Casio’s G Shock is the new definition of a ‘hybrid’ smartwatch

Hands up if you want a smartwatch that’s water resistant, able to resist forces felt most often by fighter pilots, connects to a smartphone, and looks super-cool on the wrist? We’re confident it’s not just our arm waving about in the air right now. While all these aspects don’t often come together in a single device, watchmaker Casio may have the answer.

Casio recently opened a G Shock store in London’s famous Carnaby Street, and Digital Trends made the trek to meet with Alex Owen, trade marketing executive at Casio, to talk about the company’s future plans. Having already released Android Wear watches, Casio is putting more emphasis on hybrid smartwatches, and will launch the first smart, connected G Shock model in the coming months. What’s more, it turns out a G Shock is pretty packed with cool tech already.

“Casio has always been at the forefront of technology,” Owen said, explaining why it embraced Android Wear early on. “We made the world’s first touchscreen watch, the world’s first weather predicting watch, and the world’s first databank watches; so it’s very natural for Casio to progress into smartwatches. Android Wear gives us so many new opportunities.”

“Smartwatches don’t begin and end with Android Wear.”

Casio has two Android Wear smartwatches, the WSD-F10 and the WSD-F20, which are a part of its Pro-Trek range. However, smartwatches don’t begin and end with Android Wear.

“Smartwatches aren’t going to be for everybody,” Owen said. “There are limitations with battery life at the moment, which is something we’re working to improve; but still, not everyone wants to charge their watch every night.”

But it’s not just battery life that stops people buying Android Wear watches.

“Then there are the aesthetics,” Owen pointed out. “Many prefer a traditional looking watch, so an area we’re focusing on now is Casio Connected, which is a hybrid smartwatch. Our new watches that come out in the fall will be centered around this. They’re designed to bridge the gap between a traditional timepiece and a full-on Android Wear watch. The will have a Bluetooth connection, but without the battery life downsides. Instead, the watches will be solar powered, and will look like a traditional Casio watch.”

Casio Connected watches will self adjust their own time, and add features like a phone finder, multiple alarms, a world time mode, and more — all controlled by an app on the phone. Unfortunately, we shouldn’t expect fitness-tracking features, which are common on competing hybrids, such as those from the Fossil Group. While the beginnings of Casio’s smart technology has been seen in the Ediface range of watches, it’ll come to the G Shock range for the first time in 2017.

You may be familiar with the Casio’s G Shock watches due to their chunky, funky design and ability to withstand plenty of abuse due to impressive water and shock resistance. There’s also a surprising amount of cool technology inside these watches. Owen explained it to us.

“I always felt G shock was a little underrated when it comes to technology,” he said. “Everyone knows they’re tough watches, but few people get to appreciate the additional technology that goes into them.”

A Tough Movement G Shock will resist g forces up to 15G.

We’re not talking about the music-controlling G-Mix G Shock models here. It goes deeper than that. A great example is its Tough Movement tech, which is found in high-end G Shock watches, and combines features like solar charging and automatically updating time. The most recently introduced feature is centrifugal gravity resistance, which goes a step beyond the already comprehensive shock protection.

“If you hit a watch against something with enough force, the internal movement gets pressed very hard against the internal shock absorbers, which affects the shock absorption rate in the future. For Tough Movement watches, each individual part is coated in resin and secured with screws to stop it moving too far when this happens.”

This clever solution means a Tough Movement G Shock will resist g forces up to 15G. Yes, 15G.The world’s best jet fighter pilots will deal with a maximum of about 12G, meaning we’d be very unlucky to experience anything close to the watch’s limit in our lives.

Delve deeper into Casio’s technology and we come to a unique solution dealing with misaligned watch hands. This is where the hands don’t always point exactly to where they should – due to impact or magnetism — which is not only frustrating, but can cause inaccurate time readings.

G Shock Store Watch Display
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

“With Tough Movement, each cog in the movement has a series of holes that align with an LED light and a sensor. Every 60 minutes, it checks to make sure they all match up. If there are any discrepancies, it simply automatically realigns.

It’s a neat, no-bother alternative that’s way more reliable than a manual reset option, and makes sure the watch on your wrist is always as accurate as possible. Just remember, all this is squeezed into a wristwatch. Yes, a G Shock is hardly small, shy and retiring; but it’s still a pretty tight space for a lot of tech, and we’re not finished yet.

With a full solar charge, the watch could be hidden in a drawer for 22 and a half months, and still be working when you took it out.”

Solar charging is a major feature on Casio watches, and one which will be part of the new Casio Connected models too. You may assume it operates using the crystal over the face, but that wouldn’t fit in with Casio’s dedicated to toughness. On a Casio watch with solar charging, the photovoltaic cells are printed onto the watch face itself.

“There’s no point in putting a piece of glass in there that’s going to break,” Owen pointed out. “We have one of the best power reserves in the industry too, extending up to 23 months. With a full solar charge, the watch could be hidden in a drawer for 22 and a half months, and still be working when you took it out.”

For a single 24-hours day’s use, the little cell needs to see sunlight for just eight minutes, 30 minutes of sunlight through a window, or eight hours of indoor lighting. Incorporating solar power into its watches is an important step in the toughening process for Casio, because it removes the need for battery changes, which would disturb the delicate o-rings and other gaskets necessary for water proofing. Even the screws holding the watch together are important. They’re all tightened to a specific torque setting, ensuring the body meets shock proofing requirements, which is why sometimes the screw heads don’t all “match” across the body and point in the same direction.

Casio’s Connected G Shock hybrid smartwatches coming later this year will include the Tough Movement, meaning we can be sure it stays operational and in one piece, almost regardless of what we’re doing. Water resistance, high levels of durability, and long-lasting batteries are usually wish-list features on our gadgets, but Casio’s hybrid watches will tick all those boxes.

“Casio Connected is going to be our big thing for the end of the year,” Owen said.

Learning about the tech that’s already inside a G Shock, with the prospect of more to come, makes us excited for them too.


5G phones make a lot of promises. Here’s what to really expect

There has been a lot of marketing copy expounding the potential benefits of 5G networks, but a lot less on the practical implications of 5G smartphones. There's a reason for that.
Product Review

At $180, you won’t care about the TicWatch S2’s utilitarian looks

The Mobvoi TicWatch S2 is not the best-looking smartwatch you’ll strap on your wrist, but it may be the toughest, and it’ll almost certainly be the cheapest. We’ve been wearing it to see what it’s like.

Mobvoi’s TicWatch E2 and S2 are the most affordable Wear OS smartwatches yet

Quality smartwatches don't have to be expensive, and Mobvoi's TicWatch is the proud paladin of that philosophy. Mobvoi's new TicWatch S2 and are both available for low prices from Amazon and Mobvoi's website.
Product Review

It may be basic, but the TicWatch E2 is all the smartwatch you need

Want a smartwatch that can track heart rate, has GPS, and interact with notifications — for cheap? Mobvoi’s Google Wear OS-based TicWatch E2 can do it all, for just $160.

Apple Pay coming to more top U.S. stores, including Target and Taco Bell

Apple Pay is the best way to pay on your iPhone and Apple Watch. Apple Pay support is being rolled out across the U.S. for a variety of top retailers, including Taco Bell, Target, Hy-Vee, and more.

Tune in to the best internet radio stations for your listening pleasure

Even in the streaming era, radio stations get some of the best exclusives and curate some of the finest handpicked playlists around. Here are the best internet radio stations, for your listening pleasure.

The 2020 iPhones may only use OLED displays and Intel 5G modems

While some reports hinted that Apple was looking to move away from using Intel tech, a new report suggests the exact opposite. Reportedly, Apple has chosen Intel to supply 5G modems for Apple's first 5G-enabled iPhone, due in 2020.
Home Theater

Spotify adds artist-blocking feature, despite its denials

Though it continues to claim you can't do it, there is plenty of evidence that Spotify added an artist-blocking feature to its platform, making it easy for users to never hear a specific musician or band.

With weeklong battery life, the new Honor Watches are a real Dream to wear

Honor has unveiled the new Honor View 20, one of the best smartphones of the year. Alongside it, however, the company also took the wraps off of the new Honor Watch Magic and Honor Watch Dream.

2019's 10 best dating apps to help you find the perfect companion

Everyone knows online dating can be stressful, time-consuming, and downright awful. Check out our top picks for the best dating apps, so you can streamline the process and find the right date, whatever you're looking for.

Moschino glams up the 48-megapixel Honor View 20 at Paris launch

After its success with the View 10 in 2018, Honor has announced its sequel, the Honor View 20 with an entirely new type of display which has a hole-punch for the camera rather than a notch.

10 top features you should be using on your Apple Watch

The Apple Watch can do more than just tell you the time, but you may not be aware of all the different functions it has. Our list of the 10 most often used functions and features will help you understand what it can really do.

Get your photos on billboards with Apple’s 2019 ‘Shot on iPhone’ program

Like previous years, Apple has once again launched its Shot on iPhone program, which encourages users to submit the best photos they've taken with their iPhone. Ultimately, the winners will get their photos featured on billboards.

Embrace your inner Dr. Frankenstein with the Huawei Mate 20 Pro and this cool app

Ever wanted to make your favorite toy come alive? If so, and you have a Huawei Mate 20 Pro, then you need to grab the 3D Live Maker app and try out some augmented reality magic. Here's how to use it.