For early 2024, Casio returns to one of my favorite G-Shock collections with a new Master of G Rangeman GPR-H1000 hybrid smartwatch family. This is an exciting product that merges several important collections and technologies from Casio into one item. At the same time, the new Rangeman is a durable G-Shock and a sophisticated activity tracker, a satisfying hybrid between a smartwatch and a more traditional G-Shock device. Technology-wise, the GPR-H1000 is most closely related to Casio’s G-Shock Move GBD-H2000 but thematically is a refinement and follow-up to Casio’s massively ambitious G-Shock Rangeman GPR-B1000 watch from 2018. At the time, Casio was just launching a new generation of G-Shock operating systems that were still in an earlier, clunkier form. That said, the release of the GPR-B1000 made it clear that Casio was intent on advancing the functional possibilities of high-end and entry-level G-Shock timepieces alike. We have seen versions of this newer operating system in under-$200 G-Shock products, as well as more advanced watches like the Rangeman GPR-H1000 that are just brimming with features and potential.
One of the most important questions to answer right now is perhaps why this G-Shock Rangeman GPR-H1000 costs $100 retail more than the GBD-H2000. They more or less have the same internal hardware and are both G-Shock tough. The GPR-H1000 is larger and uses Casio’s Mudmaster case technology, which means that it is more mud and dust-resistant (especially in the pushers, of which the case has five) than the slimmer GBD-H2000. There are also some very minor software differences, such as the inclusion of a tide chart functionality in the Rangeman. However, it is easy to share software functionality like that between devices if Casio had wanted to. The major difference for most people will be style. Are you looking for a more svelte workout-style watch (the G-Shock Move might be best), or are you looking for advanced features in an otherwise traditional (manly and modern) macho G-Shock package such as you’ll find in the new Rangeman? Certainly, the styling and coloring of the G-Shock Rangeman are more masculine and aggressive than that of the G-Shock Move.
Weighing 92 grams (about 25 more grams than the G-Shock Move), the GPR-H1000 is 53.2mm wide, 20.3mm thick, and has a 60.6mm lug-to-lug distance with 200 meters of water resistance. The screen has a mineral crystal over it. This version of the new G-Shock Rangeman is the reference GRP-H1000-9, which comes in a bold yellow color. G-Shock also offers the new Rangeman as the GPR-H1000-1 in black resin (with some minor yellow accents). This watch features a modern MIP (memory in pixel) screen that offers high contrast with low power consumption. There is an LED-based backlight for reading the dial information in the dark.
Like the 2018 Rangeman, and watches the brand has released since then, the Rangeman GPR-H1000 features both Tough Solar changing and the ability to connect the watch to a USB charger. The solar charging does give you an appreciable boost, and if you rarely use the tracking functions while getting a decent amount of sunlight on the watch per day, you probably never need to charge it. Even when using power-hungry features, the watch’s battery is pretty decent. I would say that unless you are constantly using GPS and heart rate monitoring (two important features in the watch), you can get away with charging the Rangeman every couple of weeks.
As a gadget lover, what excites me about the Casio GPR-H1000 is the sheer number of functions and sensors it carries. Between built-in sensors and the data it is able to collect from your smartphone, there are simply a lot of useful (and experimental) things that this watch can do that leave traditional G-Shock watches in the dust. The watch features everything from a system to measure blood oxygen levels (the feature that recently got Apple in trouble with the Apple Watch, though I don’t know if Casio uses the exact same technology) to offering a breathing exercise feature. Even if you don’t regularly use the activity tracking features, being able to know your current heart rate and related fitness information is useful. The watch, of course, features classic Casio onboard sensors including a compass, altimeter, barometer, and thermometer, as well as features like a sunrise/sunset indicator that benefits from some of the smartwatch functionality (such as knowing where you are in the world).
Even though the GPR-H1000 is set up to connect to a smartphone via Bluetooth, the smartwatch functionality can be very limited or even non-existent. I personally didn’t want my Rangeman sending me email and text message notifications, so I turned that feature off. However, I did want to connect it to the phone so that the time and other information could be easily updated. Casio nevertheless designed the operating system to make the Bluetooth phone connection optional (not really the case with many smartwatches). Thus, you can use a great number of the watch’s features even if you don’t connect it to the companion Casio Watch app. Note that my understanding is that even if you aren’t using a companion smartphone, the GPR-H1000’s time can be updated (without knowing the precise time) by using time/date signals it can receive from its GPS radio antenna.
What I personally like the most about the new Rangeman GPR-H1000 is that it offers the current best of two different G-Shock worlds. The first is Casio’s latest operating system environment and the expanded features and tools that come with it. I certainly have to spend more time with some of these tools, but I already know that going from a watch like the GPR-H1000 back to a more legacy-style G-Shock (especially those without Bluetooth) can be a bit jarring. Second is the style and durability. Many (though not all) of Casio’s more modern G-Shocks with the MIP screen and Bluetooth connectivity feature a more urban, active design ethos. It is nice, but not for everyone, especially those who want their G-Shock to be a wristwatch equivalent of a pick-up truck. For those wearers, the tough looks and bold wearing dimensions of the Rangeman GPR-H1000 will make it a winning choice compared to something in the G-Shock Move collection. Where Casio goes from here, however, is an open question. Will these new MIP screen-based hybrid smartwatch modules be used in a larger variety of G-Shock styles? Will there be metal versions soon? Or will Casio instead keep the new operating system to a relatively modest number of SKUs as the company continues to slowly work on this newer system and all of its various features (many of which will require more refinements and updates over time)? We aren’t quite sure, but what we do know is that, slowly but surely, the number of these “next generation” G-Shock watches is increasing in Casio’s product catalog.
One significance of yellow is that it is the second color Casio produced the G-Shock in after its original black color. Casio also mentions that the Rangeman GPR-H1000 is produced from its “bio-based resin,” which I believe just means the polymer uses something like castor bean oil as opposed to petroleum derivatives. What I also like about the yellow version of the new Rangeman is that you can more easily admire the various case and strap details, which are quite cool. In the future, I hope Casio puts a bit more effort into making the available dial options for the watch more visually interesting and playful. With a lot more pixels to work with, Casio could easily design some rather wild dial options for this operating system. While there is more than one choice, I would not say that playful or attractive is what Casio is currently going for with its digital faces. Right now, the software engineers still seem to be focused on legibility and core functionality. That makes sense, as you have to design something to work well first before you invest your time into making it pretty. The problem with software is that it never stops needing updating and refining. With this in mind, perhaps another team at Casio could make some spirited digital watch dials that match the legendary coolness of G-Shock watch case exteriors.
A serious athlete or adventuring professional could probably rely on the new Rangeman GPR-H1000 for a variety of safety and performance uses. Casual users can certainly make use of the robust activity tracking features, as well as the wide array of data and tools made available in this watch. I’m actually quite curious to know from owners of these newer generation higher-tech G-Shocks, and what features and uses they most get out of them. Price for the “Master Of G” Casio G-Shock Rangeman GPR-H1000-9 watch is $500 USD. Learn more at the Casio website.