Casio G-Shock Move GBD-H1000 review

Casio's sports watch boasts a tough look, but even tougher to use software
Casio G-Shock Move GBD-H1000
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The Casio G-Shock Move GBD-H1000 smartwatch breaks new ground, and is a powerful GPS sports watch in a familiar-looking G-Shock package.

Casio has done smartwatches already, in the form of the Casio Pro-Trek WSD-F30 smartwatch, designed for the great outdoors. That packed Google's Wear OS and an insanely big and tough build with pre-loaded apps for hiking, fishing and mapping.

The G-Shock Move GBD-H1000 is mass-appeal sports watch, that feels much more like a Garmin or Polar device, with a full screen for sports data, GPS, heart rate and VO2 Max.

While previous G-Shock "smartwatches" have only given up part of the watch face to show off smart features, you're getting a full screen here to show off things like time, steps, running stats and fitness analysis.

The Move GBD-1000 comes priced at $399.99, which does make it slightly cheaper than Casio's Pro Trek range and comparable to an Apple Watch. In Garmin terms, that puts it head-to-head with something like the Forerunner 645 Music or Vivoactive 4.

We've been living with the G-Shock Move for a few weeks know to find out if Casio has served up a hybrid that smartwatch and G-Shock fans are going to love. Here's our full verdict.

Casio G-Shock Move HBD-1000: Design

Casio G-Shock Move HBD-1000 Design

G-Shock watches are built to be well protected against the extremes, and its sports collection definitely veers on the big and brash. We'd expect no less from the G-Shock brand.

The red version of the GBD-1000 looks like a Transformer has leapt up onto your wrist – with angular lumps of the case sticking out in all directions, punctuated by actual screws.

What you get is a hulking 63mm sized watch wrapped in resin, which wins the war for space with the stainless steel that also finds its way into the body That's matched up with a urethane band that while flexible, is harder feeling than your typical band you'd find on a sport watch.

It's 20mm thick (most general purpose smartwatches gun for ~10mm) and weighs 101g. In comparison, the Garmin Fenix 6 weights 80g.

Put it against your standard smartwatch and it looks like it would swallow them up whole. Put it next to another sporty Casio G-Shock and well, it's still bigger. It looked huge on my slender wrists and we're not sure it's the kind of watch you'd want to spend several sweaty hours running with.

Casio G-Shock Move HBD-1000 thickness

This is a G-Shock, so it's not shirking its shock resistant responsibilities. Hollow Core Guard protects against vibration and impact and is also water resistant up to 200 metres, alhough you're not getting the ability to track swimming with it. The size of this thing will make your mind up pretty quickly that it's not really fit for the pool anyway.

When it comes to navigating this beast, there are five sizeable physical buttons in total. There's no touchscreen here, with Casio opting for an LCD display that thankfully isn't a fingerprint magnet.

We've had no issues from a visibility point of view and there's also a backlight that automatically jumps into action when you twist your wrist. You can also quite nicely adjust how long the illumination of the backlight lasts from a few options.

We'd definitely like the screen to have been a bit bigger, especially when Casio tries to cram lots of information and things can feel a little cramped at times. Especially when glancing down at it during exercise.

You're not going to want to wear it to bed that's for sure. If you like sporty G-Shock watches, it should tick most of the key boxes as far is design is concerned. It's just a shame there isn't a nicer sized screen to match that hulking frame protecting it.

Casio G-Shock Sport: App and watch software

Casio G-Shock Move HBD-1000 app

It's worth dedicating some time to talk about software, because it's the aspect of this watch that leaves a lasting impression for the wrong reasons. Hopefully though, it's something that Casio can take on board and make some improvements.

Casio doesn't lean on Google's Wear OS for its hybrid smartwatches, opting instead for something built-in house. To get set up, you need to download the new G-Shock Move app, which was in our time of testing only available for iOS. An Android app has since been added. In an interesting move, there's also a web app to view your sports data too.

There's also support for third party apps like Apple Health, Google Fit for iOS and Strava, letting you share your data elsewhere if you're not a fan of Casio's software.

When it comes to setting up, it's a pretty straightforward process. Syncing in general after that initial setup generally works fine, though there's the odd time, we'd need to dig into the watch settings to manually pair back up with our iPhone. On the whole though, it's been good.

App data

The Move app itself looks great and keeps things relatively streamlined. You've got a main feed, an Activity tab to access things like targeted training plans and see further analysis of your training.

There's also an additional tab to see what Casio is letting you tinker with on the settings front. You can adjust GPS sampling rate to improve battery performance when sports tracking, change position of data fields and there's a few more useful options lurking in there too.

Our main gripe is with the on-watch experience. There's a steep learning curve required to remember where data lives. We had to lean on the instructions to get a better sense of what this watch is capable of showing off. It took us a good week to get a better sense of using it, but even then it's still a confusing watch to get to grips with.

It really boils down to Casio offering a lot of information, and the combination of a small-ish screen crammed with loads of information makes for a frustrating user experience.

We'd have preferred if Casio offloaded some of the insights to the app to make it an easier and less confusing watch to use.

This is not a complaint that Casio is giving us too many features, it just needed to be presented in a way that doesn't make it so overwhelming to absorb.

Our only other issue on that front is that it can take 30-40 seconds to save workouts.

Casio G-Shock Sport: Sports tracking

Casio G-Shock Sport review

This is definitely Casio's most capable G-Shock as far as tracking exercise is concerned – particularly if you're a runner.

This is the first G-Shock to include a heart rate monitor to let you measure effort levels during workouts. Casio was slow to add a heart rate monitor to its Pro Trek smartwatches before it finally turned up on its Pro Trek WSD-F21HR watch earlier this year. It didn't amaze us on that device, and it's not a hugely different story on the Move unfortunately.

Before getting into all things accuracy, there's a decent amount that heart rate monitor can do. It can display heart rate in real-time and has an always-on option too. During exercise, there's a dedicated data field and you can also receive heart rate zone alerts.

Beyond measuring effort levels, it also powers training and analysis features powered by heart rate analytics company Firstbeat.

That's the same company that powers similar features for the likes of Garmin, Suunto, Huawei and Withings. It takes the raw heart rate data, crunches it, and provides insights such as training status, fitness level, training load, recovery time and VO2 Max.

Casio G-Shock Sport review

Along with that heart rate sensor, you'll also find built-in GPS and the same satellite support as Casio's Pro Trek smartwatch. There's a barometer, compass, thermometer and accelerometer sensor for tracking steps reliably and for indoor distance tracking during exercise.

While it's perfectly suitable to use the Move for most activities, it feels mostly tailored to runners. Unlike a lot of sports watches, you don't select 'run' or from a menu, you simply hit the Run button and get going.

You're getting the ability to view running metrics basics like time, distance and pace. There's also the ability to record up to 100 runs, up to 140 lap records per run with an automatic run detection mode also included. Casio also offers training plans based around improving cardio fitness and training for specific running distances. These can be sent to the watch too.

Casio G-Shock Sport review

Run tracking compared: Casio G-Shock Sport (left) and Garmin Fenix 6 (right)

So it's well equipped for running, how does it fare in testing? On the whole it's a decent but not perfect experience. GPS signal pick up can be a bit slow and was usually second to being ready against a Garmin Fenix 6. The accuracy though was strong, which is much of what we saw on the Pro Trek.

It's the basics in terms of the data you can view, which was enough for us. Metrics like average pace was largely in the same ballpark as the Garmin Fenix 6 we put it up against. The same could be said for calorie burn and elevation data. The issue of squeezing a lot onto one screen makes it difficult to absorb information on the move though.

There's a lot of different screens to churn through with ones dedicated to the compass and altimeter and barometer. It can be confusing in the heat of the run to find the data you want and we often left it on the main screen. It's also annoying there isn't just an indoor running mode to make use of either.

For auto-run tracking, we put it to the test indoors and outdoors and found it usually came up short 500-600 metres short on indoor runs against a Stryd foot pod. On one occasion, it struggled to pick up a 30-minute run until we were 10 minutes in.

Strangely, in that auto run mode it will display heart rate data, but won't record the information in the app to look at after. For outdoor running it was a bit closer in terms of distance tracking accuracy, but won't map activities as it it's making use of the accelerometer to track runs instead.

Casio G-Shock Sport: Heart rate monitor accuracy

Casio G-Shock Move HBD-1000 heart rate

As far as heart rate accuracy is concerned, things aren't so great.

For continuous heart rate monitoring, readings were generally fine. For some even tempo outdoor runs, it tended to be 5bpm out from a Polar H9 chest strap for average heart rate readings.

It fared better for maximum heart rate readings and tended to be 2-3bpm out of a chest strap. Digging into the heart rate graphs and the Casio starts significantly higher for sessions.

In another sample run (data below) in much hotter conditions our heart rate readings were always going to be higher than usual. The Casio threw up some strange data compared to a Polar H9 heart rate monitor chest strap. The maximum heart rate recorded was wildly over the top.

The average heart rate reading was way out too. A look at the heart rate graph shows a big flat line, which doesn't match up with the chest strap at all.

Casio G-Shock Sport review

HR tracking compared: Casio G-Shock Sport (left and centre) and Polar H9 chest strap (right)

We had more erratic results in our interval testing on a treadmill where it could be as much as 20bpm off at times from a chest strap. It tended to settle itself down during the middle of the session, but would then still randomly post wildly high heart rate readings.

The problem with inconsistent heart rate is that it puts a question mark over insights such as VO2 Max and Training Status when you know the sampled data is flawed.

However, fortunately in our testing that data compared well.

We compared the training status and VO2 Max scores to a Garmin Fenix 6 using the Polar H9 chest strap and it actually gave us the same 'maintaining' status and the 47 VO2 Max score.

So those numbers seem to add up, but the data during runs clearly do not.

Casio G-Shock Sport: Smartwatch features

Casio G-Shock Move GBD-1000 notifications

As far as what Casio is giving you in the way of those core smartwatch features, they are centred around time and notifications.

There's no music controls, payment support, or anything you'd find on your typical smartwatch.

This is very much a sports watch, not a smartwatch, so you kind of accept that going in.

You can view additional time zones, set up alarms and then there's notifications. As we said, the Move only works with iPhones currently, and there's a dedicated menu on the watch where notifications for apps, messages, phone calls and calendar appointments can be viewed.

It's a bit of extra functionality – but falls far short of the Apple Watch or even full Garmin sports watches, which offers excellent notifications, weather data and even Spotify music storage and mobile payments.

When a notification is received, a message will flash up on the screen to indicate where the notification is from and that a notification has arrived. Then you'll need to jump into the notifications menu where you can scroll through notifications and expand to read.

You can't respond to those notifications in any way and there doesn't be seem to be a clear and obvious way to clear them either. The feature largely serves it purpose. It's no frills, basic notification and smart features generally, and certainly not a key reason to buy this device. .

Casio G-Shock Sport: Battery life

The G-Shock Sport promises some decent numbers in terms of the kind of battery life it promises – as it should with the overall size.

Casio says you can get 12 months just using it to tell the time and turning off any extra functionality.

It also claims 66 hours when using heart rate monitoring continuously and making use of its power saving function. Make use of GPS and heart rate, and you're looking at anything from 12-14 hours.

You also have solar power here too to top up the battery when you're out in the sun.

Based on our experience, those numbers largely add up. We can't vouch for the 12 month battery life, though if you're not using features like GPS and heart rate, that's doesn't seem out of the realm of possibility.

When using GPS, it doesn't drain the battery in any really undesirable way. With heart rate monitoring turned on just for exercise, you can get those 66 hours.

Go with the full works of regular GPS use (a few runs a week, continuous heart rate monitoring and a full gamut of notifications buzzing away all day) and you start to see the bar on the battery indicator drop much quicker. It gave us 2.5-3 days of "real life" smartwatch use before it was time to charge up again. That doesn't compare too favourably with the likes of the Fitbit Versa 2 or Gamrin Vivoactive 4 – both of which will easily manage a full week.


Casio G-Shock Sport GBD-H1000
By Casio
The Casio G-Shock Move is capable sports watch that falls short of full smartwatch functionality. It's every bit a G-Shock and if that's what you were hoping for, you get it in an abundance. As a sports watch it does a decent job, but there's clearly room for improvement on the software front. Particularly when it comes to presenting stats and modes on the watch. The heart rate monitor wasn't up to scratch for us either, which is disappointing as its key feature. It's a shame because there are the foundations of a good sporty hybrid here amongst the issues. G-Shock fans will love its big form factor, though you're likely to find better executed sports tracking elsewhere right now for a lot less money.

Hit
  • Plenty of stats
  • Solid run tracking
  • Decent battery life
Miss
  • Data overload on the watch
  • Heart rate accuracy not great
  • Light on smartwatch features