Casio G-Shock GBD-200 Review: Perfectly Balanced | Digital Trends
It’s a lot of button presses to get to this point, and even more to scroll through an individual message purely due to the screen’s capacity to show text, but you can see almost all the information. You can’t reply or interact with messages on the watch, but it does alert you to SMS and calls along with app messages. By default, the watch beeps when a message arrives but it’s quite loud and irritating. It can be turned off in the menu, or replaced by a vibration that is strong enough to be noticeable on your wrist.
It has been really great to wear a G-Shock watch that also shows notifications
The GBD-200 doesn’t provide the same level of interaction or smartphone syncing as an Apple Watch or other full touchscreen smartwatch, but it does enough to be helpful. It has been really great to wear a G-Shock watch that also shows notifications, as it closely matches what you get from a fitness band, including a phone finder, without compromising on style.
While notification and smartphone support are close to what you get on a simple fitness band, the fitness tracking is centered around walking and running, and there are no options to track specific workouts or activities like golf, swimming, or yoga. Starting a run is as simple as pressing the Start button, and the display then shows time elapsed, distance, and pace. Press the same button again to stop the tracking.
That’s about it, apart from interval workout tracking. This takes some setting up, but it does only need to be done once. It can store up to 20 different intervals for a single workout and the time can be set for each stage individually. It’s a shame this can’t be set up in the G-Shock Move app, as it’s long-winded on the watch. It’s also easy to make a mistake and because the operating system isn’t very fast, the trial-and-error aspect can get frustrating.
Data is synced across the app when you open it. The Move app is highly customizable, right down to the order information is shown on the screen. Step count can be seen on the watch face or in the app, where you also get a breakdown of your workout with calorie burn and distance. I really like the watch face that shows progress towards your goal for each day of the week, which helps better understand your daily activity. The watch does not have a heart rate sensor or its own GPS, but it can take data from your phone or another device for this. It also links with Apple Health, Google Fit, and Strava.
Put alongside a smartwatch or fitness band and the GBD-200’s fitness tracking is basic, and not very informative. Accuracy is good and the watch matched the step count and distance tracked by other wearables. Whether the functionality is enough depends on your own needs. If you want a daily step count and a way to track a walk or run, just to monitor your personal activity levels, it’s perfectly acceptable. However, if you want deeper analysis including data taken from a heart rate sensor, sleep tracking, or multiple workout modes, it won’t be the watch for you.
Battery and charging
This will be a short section, just as it should be for any hybrid smartwatch. The GBD-200 uses a single internal battery which Casio says should last for about a year before it needs replacing if you use the Bluetooth connection all the time and track an hour of activity each day. Use it less and the lifetime may be up to two years.
Not having to charge the battery is a huge advantage. The need for regular charging has become more commonplace even on hybrid smartwatches as they become more technically complex. Casio neatly balances just about enough fitness tracking and smartwatch functionality with truly long battery life. Yes, it would have been great to see solar charging on the GBD-200, but this would affect the price.
Price and availability
The GBD-200 costs $149 or 139 British pounds. It will be available through G-Shock’s online store and boutique retail stores, in both the U.S. and the U.K.
The G-Shock GBD-200 is exactly what a hybrid smartwatch should be. It looks exactly like a normal watch — in this case, a distinctive and desirable square G-Shock — and because it has been made by an experienced watchmaker drawing on decades of experience, the comfort level is exactly right. It has basic smartwatch connectivity but manages to include reliable and informative notifications, plus decent fitness tracking provided you don’t want anything too in-depth. It does all this without the need to charge the battery, so it’s entirely wear-and-forget.
You pay less for it than you would for most full touchscreen smartwatches, and it’s similarly priced to its closest rival, the Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR. However, I consider it better looking, and it’s certainly more watch-like than the Jorn, which edges more toward a full smartwatch. This is actually where Casio succeeds. Many companies have moved beyond the traditional hybrid smartwatch, getting carried away with adding tech with limited benefit. The GBD-200 doesn’t do that, and it’s all the better for it.
Instead, the GBD-200 remembers it’s a G-Shock watch, so it’s very tough and has a long-lasting battery, and sensibly avoids the size-related drawbacks of its other recent hybrid models, plus it doesn’t try to do too much on the tech side. It’s enough for anyone who isn’t an athlete or hardcore fitness fan and doesn’t want a touchscreen watch to charge each day. It gets the balance between design and technology just right, making it a true hybrid smartwatch.
Is there a better alternative?
There isn’t necessarily a better alternative, but what if you want more tech and fitness tracking features? In that case, you have the option of Casio’s hybrid connected G-Shock, the more expensive $400 GBD-H1000 which has solar power and a larger screen, plus a heart rate sensor and GPS. It’s a much larger and heavier watch though and does need external charging if you use the GPS regularly.
The $195 Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR along with Fossil’s other Hybrid HR watch models also have a heart rate sensor, plus a clever E-Ink screen to show notifications and other information. They’re a step up from the GBD-200 in terms of fitness tracking, but the battery life is about a week. What if you want a full touchscreen smartwatch, or a fitness band with more activity tracking, without spending more than $150? The Amazfit GTR 2e is our recommendation, or you can spend around $60 or less and get the Honor Band 6, Xiaomi Mi Band 6, or Samsung Galaxy Fit 2 fitness band.
How long will it last?
The GBD-200 meets G-Shock’s usual toughness standards, so it’s shock and vibration proof and is water-resistant to 200 meters. The resin body is very durable, and the urethane strap is very securely attached to the case, plus it’s strong and flexible. The battery can be replaced either by yourself if you have the tools and the knowledge to make sure the water resistance is retained, or by taking the watch to a specialist. The G-Shock GBD-200 will last for years without a problem, even if you don’t treat it very nicely.
Should you buy it?
Yes. It’s a highly durable, very distinctively designed hybrid G-Shock watch with just the right amount of activity tracking and smartwatch functionality.