The Casio G-Shock G-SQUAD line of watches are sports watches at heart, equipped with simple, effective training tools. Last year’s refresh of the line offered step count and walking pace tracking, calories burned, and a special stopwatch for interval workouts. Sometimes it’s more helpful to sort things out so you can focus on your watch.
Connecting to your phone to share some of these stats via Bluetooth made it a good activity tracker without all the noise associated with a smartwatch – plus it lasts for seven years and is cheaper than most of the best smartwatches.
G-Shock has gotten a lot smarter though. After the release of the GBD-H1000 series, which used Google’s Wear OS as the basis, the new G-SQUAD GBD-H2000 (opens in new tab) line uses Polar’s advanced suite of tracking technology as the Finnish sports hardware company shares its fitness tracking algorithms with Casio for the first time.
The GBD-H2000 offers an optical heart rate sensor, built-in GPS functionality (unbelievable for a digital watch!), and a built-in compass, gyroscope, altimeter, temperature sensor and accelerometer. Basically, it can provide many of the exercise and GPS tracking services of a traditional smartwatch, but without the constant noise of apps and notifications.
It also removes a lot of extraneous features, leaving you with only what you need. It looks much cooler than your average fitness tracker with its rugged, shock-resistant carbon fiber body and has an eco-friendly band that’s made from corn-based biomass plastic instead of silicon.
The watch offers about 16 hours of continuous exercise use with GPS and heart rate monitoring, and a good two months of battery life in watch mode with heart rate monitoring turned off. If you exercise regularly, you should charge the watch about once every three weeks, depending on how long you spend in the sun.
No price has yet been officially announced for the US, UK and AU territories, other than the G-Central blog (opens in new tab) reports that it will be available for $399 in the US, which is about £329 or AU$600.
Analysis: A rival to Garmin Instinct Crossover
When I reviewed the Garmin Instinct Crossover in late December, I said it was the “smart Casio G-Shock of my dreams,” loving the rugged adventure aesthetic and lack of smartwatch noise in the design. I also predicted a general shift from smartwatches to being just another screen on our wrists, based on the amount of screenless wearable technology we saw at CES 2023.
Look, Caso G-Shock and Polar have proven me right. GPS is just too useful for modern adventure watches to go without, and Casio has seen this, using Polar’s renowned suite of GPS and fitness tracking algorithms in its classic rugged G-Shock frame.
This is the real competition of the Garmin Instinct Crossover: an old-school digital activity watch from the masters at Casio, hiding new smarts thanks to its partnership with Polar. Watches like the Vantage V2 and Polar Pacer Pro prove the Finnish company’s fitness credentials, particularly with regard to heart rate and running power, giving Casio a solid smart-tech foundation.
When the The G-SQUAD and G-LIDE lines were renewed last year, I said the resurgence could “make digital watches cool again”. Well, I think we’re there. We see Casios on the wrists of tastemakers and appear in GQ style sheets (opens in new tab). But what I really wanted is to avoid another black mirror in my life, a way to keep improving my athletic performance without getting information overload. The Garmin Instinct Crossover has been delivered and it looks like the DDR-2000 will do the same.