Casio G-Shock G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000 Review: Wear OS in a hardshell

Casio G-Shock G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000 Review: Wear OS in a hardshell

Casio is probably most famous for its rugged and tough G-Shock watches. And now, there is finally a G-Shock smartwatch that runs on Wear OS, formerly known as Android Wear.

The Casio G-Shock GSW-H1000, or G-Squad Pro, is the Japanese timepiece giant’s first G-Shock smartwatch to run on Google’s Wear OS. Previously, Casio has released smartwatches running Wear OS smartwatch operating system including the WSD-F10 in 2016 and subsequently three Pro Trek Smart models. But never done so for a G-Shock model.

SPECS
PRICE: S$999, available at G-Shock MBS Premium store and G-Shock Online Store
DISPLAY: 1.2-inch dual-layer (colour and monochrome) LCD; 360 x 360 pixels
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth
WEIGHT: 103g

The G-Squad Pro comes pre-loaded with a variety of Google apps and services, such as Google Assistant and Google Fit. And you can install third-party apps and watch faces into the watch.

DESIGN
The G-Squad comes in three colours of black/blue, black and red (version reviewed). The only difference is the colour of the soft urethane band and bezel accents.

The black/blue, black and red colours of G-Squad Pro. (Photo: Casio)

Looks wise, the G-Squad Pro looks like any G-Shock watch with its over-sized watch case. In fact, I think the closest G-Shock cousin it resembles is probably the G-Shock Rangeman GPR-B1000.

The G-Squad Pro is very comfortable to wear despite its large size. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

It has the same large bezels with prominent guards to protect the multi-sensor on the middle of the watch’s left and the home button sided on the opposite side. There is a Start button on top of the home button and an App button below.

On top of the multi-sensor, there is a charging port that requires a proprietary USB cable to charge. This cable does not have a claw for a solid connection. It is rather flimsy and the magnetic connection looks like it can be displaced easily. It is a rather un-elegant way to charge this watch.

While it might look big and chunky, the G-Squad Pro is not that heavy and really comfortable to wear in all sorts of weather conditions. Certainly better than my own Apple Watch, which I have yet to find a super comfortable strap.

FOR
+ G-Shock’s looks and toughness
+ Comfortable to wear
+ Running Wear OS offers more
+ Packed with plenty of features

AGAINST
– Performance can be better
– No solar power
– Proprietary charging cable

As you might expect from a G-Shock watch, the G-Squad Pro has all the toughness, such as shock resistance and 200m water resistance, you come to expect from a watch with that famous name.

However, like the ProTrek smartwatch series, the G-Squad Pro uses a unique dual-layer 1.2-inch circular screen of monochrome (for time-keeping) and colour (for smartwatch functions) LCDs.

The G-Squad Pro has a dual-layer 1.2-inch screen of monochrome and colour LCD. (Photo: Casio)

The colour LCD has a resolution of 360 x 360 pixels that shows a watch face of your choosing. When idle, it will switch to the monochrome LCD to show the time and date for battery saving.

In addition, the G-Squad Pro has an optical sensor to measure heart rate, a digital compass, altitude/air pressure sensor, accelerometer, gyrometer, altimeter and built-in GPS functionality. Basically, everything you want from a modern smartwatch.

PERFORMANCE
Casio does not say what processor is powering the G-Squad Pro. But if Casio is using the flagship Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100+ processor, I bet it would be shouting about it. So, I guess it should be using the old Wear 3100 chip.

While the overall performance is pretty zippy, I do find installing and starting up some Wear OS apps to be a wee bit slower. Some third-party watch faces also struggle to load quickly compared to the native watch faces.

While you can use the Wear OS app for your smartwatch functions, you can also use Casio Move app for extra functions.

You can also connect to Casio Move app, in addition to Google Wear OS app. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

It includes an all-new Sensor Overlay function that allows you to combine video and still images of your physical activities with data captured by the watch for your social media use.

Others might find this feature useful, but I find it to be really “extra”. It is too much effort to let people know how slow I run these days.

More useful features including keeping track of your VO2 Max (maximum amount of oxygen you use during physical activities), setting target hear rate zone and other custom alerts like sunrise or fishing time.

To access the altimeter, digital compass and other functions, press the App button and you get direct access to Casio’s apps instead of swiping up and down the Home Screen to get to there. You can also start recording your physical activity from here.

Taking the G-Squad Pro for a walk. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

In terms of steps tracking, the G-Squad Pro counted about 8 per cent fewer steps than my calibrated Apple Watch Series 4. But it was more accurate in tracking my walks and runs via GPS.

It was also quick to get a GPS fix – taking only 5 seconds to do so. On a 4.6km jogging route along a park connector, its readings were only 150m less than the actual distance.

I know I’m slow. But this is just one week after second Covid-19 jab! (Photo: Trevor Tan)

I drove up Mount Faber Park to test its altimeter function. Its readings show 111m, which is only a wee bit higher than its correct height of 106m. But I think it is still within reasonable margin of error.

Its readings is slightly higher than Mount Faber’s peak height. (Photo: Trevor Tan)

But watch gave temperature and barometric readings that are pretty close to the readings given by the local meteorological service at that time.

BATTERY LIFE
Battery life is rated at 1.5 days in smartwatch mode using the colour display, and up to a month in the timekeeping mode using the monochrome display.

In my tests, with the watch constantly paired with a smartphone and with notifications turned on, I found the G-Squad Pro’s battery level dropping to 60 per cent by the end of one day. Battery anxiety kicks in and I put the watch to charge.

I wished Casio has included solar power into this G-Shock, as it will certainly help to extend its battery life.

VERDICT
Seriously speaking, being a G-Shock and a smartwatch fan, I was ready to put my money on the Casio G-Shock G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000 the moment it was announced.

I was not even fazed by its S$999 price tag. In fact, I think it was reasonably priced. However, I do wish it has a faster chip and solar power for future proofing. Still, I might get one when prices fall.

RATINGS
FEATURES: 8/10
DESIGN: 9/10
PERFORMANCE: 9/10
BATTERY LIFE: 7/10
VALUE FOR MONEY: 7/10
OVERALL: 8/10