New upscale, connected G-Shock deserves a place in your heart, and on your wrist

At $1,000, the new Casio G-Shock MTG-B2000, part of its premium MT-G line, is more than twice what you’d spend on the best smartwatch you can buy, the Apple Watch Series 6. The company is one of the few big-name watch makers to consistently add a reliable, useful Bluetooth connection to its watches, and although there is a useful new feature here, it’s not going to beat a touchscreen smartwatch when it comes to functionality.

The thing is, the MTG-B2000 isn’t really competing for space on your wrist, it’s competing for space in your heart — and I believe there is room for it in both places. Let me explain.

Rock-solid connection

Casio’s first Bluetooth-connected watches were pretty bad. I remember trying an early Casio Edifice watch with Bluetooth several years ago, and it was unreliable and difficult to use. How things have changed. The MTG-B2000 connects to G-Shock’s dedicated app instantly, and the app is well designed, reliable, and easy to use. This matters a lot, because if it’s frustrating, it won’t get used.

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Connecting the watch to the app takes one long press of a button and that’s all, but best thing is the way the app guides you through the process. There’s no guessing or convoluted methods involved, and that’s refreshing. The MTG-B2000’s new feature is a Self Check, where the app runs a quick diagnostic on request. It checks that the time is accurate, assesses the battery’s charge, and fensures the hands are correctly calibrated and working.

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This can be activated manually, or if your watch stays connected to your phone, it’s performed automatically once a day. The app then logs the results. Monitoring the battery this way is helpful. The MTG-B2000 gets its power from solar cells — there’s no battery to charge using a cable — and while it should last at least five months on a full charge without seeing any light at all, it’s good to know when it needs some exposure.

The Self Check also helps maintain accurate time. The MTG-B2000 uses the phone’s time and a Multi Band 6 connection, where it pulls the local time from dedicated transmitters around the world, so it’s always correct. Again, it does all this without a regular battery that needs to be charged. The convenience of solar charging and low-energy Bluetooth can’t be overstated, and even smartwatch makers could learn a thing or two from Casio’s app and overall approach.

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What else does the app do? Unlike specialist G-Shock watches like the Frogman with its Dive Log feature, the MTG-B2000 doesn’t have a specific function, so the app speeds up and simplifies setting the world time, alarms, and timers. It doesn’t deliver notifications, but this isn’t what the watch is about. It’s about adding convenience to a stunning design.

New design

The MTG-B2000 is the first watch in the MT-G series to use G-Shock’s Carbon Core Guard monocoque construction. This adds strength without increasing weight, and the watch components are all hidden safely inside the monocoque itself. For the MTG-B2000, Casio uses metal for the case and bezel, but the bezel is separate from the case, meaning it can be produced in different colors. The review model here is quite restrained, but you can buy models with a blue or red bezel.

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You only notice the carbon-reinforced resin case section on the case back. The mass of shining stainless steel makes the MTG-B2000 look like the watch of choice for an original Cylon warrior, while the metal and carbon reinforced bezel is polished for a superb finish. The polygonal shape is new for the MT-G series, although the angled octagonal bezel shape has proven popular on the G-Shock GA-2100, and it really gives the watch its own identity. There’s no mistaking it for any other G-Shock.

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The metal strap did make me a little concerned when I first saw it in pictures. These bracelets can be heavy, and can painfully pull on arm hairs, but I needn’t have worried. The bracelet has hollowed out sections to reduce weight, and to hold resin pieces to increase wearability. It doesn’t pull, it doesn’t get sweaty, and despite the overall 156-gram weight, it’s very comfortable to wear for long periods. The watch is thick at 15.9mm, though, so you’ll want to wear it outside of a shirt sleeve. It’s also a very masculine design, and I doubt it will suit small wrists.

Sapphire crystal covers the watch face, providing wonderful clarity and that delightful sheen only seen with sapphire. Outside of aesthetics, it’s highly scratch-resistant, adding to the MT-G’s overall toughness. Like all G-Shock watches, it’s water resistant to 200 meters, plus it handles shock, centrifugal force, and vibration with ease. This is a premium, luxury watch, yet it doesn’t have to be handled with extreme care.

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Look closely under the sapphire crystal and you’ll spot the specially engraved hour markers, and three clear subdials — one for the 24-hour marker, one for the world time, and the other for the day and mode. There’s a small date window, too. Press the Reset button and the hands move out of the way to make viewing the subdials much easier. Like the Frogman, the hands are driven by three dual-coil motors, and the motion is swift and smooth.

Finally, the button motion itself deserves a mention as it’s wonderfully dampened while keeping all the buttons very easy to press. I especially like the red flash around the Start button, and the industrial, knurled finish on the crown. The MTG-B2000 has all the strength of a G-Shock, and a very functional overall design, but there are enough neat, detailed touches that make you want to admire it on your wrist. I want that from a premium watch, but almost never get the same feeling from a smartwatch.

This, or a true smartwatch?

I’ve used smartwatches more since travel restrictions were introduced at the beginning of the year, and while the functionality of an Apple Watch Series 6 fits with my current lifestyle, it can’t match the joy of wearing the MTG-B2000. They end up doing different things.

Wearing the G-Shock makes me feel good, something the Apple Watch doesn’t. No smartwatch can replicate that sense of occasion, although ones made by luxury watch brands like Tag Heuer get close. For this reason, I believe there’s space in anyone’s watch collection for both this and a great smartwatch, although I do understand the financial commitment this involves.

Let’s talk about that. The MTG-B2000 you see here costs $1,000, or 950 British pounds, while the blue bezel model with a urethane strap costs $950, or 899 pounds, respectively. The red bezel model with a dark metal case and bracelet hasn’t been announced for the U.S. yet, but is available in the U.K. for 999 pounds, or about $1,340. You can buy them through G-Shock’s online store and its retail stores.

The Casio G-Shock MTG-B2000 neatly evolves the MT-G watch line with a distinct new look, a useful new Bluetooth feature, and build quality that’s in line with the price tag. Don’t think of it as a smartwatch — think of it as a smarter version of a luxury watch you can’t wait to put on.

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