Review: G-Shock Move Pro smartwatch – Wear OS toughens up
If you are looking for a rugged smartwatch, there’s a lot to like here.
Casio’s sub-brand, G-Shock, has been around for almost as long as I’ve been alive (that’s four decades if anyone’s counting). Originally envisioned as a tough watch after a Casio engineer dropped and broke a pocket watch gifted by his father, it’s gone through many redesigns through the years to the collectible styling they are now.
The name has always stood for toughness, and also for innovation, with tech like radio-controlled timekeeping, solar power, and was an early adopter of Bluetooth for linking to smartphones. The company recently celebrated the 100th million G-Shock sold, with some years having over 200 different models released.
We’re looking at G-Shock’s first smartwatch today, the $699 Move Pro GSW-H1000-1. Is Wear OS tough enough for the G-Shock name?
So, I guess that G now stands for Google?
It’s immediately apparent that this is still a G-Shock, even if the interior is now powered by Google. The surround is rugged, hefty, and feels great in the hand, but it’s still surprisingly comfortable to wear.
It does weigh 104 grams though, and the 65mm x 56mm x 19.5mm case isn’t going to suit everybody’s wrist. That said, G-Shock collectors will snap this up, and that’s who G-Shock creates their watches for anyways.
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The cool thing? You don’t need to tighten that urethane band super tightly, even to make sure the heart rate monitor can read your wrist. G-Shock says to cinch it so you can still fit a full finger between the strap and your wrist, which is loose enough that you won’t get the usual marks from wearing a smartwatch on your skin.
The classic G-Shock recipe is reproduced below, and it’s in evidence in every part of the GSW-H1000:
Each watch encompasses the 7 elements; electric shock resistance, gravity resistance, low temperature resistance, vibration resistance, water resistance, shock resistance and toughness. The watch is packed with Casio innovations and technologies to prevent it from suffering direct shock; this includes internal components protected with urethane and suspended timekeeping modules inside the watch structure. Since its launch, G-SHOCK has continued to evolve, continuing to support on Mr. Ibe’s mantra “never, never give up.”
While Google is powering the UI, it’s G-Shock all the way through the hardware. You get 200-meters of water resistance, shock resistance, and that signature G-Shock soft-touch matte finish. The titanium back has a heart rate sensor, and two soft silicone inserts on the strap help it stay centered on your wrist without making you uncomfortable.
Inside it’s got the usual G-Shock sensors, with an accelerometer, air pressure, gyroscope, and a magnetic compass. Charging is done through a large barrel connector on the left side of the watch, so you’ll have to keep hold of yet another proprietary USB cable.
The screen is actually two screens, similar to the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro we loved. There’s a 1.2-inch color LCD underneath the monochrome LCD that’s always-on so you can see things like the time, your heart rate, and your step counts at a glance, without draining the battery. You can set the watch to wake the color LCD at a flick or be always-on if you prefer to see things in color.
So, is it any good?
To start with, touch performance on the screen is great. It’s a world apart from slow, sluggish smartwatches, and I have to wonder which chip Casio used here.
Whatever was used, it’s enough to power through Wear OS, with smooth transitions and even quick installs of apps from the Google Play Store. Even notifications and the memory-hogging Google Maps are fast, so it’s probably got 1GB of RAM whatever the chip powering it is.
The dual-screen helps to give two full days of power when notifications and all-day heart rate tracking are active, which can be stretched even further if it’s put into the monochrome-only mode. Charging is slow, however, with the barrel connector taking a few hours to fully charge the internal battery.
G-Shock has its own G-Shock Move app (Android and iOS), which includes views from every one of the internal sensors, a tide graph, and G-Shock’s activity tracker. I preferred this for tracking workouts, as the monochrome view was much easier to read at a glance. Heart rate seemed what I was used to from my usual Withings hybrid watch.
Really, the only thing holding back this smartwatch is the inherent drawbacks of Wear OS. That includes only a couple of on-wrist music streaming services and limited non-Google apps in the Google Play Store for Wear OS. Maybe that’s okay though, as the core functionality is solid.
So, should I buy it?
If you’re a G-Shock fan, you’ve probably already bought one by now. I mean, $699 is expensive for a smartwatch, but this is a G-Shock and some of the special editions were more expensive than that.
Casio made this thing for the fans, by not diluting the things that make G-Shock a G-Shock, while still packing enough smartwatch smarts in for people that might not hinge their decision on the name alone.
If you want a smartwatch, there are many options that are cheaper that could well be better for your use case. The Apple Watch, for example, is probably the best smartwatch for anyone, even if they don’t own an iPhone to pair it to. That said, it’s likely that no other smartwatch on the market will stand up to the abuse that this G-Shock will survive.
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