Wearables

Casio G-Shock Rangeman GPR-B1000: Rugged watch built like a tank

The Casio G-Shock Rangeman GPR-B1000 is probably the most souped-up model of the Rangeman series, renowned for its outdoor survival features.

Unlike previous Rangeman iterations, this watch - dubbed Rangeman Navi - comes with built-in GPS and Bluetooth connectivity. At the same time, it is still armed with Casio's Triple Sensor, which measures compass bearing, atmospheric pressure, altitude and temperature.

Being a G-Shock, it is shock-resistant, mud-resistant, water-resistant (to a depth of 200m) and can withstand temperatures as low as minus 20 deg C.

It uses sapphire glass on its circular watch face and has a ceramic backcase. Ceramic is used to enable GPS and Bluetooth signal reception, as well as wireless charging.

It uses Casio's Tough Solar high-capacity solar-charging system. However, it can also be charged via the included wireless charging cradle.

On a full charge, it can last 29 months, with its power-saving function turned on and without the use of GPS, according to Casio.

Built like a tank, the Rangeman Navi is ruggedly handsome. It drew compliments from the chicken rice seller at a coffee shop I was at recently.

  • SPECS

    PRICE: $1,199

    CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth

    WEIGHT: 142g

  • RATING

    FEATURES: 4/5

    DESIGN: 4/5

    PERFORMANCE: 3/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 5/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 2/5

    OVERALL: 3/5

This 2cm-thick watch has a huge 60mm watch case, with a circular solar panel encircling the monochrome LCD display. The bezels are made purposefully large and prominent to protect the front and buttons from shocks from at any angle.

There are two metallic buttons on its left - the top one for adjustments and bottom one for the modes and back function. On its right, there is a rotatable crown sandwiched between two metallic buttons.

With this button layout, navigating through the menu interface is much easier than with previous versions. For instance, in the past, you had to press a sequence of buttons to get an altitude reading. Now, you just need to press the bottom left button to access the mode page, turn the crown to reach the altimeter option and press the crown to get the reading.

I drove up Mount Faber to test its altimeter. Its reading of 105m is precisely the correct height.

The watch also gave temperature and barometric readings that are pretty close to the readings by the local meteorological service at that time.

The GPS function cannot be used for running, only for hiking. In fact, the manual even recommends against using GPS for time adjustments as it will take up too much power.

I tested the GPS function in an open space. The watch was able to get a GPS fix in around 20 seconds, but it did not re-adjust back to local time (it wasn't in local time in the first place as I had worn it on an overseas trip and just returned).

I ended up having to re-adjust the time using the G-Shock Connect app (available on Android and iOS). The app is also useful in guiding you on how to use the watch, especially the GPS hiking function.

You have to press the crown for one second to start the GPS hiking function. During your hikes, you can set a way point by pressing and holding the crown for one second. The watch will show your route in real time.

If you are lost during your hike, you can return to your starting point by using the watch's backtrack feature. Press the bottom right button, rotate the crown to the Backtrack option and press the crown. Your starting point becomes your destination now.

After your hike, you can upload the route you have taken to the app. The app will automatically link the photos you have taken with your smartphone during your hike to their locations onthe route.

All in, the Rangeman Navi does its job capably. But unless you are in the special forces, I think your smartphone would be an easier way to navigate your hikes.

It is also almost the price of two basic Apple Watch Series 3s, and cannot even measure your heart rate.

• Verdict: Unless you are a forest ranger or in the special forces, you do not really need the Casio G-Shock Rangeman GPR-B1000. But it is ruggedly good-looking and will probably last forever.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 30, 2018, with the headline 'Rugged watch built like a tank'. Print Edition | Subscribe