Apple Watch notifications were sending me crazy — so I bought this 'dumb' smart Casio G-Shock for iPhone and have never looked back

Casio G-Shock Bluetooth iPhone
(Image credit: Future)

I love the Apple Watch. It’s a fantastic piece of kit that has helped me live a healthier life since I first bought the Series 0 in 2015. I love that it gives me all the information I need on my wrist and helps me live a healthier lifestyle by tracking my activity. 

Recently, however, my digital life has become a bit overwhelming with too many notifications and the FOMO of missing out on them that stops me from taking back control. I'd been living with one of the best Apple Watch models, the sumptuous Apple Watch Ultra 2, but decided to go cold turkey and get rid of my favorite smartwatch altogether — opting for a more traditional watch instead.

Over the years, I’ve become more and more interested in “regular” watches, specifically the ruggedness and 90s appeal of Casio G-Shocks. I love the way they look, the fact that they are almost indestructible, and most of all the fact that they take me back to a time when people weren’t connected to tech 24/7.

But to my surprise, as I started to research modern G-Shocks and their features I found out that they are a bit smarter than you’d expect — some even have access to one of the Apple Watch’s best tricks and also work alongside the best iPhones.

My ‘dumb’ smartwatch

Casio G-Shock Bluetooth iPhone

(Image credit: Future / Apple)

Calling the G-Shock GMW-B5000PG a smartwatch is a bit of a stretch. While not smart in the traditional sense of what we’ve come to recognize as a smartwatch, it is filled with really cool features that make it far more than just a timepiece. I’ll briefly mention the non-iPhone related features first. This watch has Casio’s Tough Solar feature, meaning it charges via sunlight and will never run out of battery. It also has Multiband 6 which connects to six transmitters above Earth to ensure the most accurate time possible. And, most importantly for this article, it has Bluetooth.

"So what can a Casio G-Shock with Bluetooth actually do?," I hear you ask. Well, using the Casio app on your iPhone allows you to sync up the time on your watch with your iPhone’s clock, bypassing the Multiband 6 if you’re somewhere that can’t connect to one of the six transmitters. More impressive, however, is the ability to change all of your G-Shock’s settings including alarms, timers, and world time via the app, and there’s even the ability to write reminders that appear on the screen. 

My favorite feature, however, is the phone finder. Similar to one of the Apple Watch’s best features that allows you to ping your watch, I can press a button on my Casio and my iPhone 15 Pro Max will start to play piano jazz. You have to hear it to truly appreciate how frickin’ cool it is, but considering I lose my phone a lot, why not find it again with some class?

It’s really just a watch

Casio G-Shock 40th anniversary

(Image credit: Casio G-Shock)

The Casio G-Shock GMW-B5000PG is not a replacement for an Apple Watch unless you only want your watch to tell you the time and help find your lost iPhone. That said, it’s a piece of jewelry with decades of Japanese design history behind it and no Apple Watch on the planet, not even the Apple Watch Ultra 2, is as indestructible as my trusty stainless steel G-Shock.

The model I use is a 40th-anniversary GMW-B5000PG G-Shock and while the price I’m about to say will make you squirm, it is a timepiece that will last a lifetime. Nowadays you might struggle to find one, but the GMW-B5000PG with recrystallized stainless steel originally retailed for $749. If however, you like the thought of a ‘dumb’ smart G-Shock — but not that price tag — and want an alternative to your Apple Watch for the days when you just want to live offline, check out these other G-Shocks available at a much lower cost, with many of the same features listed above:

Casio GA-B2100-1AJF | $151

Casio GA-B2100-1AJF | $151 $134.95 at Amazon

This iconic "Casioak" connects to your iPhone via Bluetooth and takes inspiration from the classic (and expensive) Audemars Piguet Royal Oak.

Casio GMW-B5000 |

Casio GMW-B5000 | $504.99 at Amazon

The most popular Casio G-Shock model but made in stainless steel. This gorgeous watch has all the Bluetooth, Multiband 6, and Tough Solar capabilities listed in this article.

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John-Anthony Disotto
How To Editor

John-Anthony Disotto is the How To Editor of iMore, ensuring you can get the most from your Apple products and helping fix things when your technology isn’t behaving itself. Living in Scotland, where he worked for Apple as a technician focused on iOS and iPhone repairs at the Genius Bar, John-Anthony has used the Apple ecosystem for over a decade and prides himself in his ability to complete his Apple Watch activity rings. John-Anthony has previously worked in editorial for collectable TCG websites and graduated from The University of Strathclyde where he won the Scottish Student Journalism Award for Website of the Year as Editor-in-Chief of his university paper. He is also an avid film geek, having previously written film reviews and received the Edinburgh International Film Festival Student Critics award in 2019.  John-Anthony also loves to tinker with other non-Apple technology and enjoys playing around with game emulation and Linux on his Steam Deck.

In his spare time, John-Anthony can be found watching any sport under the sun from football to darts, taking the term “Lego house” far too literally as he runs out of space to display any more plastic bricks, or chilling on the couch with his French Bulldog, Kermit. 

  • FFR
    Would have been cheaper to switch off the notifications that bothered you.
  • mistergsf
    FFR said:
    Would have been cheaper to switch off the notifications that bothered you.
    My thoughts exactly. Just say it was too much tech for you and you went the “dumb” route instead. No shame in that.
  • Wotchered
    Notifications ?