If you're tired of samey smartwatches, Casio has a solution: a trio of new G-Shock wearables with looks 'inspired by virtual reality'. The Virtual World lineup all feature black bezels and bands, with Blade Runner-style blue and violet accents.
Casio has branched out into smartwatches in recent years (the titanium-clad G-Shock Pro, for example, runs Google Wear OS), but the Virtual World lineup stick to the company's roots with a basic set of features including a stopwatch, alarms, world time, and a calendar. No apps or biometrics here.
They are, however, seriously tough. The GA2100VB-1A (opens in new tab) has a thin case with a carbon core guard structure that protects its internal module from shock-related damage. The GA700VB-1A (opens in new tab) and GA900VB-1A (opens in new tab), meanwhile, get their protection from seriously chunky resin cases topped with mineral glass. All three are water resistant to 200m.
They're also far less expensive than a typical smartwatch, with the GA2100VB-1A priced at $99 (about £70 / AU$130), the GA700VB-1A at $110 (about £80 / AU$150), and the GA900VB-1A at $140 (about £100 / AU$190). They will be available to buy from mid-November online, at Casio's Soho store, and from a selection of third-party retailers.
Analysis: A 'dumb' watch is a smart choice
Every year, Tim Cook whisks the cloth off a new Apple Watch, Samsung unveils several new takes on its Galaxy wearable, and the likes of Honor and Mobvoi reveal their latest smart timepieces. We're all spoilt for choice, with a smartwatch for every occasion, but there are lots of good reasons to invest in a 'dumb' watch instead.
For starters, it's far cheaper. Casio's new retro-futuristic G-Shock lineup look great, and are a fraction of the price of most smartwatches. $100 smartwatches certainly exist, but they're often tough to recommend due to poor performance and weak design.
Smartwatches rarely push the boat out when it comes to looks, whereas companies like Casio aren't afraid to stretch their creative muscles. In recent years we've seen a G-Shock inspired by volcanic lightning, a sporty model that borrows design cues from car components, and an outdoorsy number (opens in new tab) intended to evoke the feeling of "exploring an unknown coast". They won't all be to everyone's taste, but they're much more interesting than yet another steel rectangle on a strip of silicone.
Finally, a more conventional will last longer. Not only are most smartwatches less rugged than a carbon core-equipped G-Shock (the Apple Watch 7 is tougher than any of its predecessors, but is only water resistant to 50 meters), it's only a matter of time before they're no longer supported by their manufacturers.
Most companies support their watches for around four to five years, but if you're willing to forego the smarts, there's no need to worry about software. A stopwatch might not be the most impressive tool you can have on your wrist, but you'll never need to download an update for it.
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