The G-Steel B500 is the most comfortable G-Shock watch I’ve ever worn
Slim, light, and quite modestly sized for a G-Shock, the new G-Steel GST-B500 watch has a Bluetooth connection, solar charging, and costs less than an Apple Watch Series 7. I’ve been wearing it for about a week and have been pleasantly surprised by just how neatly it fits on my wrist. Forget any preconceptions about G-Shock watches being too big and bulky for normal, everyday use. The new G-Steel is here to change your perception.
Light, slim, and green
There are several versions of the GST-B500, but I’ve been wearing the GST-B500AD-3AER with its lovely green dial. Green is definitely an on-trend color in the watch world at the moment, and it’s fairly subtle here, requiring specific lighting for it to really pop. The G-Steel trademark spinning mode indicator has a metal finish and its glint catches your eye more often than not.
Casio has taken a different route for the new model’s dial design, taking its influence from the successful GA-2100 series, rather than the previous GST-B400 G-Steel watch. The dual circular digital complications have been replaced by a single, angled complication at the 4 o’clock mark, combining the seconds, date, world time, and feature details into one.
The unusual spinner remains at the 3 o’clock mark to show the mode selection and the solar charge status. That change means it looks less like a turbine than before. The reduction in the number of complications also means that, like the GA-2100, the B500’s dial balance is a little “off” due to the big, blank bit of dial in the top left. It’s not unattractive, but it does lose the symmetrical appeal of the GST-B400’s dial, which I felt made the watch look more expensive. There are four buttons on the case, but no crown. You also get a bright lume that covers the hands but not the hour markers. There is a bright backlight to illuminate the digital screen.
Casio talks about the GST-B500 being the slimmest G-Steel and notes that the thin module and Carbon Core Guard structure have made all this possible. In reality, the 12.8mm thickness is a mere 0.1mm thinner than the GST-B400, so don’t expect to actually notice any difference if you already wear its predecessor. The reduction in weight is far more significant. It’s 144 grams even with the stainless steel bracelet, compared to a similarly equipped 161-gram GST-B400.
I’ve worn the GST-B500 for about a week. Most days I’ve forgotten it’s on my wrist! It’s immensely comfortable, the 46 x 48mm case is surprisingly compact, and the modest thickness means it doesn’t interfere too much with sleeves. The green dial is the one to go for if you want the watch to stand out. The G-Steel range is still a great introduction to wearing a high-end G-Shock, as it has all the toughness (200 meters of water resistance and overall shock-resistance) without overpowering your wrist.
Great Bluetooth connectivity
Like many G-Shock watches with Bluetooth technology, the GST-B500 should be considered a connected watch rather than a smartwatch. What this means is it doesn’t deliver notifications or track your activity, but instead uses an app on your phone to simplify its features, maintain accurate time, and activate modes like a Phone Finder. There’s also no need to physically charge the watch, as it’s entirely powered by solar energy.
The GST-B500 connects to the recently released Casio Watches app, which has a fresher, more modern design compared to the old G-Shock Connected app. It operates in the same way but adds a Home page that is a collection of ads for other G-Shock watches. From inside, you can set the world time, alarms, the timer, and a daily reminder feature on the watch — all without ever touching the watch’s buttons.
With Reminders, you can set the watch to display a basic phrase on a particular day. The watch alerts you on its digital screen when the time comes, and you can read the entire phrase — which is input using the app — by pressing the Adjust button on the watch. Without the ability to set an exact time as well as the day, its usefulness is limited. However, it works really well if you are aware of said limitations.
The GST-B500 connected to the app without a problem each time (just long-press the Mode button with the app open on your phone, and it automatically connects), and because it doesn’t stay connected, it won’t drain the battery. I like Casio’s approach to integrating Bluetooth and basic connected functionality on its watches. It’s easy to use, reliable, and crucially doesn’t force design alterations that would drastically change those classic G-Shock looks.
Easy to live with
The B500 has a stainless steel bracelet and the method of adjustment is slightly unusual. While it still uses pins to hold the links together, you don’t push them through from the side. Instead, they’re built-in and work more like quick-release pins with a spring mechanism that’s released using a normal pin removal tool. It took only a few minutes to adjust the bracelet to fit my wrist, and despite being spring-loaded, the pins didn’t threaten to shoot across the room, never to be seen again.
There are three micro-adjustments built into the folding clasp too, meaning it’s simple to get the fit exactly right. The steel bracelet hasn’t grabbed the hair on my wrist at all, and because it’s minutely adjustable, the watch stays centered on my wrist without being too tight. It’s a good thing the stainless steel bracelet is so easy to live with, as at the moment it’s the only option if you want a GST-B500 watch. Casio fitted a resin strap to the GST-B400, GST-W300, and GST-B100 G-Steel watches, so it’s a surprise not to see an option for the B500. One may be available in the future, but it isn’t right now.
The bracelet’s simplicity and comfort, along with the watch’s modest weight and almost normal case size, sums up the G-Shock GST-B500 very well. It’s not as brash as some of the MTG-B2000 models, or as mad as the MRG-B2000, and is instead easy to live with on a daily basis. It’s as “normal” as G-Shock watches get, has a style that will go with most outfits, and is not too expensive either. The Bluetooth connection won’t revolutionize your experience, but it works very well and is an excellent bonus.
It’s a great watch to buy if a smartwatch doesn’t appeal to you, but you’d still like some tech added to your wrist wear. However, don’t go into it thinking it’s a huge departure or advancement over the GST-B400. The dial’s design is the biggest alteration, and its similarity to the 2100-series will split opinion, with some perhaps considering it too simple for the G-Steel range.
Price and availability
The GST-B500 is available to buy in the U.K. now for 279 British pounds, which converts to around $340. It’s currently not available in the U.S., but we expect at least one version to be released in the near future. Expect a price between $320 and $400, based on prices for other G-Steel models. In the U.K., you get the choice of three versions, all with a stainless steel finish and bracelet. In some other regions, Casio will release a gold and a black version of the GST-B500.
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June 24, 2022 at 05:15AM