Most of these features are quite useful, especially the ability to control the watch’s features from an app within the phone. It can sometimes be cumbersome to fiddle with watch menus to set your world time or set an alarm. Being able to perform these tasks via your phone is a novel and welcome feature set that Casio calls “two-way operability.” Little things like being able to tap your G-Shock watch to silence an incoming call is also a useful feature if your phone is tucked away. One feature however missing is the ability to get caller ID data on the watch screen or to read incoming text message. This is a limitation of the G-Shock screen style, and perhaps something Casio will address in the future.
Some of the features are either iPhone or Android specific. Unlike Citizen’s Proximity Bluetooth watch (reviewed here) which was iPhone only, the G-Shock GB-6900B and GB-X6900B watches are designed to work with either iPhone or Android phone operating systems. Casio is working on a list of compatible phones, but so far the new G-Shock Bluetooth watches are said to work with iPhone 5, 4S, and Samsung Galaxy S4 devices. In order to control the G-Shock watch via Bluetooth from your phone, Casio will release an updated app (on both the App Store and Google Play Store) called “G-SHOCK+” that they claim will be available when the watches are commercially released. The G-SHOCK+ app already exists for the previous generation G-Shock Bluetooth watches including the GB-6900AB and GB-5600AB watches.
With a claimed two year battery life and an admirable set of features, the updated G-Shock Bluetooth watches are certainly a step in the right direction. It is very likely that many existing G-Shock wearers will pick up one of these in order to enjoy the additional functionality. It is true that Bluetooth connections via watches and phones can be spotty at best but Casio is said to be among the best when it comes to optimizing pairing of devices.
So now let’s discuss the overall design of the new pieces. Casio has kept the classic G-Shock look as a frame for the new watches that merely build upon the design of the previous GB-6900 collection. The layout of the dial has been changed with the logical addition of a dedicate Bluetooth status indicator window, as well as a separate window for incoming phone alerts. The largest area of the watch dial is thankfully reserved for traditional watch functions. Note that Casio offers both standard and negative (darker) LCD screen options depending on the style of the watch.
The new collection also comes in two sizes for a change. The G-Shock GB-6900B comes in a 53.2mm wide case, while the GB-X6900B will have a 57.5mm wide case. Each of the models has its own color variations, with four for the GB-6900B (including the black GB-6900B-1, black with negative display GB-6900B-1B, gray and gold GB-6900B-3, and white GB-6900B-7), and three colors for the GB-X6900B (including the black GB-X6900B-1, blue GB-X6900B-2, and red GB-X6900B-4).
Price and availability aren’t clear yet, but Casio will likely released the new G-Shock Bluetooth collection in the early to mid-fall perhaps as early as September. We anticipate a price of about $200 for the watches. For more information visit Casio’s G-Shock Bluetooth page. gshock.com
Specifications: G-Shock GB-6900B and GB-X6900B
Water Resistance: 200 meters
Communication Standard: Bluetooth® v4.0
Signal Range: Up to 2m (may differ depending on surrounding conditions)
-World Time 100 cities (35 time zones, daylight saving on/off) and Coordinated Universal Time (UTC)
-Alarm 5 daily alarms or one-time alarms (with 1 snooze alarm), hourly time signal
-Stopwatch 1/100-second; measuring capacity:999:59’59.99″;
-elapsed time, split time, 1st and 2nd place time
-Timer Setting accuracy: 1 second; 100-hour maximum per set; unit of measure: 1/10-second
-Light LED backlight (super illuminator and afterglow); auto light switch; selectable illumination duration: 1.5 or 3.0 seconds
-Mobile link; vibe alert; tap function; full auto-calendar, 12/24-hour format; button operation tone on/off; low battery warning; power-saving function, mobile Link turns off automatically after a fixed amount of time to save power
Accuracy at Normal Temperature: ±15 seconds per month
Approx. Battery Life: Approx. 2 years on CR2032, assuming Mobile link used 12 hours per day
Size of Case: GB-6900B: 53.2×50.0×18.7mm, GB-X6900B: 57.5×53.9×20.4mm
Total Weight: GB-6900B-1B/GB-6900B-3/GB-6900B-7: Approx. 65g, GB-6900B-1: Approx. 70g, GB-X6900B: Approx. 82g