Strictly speaking, Casio's G-Shock GBA-400 G'Mix is not a smartwatch.
But it has Bluetooth and can be used to change the music tracks and adjust the volume on your smartphone.
The device looks like a conventional G-Shock wristwatch with analogue movement. It comes in red (version tested), blue, black with a silver face, and black with a gold face. With its striking "fire engine" red case, silver face and red/silver minute and hour hands, the red version looks the best.
There are three buttons on the watch's left side. On the right side, there are two more and a small dial known as the Rotary Switch.
On the watch face, there are two horizontal screens. The top screen displays the date and day, while the bottom screen shows the time in digital format.
Between the screens, a sleek silver disc rotates to indicate whether Bluetooth is on or off.
To turn on Bluetooth, hold down the middle button on the left for 1sec. You need to have the G-Shock+ app or the G'Mix app installed on your Android or iOS smartphone (selected models) to pair the devices.
I paired the watch with my iPhone 6 Plus and had no issues, even though the smartphone is not officially supported.
You can use the G-Shock+ app to sync your smartphone's time and date with the watch's, and to set alarms and timers. It also allows you to set up the watch as a phone finder.
When it is set, press the bottom button on the right of the watch and your smartphone will sound to help you locate it.
While you can use the G-Shock+ app as a music player, it will prompt you to use the G'Mix app to do so instead.
The G'Mix app is designed exclusively for the watch and provides more music options. It lets you configure equaliser settings, as well as search for the title of a song using the Soundhound feature.
You use the top button on the watch's left to search for music. I was surprised that Soundhound was able to identify several Mandarin and Korean songs correctly.
When the smartphone is playing music using the G'Mix app, the title of the tune will scroll across the top screen on the watch face. To play or pause the song, press the bottom button on the watch's left side.
To access the Song, Equaliser or Volume functions, use the right bottom button and the Rotary Switch. For example, press the right button to toggle to the Song function, then change tracks by turning the Rotary Switch.
Although GBA-400 may not have the full features of a smartwatch, it is shock-resistant, vibration-resistant, and water-resistant down to 200m.
At $269, it costs considerably less than full-fledged smartwatches - LG's G Watch R ($398) and Samsung's Galaxy Gear S ($498) - which have touchscreen displays but none of the GBA-400's ruggedness.
Unlike some smartwatches that need to be charged every few days, this one is supposed to be good for two years if you use Bluetooth for no more than two hours a day.
As Bluetooth is for controlling music and it disconnects automatically when it is idle for an hour (the idle period can be set at up to two hours), the battery should last quite a while.
The Casio G-Shock GBA-400 G'Mix has limited "smart" features, but the stylish and rugged timepiece is great value for money.
Water resistance: 200m
Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0
Compatibility: Apple iPhone 4s/5/5s (iOS 7 or later), Samsung Galaxy S4 (Android 4.3 or later), S5 (Android 4.4) and Note 3 (Android 4.3 or later)
Value for money 5/5
Battery life 5/5
This article was first published on Jan 14, 2015.
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