Casio G-Shock GREEN Collection G2300GR-3 Watch Review

g2300gr-3_xlargeThe G-Shock Limited Edition GREEN collection represents Casio’s foray into the sustainability realm. The G2300GR-3 is one of three eco-friendly models that are powered by renewable energy and come in a box made with recycled paper. The watches maintain the shock resistant design and durability that has become synonymous with the G-SHOCK brand since 1983, while continuing the Casio tradition of incorporating technological advancements to constantly redefine the concept of a wristwatch.

Key Technology: The watch face springs to life unexpectedly when first exposed to light. The solar panel on the watch face converts light into electrical energy to power the watch’s many energy hungry functions (see specs below) as well as the large capacity rechargeable battery. In fact, solar power is a misnomer as the solar panel can also harness fluorescent lighting. According to CASIO, the solar power itself can run the watch functions even with no battery charge. This feature is most evident when you retrieve the watch from a dark place like a drawer; it initially looks as if all power is gone but once exposed to light it magically awakes. My Suunto T3c or Garmin FR405 can’t do that!

The physical: Everything about this watch screams bold and tough. From the hunter green color and big ‘G’ button on the bezel to the dark green ‘G-Shock’ branding on the front, the G2300 does not go unnoticed. Despite the ‘chunky’ overbearing bezel and masculine looks, it feels toy-like and rather light in my hand. It reminded me of a “transformer” that any second, would come to life and morph into a something amazing. The wrist strap plastic was composed of thick urethane-resin which seemed sturdy and not that pliable.  The many ‘nubs’ and divots of the bezel were reminiscent of the tires from the Tonka truck of my youth. Four black central control buttons were protectively encased in the bezel. The four screws holding each band to the main watch face were barely visible. There is a faintly military quality to the whole design.

The display: There seemed to be a disconnect between the toughness of the watch exterior and the delicacy of the display. The central display serves as the solar panel and is protected in a ‘valley’ formed by raised parts of the watch, like sentries protecting a reservoir of water. The digital display is disappointing: The functions, including stopwatch, world time, and battery charge are quite visible but the actual digital display seems anemic and wimpy compared to the rest of the watch. Perhaps an analogue display combined with digital may have been a better pairing but would likely not be in line with the Casio vision of “showing all facets of time in a consistent way”

The back: A fitting finish. Flip the watch around to expose the stainless steel underbelly with the unmistakable imprimatur of G-SHOCK; the big G in dynamic font seemed in sharp contrast to the angular font on the front. The well-known SHOCK RESIST logo is at the center surrounded by, SHOCK ABOSRBING STRUCTURE and the words Made in Thailand Y water resistant 20 bar (approx 200M), with CASIO in tiny bold letters at the top. 4 screws held the plate securely in place.

Branding: This shock resistant watch design is unmistakably a Casio. Thus, the heavy branding words in the front (CASIO, TOUGH SOLAR (in rust uppercase) and SHOCK RESIST) seemed quite redundant and a bit distracting. This is perhaps their hallmark, but newcomers to GSHOCK may experience this as a tad overbearing.

Functionality & Style: I experienced an unusual sense of security and solidity with the watch on my wrist / Functional chic. When I first took it out of the recycled box, the watch face was completely ‘dark’ but, all of a sudden, the renewable energy feature kicks in and, in a wink, the watch woke from its slumber up and brought up the correct time, thanks to the “atomic timekeeping”. The green resin band is a bit stiff, not sure they will soften with time. There are many holes in the strap to handle very small wrists but the strap kept coming out of the cuff and often ended up digging into my side. The stainless steel back fits solidly on my wrist and I felt connected to the watch and a bit powerful, as if I too was absorbing the renewable energy. Surprisingly it did not look as aggressive as I would have expected it to; the green blends nicely with business casual and certainly matched most of my dark urban clothing.

The black function buttons offer a lot of resistance, perhaps too much at times, and reinforce the ‘tough’ factor; they feel clunky yet solid and the little nook they were in protected them from accidental pressing. I expected the big G button to do something remarkable; unfortunately, it merely activated the backlight-, which was bright enough to illuminate a small storage closet.

The use of the numerous watch functions are quite intuitive; after some tinkering I was able easily activate the timer, stopwatch and change time zones. There was a sluggish response to button presses. The watch survived three weeks of crossing several time zones and held up well in very high heat, drenched in sweat and dunked in a pool.

Cost: You get a lot of features for $110 (or as low as $85 on Amazon) and should feel great about your contribution to sustainability- (It would be even more cost effective if we know whether the watch components themselves were made from recycled material and if CASIO offered to recycle your watch once it has served its term.)

Overall impression: This ECO attempt by CASIO is admirable and I hope they can go further with the next iteration. The Limited Green Edition G2300GR-3 can comfortably replace my other fitness watches at the gym, sunning at the beach or other times when I don’t want to bother with the heart rate monitor strap. For those engaged in more extreme activities, there is not doubt this watch can serve you as well as any previous iteration of the G-SHOCK brand.

The good: CASIO distinctive design and features,  G-SHOCK durability, solar tech, cool color, high tactility factor, fits small wrists quite comfortably, functional chic appeal

The bad: anemic display, ECO features seem limited to solar + packaging,

CASIO website tech specs:
– Hourly Time Signal
– Auto-Calendar (pre-programmed until the year 2099)
– Daily Alarm 4 Daily alarms and 1 Snooze
– Approx. Battery Life 11 months on full charge (Solar Powered)
– Countdown Timer
– Shock Resist
– Backlight Full Auto EL with Afterglow
– Water Resistant up to 200M
– 12/24-Hour Formats
– Accuracy +/- 15 seconds per month
– World Time 31 times zones (48 cities + UTC)
– Button Operation Tone on/off
– Stopwatch 1/100 second

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