Casio G-Shock G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000-1ER
Casio G-Shock lovers will be delighted with this progressive new model as Casio releases its first G-Shock G-Squad PRO model running on Google’s Wear OS.
I’ll cover some of Casio’s special design choices in a minute but let’s paint the picture by setting the expectation that this might be a ground-breaking model in a few ways that could send ripples through other parts of the sports & outdoors market.
- Optical Heart Rate
- G-Shock looks & ruggedness. titanium backplate and metal bezel with rubberised over-bezel
- Wear OS – significant numbers of super-smart features – Wear OS typically supports Mapbox maps, music, contactless payment and a myriad of apps PLUS its tiles are a great way to quickly swipe between data-rich faces.
- ABC – Altimeter, Barometer, Compass (magnetic)
- Sensors – accelerometer gyrometer
- Firstbeat Physiology Feedback like Training Status, Training Effect & VO2max
- Create training plans via the Shock-MOVE app
- $600 for a May 2021 launch (Other sources say £600 or $700…yikes!)
- Reserve yours now or buy when listed in May from Amazon
Background: Casio & Smart Watches
I published reviews of Casio’s previous Wear OS watches in the PRO TREK series, these were the models WSD-F30, WSD-F21 (HR) and WSD-F20; I think there was a WSD-10 originally as well. That line might now be abandoned but G-Shock is going strong as Casio earlier released a GSW-H1000 non-pro model which does not run Wear OS but does have GNSS/oHR.
The PRO-TREKs didn’t quite have the aesthetics for my liking but many of you LOVE these robust watches. The physical specs of the earlier watches were great and the default spec of the software that comes with every Wear OS smartwatch is also usually great. However, most Wear OS watches also come with an additional manufacturer’s app both for the watch and for your smartphone. It was this custom software that was previously one of Casio’s problems…it was buggy and not well thought-through from a design perspective.
If you put that against a $500+ price tag then you are asking for trouble.
The PRO-TREK models were thus over-priced and the price point set the expectation of a watch that competes with the Garmin Fenix 5 Plus or Suunto 9 Baro. Sure, those two watches target a subtly different audience but despite that, at around $500, a smartwatch needs to excel. The Pro Trek didn’t excel.
That was then…and the GSW-1000 is now. Q: Has Casio improved its app? A: I don’t know yet.
Casio G-Shock G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000 – Some Interesting Specs
The touchscreen is a 1.2-inch dual-layer display Color TFT LCD and monochrome LCD Color: with a resolution of 360×360 pixels.
That’s a relatively LOW resolution for a Wear OS watch but ‘better than normal’ when compared to some Garmin/Suunto outdoor watches eg Fenix 6X: 280 x 280px and Suunto 9 320x300px. Although it should be noted that Suunto’s outdoor Wear OS watch, the Suunto 7, comes in with a higher resolution of 454 x 454px. The resolution of the Casio should be enough to render a decent map and more than enough to deliver some quality to the somewhat quirky & distracting screens you can see in the image below.
Casio has clearly made a design choice here that is geared toward eking out extra battery life, the dual-layer screen tech will save a good chunk of battery juice and let the watch function for very long periods as just a timepiece plus as a basic activity tracker (steps). Plus, the smaller ‘hi res’ screen that is only used for special sporting/outdoor needs will also need less power than other Wear OS watches like the Suunto 7. Add in the hope that the Casio’s large case/shell contains a huge battery and Casio may be able to get a market-leading level of longevity out of Wear OS. Indeed, Casio hides away their claims of the device’s true working abilities instead choosing to share that it can work as a timepiece for a month and that it should last one and a half days in ‘normal usage’.
The design is also waterproof to a very impressive 200m. Whilst 50m or 100m is ‘normal’, this kind of waterproofing really means that the watch will likely maintain water resistance at a high-level of impact eg when crashing at wakeboarding. I would have thought WR100 is enough but…WR200 certainly can’t hurt.
Casio G-Shock G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000 – Worrying Omissions
The specs on the Casio site worryingly omit the battery life. Potential buyers will draw their own conclusions and new owners will discover soon enough that Wear OS gobbles up battery juice…that’s not Casio’s fault and in my opinion, Casio should set a buyer’s expectations at least approximately correctly. Maybe they are waiting until launch day to astound us all?…maybe.
The GPS chip supports GPS+GLONASS and this to me suggests it’s either an old chipset or one that Casio designed themselves. With the ProTrek watches, Casio claimed to me that the GNSS chipset was made by Casio and not one of the usual SnapDragon models, so it’s a reasonable assumption that they are still using that chip or a newer variant. I doubt that a Casio-designed chip is as power-efficient as the Sony model(s) in wide usage elsewhere in the smartwatch industry and perhaps also not as good as the SnapDragon chipset which has built-in GNSS capability.
Even if Casio has used the 2020-21 SnapDragon 4100/+ series of GNSS chipsets for Wear OS, then these WILL perform better than all Wear OS devices that have come before but we are talking 10-20% better battery life from that chip.
The specs also omit any mention of music, a key reason why you want Wear OS in the first place. So this Casio might lack BLE headphone support.
Goole PAY, Google Assistant and other standard Wear OS features do, however, appear to be supported.
The GBD-H1000 weighs in at over 100g. That’s fairly heavy but not too off-the-scales for a Casio. However, this kind of weight on a swinging wrist whilst exercising could well contribute to HR and GPS accuracy issues.
Casio has also moved away from the Valencell sensor used in the Pro Trek models as evidenced by the following image. Let’s hope this performs well at sports levels of activity….new sensors may well not have all the algorithms tweaked as much as high-intensity sports need them to be.
Then again, my worries could be unfounded as other information suggests that the GBD-H1000 has WiFi and NFC payment, it’s just that the specifications page is missing key information like that. Strange.
This PRO Casio G-Shock could be awesome, or it could be flawed.
If Casio has put together a battery-friendly package in the large case then this is a watch that could cause problems for other outdoors smartwatches at similar price points, especially those competing for the more casual weekend-adventurer market.
There are several other points they need to improve from the PRO TREK series namely, the quality of the manufacturer app, OHR accuracy and GPS accuracy. With those 3 missing and only a normal Wear OS battery life, then this G-Shock simply might become too expensive to recommend.
Availability – May 2021 onwards, globally
Reserve yours now or buy when listed from Amazon
Edit: Incorrectly included reference to a SOLAR model