What are G-Shocks good for, and what aren’t they good for? With over 330 variants to choose from, what is the best Gshock anyway?
For this G-shock review, I’ll do my best to answer those questions without mincing words. We’ll be taking a broader look at the whole G-shock range along with some specific recommendations so you can get a solid idea of what G-Shocks are all about.
In a nut-shell, G-shocks are rugged yet affordable timepieces designed for demanding outdoor pursuits and hard-use professional applications like military, scuba diving, and law enforcement.
On the other hand, G-shock watches are neither subtle, luxurious nor “smart.” They are ruthlessly utilitarian and some models can be downright ugly and bulky.
In This G-Shock Review:
What is the Best G-Shock Watch?
Top Pick: Master of G Rangeman(Original)
While opinions obviously vary, the best and most respected G-Shock watches are from the pro-level Master of G series of which, I think the best G-SHOCK is the Rangeman- See my hands-on review)
The Master of G Rangeman is easily one of the most respected and practical G-Shocks in the lineup. It offers an impressive feature-set at a bargain price-point.
As an owner of the Rangeman, I can vouch for this watch’s stellar capabilities and reputation.
Feature-set: Tough Solar charging, Waterproof(200m/20bar), No moving parts(all digital), atomic radio signal time syncing, Compass(with magnetic deviation), Barometer(instant, graphed & alerts), Altimeter(instant & graphed) Thermometer, World time, Sunrise/Sunset prediction, timers, alarms, back-lit(auto-backlight mode)
That’s a heck of a lot of features for a watch that only costs around $250.
The Rangeman really hits the sweet-spot of G-Shocks lineup. With its practical features, durability and price-point, it represents the best of what G-shocks are meant to be.
Suffice to say, the Rangeman is a “hand’s down” top contender if you’re looking for the best G-Shock.
Beware: Skip the newest generation of the Rangeman(affiliate link). It offers GPS and Bluetooth connectivity but it costs 3x more, the battery life is shortened and you still need your smartphone handy to view the GPS points on a map…something your smartphone already does natively.
How Much Do G-Shock Watches Cost?
Since the G-Shock family is so huge, G-Shocks prices vary wildly: anywhere from $80-$9000! I know that’s not really a helpful answer so I’ve broken down how much G-Shocks cost for each series below.
You can often get G-Shocks much cheaper on Amazon (but not always) Supply and demand can often push the price higher than retail especially if it’s a discontinued model.
To get a better idea, you can use the links below to check the latest prices on Amazon:
Note: Prices are ball-park only and based on an audit of Casio’s list pricing from their official website(Amazon Affiliate Links).
- Women’s Baby G: ~$80-220 (28 models)
- Women’s G-Ms.: ~$170-220 (9 styles)
- Women’s S: ~ $100-130 (24 styles)
- 7 Lucky Gods: $120-170 (7 styles)
- Analogue/Digital: $100-950 (108 styles)
- Digital: ~$99-1200 (68 styles)
- G-Steel: ~$250-700 (21 styles)
- Gorrilaz X: ~$99-170 (7 styles)
- Limited Editions: ~$99-1800+
- Master of G: ~ $250-1000 (17 styles)
- Mr. G: ~$2600-7600+ (7 styles)
- MT-G: ~$800-1000+(6 styles)
Are G-Shocks Water Proof?
Yes, G-Shocks are waterproof down to 20 bar(200meters). That’s plenty good enough for skin-diving and snorkeling. However, that doesn’t mean you should be goofing around and pressing buttons at deep depths.
If you want a fully functioning professional dive-watch then go with the Master of G Frogman(affiliate link) with which you may press all the buttons you want at full depth.
A Brief History of G-Shock Watches
Casio introduced the G-Shock line of ruggedized watches back in 1983. Their goal was to produce a tough yet affordable watch that could withstand jarring shocks and had a battery life of at least 10 years. The name G-Shock is short for “Gravitational Shock.”
It’s worth noting that the first G-Shocks were all digital, not analog. This is key because a digital watch has no moving parts and is therefore far less susceptible to mechanical failure or damage in extreme environments.
Nowadays most G-Shocks are analog-digital combinations. They look nice but if you really want the most durable G-shocks stick with an all-digital version.
G-Shocks have become iconic for more than just durability. They are now legit fashion accessories. There are now over 330 G-Shock models available(as of publishing).
I find that many choices to be overkill and a bit annoying.
As a utilitarian by nature. Looks are secondary to functionality for me and wading through that many choices muddies the water. It makes it really hard to sift out the best…kind of like a restaurant menu with too many choices.
I must admit, that most people aren’t like me. The vast majority of watch buyers these days are looking for a fashion accessory.
I get it, Casio is catering to that heavy consumer demand. I’m just thankful that they still make tough watches.
What Are G-Shocks Not Good for?
I promised you I’d be brutally honest in this G-Shock review. There are several downsides to G-Shocks that don’t often get discussed.
G-Shocks Are Not Good Smart Watches
G-shocks are tough and practical…but they aren’t smart. A few models like the new Rangeman offer GPS and Bluetooth capability but it drastically affects battery life and you still need a smartphone pair with it for full functionality.
I don’t see the point. Lame.
It all feels reminiscent of when Coca-cola tried to change their perfectly good recipe for no good reason.
Casio, if you’re listening, don’t kill the original Rangeman!
Some G-Shocks do offer a level of ‘smartness” via onboard sensors like an altimeter, barometer, thermometer, tide charts etc.
However, in my opinion, Casio shouldn’t even be trying to make G-Shocks into smartwatches. I’m worried that they are headed that way and it will undermine the very reason G-Shocks exist:
G-shocks are designed to do one thing very well: survive the apocalypse.
Unless Casio can collaborate with Apple to create a ruggedized iWatch with indefinite battery life(solar charging?) and extreme water-resistance...then they should just stick to there guns and keep making tough timepieces.
If you want a ruggedized smartwatch, just get an iWatch and beef it up with a decent protector case like the SUPCASE (below)
G-Shocks are Not Really Formal Watches
G-Shocks, generally, are bold and bulky due to their extra armor. In fact, some models won’t even fit under long sleeves. They aren’t exactly the understated look you may be looking for at black-tie events.
Mercifully, since G-Shocks are generally very affordable you don’t have to feel bad about knocking them around.
A $7K Rolex Submariner, on the other hand, may be tough-as-nails, but who really wants to risk knicking or scratching it?
Casio has recently taken G-Shocks upmarket with the release of the MTG and Mr. G Series watches. With these eye-catching and refined models be prepared to pay from $900 to $7000 big ones.
G-Shock MTG Series
G-Shock Mr. G Series
G-Shocks are Obsolete Sports Watches
That statement may surprise some because for years G-Shocks were the go-to sports watch brand.
Sadly, this is a case of being buried in the dust by advancing technology. G-Shocks are dinosaurs compared to the wearable fitness trackers we have today.
Sad but true.
However, if all you want is a tough, traditional style sports watch than G-Shocks are a good option.
G-Shock’s smaller sports watches have found a new market as popular fashion accessories. There is still a pile of demand for them.
There are over 130 colors and styles available in the lady’s Baby-G series. No kidding, check out what I mean (affiliate) on Amazon.
What Are G-shock Watches Good For?
G-Shocks Are Easy on the Wallet (Generally)
I don’t care how tough a $2000 watch is. It’s too pretty and expensive to beat around.
This is what makes G-Shocks a really compelling value: you can beat the heck out of them without feeling bad about it.
As I mentioned, Casio does have some very expensive G-Shocks available. However, I would “tap out” at around the $300 mark with the Master of G series. It’s the sweet spot.
Anything more and you’re mainly just paying for looks and luxury rather than actual functionality.
G-Shocks Are Excellent Military/Tactical Watches
- It’s 0230. You’re on black-watch. When is sunrise?
- Behind enemy lines..which way is SSW?
- Your rendezvous with the chopper is set for 1320 Zulu. What local time is that in the central Saharan time zone where you are stationed?
The Master of G series was built for those scenarios in particular. The G-Shock line has done a masterful job of leading the way in professional field-operational timepieces.
Smartwatches are nice but they suffer from short battery life and are too delicate for extreme environments.
Master of G Series Features (Model Dependent)
- atomic radio time syncing
- solar charging
- dive depth
- world time
- sunrise/sunset, moon phase, and tide predictions.
G-Shocks are Great for Outdoor Pursuits
- Is that the top of the mountain or just another ledge? How much higher do we have to climb?
- Darkness catches you 2 miles out of camp in unfamiliar territory. You must navigate in the dark.
- Is the weather going to hold off for our summit bid?
- When is low tide so I can go clam digging and scavenge tidal pools?
Outdoor pursuits are definitely G-Shock’s forté. You’ll want to choose your G-shocks feature-set according to your specific outdoor activities. Casio has developed a number of application-specific models.
Suggested G-Shocks for:
- Snowboarders: Special Editions Burton Master of Gs(Amazon)
- Hikers, Survivalists & Preppers: Master of G Rangeman or Mudmaster(Amazon)
- Scuba: Master of G Frogman(Amazon)
- Boaters: Master of G Gulfmaster(Amazon)
- Pilots: Gravity Master Series(Amazon)
All of the above watches come with Casio’s “Tough Solar” charging system to keep your battery going for a long, long time.
G-Shocks are Manly
G-Shocks are probably the most masculine, tough-looking watches you can buy.
They aren’t “poser” watches either. The mid-range G-Shocks, especially, punch well above their “weight-class.” They are practically built like submarines. Those screws are real..dude! They aren’t fake facades.
Masculinity is being bashed pretty hard these days. G-Shocks have a way of saying “Shove off! Stop trying to change who I am, I’m not dangerous, I’m just tough!”
A hot summer’s drive. Arm out the window. I find myself glancing over at my G-Shock in the side-mirror as I tap the door to the beat of the music. Yup, it’s good to be a man..wild and free.”
Although G-Shocks lag behind in the “smart” revolution, they are still the industry standard for extreme hard-use watches. G-Shocks will outlast far more expensive watches(smart or traditional.)
Ultimately, the most compelling reason to buy a G-Shock is because you get “so much watch” for the price you pay.
These are no-nonsense watches. While they aren’t really “lookers,” I think G-Shocks excel at meeting the demand of their target market namely: rugged professional applications, extreme sports, and outdoor pursuits.
If you found this G-Shock review, helpful you may also be interested in the other rugged gear I review. Feel free to have a look around or subscribe below for updates on the latest tough products.