Wear OS definitely isn't top of mind in the wearable space these days, but Casio's G-Shock could be a big enough brand to move the needle and bring some users back to Google's struggling smartwatch platform.
Casio will be releasing its first G-Shock watch with Wear OS sometime in mid-May; it will be festooned with all of the latest sensors and the ability to track a wide variety of different exercises and extreme sports, but at $700, it's going to be a pretty steep entry point for potential new Wear OS users (via Wareable)
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Even for existing G-Shock fans, that price might be a little startling. Casio's current foray into Wear OS watches, the Pro Trek, topped out at $550 with some options as low as $300. Casio's no stranger to more expensive options, but that's always a tougher sell with a smartwatch that has a more limited lifespan than more traditional watches.
Turning to this model specifically, the G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000 has a cumbersome name, but an impressive array of features to try to justify that price tag. The dual display is a full-color 1.32-inch TFT LCD with a 320 x 300 resolution that falls back to a monochrome always-on LCD to preserve battery and present basic time and data.
Casio is claiming "more than one month" of battery life using that monochrome display but has yet to make any statements regarding its battery life for more mixed usage or when using the onboard GPS. The aforementioned Pro Trek managed 15 hours of GPS usage, I wouldn't bet on considerably more than that. Activity tracking covers 15 outdoor activities including specific features such as VO₂ Max for running, altitude and road gradient for cycling, and tide graphs for water sports.
Indoor workouts are covered as well with 24 distinct profiles including rep tracking for weight lifting. All of this data will then feed into the G-Shock Move app which presents the data with analysis.
If you are still wondering about the pricing, this thing does at least deliver on ruggedness to a basically unheard degree for a smartwatch. You have up to 200 meters of water resistance, by comparison, the Apple Watch Series 6 offers 50 meters. I'm not sure how many people will actually take their G-Squad Pro diving down to 650 feet, but it's a good example of just how rugged the thing is.
The weight sells this fact as well at 3.67 ounces, which is nearly triple that of the larger (44mm) Aluminum Apple Watch Series 6, which weighs 1.29 ounces. That's not going to endear it to all users, but again, this is something that G-Shock fans are going to expect.
While it's hard to bet on a Wear OS device in 2021, this more targeted device and market that isn't really served by the market devouring Apple Watch is probably it.
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Sean Riley has been covering tech professionally for over a decade now. Most of that time was as a freelancer covering varied topics including phones, wearables, tablets, smart home devices, laptops, AR, VR, mobile payments, fintech, and more. Sean is the resident mobile expert at Laptop Mag, specializing in phones and wearables, you'll find plenty of news, reviews, how-to, and opinion pieces on these subjects from him here. But Laptop Mag has also proven a perfect fit for that broad range of interests with reviews and news on the latest laptops, VR games, and computer accessories along with coverage on everything from NFTs to cybersecurity and more.