A smartwatch is generally defined by its ability to connect to your smartphone and act as an extension of it on your wrist, delivering notifications, fitness tracking, and a smattering of other features. Outside of its Pro Trek Android Wear watch series, Casio approaches its G–Shock Bluetooth connected watches differently, opting to use Bluetooth judiciously, and for features other than those traditional smartwatch staples mentioned above.
One of Casio’s most recent releases is the GPW-2000 Gravitymaster. We tested the refreshed version celebrating G-Shock’s 35th anniversary. Does the Gravitymaster’s Bluetooth connection still make it a smartwatch? We take a look, and decide if the connectivity is a feature you’ll want to use.
Suited for travelers
The Gravitymaster connects with your phone using the G-Shock Connected app, available for iOS and Android, and linking the two together is an easy process. If you’ve used a smartwatch before, you may be expecting to hear about fitness tracking features, or notification controls. Think again.
The G-Shock Connected app’s primary function is Mission Stamp, a feature to track location data and log different points on a flight, including precise time at each stop, latitude and longitude, and place a GPS-enabled map point. Using the collected data, which is manually tagged using a button on the watch, the app generates a 3D animation showing your journey.
If you’re not city hopping in your Cessna, the Mission Stamp feature will sit unused.
Unless you’re a pilot, you likely won’t care much about this feature. It’s something you may use once on an international flight to try it out, but otherwise if you’re not city hopping in your Cessna, the Mission Stamp feature will sit unused. Three-way time sync is a far more useful feature — it uses either GPS, Multi-Band 6, or Bluetooth to set the exact time on your watch automatically. The app also makes it simple to set the world time, shown on the lower subdial. The accurate time setting and world time adjustment is genuinely helpful, especially if you’re a frequent international traveller.
It may sound like a small thing, but previous connected Casio watches in the Edifice range were not user friendly, and the watches suffered from Bluetooth connection and sync problems. We’re happy to report it’s not the case anymore, as the app is well designed, simple to navigate, and the features all work without issue. There’s also a handy guide to show the various functions of the watch, and quick access to the timer and alarm.
Due to the basic Bluetooth functionality, the GPW-2000 doesn’t have massive power requirements, and makes good use of the watch’s built-in solar power cell. This is a considerable benefit, as not only does the watch not need charging, but you never have to change a coin cell battery either. Sync the watch with the app and it even shows how much charge is stored in the internal battery too. Cleverly, the watch will go into hibernation mode if it’s left in the dark, effectively conserving its energy.
Does all this make the G-Shock GPW-2000 Gravitymaster a smartwatch? No, it makes it a connected watch, which is very different. If the hybrid smartwatch is a step down from a smartwatch, then the connected watch is a further step down, bringing it closer to traditional G-Shock watches. This doesn’t make it inferior, it just makes it different, and tailored to a specific task or function. Bluetooth connectivity isn’t a reason to buy the Gravitymaster unless you’ll actually use the Mission Stamp flight log feature; but the other connected features do come in handy for those with their feet firmly on the ground.
Traditional G-Shock features
While we have focused on the Bluetooth technology, the watch itself is a work of art, occupying the high-end Master of G collection and packed full of impressive watch-related technology. It ignores massive levels of vibration and shock caused by gravitational acceleration — this is a pilot’s watch, after all — isn’t affected by magnetic forces trying to influence the hand position, and is waterproof to 200 meters. Carbon fiber reinforces the strap, sapphire crystal covers the face, and the resin frame keeps all the hardware safe inside. You have to work hard to damage a G-Shock.
It’s not a watch for the shy and retiring, and the chunky, tank-like over-engineering won’t appeal to everyone. We love the style and the many fine details, such as the exposed carbon fiber on the strap, the effective LED light, and the large face with at-a-glance day, date, and time. It’s a statement-making watch that borders on the indestructible, and is completely unlike anything in the smartwatch world.
The model we’ve tested is the GPW-2000TFB-1ADR Gravitymaster Gold Tornado, the limited edition made for G-Shock’s 35th anniversary. It’s priced at $900, but GPW-2000-1A models not in the gold tornado livery cost $800 and provide the same Bluetooth connection and other features. We love the look and the watch, but we don’t care much for the Bluetooth connectivity.
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