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New geek toy – Casio GB-X6900B (2013 model) G-Shock

Posted by Madbot on Sep 22, 2013 in Japan, Madbot Madness, Techno

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Madbot says:

With all the talk about wearable tech and smart watch from Samsung, Sony, and Apple, there was already a number of smart watches on the market. One is by non other than my childhood favorite,Casio.

Casio released their bluetooth enabled watch in 2012 under the G-Shock line. Instead of the pitiful battery life of other smart watches where they barely last a single day, the Casio units boast battery life of up to 2 years. Impressive, right? The key difference is the Casio units do not have a full graphical screen like the others. Casio therefore avoids the “smart watch” tag and calls these simply “bluetooth enabled” watches.

The pre-ordered unit GB-X6900B arrived this morning and setup, while far from being intuitive, was completed without too much pain. The watch pairs with either Android or iPhone via bluetooth and the G-Shock app.

This 2013 version offer some extras over the original 2012 model. Functions include:
– Notifications (as in watch beep and vibration) when the phone receives a call, email, or social network (Facebook, Twitter, etc) notifications,
– Music control. Forward, back, play/pause via 3 of the 4 watch buttons. Can also map volume up/down if you prefer. Each button can be remapped to different function via the app.
– Phone finder. Misplaced your phone but the watch is still connected? Trigger the phone finder on the watch and your phone will make itself known by screaming blue murder.
– Link alert. Watch notifies you if phone becomes out of range, eg., if you’re about to accidentally leave your phone (or watch) behind.

Android phones get the additional ability of SMS notifications. iPhone does not appear to allowed this. Email notification is “dicky” as it’s not done by the phone mail client. Instead, you configure email accounts in the G-Shock app and the app logs into the mail account periodically to check if you have a new mail. Hope Apple stop being a dick and loosen up the restriction soon. My iPhone 5 would really appreciate this. Thanks!

While out and about on the bike this afternoon, the bluetooth enabled watch became useful quite a few times. It reminded the wife of her nail appointment was coming up while we were at lunch via our shared calendar. Notified me of a couple of Facebook notifications that were mildly amusing – although I turned it off after the 3rd time. The most useful part of all, it vibrated away when the wife rang. The phone was in my pocket or in the bike pouch – without the watch vibrating (I turned off the beeping) I would not have heard the phone ring and then end up in tons of trouble with the good wife.

This function will be most useful at work (on the few occasions when I wear it in to the conservative setting..) where the phone stays in silent mode most of the time. Wife is already suggesting I wear it even at home.

Oh, and the watch looks fantastic..! The usual G-Shock look that is chunky, techie and the big G symbol remind me of Gatchaman (aka. Battle of planets or science ninja team). Wearing it secretly satisfies my childhood fantasy.. ;-). The wife doesn’t share my enthusiasm but she tolerated it and was glad I don’t plan on talking into the watch, Dick Tracey style.

Pre-Ordered via Amazon Japan for around US$150. The other model GB-6900B is a smaller and cheaper version with the same functions. Each model comes in 3 color variations different for each model.

Update: The phone finder can play a song on the phone or a number of sound effects regardless of silent mode setting. While it’s going off, you can double tap the watch face to stop the sound. Unfortunately the tapping aspect is not working for me. Need to press a button to stop phone finder. Could this be a bad unit..?

Update 2: Received a replacement unit from Amazon JP and still the same problem – no tapping. This got me thinking more.. And the result is: the manual is wrong. The manual says you tap the screen, but if you follow it, nothing actually happens. Instead, tap on the face frame and magically, it works! The tapping needs more force than you would expect, say compared to an iPhone with touch screen. It’s ok to be tough – this is a G-Shock after all. I am guessing the tapping triggers the same movement detector used to put the watch in power saving mode – since the watch face is not a touch screen.

Now to return the replacement.

Update 3: Updated to iOS 7.02 this morning and the watch no longer connects with the iPhone. The app shows “searching” for the watch. But when the app tries to “connect” to the watch, the bluetooth symbol flashes as if it’s connecting, and then drops out. It then does this in a loop while the watch gives up and shuts off its bluetooth. Tried deleting the partnership in the app, restart the phone, etc and nothing worked. In the end, here is how I got it to work:

1. In G-Shock app, delete partnership.
2. On iPhone, go into Settings/bluetooth. Delete any watch partnerships. There should be one.
3. Restart iphone.
4. After iPhone starts up, go back into G-Shock app to connect the watch. iPhone will ask you for confirmation, say yes. That should be it!

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