the watch might also heat up. HONHX S-SPORTS handled this test without any problem. My old Casio had some moisture develop inside it, but HONHX was moisture free.

Then I decided to take a very long 15-minute shower with the watch strapped to wrist. Once again HONHX passed it flying colors.

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The watch after few dives into the bottom of the 3.8 meter deep pool.

The final test was to jump into the pool and sink to the bottom of the jumping pool, which is about 3.8 meters deep and stay at the bottom of the pool as long as my lungs allow. I dived into the water and after I resurfaced above water, I could clearly see that the watch had a lot of water inside it. The display was still showing some numbers, but they were dim and flashing. The light function got, even if I didn’t press the button. A did a few more similar jumps and dives and a bit more water leaked into the HONHX watch. It reads 30 m water resist, but I guess it really means 30 meters from the shore while sitting on a rowing boat.

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After some time the water inside the watch turned murky brown color.

Afterwards I noticed the the water inside the watch turned murky brown color. At home I opened the watch. It seems the brown color was caused by some glue inside the watch. In just 1 h exposure to the swimming pool water the tiny screws inside the watch showed some rust. The clock display was still showing light and some flashing numbers, but it never recovered. I killed the watch, but I think maybe removing the battery and drying it quickly might have saved the watch. The weakest link of the wrist watch were probably the buttons, which had insulation.

I am still inclined to buy another simple cheap digital wrist watch. Curiously this same watch is now selling at AliExpress for much higher price. 6.48 € was the cheapest price I could find now! Can you recommend me any models, which are truly water proof? (can survive a dive into the pool bottom)

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The same watch disassembled. You can see brown rust and light on the actual watch part if you click this photo to see the full resolution image. The white rubber ring is for water proofing.

Afterword

This is my first product review. I have ordered a lot of stuff online, hunting for decent quality, yet very cheap products. Please tell me if you found this interview useful or amusing.

I apologize for the relatively low quality of the watch photos. I have a good Olympus 60 mm F/2.8 macro lens, but I took all the photos using Panasonic 20 mm F/1.7, which is mediocre at macro shots.

China in Black and White – Part 4

This is so far my last post in the series of black & white street photography from China. In this post I am explaining methods of my photography, how to capture the shy Chinese people on camera without drawing attention to them and how to achieve the old analog film look using digital tools.

Once again all the photos have been taken using Olympus OM-D E-M5 and using my favorite prime lenses. I prefer to use Panasonic 20 mm F/1.7 most of the time, since it is so small and light weighting (86 g). It gives very sharp photos and most people don’t draw any notice towards such a tiny lens. The 40 mm equivalent angle sounds weird, but actually without the perspective correction the real angle view of this lens is close to 35 mm, which has been the classic focal length favored by many photographers over the decades.

I once again did RAW processing and film emulations using DxO Photo Suite Elite. I feel this gives me tools to do almost all the things I could do by shooting with real film and developing it myself (thing which I did in the past before moving to digital). I always use DxO FilmPack and DxO ViewPoint integrated with the DxO OpticsPro, I never use the separate applications as they would just complicate work flow and give me less controls. To achieve a realistic looking B&W film emulation you really need to use RAW images as JPEG images only have 8-bit depth per color component. 8 bit is roughly equivalent of 8 stops and the best B&W negative films have over 20 stops of dynamic range (far surpassing any digital photo camera). For comparison I included several “fake” B&W photos in this post, which have been shot in JPEG mode using the inbuilt filters of my Olympus camera. I didn’t use any film grain emulation for any images. Can you spot the difference? I haven’t really used any Adobe Lightroom or Photoshop, except when teaching them for my students, already since August 2012. Before using DxO I was using Adobe Photoshop as my main photographic editing tool for 15 years.

Chinese people are rather shy in front of the camera. Most of photos are taken candid. The subjects do not know they were being photographed. Small camera + lens, silent shutter, display which can be tilted (and used for composition) are essential for the type of photography I am using.

Boy at a park in Changzhou
A curious boy at a park in Changzhou.
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Chinese kids enjoying a bumper car ride.
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“My legs are tired, I want my boyfriend to carry me”
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A long wall inside the Forbidden City, Beijing. Olympus Dramatic Tone filter type 2.
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A Peking opera (京剧) show at the Summer palace. Olympus dramatic tone type 2 art filter.
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And old Chinese man in the Beihai Park (北海公园), Beijing.
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The water was icy and swimming was forbidden, November 2013 in Beijing. This man is warming up his muscles before the swim. Olympus gentle sepia + soft focus art filter.
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An old Chinese man playing er-hu (二胡), a traditional 2-string fiddle, late in the evening in the Hutong (胡同) area of Beijing.
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A night view at the Hutong (胡同) area of Beijing.

I think this is enough B&W photos for a while. I will next post some colorful images.

China in Black and White – Part 3

I have taken a lot of photos among my trips in China. I feel the black & white captures the true spirit of Chinese life style better than color.

All photos were taken using Olympus OM-D E-M5 and Panasonic 20 mm F/1.7 lens. I used DxO Optics Pro for RAW conversion and DxO FilmPack for the film emulations. You can view the images at 2560×1920 resolution by clicking them.

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Jellyfish at Shanghai Ocean Aquarium. Looks a bit like Chinese calligraphy.
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Chinese ebike drivers stuck at traffic lights, late afternoon (probably going home), Shanghai.
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A Chinese family waiting for a bus at Changzhou.
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Old Chinese man exercising at a big park in Changzhou.
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A little boy skate boarding at late in the evening at a big park in Changzhou.
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Same little boy again
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Old man’s thoughtful face in a subway in Beijing. I overexposed the shot to give the background more white look, despite the lighting was pretty dim.
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Old Chinese man in subway car, Beijing, 2014.
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Old man resting, Changzhou, 2014.

You can also see more B&W photos from China in part 2 and part 1.

China in Black and White – Part 2

Sorry for the long delay in posting the 2nd part of my photo series. I have been busy in real life and last weekend was Ropecon 2015, the biggest annual role-playing game related event in Finland. I will later make a blog entry about Ropecon 2015, but you can already enjoy the 200+ photos I took there at:

https://picasaweb.google.com/116494302121360970840/Ropecon2015?authuser=0&authkey=Gv1sRgCMja8qKQhc_0twE&feat=directlink

The first part of this article can be found here.

Now here is my next batch of my B&W photos from China:

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Mother and a child at the streets of Shanghai 2014.
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A girl at Shanghai bund.
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Chinese men playing cards at a park in Shanghai, June 2014.
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Tourists at the Shanghai bund, July 2014.
The Shanghai bund, July 2014-
A thoughtful gaze a the Shanghai bund, July 2014-
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A Chinese woman and young girl at Shanghai bund, July 2014. I just wonder why the little girl looks so unhappy.
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A smiling little girl, whose mom appeared to be carrying all her belongings with her on the streets of Beijing. I got the impression these people are homeless, yet they can smile and look happy.
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A Chinese little kid at a shopping center.
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I took this photo of this Chinese boy many hours after sunset at the Summer Palace, Beijing.

See part 3.

China in Black and White – Part 1

I very much like to shoot in black and white. I think in black and white before I take the photo. I used DxO software for all the processing and film emulation. All photos were taking using Olympus OM-D E-M5 camera and most were taken using my favorite lenses:

  • Panasonic 20 mm F/1.7
  • Olympus 75 mm F/1.8

All these photos are from my trips to China in 2014.

Almost every single photo is a candid shot taken at the streets, public places or sights. I do not know these people and I still speak so little Chinese that communication is more or less gestures and smiles.

Many of the photos were taken during the same afternoon/evening at my favorite location in Beijing: the Summer Palace , Yíhé Yuán or 颐和园 . Sadly the weather wasn’t that favorable. Lots of smog from pollution in the air, but it doesn’t show much in these B&W photos. You can click to view a larger 2560×1920 resolution version of the photos.

American author with very cool looks. Still at the airport.
American author with very cool looks. Still at the airport.
Old Chinese man playing on the streets of Beijing.
Old Chinese man playing on the streets of Beijing.
Young Chinese couple in love at the Summer Palace, Beijing 2014.
Young Chinese couple in love at the Summer Palace, Beijing 2014.
The incredibly warm smile of an old man at Summer Palace, Beijing 2014.
The incredibly warm smile of an old man at Summer Palace, Beijing 2014.
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Young Chinese boy driving a bicycle at Summer Palace, Beijing.
Old man at the Summer Palace. I tried to get as many golden ratio symmetries to this portrait as possible with blurred background.
Old man at the Summer Palace. I tried to cram as many golden ratio symmetries to this portrait as possible with blurred background.
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This old Chinese woman has seen life.
The Marble boat at the Summer Palace. Also know as Boat of Purity and Ease (Qing Yan Fǎng)  or 石舫. The background is fog from polluted air.
The Marble boat at the Summer Palace. Also know as Boat of Purity and Ease (Qing Yan Fǎng) or 石舫. The background is fog from polluted air.
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Gardens of the Summer Palace, after the sunset . I had to use ISO 4000 for this.

I hope you enjoyed the first batch of photos. You can find part 2 here.

More Blogs My Students Have Created (May 2015)

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INTINU15X6 students, March 2015 (Photo by Petri Kuittinen)

I have had a really amazing group of new students, who started their studies in January 2015. Most of them never had any previous experience in HTML, CSS or making web pages. Take a look at their blogs and photos. And remember this is just a tiny assignment in a 15 credit module, where the students already did multi-lingual web pages for a company and their own personal home pages out of scratch (hand coded HTML and CSS).

https://pizzakuuluuananakseen.wordpress.com/

https://juhahamk15.wordpress.com/

https://jarihalttunen.wordpress.com/

https://marypopnsgames.wordpress.com/

https://naapozblog.wordpress.com/

https://fromhobbyisttogamer.wordpress.com/

https://nonlitemetalreviews.wordpress.com/

https://mappedd.wordpress.com/

https://imduguddest.wordpress.com/

https://icantbelievethisdomainisnottaken.wordpress.com/

https://fridgenation.wordpress.com/

https://annarual.wordpress.com/

https://kuolevainentaistelija.wordpress.com/

https://colorblueisalie.wordpress.com/

Most of my students are Finnish and English is not a native language for them nor me