June 16, 2024
The G-Shock GW-9500 Mudman on some mud and grass.
Andy Boxall / Digital Tendencies

I actually just like the Apple Watch Extremely, however I additionally like watches normally. Just lately, I used to be in a scenario the place I didn’t want to trace any exercise however nonetheless needed to put on a troublesome watch that not solely fitted in with a muddy, grubby, harsh surroundings — however may deal with it ought to the necessity come up.

I turned to the just lately launched Casio G-Shock GW-9500 Mudman, and whereas it’s not a smartwatch, it was the proper alternative for the day. Later, I puzzled if this Bluetooth-free, seemingly indestructible watch may truly be an alternative choice to the Apple Watch Extremely. Is it? Right here’s what I realized.

The correct look ahead to off-roading

A Land Rover vehicle on a muddy track.
My Land Rover for the day — earlier than it acquired very muddy certainly Andy Boxall / Digital Tendencies

Selecting a watch is a really private factor. Corporations like Google and Mobvoi, each of which solely make their smartwatches in a single case dimension, don’t actually appear to grasp this. Apple does perceive, and it makes the Apple Watch Collection 9 in two case sizes and the Apple Watch Extremely 2 in a single dimension that matches in with its standing as a “instrument watch.”

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I used to be headed out to drive a difficult off-road course in a Land Rover; I used to be carrying the appropriate apparel for the event and needed to complete it off with the appropriate watch. The Apple Watch Extremely would have been an amazing alternative. It’s actually robust, appears to be like the half, and sure would have survived if it, I, or the Land Rover took a spill. However I didn’t want notifications, I wasn’t apprehensive about well being monitoring, and I most likely was going to depart my model new iPhone 15 Professional Max someplace secure anyway. It was the appropriate look ahead to the job, but it surely wasn’t the appropriate look ahead to the day.

Back Track showing the direction to walk on the Apple Watch Ultra.
Apple Watch Extremely Andy Boxall / Digital Tendencies

As a result of watches are private purchases, proudly owning multiple just isn’t unusual amongst these enthusiastic about them, and choosing the proper one for the day forward is a part of the enjoyable. I’d been ready for the chance to put on the brand new G-Shock Mudman GW-9500. There are three totally different colours out there: Rescue Orange, Navy Inexperienced, or the Tactical Black mannequin I wore. It prices $380 and was launched in August this 12 months.

The Mudman line hadn’t actually appealed earlier than, and I’d at all times been extra taken with the tank-like Mudmaster G-Shock fashions. However with the GW-9500, Casio has reimagined the Mudman line for 2023, bringing design parts from the Mudmaster over to it and incorporating its tremendous robust Carbon Core Guard construction for added lightness — all whereas retaining the mud-resistant, easy-to-push buttons that made the earlier Mudman watches particular.

A person wearing the G-Shock GW-9500 Mudman, showing the buttons.
Andy Boxall / Digital Tendencies

It was positively going to be muddy the place I used to be going, and though I had no intention of wallowing about in it, the GW-9500 Mudman could be perfect if an accident occurred or if I bashed it in opposition to bits of Land Rover.

It was a simple choice: I put the Apple Watch Extremely apart and strapped on the Mudman.

Getting muddy with the Mudman

The G-Shock GW-9500 Mudman on some mud and grass.
Andy Boxall / Digital Tendencies

I’m glad I did, as not solely was I jostled and jolted round within the Land Rover’s cabin, but it surely was additionally exceptionally muddy outdoors. Throughout an ill-advised quest to get to a very good vantage level to look at my pal negotiate a very difficult impediment, an embarrassing slide down a slope occurred. The Mudman and I had been muddier than anticipated, however the watch took all of it in its stride, after all, and washing it off in a puddle meant it might be fortunately returned in a far cleaner state to my wrist. I’m undecided I’d have been so pleased doing any of this with the Apple Watch Extremely.

Whereas the Mudman GW-9500 doesn’t have Bluetooth that connects it to your telephone, it does have an attention-grabbing tech characteristic — a dual-layer LCD display screen. The principle LCD show reveals the time and different capabilities, however while you press the Comp button, the second LCD illuminates to overlay a digital compass, which robotically detects magnetic north. It’s not the primary time Casio has used this know-how, and it beforehand made good use of it on the Professional Trek WSD-F30 smartwatch.

A person wearing the G-Shock GW-9500 Mudman, showing the compass.
The compass LCD on the GW-9500 Mudman Andy Boxall / Digital Tendencies

Its sensor array additionally permits the Mudman to indicate barometric readings, altitude, and the present temperature. All these capabilities are accessed utilizing the assorted buttons on the case, whereas the big button on the 6 o’clock mark activates the backlight. That is fairly essential, because the LCD is sort of dim, making it arduous to see even in half-light. There’s no battery to cost because the watch is powered by gentle, and there’s no must set the time both, because it makes use of Casio’s Multi-Band 6 radio calibration system.

It is a G-Shock, so it’s not a small watch, however it’s surprisingly wearable. I had it on all day, outdoors the cuff of my high, and it was very comfy. It’s 81 grams, which is definitely lighter than the 95-gram Apple Watch Extremely, though the case is bigger and thicker. However even higher than this, it actually did look the half in the course of the day, and I typically discovered myself glancing at it and actually liking its chunky, sturdy fashion. No, I didn’t use the compass or want the barometer, however I wouldn’t have wanted them on the Apple Watch Extremely both. Nevertheless it actually resisted the mud, and it seemed good doing it.

An Apple Watch Extremely different?

The G-Shock GW-9500 Mudman on some mud and grass.
Andy Boxall / Digital Tendencies

Am I saying the G-Shock GW-9500 Mudman is absolutely an Apple Watch Extremely different? In any case, it’s undoubtedly robust, and it’s half the worth. Sure, I believe it’s, however I additionally know that it’s not. Let me clarify.

It was positively the higher choice for me after I went off-roading. I put my belief in G-Shock’s toughness and didn’t fear about it as soon as, even after a a lot muddier encounter than I deliberate. It reveals the time and environmental knowledge, together with a compass, if I must learn a map.

All this makes the Mudman good for the informal weekend adventurer. However on the similar time, it’s clearly not a real Apple Watch Extremely different, because it doesn’t have the large performance of Apple’s largest smartwatch, any connection to your telephone, GPS, or any of the well being and health monitoring options. This implies it’s not a competitor, however I discovered it will possibly simply be a substitute in the appropriate scenario.

Having the GW-9500 Mudman able to put on on that day was an amazing reminder of why I don’t simply personal one watch and why I don’t solely select to put on a smartwatch on a regular basis. Watches are as a lot a mode assertion and one thing to construct reminiscences with as they’re timekeeping instruments immediately, maybe much more so, and limiting myself to a single watch — mechanical or sensible — is boringly restrictive.

My expertise gave me some extra meals for thought, too. For the worth of 1 Apple Watch Extremely 2, you possibly can purchase an Apple Watch Collection 9 and the G-Shock GW-9500 Mudman, providing you with a pleasant, well-rounded, best-of-all-worlds two-watch assortment that ought to cowl most conditions you end up in — even when one among them is slipping down a steep, muddy incline whereas everybody laughs at you.

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