The Ultimate Guide to All G-SHOCKs — composed by Experts
Guys, this day has come – I have the latest, perhaps the most expected and desired [and many more “and”] flagship sports watch, GBD-H2000-1A9, on my wrist. Wow, I got shivers even while writing the introductory part, as the expectations from the new release are simply fantastic. Still, we will know whether the watch will satisfy my desires after a more detailed review in the traditional mag review.
I have always wanted a genuinely sporty CASIO watch. The Japanese watchmaker remembers quite clearly the times when the PRO TREK brand was [for almost a decade] at the top of sports leadership. Recalling the ’90s [if you can], when PRO TREK watches with the compass, the thermometer, and the barometer/altimeter [solar-powered and radio-controlled] were considered almost the greatest inventions in the world. The size wasn’t too small either, but no one cared. The PRO TREK representatives settled at the peak of fame for so long that they missed the development of other technologies in watchmaking – GPS sensors to measure speed and distance, optical heart rate sensors, pedometers, activity statistics, etc. As time passed, many consumers realized that a simple stopwatch [albeit advanced], timer, and sporty look were not enough to satisfy their sporty, albeit amateur, ambitions [the mass market is still focused on amateurs, not professionals]. This is where CASIO’s problems started…
The GBD-H2000 line is not the first where the Japanese have been trying to establish the status quo [remember the hyped and quickly vanished GSR-H1000, GSW-H1000; less successful, but still alive GBD-200, GBD-100].
Only GBD-H1000 was more or less competitive, but the software part and the watch’s size left a lot to be desired.
The GBD-H2000 watch is trying to be better not only than GBD-H1000 but also other players in the market [at least I decided so, maybe CASIO has a different opinion))]. And these, by the way, are representatives from GARMIN, POLAR, and SUUNTO.
I can only compare today’s hero with the Polar Vantage M, which I own, so there will be a lot of comparisons with the Polar experience. Honestly, I want CASIO to succeed, but when writing these lines, I can’t confirm it.
I checked my Strava to see the start date of my running hobby – 2017. There have been slump periods for sure, but it’s still a weekly effort. My point is that I understand what sports features are essential and what should be in the GBD-H2000.
No more words. It’s time for action…
GPS for distance and speed tracking. Not all CASIO watches with GPS are made for sports, so here we should distinguish between the two types of GPS: for time synchronization [when the watch simply corrects the time, and this feature may be a part even of the most uncomplicated watch] and for sporting functions. As you already know, the second type is included in GBD-H2000, which is good. It’s a built-in GPS sensor [or antenna], unlike CASIO’s phone-assisted GPS [the function is only active when a phone is nearby]. So in this respect, the GBD-H2000 does an impressive job with a basic set of functions for running: speed and distance tracking. I didn’t find such an advanced feature as “route guidance,” but my Polar doesn’t have it either. I will not write that this is an obvious disadvantage, but it has also left a disappointment [we are talking about competition with other manufacturers, right?]
Optical heart rate sensor. Another powerful technology and sports feature. The heart rate is significant for beginners and professionals alike because this is how you monitor your body and progress. The technology uses LED lights to measure changes in the blood flow, which is how the heart rate is monitored. The Japanese have not invented anything unusual – such an optical heart rate sensor is used in all running watches. Its accuracy is sometimes flawed, but in general, it is good. The disadvantages are that there is no possibility to use a chest sensor from other manufacturers [well, there is no native one either]. A professional approach to running requires more accurate data, and the GBD-H2000 is not the best solution here.
Software. The essence of sports watches is not only in the in-built technologies but also in the ability to display information. The GBD-H2000 uses the CASIO WATCHES APP rather than the G-SHOCK MOVE [as the GBD-H1000 did]. I will write about it later.
Nevertheless, having GPS and an optical heart rate sensor is already a serious set to enter the niche of specialized sports watches. CASIO has managed to do that, at least at this stage.
Not just for running. I’ve made you tired of my running experience, but GBD-H2000 is for more than just this sport. The watch also has, by default, the following activities: RUNNING, WALKING, TRAIL RUNNING, OPEN WATER SWIMMING, POOL SWIMMING, GYM WORKOUT, BIKING, and the last point is the INTERVAL TIMER [also programmable, which you can use in the plank and for CrossFit, etc.].
It’s a very serious kit, where each activity is customized to its needs. It’s not hard to guess – it’s all about cyclic sports, where having GPS and an optical heart rate sensor covers 90% of your needs. I’m impressed with this multi-sport experience – many new customers will discover the G-SHOCK brand.
In addition to the specific sport modes, the watch also has the so-called base in the form of HEART RATE [you can measure your heart rate without switching to sport mode], BLOOD OXYGEN [measurement of oxygen consumption], BREATHING EXERCISE [a pre-made timer for this case], CARDIO STATUS [probably the status of your cardio system. I had “no data” since I didn’t use the watch that much], LIFE LOG [your daily/weekly/monthly activity, calories, step count, and all that], NIGHTLY RECHARGE [how well you recovered overnight].
This is, by the way, a Polar function, ACTIVITY LOG [here you can find your workouts and study their results], ALMANAC [time of sunrise and sunset, moon phases], compass, altimeter, barometer, world time, timer, stopwatch.
As you can see, everyone can find the functionality to fit their needs, and it’s not just about sports functions.
I don’t like the boring stopwatch in MIP watches – without milliseconds, it’s not my cup of tea. Well, there is no hourly alert either.
As a regular Polar user, I’ve experienced troubles with the new G-SHOCK GBD-H2000 ecosystem. Launching the workout, for example, was intuitive [by pushing the middle left main button – selecting RUNNING and voilà]. But after 400 meters of running, I realized that the watch was not responding to what was happening. By switching to the RUNNING mode, you simply activate the GPS, and only after a successful signal is received, you do need to press the middle button again to record the start of the training process. So, that’s a total of three presses. Okay, I reset the Polar data and started recording from scratch again.
GPS signal reception speed. I need to pay attention to this point because the G-SHOCK is definitely slower than its Polar companion. When the Vantage M was already confidently counting the training meters, the GBD-H2000 still awaited the GPS signal [I had just to stand still]. It wasn’t until the next day, while examining the app, that I found a setting where I could select GPS accuracy levels. Changing them could affect the search speed. In any case, the waiting time was not too long [I think up to 1 minute], and I already understood how to activate the running mode, which means the training began…
Readability. During running, it’s vital to read speed/heat rate/distance quickly, and a good dial is really an important detail in a watch, not just a reason to make my review longer. So, the GBD-H2000 has a fantastic dial.
I was surprised by the ergonomics, index layout, font thickness, etc. Because the Japanese don’t play with colors, they know what numbers and inversion should be in a watch with a pixel display. Compared to the Polar, it’s heaven and earth. I had a similar feeling in the GBD-H1000 review, and not changed since then.
I would even call this style more practical, military, and traditional than the competitors’ more romantic look [pardon the comparison]. Since I’m a fan of the G-SHOCK watch aesthetic, the dial in the GBD-H2000 impressed me.
The only thing is that I could not find a default screen with three types of data at once: speed, distance, and heart rate.
I had to switch to the heart rate screen to understand its numbers. But I found a setting in the app where you can customize what data to display [and I was able to customize it to my needs]. The MIP in the G-SHOCK is undoubtedly better than the MIP in the Polar Vantage M.
Data Accuracy & Analysis. The other critical points that can be decisive when buying a sports watch.
Again, I am comparing today’s hero with Polar Vanatage M, because I have no other running watch for you [and Polar can be considered the benchmark to some extent because the watch has been on the market for long enough]. Let’s start with the optical heart rate sensor…
And here, the Finns immediately have the advantage of a chest sensor [can be purchased separately and synchronized]. The GBD-H2000 has no such luxury [neither its own nor anyone else’s], so we have only a sensor on the back case.
I was amazed that the GBD-H2000 indicated almost 1 to 1 identical data [with the Polar chest sensor]. The accuracy was as close as 1–2 units. That’s absolutely fantastic. I specifically checked the data over the entire distance [8 km], and the G-SHOCK showed no failure. So if you don’t want to bother with additional sensors, the native GBD-H2000 sensor should cover all your needs.
Since the optical sensor didn’t fail, the GPS shouldn’t be a problem either. So it was, the difference was somewhere around 5–10 meters [and that’s with a NORMAL level, although you can set HIGH accuracy], which I think is not critical at all [once compared to the GARMIN, there was a similar situation]. Running fans can sleep well – the critical sensors work the same way as in other competitors, making GBD-H2000 possible to consider for their running hobby.
Information Analysis. The workout is completed. The next thing is to analyze the information. I immediately started looking for my workout in CASIO WATCHES APP.
In general, everything is excellent: I can study the performance of each kilometer [or even segment] in terms of speed, average heart rate, etc. Everything is just like in Polar.
That is the assistance from the Finns [Polar officially provided their technology], but the GBD-H2000 still has limitations compared to its competitors. I highlighted two points for myself: there is no possibility of importing my workout data into other apps [STRAVA, Google Fit, etc.], and there is no possibility of setting up a workout. Although, with the second point, I can lie a bit because [in the app] you can program the time intervals separately and work in specific heart rate zones. But it’s still a pretty primitive adjustment, while in Polar, I can combine all the metrics [distance/speed/heart rate] within the same workout in any sequence, rather than inventing a bike with a timer. By the way, the Japanese will likely improve their software, and all the disadvantages will evaporate.
Conclusions on running features. The GBD-H2000 can now [for sure] be used for running – the sensors work very accurately, displaying the information perfectly. If you plan to train only for yourself, without complex intervals consisting of 10–20 splits with different speeds and without a social component [remember again about STRAVA], GBD-H2000 would be the perfect coach. If these points are clear, then have no illusions – the GBD-H2000 still needs to reach a more advanced running level [or you need to be able to adapt it for that matter].
Let me show you some more highlights of the CASIO WATCHES APP…
This is how the start menu looks like
Very pleased with the display variability for the current time mode.
There are both pre-installed screens and the custom version. And the custom variant is customizable as you want. Many possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
I liked the pre-defined display with the round window for seconds. The watch looks very dynamic.
Each sport mode has many additional settings.
You customize them to your needs.
I like the “Step Reminder” feature. The watch will urge you to do more movements [to reach the preset number of steps]. A typical feature in sports gadgets, but still lovely.
You can also fully manage the menus: change the order, and deactivate unnecessary ones. An intelligent alarm clock and weather alerts are also there.
You can set up additional alerts for incoming calls and text messages [most likely SMS], but that’s not my story.
The timer setting and heart rate zone notification look like this.
The app also has your activity calendar, where you can scroll like on Instagram and monitor your progress.
I want to mention the materials and size of the GBD-H2000. The watch [bezel and strap] is made of bioplastic, and you can feel it. The watch is lightweight, has no smell, and hardly feels on your wrist.
The line is still large, 59.6 × 52.6 × 19.4 mm [obviously smaller than its recent GBD-H1000 companion 63.0×55.0×20.4 mm, but still a far step away from the DW-5600: 48.9 × 42.8 × 13.4 mm].
The multiple-division strap comfortably adjusts to your wrist size.
And this is what the charger looks like. The unusual “clip-on” that was once practiced at Polar.
The GBD-H2000 is a watch that is difficult to describe in a couple of words. Even with so many characters in the review, I still haven’t said much about it. The excellent readability of the MIP display, the Japanese style of numbers, the futuristic case design, the abundance of other additional functions, and the solar power [if you do not use GPS and heart rate sensor, the watch will work *forever] – all these make the GBD-H2000 a leader in shock-resistant direction. Regarding professional sports capabilities, the Japanese have done everything possible [so far] to compete with more advanced players. Everything is already there, but something must still be added [chest sensor, customizable workouts, data import]. But not all amateurs require those features, and the GBD-H2000 is not worse than the other players (without them).