Review: Casio G’zOne Commando.

  • May 9, 2011 8:13 am
  • by: Mike

Normally when you hear the word “rugged” (or some form or synonym) before a phone’s name, Nextel/Sprint usually comes to mind. For many years Nextel has been the “workman’s” cellular provider with their bread-n-butter push-to-talk walkie-talkie (enough dashes already…) feature and ruggedized phones. Where they excel in utility they utterly fail in sophistication or “smart-ness”.

However, we’re not here to talk about Nextel or any of their products. Today, it’s all about the Casio G’zOne Commando on Verizon Wireless. The big change from the first generation G’z0ne is that it drops its humble feature phone roots, picks up a green droid hitchhiking along the information superhighway, and comes back home sporting a full-fledged smartphone experience.

But how “full” is that experience? Gadgetsteria finds out…

Hardware, Physical Appearance, and Protection

Upon opening the G’z0ne’s box, you’ll immediately recognize this phone was built for one thing and one thing alone — not breaking when you drop it. The 3.5″ display looks downright puny surrounded by all the plastic. But then again, this phone’s #1 concern is protection, not looking pretty. Other specs include an 800MHz processor, 512 MB of RAM, and 5-megapixel camera.

As for the claimed protection the Commando offers, just how good is it? Should you put faith in Casio’s engineering team? Yes. The Casio G’z0ne Commando is 810G military rated, meaning this smallish brick will withstand shock, vibration, dust, humidity, heat, and cold.
As you can see in the specs listed above, the Commando can take quite a beating.

Call Quality

If your going to be venturing into the great outdoors, you’ll need a phone with ample volume and clarity. Thankfully the g’zOne delivers. Calls were quite loud indoors and easily audible in the bush. According to Casio, the Commando’s speaker phone is good for 74 db meaning you shouldn’t have any problem hearing it out and about.

Earpiece volume is also what we’d call above average.

Battery Life

Battery life on the Commando is pretty decent. We were able to make it a solid 18-20 hours with moderate-heavy use and several days when the phone was primarily in stand-by. Though such results are almost expected given the rugged nature of the Commando.

g’z0ne Apps

The general rule of thumb one can go by with pre-installed apps is that they aren’t really “apps”, but “bloatware” — unnecessary junk that takes up space on your phone, performs poorly, and contains overpriced content and/or services. The Commando’s special suite of Casio-branded apps, however, are quite useful and really take the rugged, outdoorsy functionality to a higher level. The “g’z0ne Gear” include:

  • Earth Compass
  • Walking Counter
  • Adventure Training — tracking performance tracker of sorts
  • Tides
  • Sun/Moon
  • Thermometer
  • Star Gazer

We really are quite impressed with the apps as the benefit they could serve out in the wild are certainly understood. But even in the urban jungle it’s fun to fire up the various apps to see the real-time information relayed by the phones various sensors.

Conclusion

Is the G’z0ne Commando worth the $199 asking price? If you’re an outdoorsy kind of guy (or gal) yet want some intelligence in your mobile device, the Commando is definitely one of the best (if not the best) options currently available on any carrier. Of course, there’s always the option of buying a fragile phone *cough* iPhone 4 *cough* and wrapping it in something like an OtterBox or Ballistic HC case.

It’s a great phone at a great price. It has a new flavor of Android. And despite the rather archaic hardware, the Commando wasn’t all that slow. Score one for Casio engineering. Of course, the staple feature of the Commando is it’s military-grade, rugged nature. In the end, it simply depends on what you like as well as what you need. We’re sure there’s enough clumsy/outdoorsy people that have been searching for a phone just like this for quite some time.

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Author: Mike

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Gadget lover, smartphone collector, and beer connoisseur. I've been writing about gadgets for three years now and loving every minute of it. Outside of the digital landscape, I enjoy being active outdoors. I'm always up for a good conversation, so feel free to drop me a line!