Son of a bitch. You just dropped your phone in the toilet. Or the pool. Or the mud. You might have that pricey cell phone insurance, but if you don’t, you’re gonna be paying through the nose for a new one. Maybe even put it in a bag of rice and pray to the gadget gods for a phone resurrection. Or, just buy the Casio G’zOne Commando and your clumsy ass will be a non-issue.
RUGGED GOOD LOOKS
The G’zOne (pronounced gee-zee-one…strange, huh?) Commando is Military-Certified, meaning it can withstand being under 3 feet of water for about 30 minutes, dropped from a height of 4 feet about 26 times, and can be in 185 degree weather, or -13 degree weather, for 4 days. In other words, Casio is daring you to break this thing.
It’s only a little thicker than a standard smartphone (0.6 inches), and feels pretty light in the hand. It should fit right in your pocket, too, unless you’re into those hipster skinny jeans. Casio is great at the sturdy-but-sleek look, so when you whip it out, you won’t feel like you’re working on a construction site talking with Big Jim about the baby-sized turd in the port-a-potty.
REQUIRES A HARDER TOUCH
Most weather-proof devices are a little behind the times when it comes to usability, but the Commando is not. It has the latest version of Android in wide release (2.2), which is surprising in a good way.
Also surprising is that the Commando can keep up with other modern smartphones (like the Evo 4G) when installing or running apps. It has an 800MHz processor, which is nothing to sneeze at.
That said, the 3.6-inch touch screen can be a little laggy when dragging or tapping, probably because it’s made out of 1mm-thick Corning Gorilla Glass (super tough). There’s a little snap-out shortcut menu that’s supposed to help you launch apps quicker, but it turns out to be more trouble than its worth since it animates on kind of slow.
Other than those minor navigation problems, it’s pretty cool to have the other Android perks like hundreds of thousands of apps, customizable widgets, and the Adobe Flash enabled web browser, all on a phone that can really take a licking.
STRAP ON YOUR APP-PACK
If you’re buying this bad-ass rugged phone, Casio expects you to be “in the great outdoors”, “taking it to the extreme”, and other cliches with quotes around them, which is why they included the G’zGear widgets. These are incredibly useful, active apps that most other Android phones don’t have.
First, there’s a walking counter, which uses the in-phone pedometer to measure how far you’ve walked, and compare it against actual treks, like the John Muir Trail, or Mount Kilimanjaro. You can tell people you’re walking to the South Pole and no one will question your sanity.
There’s also Adventure Training, which lets you compete against opponents like the Men’s 1-Mile World Record time, or try to swim as fast as a Polar Bear. If you’re anything like me, you think you’ll be able to hold your own against a Grizzly Bear’s running pace, but ultimately be disappointed when you realize you’re gonna get mauled because you’re just a slow-ass human.
Other unique apps like an Earth Compass, Thermometer, and High and Low Tide Charts are fun to have around, and you’ll actually use them more than you think.
The standard 5-megapixel rear camera is also included, but picture quality is only average. This is disappointing because I want to take photos of myself river-rafting Class VI rapids, and no one will be able to see my rippling triceps as I make nature my bitch yet again. Even the really bright LED flash doesn’t help that much.
BEAR GRYLLS-APPROVED…IF I WERE BEAR GRYLLS
Even though the Casio G’zOne Commando isn’t quite as good as I want it to be, it’s still one of the best weather-proof phones I’ve ever used. From its rugged good looks, to its one-of-a-kind active apps, to its $20 dollar price tag (with a contract on Amazon Wireless), this should be the first choice for anyone who considers themselves a great outdoorsman. Just remember: only YOU can prevent drinking your own urine.
DOES HAVE – Weatherproof Design, 3.6″ Touch Screen, Android 2.2 OS, 5-Megapixel Camera w/Flash, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, Mobile Hotspot Capability, 8GB Storage plus MicroSD Expandability
DOES NOT HAVE – 4G Capability