Feeds

Smartwatch face off: Pebble, MetaWatch and new hi-tech timepieces

Tick, tock, Tweet

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

Casio G-Shock GB-6900AA

Reg Hardware retro numbers

Casio’s Bluetooth-equipped G-Shock is the only smartwatch here from a well-known manufacturer of watches. It should come as no surprise, then, that the GB-6900AA is also the best timepiece here, packing in all the features you might expect in a watch produced by a firm that’s been punching this kind of thing out for decades.

Beneath the G-Shock’s youthful shiny black plastic exterior sits a typical quartz movement driving a white-on-black LCD. The backlight button is dedicated to the function, so you don’t waste power pressing it to apply settings, as is often the case with digitals. The case is said to be water-resistant to a water pressure of 20 bar - equivalent to a depth of about 200 metres, but this is not a diver’s watch so don't expect it to survive anywhere near that depth.

Casio G-Shock+ GB-6900AA

The GB-6900AA get the usual comprehensive digital watch with local time, a world-time mode, an alarm and hourly chime, a stopwatch and a countdown timer. All good stuff, so at least if you’re disappointed with the "smart" side of the story, you at least have a decent watch on your wrist.

And, yes, I was disappointed with the smartwatch side of things. Common to all smartwatches is the use of an app on your phone to ping over notifications when calls come in, emails are received, diary appointments are imminent and so forth. Casio’s app is unfortunately only available for iPhones, and because it uses Bluetooth 4.0 to reduce the wireless sub-system’s energy drain, only the 4S and 5 models.

Casio G-Shock+

If you’re still running iOS 5, you won’t get Facebook or Twitter alerts because the app taps into iOS 6’s accounts database, rather than store the login information itself. Yet the G-Shock+ app requires you to enter email account details, of which you can enter several, and choose to check IMAP or POP servers for messages. So why not directly log into social network accounts, too?

“With an iPhone, caller information is not displayed,” Casio warns, but since the watch only works with an iPhone, that means no user is told who is calling. The app can’t tell the watch when a text message has arrived, which is a major omission. At least it will tell you when an entry in your calendar is coming up, though this functionality was added only this month.

Casio G-Shock+ app

Notifications appear on the main time display, their type indicated by a suitable icon. There can be a delay with email: the app polls at either 5-, 10- or 15-minute intervals to conserve power, and only the emailer’s address is shown, scrolling across a six-character window, though it will stop after a short period. A calendar alert simply displays the word "Calendar" on the watch, not the details of the event. You can tap the watch’s Adjust button to clear the notification, but you can’t tap it to look at it again.

The Casio will vibrate when the distance between phone and watch exceeds Bluetooth’s reach, and you can push the watch’s Split/Reset button to sound an alarm on your phone to help you find it. These are features common to all smartwatches, as is the ability to automatically reconnect to the phone when they’re back in range, though it can take several minutes to connect - more if you have to make the connection manually, which you will if you turn Bluetooth off on either device, or quit the app.

Casio G-Shock+ GB-6900AA

I also had to reconnect manually every morning, either iOS or the watch having powered down its Bluetooth link overnight, presumably after a set period of link inactivity. Manually reconnecting is just a matter of holding down one of the watch’s buttons for two seconds. To be fair, it will reconnect on its own, eventually. But it’s hard not to notice the absent Bluetooth icon and to want to get the link going pronto in case you miss something.

One nice touch is that the watch can take the phone’s time, ideally set by the network, as a reference, but there’s no indication of the phone’s battery status, which would be handy.

I quite like Casio’s G-Shock as a watch, even if the design is a tad "yoof", but it needs more work if it’s to stand up against rival smartwatches.

Price £160
App platforms iOS
Case Diameter: 50mm; thickness: 17.5mm; material: plastic
Strap Length: 256mm; width: 20mm; material: plastic
More Info Casio

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
PEAK APPLE: iOS 8 is least popular Cupertino mobile OS in all of HUMAN HISTORY
'Nerd release' finally staggers past 50 per cent adoption
Tim Cook: The classic iPod HAD TO DIE, and this is WHY
Apple, er, couldn’t get parts for HDD models
Apple spent just ONE DOLLAR beefing up the latest iPad Air 2
New iPads look a lot like the old one. There's a reason for that
Google Glassholes are UNDATEABLE – HP exec
You need an emotional connection, says touchy-feely MD... We can do that
Microsoft fitness bands slapped on wrists: All YOUR HEALTH DATA are BELONG TO US
Wearable will deliver 'actionable insights for healthier living'
Lawyers mobilise angry mob against Apple over alleged 2011 Macbook Pro crapness
We suffered 'random bouts of graphical distortion' - fanbois
Caterham Seven 160 review: The Raspberry Pi of motoring
Back to driving's basics with a joyously legal high
prev story

Whitepapers

Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
Internet Security Threat Report 2014
An overview and analysis of the year in global threat activity: identify, analyze, and provide commentary on emerging trends in the dynamic threat landscape.