Casio G-Shock G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000 review

The Casio G-Shock G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000-1ER is a full-fat smartwatch running Google's Wear OS – with sports tracking in mind.

It's not the first Casio smartwatch – the Pro Trek watch range has used Wear OS to power outdoors features, with mapping and atmospheric sensors for life out in the wilderness.

Casio has smartened up its G-Shock range. It started small adding some pretty limited connected features and then the G-Shock Move GBD-1000 arrived, offering that typically chunky shockproof frame running Casio's own proprietary OS.

With the Casio G-Shock G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000-1ER, it's brought Google on board at a time when Wear OS is about to undergo its biggest revamp.

The Casio G-Shock G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000-1ER costs $699, which makes it one of the priciest Wear OS smartwatches to own. So is a G-Shock Wear OS smartwatch a good thing? We've been living with it to find out. Here's our full verdict.

Casio G-Shock G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000: Design and screen

G-Shock watches are renowned for big, chunky timepieces and that's why people love them. That design profile doesn't change here that's for sure.

You've got your pick of three models letting you pick from black/blue, black and red color options. All feature a sizeable 65mm sized case that measures in at 19.5mm thick, which is nearly two Apple Watches stacked on top of each other. On our slender wrist it looked huge, and that overall 103g weight was noticeable. This isn't one you're going to want to take to bed. It's a hulk.

The key characteristic of a G-Shock is that hollow core guard that sits around the screen to give it the shock resistance status with a titanium case back, that does aim to keep the weight down and offer something that offers better resistance to corrosion.

That case is completed by a urethane band that has a nice flex to it and uses a traditional watch-style buckle, which means it's not one that's going to budge from your wrist. The band can be removed and there's some quite sizeable pieces of blue plastic that can release the bands to put a new one in.

The outside of the case is a busy affair with different style buttons only adding to its rough and ready look. It might look like it has five physical buttons dotted around the case, but there's actually only three, on the right hand side of the case. The top one offers a shortcut to the workout tracking mode with the larger middle button opening up the Wear OS app screen and launching Google Assistant.

The bottom button pushes you into what we'd describe as Casio's own home screen. This is where you'll find more of the G-Shock-centric software features that Casio has managed to pack on here.

On the left of the case, you'll find the outdoor sensors that are onboard and the charging port, which mirrors the setup of how you charge Casio's ProTrek smartwatches.

As a package, it's been slapped with a rating that makes it resistant to water up to 200 metres depth. So this watch can go deep.

In the screen department, you're getting a 1.2-inch dual layer display similar to the one Casio employs on its ProTrek Wear OS watches. So you're getting a 360 x 360 resolution LCD color TFT screen and a monochrome LCD one that's used to preserve battery life.

From a screen quality point of view, it's a very similar experience to what we found with its ProTrek smartwatches. It's bright, sharp and is nicely visible indoors. In bright outdoor light, it's more problematic and can struggle at some angles even when you crank the screen brightness up. It's also a bit of a fingerprint magnet as well.

There is an always-on display mode, which will impact on battery life, though with the dual display in place you can still view time and some additional metrics on the monochrome screen without having to enable it.

The other issue here is that with such a hulking frame sitting around it, the screen feels small. It means some of the data rich screens can feel quite cramped to view on the move.

So while it might look and feel like your typical G-Shock, accommodating that touchscreen display and delivering that water resistance rating feels like you have to make some compromises with this smartwatch.

Casio G-Shock G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000: Wear OS and smartwatch features

Google's Wear OS is running the software show and when you hit that middle physical button, you'll find that familiar Wear app screen. It uses the same swipe gestures to show your notification feed, access Google's Assistant, see your Tiles (widgets) and get to the shortcut settings.

It does work with Android and iPhones and in our time we used it paired to an Android phone and don't have any issues to report as far as setting up with the WearOS companion app or general performance. Casio hasn't revealed the Qualcomm chipset it's running on or the type of RAM and storage is on board here, but we'd say it seems unlikely it's running on the latest Snapdragon Wear 4100+ platform. That being said, swiping through screens was nice and slick and and Google's own apps launched quickly.

In terms of what you have at your disposal on the Wear OS front, you can change watch faces and there's a bunch of data rich analogue and digital-style options here to choose from. You can download apps from the Google Play Store and we had no problems making a few downloads.

There's the usual suite of Google apps including its Fit ones and apps for Maps, which does work well and is well optimised to the touchscreen display. There's also the hand wash timer, which is a useful one to have in these current times.

One Wear feature you surprisingly don't get here is Google Pay. That's because there's no NFC on board here, which G-Shock fans and smartwatch fans will be disappointed by no doubt.

Casio G-Shock G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000 review

Casio does throw on its own apps as it's done on its ProTrek Wear smartwatches. Those can be accessed from the traditional Wear app screen or Casio's own. There's the Activity app where you can track your workouts from. We'll delve deeper into this one in the next section. There's the Timepiece mode, which takes you out of Wear OS and puts you into a basic watch mode with the ability to see steps and air pressure information.

Hit the bottom physical button you'll discover a whole host of extras from Casio. There's heart rate graphs, a compass, the G-Shock Move app to track your fitness, tide graphs, a barometer and options to adjust watch face backgrounds and theme colors.

There's also something called Sensor Overlay, which essentially lets you combine images and videos you shoot during your activities and then using G-Shock Move companion phone app lets you overlay sensor data over this videos and stills.

The challenge of essentially offering two different software approaches is an interesting one and it's been done with mixed results on Wear OS watches.

The Suunto 7 springs to mind as an example where it didn't quite work while the Oppo Watch merged its ColorOS with Google's OS in a much nicer fashion. On the G-Shock, it feels like more like a Suunto 7 situation. While the UI looks nice and clean, swiping to navigate the very small UI and hitting your finger against that hollow core guard quickly gets annoying.

Casio has never been afraid to throw on plenty of its own software and on this smartwatch it's clearly tried to separate it from the standard Wear software to let you dip into the Google features it can't offer. We'd have almost preferred if it tried to do a better job of merging the two, but maybe keeping things separate was the way to go.

Casio G-Shock G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000: Sports and fitness features

You can turn to Google's apps to track your health and fitness with apps like Google Fit, Fit Breathe, Fit Heart Rate and Fit Workout all on board here. We've spoken a great deal about how we feel about Google's health and fitness apps. They're clunky to use and the sooner Fitbit's influence starts to come through on Google's OS the better.

That's why we focused on making use of Casio's own to see if it could do a better job. We should also mention that you can of course download third party apps if you'd rather bypass both Google and Casio's tracking apps.

In terms of sensors at your disposal, there's built-in GPS, an optical heart rate monitor, compass, altitude/air pressure sensor, accelerometer and a gyrometer. That means you have what's needed to accurately track outdoor workouts and get that additional environmental sensor data too.

In the Activity app you can pick from profiles for running, trail running, biking, pool swimming, surfing, skiing and fishing. There's also a custom workout mode to cover off indoor workouts, but this one definitely aimed at tracking outdoors.

For runs, you can customise data fields on show during runs, view a color map of your run and even download or import maps to follow routes offline. That mapping support feels like it's essentially been taken off Casio's ProTrek smartwatches and dropped on here and that's actually not a bad thing.

The maps are nicely detailed and you can pinch and zoom into areas. When you do that, there's a little bit of a delay as it readjusts the level of information but you're essentially getting a nice Google Maps experience on a watch here.

The screens are packed with data with gauges showing off pace, altitude information and heart rate data. You can also tap the middle of the screen to scroll through additional information like running time and lap, which is displayed on a track. You've also got the map of your location in the background. It's a lot to soak up in one glance and does definitely feel like a UI better suited for activities like hiking or trekking.

GPS run tracking compared: Garmin Enduro (left) and Casio G-Shock (right)

From an accuracy point of view, we put it up against the Garmin's Enduro watch and found that on a just over 40 minute run covering 8.07km, the Casio had us clocked in at 8.15km with a slightly quicker pace. That's within an acceptable margin of error, so we don't have any misgivings over accuracy.

The heart rate monitor experience is a lot like what we've experienced on other Casio smartwatches. As in, it's not great.

On most activities, it average heart rate data against a Garmin HRM-Pro chest strap monitor was 1-2bpm out but maximum heart rate readings was much as 8-10bpm higher than a chest strap.

It was a similar story for resting heart rate where readings were around the 80bpm mark, which is someway off the more reliable 40-45bpm average being dished out by the Enduro.

Heart rate tracking compared: Casio G-Shock (left and centre) and Garmin HRM-Pro chest strap (right)

Again, this sort of echoes are thoughts that due to the sheer size of this watch, it's much better suited to tracking heart rate on hikes or treks when you're not throwing that wrist about as much.

Along with tracking exercise with the Activity app, you can delve deeper into your data with Casio's G-Shock Move app. This requires downloading an additional app, which in our experience is very clunky to look at and requires a quite awkward process of logging in with a Casio ID login.

Casio G-Shock Move app is available for Android and iPhone

There isn't a watch presence for Move, and it's more about being a place to review activities, daily activity tracking and checking in on training stats like VO2 Max and accessing performance insights like Training Load and Training Status to give you a better sense of how hard you're working out and give you a better idea about you current fitness level.

These are similar to the kind of insights you can attain from a Garmin watch, though the sheer size of this watch and the unreliable heart rate monitoring just doesn't make it the ideal watch to trust those insights and want to exercise with this watch on a regular basis.

We had constant struggles trying to connect and sync the watch to the Android app even after Casio rolled out an update to the app to issue a fix for those connection issues.

Essentially, the tracking on this watch feels like an amalgamation of what Casio has put on its ProTrek smartwatches and its other G-Shock non-Wear OS smartwatches. Elements of it work well like the mapping support and core tracking accuracy, but elements like heart rate accuracy and just some general software bugginess on and off the watch mean it's far from the most pleasing experience to use as a sports tracking smartwatch.

Casio G-Shock G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000: Battery life

Casio doesn't specify how big the battery is in this smartwatch, but does claim it's fit to run for a month in basic watch mode with none of those lovely Wear OS smarts at your disposal. In smartwatch mode, it's 1.5 days and that's pretty much spot on during the time we had it.

We found It was about a day and a half with some indoor or outdoor GPS tracking. So while a month of battery life might sound great, you're going to have to live a more limited watch life to enjoy it. You're basically left with the TimePiece mode we described earlier.

Casio states it takes 2 hours to recharge when it hits 0%. When it comes to charging, Casio uses a similar charging set up to the one it uses on its ProTrek smartwatches, which is bad news. It's a cylindrical cable that plugs into the top of the watch case, but it doesn't lock very securely in place and is very easy to knock out of place. It happened to us on more than one occasion.

Casio G-Shock G-Squad Pro GSW-H1000 By CasioCasio's first G-Shock Wear OS smartwatch has that tough look but it's a tough one to recommend for a lot of reasons. For starters, only G-Shock fans are going to be handle the sheer size of this watch. That build impedes on the access to the touchscreen display making interactions a bit awkward too. It just doesn't cut it as something you'd want to exercise with either. Then there's Wear OS itself. Will Casio be able to run Google's new Wear OS 3.0 when it lands? It's a big factor for investing in an expensive smartwatch that could end up looking dated very quickly. G-Shock fans might like it, but you can definitely get better smartwatch experiences elsewhere.