The first impression from our early look back at CES was impressive. A good solid watch in the true spirit of the G-Shock name, with some simple additional features to enhance the watch for those who rely on their smartphone.
The GB-6900 model is a true Casio G-Shock in every sense. Tough and durable, the watch looks just like its siblings but with the added benefit of Bluetooth 4.0. The shiny plastic coating can be a bit off-putting to some, but it also serves to differentiate itself and will bring you those questions of “what’s that watch” which most watch lovers don’t mind at all.
Pairing the watch to your iPhone isn’t overly difficult using the G-Shock app, which is now available in the Australian iTunes store. You push and hold the top right hand button on the watch to activate Bluetooth mode, then search for your watch in the app on iPhone.
Once connected you can pair up your Twitter and Facebook accounts, and add an email account. The app itself doesn’t actually read your alerts or messages from the standard iOS Mail app, instead it is grabbing your email independently. This is probably one of the main disappointments with the watch, with many corporate email systems being a bit complex to set up, potentially driving you insane to try and install without an IT professional at your beck and call. If you use a a basic mail network or ISP you shouldn’t have too many issues though.
The second disappointment is that there are no alerts for SMS messages. This combines with the email notification issue to prove that cracking into the iOS ecosystem for developers isn’t as easy as you might hope. Notification numbers and basic contact information would be a great thing for the developers to have access to in order to make this device much more useful.
Never leave home without it
The most notable feature of the Bluetooth G-Shock watch is that you will never leave your phone behind again. The watch detects a lost link with your phone, meaning the watch vibrates and alerts you to turn back and grab the phone. You won’t leave it at a restaurant, your desk or a meeting again, which we almost did a few times while testing.
Should you struggle to find the phone in the house, or in your office, the G-Shock will force an audible tone to be played on the phone allowing you to track it down fast. Admittedly, ‘Find my iPhone’ can do the same thing, but doing so from the G-Shock is as simple as pressing a button.
Another simple but useful feature is ‘time sync’. Your watch will now show the exact same time as your iPhone, which most likely gets its time off the mobile network making it much more accurate than manually setting the time. It also counters any confusion with daylight savings.
If you have your Twitter or Facebook accounts synchronised and receive a message or notification, or an email (through an account you have specifically set up in the app) you’ll get an alert on the watch.
Plenty of people don’t see the benefit of all this. But if you’re like me and have your phone on silent a lot – especially in meetings – the ability to glance at your watch for notifications rather than having your phone on vibrate is wonderfully convenient.
At $299, it’s not a crazy price for a G-Shock watch, but these things will sell out fast. There is a very limited availability in Australia on the first shipment so if you’re interested, get in fast.
- City Beach (Nationwide)
- Glue Store (Nationwide)
- Surfstitch (Nationwide)
- Carhartt (Melbourne
- Laced (Brisbane)
- Keysole (Perth)
- Blindside (Melbourne)
- Saintside (Melbourne)
Price: GB6900, $299 (Alternate model: GB5600, $269)
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Trevor produces two of the most popular technology podcasts in Australia, Your Tech Life and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He has a weekly radio show on 2UE, as well as appearances across the country and regularly provides Technology Commentary to Channel 9’s A Current Affair. Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave. Like this post? Buy Trev a drink!