Why I Want the New G-Shock Smartwatch

Tough, with smarts

Key Takeaways

  • The Casio G-Shock lineup finally gets a smartwatch with Google’s Wear OS. 
  • The GSW-H1000 looks built for the apocalypse, and the manufacturer claims it's got 20-bar water resistance. 
  • The watch comes with apps like Google Assistant, Google Pay, and Google Fit for voice assistance and fitness tracking.
The Casio G-Shock GSW-H1000

Casio

I’ve long been a fan of Casio’s G-Shock watches, so I was excited to see the company's recent announcement of its new smartwatch with Wear OS

These days, I rock an Apple Watch Series 6, but I’m keeping an open mind when it comes to my watch preferences. I love the G-Shock promise that my watch could survive extreme conditions, even though the reality is that, most days, my wrists are never far from the keyboard. 

Delightfully, the new G-Shock, burdened with the extremely unfun name of GSW-H1000, looks almost the same as the classic models from the 1990s. There’s the same ridiculously bulky plastic case with its menacing curves and rugged angles. 

"Despite its old school appearance, the GSW-H1000 boasts the latest version of Google’s Wear OS for smartwatches."

Tough Enough?

Casio claims that the GSW-H1000 will be as tough as it looks. The watch supposedly has a shock-resistant structure and 20-bar water resistance.

I used the earlier version of the G-Shock line for years without so much as a scratch, so I’m looking forward to testing it out to see if it will match up to its predecessors. 

Design touches throughout the watch pump its macho image. The GSW-H1000 has a titanium back, and the start button is made of aluminum with an accent color for improved visibility.

Honeycomb patterning is also applied to the case and band for a vaguely Terminator-style look

Despite its old-school appearance, the GSW-H1000 boasts the latest version of Google’s Wear OS for smartwatches. The watch comes with apps like Google Assistant, Google Pay, and Google Fit for voice assistance and fitness tracking.

Of course, you get the usual notifications for email, calls, social media, and more. There’s also the ability to download apps from Google Play.

Like most top-end smartwatches, the new G-Shock has an optical sensor to measure heart rate, and a compass, altitude/air pressure sensor, accelerometer, gyrometer, and GPS functionality. Casio touts these features as being particularly useful for athletes. 

G-Shock Competes With the Rugged Crowd

The GSW-H1000 watch series will be available in the US later this month, with prices starting at $699. While the cost of the G-Shock may seem high compared to, say, the Apple Watch Series 3, it’s actually on par with other rugged smartwatches. 

The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro, for example, retails for a hefty $849.99. Garmin justifies the 6 Pro smartwatch price with claims of longer battery life and a rugged design.

The G-Shock looks positively sedate compared to the in-your-face design of the 6 Pro, with the option of a giant titanium case and a bright orange band that screams "wannabe ski instructor." I’d wear the Garmin anyway, though. 

If the Fenix isn’t macho enough for you, I present the over-the-top features of the $499 Traverse Alpha by Suunto, which comes in a relatively subdued metal case with an drab olive band.

The Traverse Alpha includes a barometer, which Suunto claims can help you catch more fish. It’s also got a feature for hunters that automatically records where you’ve fired a gun so you can better track your prey. 

The Casio WSD-F30 lineup.

Casio

Casio also makes a less-expensive, rugged smartwatch with Google’s Wear OS baked in. The Casio WSD-F30 has a more sporty look, compared to the aggressive G-Shock line. It’s still waterproof, of course, so it can be dunked to a depth of 164 feet if you happen to be scuba diving. 

The big problem for me with all these fabulous Wear OS watches is that they have limited compatibility with iPhones. As an iPhone 12 Pro Max owner, I’ve gotten spoiled by the easy pairing and interoperability of staying within the Apple ecosystem. 

Apple fans may not have to choose for much longer between rugged or iOS. Apple reportedly is considering building a version of its smartwatch with a tough casing. The Apple Watch Explorer Edition could be released sometime this year. 

But I’m dying to get my hands on the new G-Shock. You can’t beat the old-school look paired with smartwatch capabilities.

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