Watch out Fitbit: these new-look affordable G-Shocks might make digital watches cool again

Casio's G-Shock G-SQUAD fitness watch
(Image credit: Casio G-Shock)

Casio G-Shock has revamped its digital G-SQUAD running watch and G-LIDE surf watch lines with brand new looks.

The newest additions to the G-SQUAD line, or the GBD-200 series to use its less catchy name, come in new gray (200UU-9, pictured above) and black (200UU-1, pictured below) colorways.

The GBD-200 series are digital fitness watches that do offer Bluetooth connectivity to the G-Shock Move app, without being a fully-fledged smartwatch. It's engineered to track your steps and running pace, times and calories burned, as well as interval workouts.

However, it doesn't offer sleep tracking, constant heart rate updates, or notifications: it's a slimmed-down experience for runners who don't want to feel constantly connected or prefer an old-school-cool aesthetic, rather than the flat black screen of a smartwatch on their wrists. It's also packing a huge seven-year battery life, combined with G-Shock's legendary durability with mineral glass, stainless steel, and a resin band.

Both models are currently available in Japan and are due to arrive in other markets this month: there's no word on pricing in the US and UK, but Australian G-Shock fans can pre-order them now for AU$319, in line with the rest of the G-SQUAD range. With this in mind, US and UK buyers could probably expect to pick them up for US$149 and £139, respectively.

G-Shock G-Squad

(Image credit: Casio G-Shock)

The Casio G-LIDE models seen below also sport new, summery colorways, with the bright orange GLX-5600RT-4 and yellow GLX-5600RT-9.

Tailor-made for surfers, they share much of the same features as the G-SQUAD watches above, including the sturdy construction, seven-year battery life and Bluetooth link.

Rather than all those running metrics, the G-LIDE models offer the ability to set your location at almost any of the world's major surfing locations. From there, the G-LIDE will give you a graph of the moon's position, sunrise, sunset and tide times, displaying the info on your watch to help guide your surf sessions. It will also track your workouts, with distances traveled, length, and time.

Both new models, currently available in Japan, are also set to arrive with the above G-SQUAD models in May. No pre-order information is available just yet, but we're expecting the new G-LIDEs to closely match the prices of the range's current models: US$160, £149, and AU$399.

Casio's G-Shock G-LIDE fitness watch

(Image credit: Casio G-Shock)

Analysis: Old-school cool

G-Shock's digital activity watches already have a dedicated following amongst trendsetters, but they can often be overpriced compared to smartwatches that truly seem to do it all.

However, there's a bit of a movement afoot, and many people seem torn between a growing backlash against the need to turn every aspect of our lives into data, and the usefulness of smart sports watches.

The G-SQUAD and G-LIDE ranges might be the solution: enough smart functionality to satisfy active users, without overloading you with too much information you can't use. The fact that each model in this range has around seven years of life, is incredibly durable, and can be picked up for less money than a Fitbit Charge 5, is the icing on the proverbial cake.

Cooler-looking and more durable than a plastic fitness tracker band, the G-SQUAD and G-LIDE watches are great-looking statement digital timepieces with plenty of smarts. Just not too many.

Matt Evans
Fitness, Wellness, and Wearables Editor

Matt is TechRadar's expert on all things fitness, wellness and wearable tech. A former staffer at Men's Health, he holds a Master's Degree in journalism from Cardiff and has written for brands like Runner's World, Women's Health, Men's Fitness, LiveScience and Fit&Well on everything fitness tech, exercise, nutrition and mental wellbeing.

Matt's a keen runner, ex-kickboxer, not averse to the odd yoga flow, and insists everyone should stretch every morning. When he’s not training or writing about health and fitness, he can be found reading doorstop-thick fantasy books with lots of fictional maps in them.