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Getting Active with the Casio G-Shock GBA800

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When perusing the catalog of releases for the year from Casio’s G-Shock line (or brand, however you want to refer to it), there was one that caught my eye – the Casio G-Shock GBA800.  The big callout here was that it was incorporating a bluetooth connection (much like the Casio Edifice EQB501 and EQB900 watches we reviewed) as well as a step-tracker.  Now, admittedly, the G-Shock line does seem a little more fitness-ready, so I wanted to take a closer look.

If you are familiar at all with any of Casio’s prior bluetooth-equipped watches, things will feel familiar here.  The big difference is the app.  Rather than the Casio+ one, you need to use the G-Shock branded one (I did try using the other app, just to test it, but it didn’t see the watch). Once connected up, it enables you to do a few different things.  First up, that’s how you sync the activity data over on to the phone, and it also allows you to setup a variety of things on the Casio G-Shock GBA800.  Some of those include:

  • Setting up to 5 different timers; useful for planning active/rest cycles in a workout (you can create up to 20 sets of these 5 timers)
  • Set target times (up to 10) for use with the stopwatch (aka, how fast you want your laps to be)
  • Set a world time city, and switch the display between that and the home time
  • Auto Time Adjustment (4 times a day), including Daylight Saving Time / Automatic time zone information update
  • Mobile phone search (aka, find my phone)
  • Set multiple (regular) alarms, either for one-time or recurring

You can also do other things let set whether or not you want the buttons of the Casio G-Shock GBA800 to make a noise when you press them, and set the duration of the “Auto On” feature for the backlight.

You can, of course, press the large button at the 6 o’clock position to trigger the backlight, but with the accelerometer, it’s nice to be able to just bring your wrist up and have the light come on automatically (either for 1.5 or 3 seconds).  For some reason, though, the watch kept losing this setting.  I’d turn it on, it would be fine for awhile, and then, say, the next day, it wouldn’t be functional (and the app would show it as turned off).

That covers off on the technical guts of the watch.  As for the “regular” watch bits, the Casio G-Shock GBA800 is instantly recognizable as a G-Shock.  There are assorted colors (ours was the more conservative dark blue) with a rugged, plasticky case and strap.  Interestingly, they’ve got some bits on the back of the strap, at each end of the case, that curve the strap a bit, as well as help to snug it to your wrist.  I suppose that’s to help reduce the impact of the larger case.

Even though plastic straps are not my favorite of all time, I did find the Casio G-Shock GBA800 to be comfortable on the wrist, which is a good thing.  If you’re going to use a watch like this as a step tracker, you want it to be something you’re not going to mind having on all the time.  In terms of accuracy, it stayed relatively close to my Fitbit One.  Then again, these trackers are not as much about 100% accuracy as they are consistency.  IE, using the same tracker, day in day out, should give you the same results, and let you know how you’re doing. If you want accuracy on your performance metrics, then you’re getting into the more expensive fitness watches out there.

I was also pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to read the time on the Casio G-Shock GBA800.  When you have a dark watch paired with a dark dial, it can often be the case that the hands are dark as well, leading to a “stealthy” look.  Not so here.  Instead, you have bright white hands with a strip of lume on each.  This makes reading the time a snap, and in the dark you of course have the backlights.

Coming in at $120, the Casio G-Shock GBA800 is a very affordable ana-digi watch that gives you a lot of functionality for your money.  While this may not be the choice for hardcore training, if you want something to help you out at the gym, as well as pull double duty for the rest of your day (without looking like, well, a fitness watch) then this G-Shock is your port of call.  gshock.com

Review Summary

  • Brand & Model: Casio G-Shock GBA800
  • Price:  $120
  • Who’s it for? You want an activity-tracking watch that works for your day-to-day as well as at the gym
  • Would I wear it? Probably not with any regularity
  • What I’d change: I’m not super-crazy about that plastic buckle…
  • The best thing about it:  When it comes to complicated ana-digi watches, having the phone app to help configure things makes life a lot simpler
Tech Specs from Casio
  • Colors:  Teal, grey, white, black, blue, lime green
  • Shock resistant
  • 200m water resistant
  • Lighting
    • Double LED light
    • LED light for the face (Auto LED light, Super illuminator, selectable illumination duration (1.5 seconds or 3 seconds), afterglow)
    • LED backlight for the digital display (Auto LED light, Super illuminator, selectable
  • Features
    • Step count using a 3-axis accelerometer
    • Bluetooth smartphone link
    • Stopwatch with Target Time alarm
    • lap/split display switching, up to 10 Target Times, 200 lap time records

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