G-SHOCK’s Sports Watches

He Said / She Said: A Review Of G-SHOCK’s Sports Watches

What better way to kick off Valentine’s Day weekend than two sweethearts talking about heartbeat monitors?

By Josh Shanks
By Viviana Shanks

Late last year, G-SHOCK sent two samples of their sports watches. At the time, we were hitting the gym quite frequently to prepare for the anticipated holiday gluttony. We quickly found that G-SHOCK's offerings for men and women vary significantly in functionality and usability.

Her (Viviana): For me, G-SHOCK sent over the new GMDB800-4 in pink resin. Nice, small, and fashionable, the watch retails for $99 and is G-SHOCK’s answer for active women. It contains all the G-SHOCK functionalities that you love and more! But more on that later! The GMDB800 is available in pink and black.

Him (Josh): I got the new G-SHOCK MOVE GBDH1000-1A7, a massive resin encased semi-smart/sports watch equipped with a heart rate monitor and GPS functionality. Measuring a whopping 63mm at its widest point, the G-SHOCK MOVE is an impressive-looking, well-functioning sports watch.

Moving With G-SHOCK

Her: What better way to keep track of your fitness progress than a watch that follows your every move? I was looking for something to help me track my gym sessions, and I was glad that I could try the GMDB800 since I had it on my radar since G-SHOCK’s product presentation last summer.

As soon as I got the timepiece, I immediately downloaded the G-SHOCK Connected app and checked my new wristwear's functions. I have to be honest, after over ten years of collecting, working in the watch industry, and working out, I've never used anything to track my progress in the gym. As my age slowly advances, I noticed that it was getting slightly harder to reach my fitness objectives. Therefore, I wanted to put all speculation aside and track every single calorie I burned.

Him: I'll be candid. I'm not too fond of the gym. I approach its intimidating doors with dread. It is a newly developed, bizarre anxiety as I was quite active in my teens and twenties and had no issue with working up a little sweat. These days, I'd prefer to take a 10-mile hike than force myself to run on a treadmill for 45 minutes. 

My hope with the G-SHOCK MOVE was that it would help inspire me to do exactly that, move! I've always shied away from using smartwatches in my daily life, but the gym doesn’t merit the same level of hyper-connectivity that, say, my workspace requires.

Hitting The Gym

Her: Outfitted in my favorite colorful Fabletics ensemble, which matched perfectly with the fashionable pink G-SHOCK GMDB800, I went straight to my building’s gym, where I was eager to put the watch to the test! I always start my workout with the elliptical to get my heart going. And I was glad to see that even though I stayed in the same place, the GMDB800 counted every step. 

As I said, I wanted to get my heart racing. I could feel it in my chest, and the elliptical's heart rate monitor was teetering near 190 beats per minute. However, my G-SHOCK… Well, it doesn't monitor heart rate. It only monitors steps. It is a shame because heart rate can tell you a lot about the success of a workout.

Him: I get it. Vivi is jealous of my G-SHOCK MOVE. Here I am, re-watching vintage IndyCar races as I walk at a leisurely pace of 3 mph while my heart beats away at a steady 120 beats per minute, all these stats are readily displayed via a super bright LED display on my G-SHOCK MOVE. The best part? The watch seamlessly connects (via Bluetooth) to its dedicated G-SHOCK MOVE app on my iPhone, which helps me track in real-time not only my heart rate but also my V02 levels. Yay technology!

Vivi: Ok, but Josh, can you time your workout? (Don't answer that). The GMDB800 is equipped with an interval timer that allows me to create up to 20 combinations of five timers each, which was a significant help when timing my weightlifting sessions and stretch sessions. Thanks to the G-SHOCK Connected app, I recorded the exercise intensity and calculated the calories burned during my workout.

I understand that it is now winter, but back when I tested the timepiece, it was the dead of summer, so I couldn't help but bring the watch with me for a little well-deserved pool time. It is suitable to work on your tan as well as diving headfirst in the pool. After all, the watch is water-resistant to 200m.

Him: I wholeheartedly agree with Vivi's sentiment that my G-SHOCK MOVE is way more potent than her GMDB800. But we're not exactly talking apples to apples here. My watch starts at $399, while her glorified step tracker clocks in at just $99. I wouldn't expect such performance levels and technology to come with a price tag ¼ the cost of my G-SHOCK MOVE.

However, it does raise the question, if G-SHOCK can offer such a robust sports watch for men, why doesn't it offer something similar for women?

Vivi had no problem occasionally wearing my G-SHOCK MOVE, though it did look like a hockey puck on her wrist. The various sensors and chips in the G-SHOCK MOVE are surely adaptable to a smaller case size or shape (hey, if Apple can do it…).

Her: While the functionalities of the G-SHOCK GMDB800 were excellent and helpful, I couldn't help but be terribly envious of Josh's G-SHOCK MOVE. Though significantly more expensive than mine, his watch had a heart rate monitor and stats about his every activity and even an altimeter to help him track his vertical exertions!

Since I go to the gym a bit more than Josh, I borrowed his watch a couple of times to test its functionalities. And yes, I felt his G-SHOCK MOVE was more suited to my fitness objectives than the GMDB800. The G-SHOCK MOVE is the closest thing Casio has to a Fitbit, and I found it very functional.

I asked G-SHOCK when they would be making something similar for the ladies, and they said as soon as the technology allows it. Meanwhile, I'll be wearing Josh's when he's not looking!

Pricing And Availability

The G-SHOCK MOVE GBDH1000-1A7 is priced at $399 and available from G-SHOCK’s website.

The G-SHOCK GMDB800 is priced at $99 and available on G-SHOCK’s website.

(Photography by Liam O'Donnell)

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