Smartwatch Wars Part Two: Garmin Instinct Solar vs Casio G-Shock (any of them)

One of these is not a smartwatch by the true definition of the word, but for many it offers all of the smarts they need. The following Casio G-Shock GW-M5610-1ER, for example, is definitely smart-

1/ Satellite time keeping makes for to the second accuracy at all times.

2/ The backlight will turn on when you lift your wrist (you can turn this auto setting off if you like).

3/ It’s solar powered so you never need to charge it, ever.

4/ The strap will not irritate and every detail has been considered to ensure comfort.

5/ It’s water resistant to 200 metres.

6/ Stopwatch, multiple alarms, day, date, AM/PM, 12/24hr etc etc

7/ You can run it over with your car and it will be absolutely fine.

8/ A true world timer which covers every possible timezone with ease.

It costs a little over £70 and could be on your wrist for decades, but for fitness and tracking it will not suffice. The G-Shock remains a firm favourite of watch hobbyists who at the same time denigrate the Apple Watch as not being a real watch and so I guess it all comes down to sentiment.

The reason I wrote this comparison of the Garmin and (any) G-Shock is that I realised after more than a week of wear that it feels like a G-Shock, it looks like a G-Shock and it requires very little interaction to keep telling the time. I am on my 9th day with the Instinct and the battery is currently at 78%, it keeps going up and down depending upon the amount of sunlight available. As I noted in part one it could easily manage 1 month or more without needing to be charged and when I do need to I am looking at just over 1 hour to do so.

When compared to most G-Shocks there is an absence of some standard features, but you do get a stopwatch, a countdown timer, alarms, multiple time zones and alerts (for a set period before sunset etc). Crucially, you also get smart notifications, Multi-GNSS support, notifications, stress tracking, activity tracking, Pulse Ox, Heart Rate and on and on and on.

The Apple Watch series 6 is somewhat above the Instinct as I explained in part one, but the Garmin Instinct is easily above the G-Shocks, the standard G-Shocks not the fitness ones, and so it takes me back to wondering where traditional watches under £500 go in the future. I am struggling to understand how they will survive.



Categories: Product Reviews, Smartwatches, Watches