Casio’s G-Shock has maintained its niche fan base of people that prefer rugged look and study design. So far, the G-Shock line-up has been restricted to non-smart watches despite the growing clutter of smartwatches but 2020 seems to be the year of the unusual. Known for making watches for adventurers, Casio in August launched the G-Shock GBD-H1000. This smartwatch is one-of-its-kind as it carries forward Casio’s legacy of making rugged watches but with smart features this time. It has built-in GPS for location services, multiple sensors, and solar charging on top of regular USB charging. Besides, it features an optical heart rate sensor. Being a G-Shock, it goes without saying that the watch is both shock and water resistance.
Priced at Rs 39,995, the Casio G-Shock GBD-H1000 brings the modern day features in a conventional G-Shock form factor. Business Standard took the smartwatch out for a spin to test its worth. Here is the review:
Build and design
The G-shock GBD-H1000 has a thick strap, pop colours, large display bezel, and a familiar display. The dial has a thick case made of resin and stainless steel. It is sturdy and can withstand abuses in harsh outdoor conditions. The protruding plastic and the screws holding it adds to its tough aesthetic. It is a familiar digital screen with mineral glass protection. Important to note, it is not a touchscreen. The black and white LCD display with a one-side LED backlighting looks a bit old school, and it may pinch to some spending, especially when even the cheapest smartwatches now boast a coloured display.
The display bezel has markings, depicting functions of side buttons. This makes it easy to memorise the function of each button. The buttons are large and textured, which makes them easy to use. The strap is flexible and strong. The navigation is done through the watch’s five physical buttons available on the circumference of the screen. Among them is a dedicated circular button to start recording running metrics.
Features and performance
This G-shock comes with five sensors to track heart rate, altitude, temperature and the immediate barometric pressure. It also has a built-in GPS and compass.
It has an optical heart rate sensor, which also doubles up as VO2 max monitor. The GBD-H1000 is water resistance by up to 200 metres, ensuring no damage when exposed to water.
The watch comes as a device for those into fitness. Runners would be too happy to wrap this on their wrist so that while they sweat it out, the watch records every possible information they need. However, we felt it's a bit bulky and may not be too comfortable on the field.
The heart rate sensor seems pretty accurate, but that's in standard condition. It's almost at par with other fitness wearables but at times it does record very high heart rate. If you're using a dependable device for heart rate and other metrics, then you would be able to figure out the minor deviation from normal in GBD-H1000.
To get more insights into how your workout went, you will have to open the G-Shock Move app which is not as fancy as the watch. It does hold a lot of information about your fitness metrics but we had expected a better representation.
The price tag also may pinch those who like to carry their music along during workouts. To their dismay, G-shock GBD-H1000 doesn't offer music support which means you would have to use phone and earbuds/earphones separately.
Another thing is it's really tough to read notifications. You just get a glimpse of the notification and it's such a task to read that in the tiny watch screen.
This is one area where G-shock GBD-H1000 excels. It boasts a solar panel for charging on-the-go. Moreover, going by the company’s claim, the watch can go on for up to 12 months on a single charge with basic watch features.
We did test the watch with standard charging and using maximum features such as always-on heart rate monitoring, vibration for every little notification and calls, and few activity sessions and the watch can last for about a week, strictly speaking 4-5 days.
With solar charging, the battery keeps refilling silently. This is indeed a useful feature as smartwatches tend to drain battery quickly and it's a hassle to charge them all the time. The solar charging isn't quick but seems to be a well-though feature for adventurers who find it difficult to carry gadgets’ charging gear everywhere.
This rugged G-Shock has learned a few smart tricks and the right ones that do not completely redefine the watch. It retained its basic G-shock character with modern functions a smartwatch could offer, but it all comes at a price everyone may not be comfortable with. For those into fitness with loyalty towards Garmin or Fitbit may not find GBD-H1000 an ideal wearable, despite its ability to record multiple metrics with great precision.
For those with a penchant for something big and heavy, or G-shock fans, this is more than a sweet deal. At Rs 39,995, GBD-H1000 brings the best of both worlds, the comfort of conventional digital G-shock and a modern smartwatch that counts your steps, heart rate, VO2 max, and a lot more. It will go on, all it needs is some sun out there.