Casio G-Shock GBX6900B-1 Bluetooth V2 Review

I've always been baffled at the lack of coverage Casio's Bluetooth watches have gotten in F17. I realize G-Shock makes a lot of cool stuff, but as far as looking towards the future, "Smart watches" are the next logical extension in the continued existence of watches. Like many other members though, I much prefer my smart watch to be an actual watch instead of a tiny computer. With the release of the second-generation bluetooth watches (GB6900B, GBX6900B, GB5600B) with two way controls, Casio has gotten closer to getting things right. They're not perfect but they're a good start. I'll be dividing this review into three sections: the watch itself, the app (from an iOS standoint) and the bluetooth connectivity.

I've got fairly large wrists, so I decided to spring for the large-case GBX6900. Based off of the new GDX6900 large-case version of the classic GD/GW6900 watches, the GBX shares the case shape with the GDX but not the screen layout. Instead of the three dials at the top, there's a "dot matrix" display in the upper right for text display and a oval-ish eye on the top left with segmented second markers and a Bluetooth-on indictator in the center.

Judged just on the watches features alone, the GBX6900 is a winner. The hit list is here for a modern digital watch: it's got a super-bright LED backlight, which is pretty great. Selectable duration in 1.5 or 3 second intervals, as well as auto-illumination that shuts off after 6 hours. One annoying flaw: I've noticed the LED backlight "flickers" whenever Bluetooth is turned on, regardless if it's actually connected to the phone or not. Other owners have noticed this as well so it's not unusual, but considering the huge LiIon battery this thing comes with, it should have enough voltage to run both smoothly at the same time. Bluetooth off, no flicker, super visible. I won't cry myself to sleep over this - I set it to 1.5 seconds LT on with Bluetooth off at night. I don't want it buzzing or whatever when I'm sleeping anyway. Just odd.

World time has 100 City Codes (35 time zones + UTC) with selectable DST. The countdown timer has a 99:99.99 capacity that is settable to the second(!). Although I never use the stopwatch (or at least hardly ever) it has a 1,000hr 1/100th stopwatch with split, cumulative and ET. The current time is visible with the ALM, STW, CTRL, and TMR modes, but not in WT.

As far as time keeping goes (and let's remember, this is a watch!) the GBX6900 differs from other G-Shocks in that's it's neither stand-alone (manual) or atomic: the time can be set automatically off of "carrier time." This is the time & date info that your cell phone carrier sends to your phone. It's not perfect but it's close enough, and it automatically syncs the time every time you connect ("pair") the watch to your phone. Using Emerald Time (an app which determines the most possibly accurate time by averaging time dating from four different carrier towers), the carrier time in my area runs +.508 to +.604 seconds fast. I'm a mechanic not a pilot or train conductor, so I can live with that! It's very convenient too. Without sync the watch is rated at +/- 15s per month, the standard for Casio Quartz it seems.
As far as the form factor goes, it's your typical resin band with a single prong buckle and a single rubber keeper. I keep wanting to get a watch with a dual prong and it keeps not happening, harrumph! I'm not a stickler for dimensions but if you are, here they are for reference: 57.5 x 53.9 x 20.4mm / 82g as per the casio site. It's a plate-type caseback with four screws, and a whole lot more markings than your usual caseback due to the Bluetooth connectivity. It also labels the buttons for reference with "music control."

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