Casio has been making connected G-Shock watches with basic fitness tracking for a while under its sporty G-Squad moniker, and over the past year has been experimenting with smarter versions, complete with a permanent phone link to enable notification support, and most recently a full Wear OS smartwatch too. The new GBD-200 brings together the fitness tracking and permanent Bluetooth connection to create an all-digital G-Shock hybrid smartwatch. It’s not the first G-Shock with this functionality, but it is the first to put it all inside a modestly-sized square case. It’s a crucial change, and it has been expertly matched with just the right amount of tech. We think this is how hybrid smartwatches should be, and here’s why it succeeds.
Casio has added fitness tracking and full Bluetooth connectivity to several watches already. Both the older GBD-100 and more recent GBD-H1000 G Shock watches include the functionality, but the design of both means they’re not ideally suited to all-day, everyday wear. It’s a problem because smartwatches, whether they are hybrid or full touchscreen watches, offer most of their benefits when you wear them throughout the day.
The GBD-200 is really the first connected G-Shock you’ll be happy to wear all day, and regardless of your wrist size too. It’s 58 grams and 15mm thick, and for comparison, the 44mm Apple Watch Series 6 is 36 grams without a strap and 10.7mm thick. It’s modestly sized for a G-Shock, doesn’t get caught on your cuff, can be worn tightly without discomfort, and looks great in most situations. It’s not too sporty, and the different time screen options allow a degree of personalization.
The square case is made from resin and attached to a very soft and flexible urethane strap, complete with wrist guards attached to the lugs to help keep the watch centered on your wrist. The combination of all these aspects makes the GBD-200 very wearable indeed. I’ve worn it every day for more than a week now, and not once felt the need to take it off because it was annoying or too hot.
Casio women watch is well-known for its square watch models, but the GBD-200 has taken on a design all of its own. The resin case has a central split running around the side to show off the inner resin section’s color, the Start button is identified by its red stripe, and the light button has a slight texture to it. Naturally, it’s shockproof and has a 200-meter water resistance rating. Durability like this matters. The watch took some knocks and got pretty grubby when I did some garden work, so I washed it off under the tap, and now it looks as good as new.
I have a 6.5-inch wrist and the GBD-200 sits perfectly on it, at least to my eyes. It’s not ungainly or comically large, and the square case means it should suit a lot more wrist sizes than the GBA-900 or H1000 watches. People with smaller wrists may not appreciate the chunky look of the black GBD-200, but if you’re used to large watches and can get past the design (alternative colors are available), then it’s by far the best option out of G-Shock’s current range of fitness watches, and the strap is highly adjustable.
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 watch 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.
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.