It’s summertime and, depending on where you live in the world, that could mean a lot of time spent in the water. If you are lucky, then water means the ocean. Anyone who spends enough time at the beach implicitly knows that their experience will vary depending on the tides, and if they are a surfer, their entire enjoyment depends on tracking the tides. Tide chart watches aren’t anything new. Casio and a slew of other digital watchmakers have been playing with a variety of tide chart watches for a while. Even the luxury names have played with mechanical tide charts or moon phase indicators specifically designed for being around the ocean. That said, the most effective tide chart watches are digital, and if they can be married to relevant data available via the Internet, then all the better.
This sets the stage for Casio’s newly updated G-Shock G-Lide watch collection (GBX100 family) whose beautiful new form includes both a new screen and a new operating system that has Bluetooth connectivity. It isn’t a full-on smartwatch, as it doesn’t need to be re-charged regularly, and it doesn’t have a lot of applications running on it, but it marries the best of what the G-Lide has to offer with modern connectivity and features that consumers expect.
This is the third Casio product I have reviewed that includes the Japanese company’s still-fresh updated operating system that features a more detailed MIP (memory in every pixel) LCD screen, along with an operating system entirely different from what is running on classic G-Shock devices. This operating system is tweaked a bit for each device it is on, and in the G-Lide GBX100 includes some special screens for the tide charts and moon phase information. G-Lide watches are a subset of the G-Shock family designed mainly for surfers and other people who do in-ocean sports, including swimmers, kayakers, snorkelers, boogie boarders, etc…
Casio did a surprisingly good job making the G-Lide look really attractive. They opted for a more angular, squared look with a metal bezel and a pleasantly symmetrical shape. Here we have the G-Lide reference GBX100-2, which has an aquamarine-colored resin case (vented for water to escape from the strap and under the watch) and is water-resistant to 200 meters. The case is 46mm-wide, 50.9mm lug-to-lug, and 14.7mm-thick. It weights just 66 grams. This is actually one of the more diminutive of the modern G-Shock devices, and even though it has a dedicated marine theme, you can easily wear it on a daily basis given its practicality and good looks.
The module 3482 quartz movement inside the watch is new; the only downside is that there is no solar power-generation in this model, though it does contain a standard CR2032 cell battery that is said to have a two-year average life. The watch has both Bluetooth connectivity and a built-in step counter (pedometer), so this watch can actually function as an activity tracker when used in conjunction with the G-Shock Move smartphone app. That said, the Casio G-Shock Move GBDH1000 is the model family to get if you want most of what the GBX100 has, but with a heart rate monitor and GPS. That makes it the more full-featured activity tracker device.
One of the good things about the companion app is that it lets you do simple things like update the time zone or set the alarms on the GBX100 watch from your phone. You can also do more precise things to set your local beach for time chart data. The app has a series of pre-loaded popular beaches, but you can manually enter the coordinates and related location data of different beaches. Unfortunately, this process is a bit cumbersome, and I wish the G-Shock Move app simply let you drop a pin on a map and get the tide data for that exact spot. This isn’t a ding on the watch itself, as the app is separate and can theoretically be updated in the near future.
Pressing the button labeled “LAP” allows you to access the various tide data watch faces. Each is logical and easy to read, but you need to know what you are looking at. Casio has never been good about teaching novices how to use tide chart data, to begin with. It would be really nice if the G-Shock Move app contained small tutorials on how to use the available data if you aren’t yet accustomed to how to interpret that data.
For the money, the new generation G-Lide is a lot of watch. It costs barely more than last generation’s devices and adds a long list of new features, along with a great new style. Casio will likely end up making the G-Lide GBX100 in a series of styles on top of the three launch models, including this aquamarine-colored reference GBX100-2. This is yet another strong new Casio product from the famed Japanese watchmaker that has really been on a roll with its new watches. Price for the Casio G-Shock G-Lide GBX100 watch is $160 USD. Learn more at the G-Shock website here.