The Casio G-Shock line has always been good at one thing: surviving in tough conditions. I wear G-Shocks when I know I’ll be rolling around in the sand, hiking, or anything that requires the watch to get dollops of mud or worse all over it. I’ve never really worn G-Shock’s to exercise. Until now.
What Is It?
The Google Wear OS-powered GSWH1000-1 is Casio’s $699 entry into the smartwatch market. The watch has a dual-mode screen that displays reduced data in monochrome mode and then full-color in Wear OS mode. The watch features Casio’s own exercise apps and interface and can track your location, direction, and heart rate, as well as barometric data. The whole thing comes in a package that will be familiar to anyone who has hefted any other bigger G-Shock or Pro-Trek on their wrist.
The watch is 65mm x 56mm and is 19.5mm thick. It weighs a surprising 106 grams but it sits well on almost any wrist. The plastic strap wraps nicely and bumpers at the lugs keep things snug against the wrist bones.
How Does It Work?
Casio has chosen to reduce Wear OS’s presence in this watch. Most of the features are available from a round menu that displays the main choice in the center and a set of icons around the edge. These features include maps, heart rate, and time zone settings along with a fairly complete set of exercise options.
The touchscreen lets you swipe through functions and for most of the time you’ll be using Casio’s simplistic, monochrome app to slide through various features. In fact, this watch is probably the most anti-Wear OS watch I’ve seen, a piece that essentially works like G-Shock with a bigger brain. Because, I suspect, Casio knew it needed to enter the smartwatch market, they chose to do it in this simplistic way. They know that people wear G-Shocks to jump out of airplanes or to look cool. This watch lets you do both and offers just a touch more information than a traditional Pro-Trek.
The GSWH1000-1 works well and looks great. It’s a massive watch and has all of the simple features you could want from a smartwatch. It pairs with Casio’s Move app which can track your exercise and training sessions and it supports everything else standard Wear OS watches can run including a clever overlay mode that lets you take video of yourself or others while overlaying data from the watch on the image.
Further, the piece is rugged. There is no delicate wireless charging here — you plug this thing into a magnetic charger that presumably keeps liquid out of the case and allows the company to use regular metal on the back of the watch. It’s a self-contained smartwatch that looks great.
So here’s the primary issue I have with the GSWH1000-1: it’s not quite a great exercise watch. The tracking is a bit off in terms of heart rate monitoring and GPS. It’s good enough for regular use but if I’m trying to run a marathon or training for an Iron Man (both things that I’ll probably never do again) I’d think twice before strapping this to my wrist. It works well but not as well as, say, a Garmin or Polar with dedicated blood oxygen level sensors and other goodies that help us focus on training and recovery.
That said, who cares? It’s a G-Shock. It will survive a Tuff Mudder and then will survive getting covered in beer at the end of the night. It’s a beast and it’s definitely aimed at folks who want precise understanding of their metabolic system.
The bottom line is that this is a solid Wear OS watch with two-day battery life, mono/color LCD screen, and enough features to be dangerous. There is some benefit to having, say, a simpler Fitbit or Garmin, but if you’re a G-Shock lover or want to wear a smartwatch at a construction site, you know an Apple Watch just won’t cut it. It’s a hard sell for G-Shock’s non-fans. It’s an easy sell for G-lovers.