Casio G’zOne smartphone is ruggedized against the elements

Modern smartphones are pretty sweet. They’ve grown up from their glorified PDA roots to become compelling computing devices that can be taken anywhere. At the same time, however, most models are comically ill-equipped to deal with some of the rigors of everyday use. They’re fragile enough that most folks resort to protective cases of some kind, and even then, you don’t want to get one wet. Casio’s line of ruggedized G’zOne smartphones is much more resilient, and the latest one has me smitten.

The Verge has the goods on the G’zOne Type-L, which wraps contemporary hardware in a much beefier body than typical smartphones. This monster is 62% heavier than the iPhone 5 and just over twice as thick. The case can withstand being sprayed with a pressure washer for three minutes, though, and the whole thing can be dunked under several feet of water for up to half an hour without any ill effects. The Type-L is dust-proof, too, and it should withstand shock better than the average handset.

Under the tank-like exterior sits a Snapdragon-based dually running at 1.5GHz. The 4″ display uses an IPS panel, but there’s no word on the resolution. The rear-facing camera takes 8MP shots, though, and there’s 4G LTE connectivity onboard. Casio also integrates a thermometer and barometer that feed into weather forecasting software. Android appears to be Casio’s OS of choice, and the firm is promising over 10 hours of talk time from the unit’s 1,800-mAh battery. A version of the Type-L is reportedly destined for Verizon, although there’s no timetable for its release.

After having to duck out of the rain several times this past weekend just to use my smartphone, I can definitely see the appeal of ruggedized designs. I might even be willing to live with the Type-L’s larger, heavier body if it meant I could use the thing regardless of the weather. It will be interesting to see how much the Type-L costs when it arrives stateside—and whether consumers are interested. I suspect Casio will have more luck in the rainy Pacific Northwest than it will in sunnier locales.

Comments closed
    • aim18
    • 7 years ago
    • destroy.all.monsters
    • 7 years ago

    Back when I had a primarily outdoor job I wore the hell out of their G-Shock watches. If I could stand a touch screen for any length of time on my phone these would be a no-brainer.

    • bandannaman
    • 7 years ago

    Did anyone else think immediately of Pizza Hut’s P’Zones when they saw this article? Must be lunchtime…

    [url<]http://www.pizzahut.com/pzone.html[/url<]

      • destroy.all.monsters
      • 7 years ago

      Scrotos did.

    • sonofsanta
    • 7 years ago

    So, uh, how do you pronounce that then?

    • ronch
    • 7 years ago

    About time Casio joined the smartphone party (or got some attention regarding its products, if they’ve been doing this for a while already). Lately I’ve actually been thinking that Casio should dabble in today’s hottest fads such as smartphones and tablets. I think Casio has been around long enough to have the resources and brand recognition to pull it off. I hope they have more cool stuff in the pipes.

      • JohnC
      • 7 years ago

      Well, they did dabble in PocketPC’s long time ago, so it shouldn’t be pretty hard for them to get into smartphone business…

    • shaq_mobile
    • 7 years ago

    dont talk bout about the pacific northwest. wanna rumble? we just got a bad rap because its dark and drizzly here for 9 months out of the year. not fair.

      • ronch
      • 7 years ago

      I love that kind of weather.

      • Voldenuit
      • 7 years ago

      Hey we just had 81 days of sunshine! “Had” being the operative word. 😛

    • brucethemoose
    • 7 years ago

    It has a MicroSD slot too.

    I may have found my new phone.

    • Bensam123
    • 7 years ago

    My dad is actually afraid of buying a smartphone because of how easily they get damaged. He nornally works construction and moves around constantly. I’ve looked at a few of the Casio rugged phones and they all look so gimmicky. Like you can make a smart phone rugged without needing to surround it in a massive flamboyant red case.

    Really it just needs to survive being dropped from maybe 10ft and it doesn’t need to be completely waterproof. I’m sure you could do that with some nicely augmented rubber.

    Really all the ‘rugged’ smartphones seem gimmicky and like they could easily be broken. They play on the whole ‘add some stripes, make things a shiny color, and maybe add some metal and it’s rugged’. Good example is going through your local hardware store and looking at tools. The crappiest ones are usually the most flamboyant. They’re all show and no game.

    About the best I’ve seen when shopping around are these: [url<]http://www.jcbphone.co.uk/handset-range[/url<] They're reliable (from what I've read), semi-small, and ruggedly elegant. BUT they cost a arm and a leg.

      • mcnabney
      • 7 years ago

      I have a Gz’One and it is a beast. Took photos and video at a water park. Dropped it innumerable times. It has great battery life. Built in compass, barometer – heck, all it needs is an anemometer and it is a self contained weather station. I would love to see and probably buy the update of the design to smartphone functionality.

      • Meadows
      • 7 years ago

      Try the Motorola Defy+ with your dad.

        • Chrispy_
        • 7 years ago

        I have to agree with that.

        I trialed a Defy+ and the only complaint I had was that it was slower than other smartphones (settled on SGSII)

        Build-quality and durability were good though, and I actually liked the fact that it was smaller. One of the reasons candybar phones don’t break so easily is because they’re not as big.

      • Bensam123
      • 7 years ago

      Click the link.

      • dashbarron
      • 7 years ago

      My last phone I: Dropped it constantly, ran over it a few times, set it on fire, froze it, and dropped it into water on a few occasions. I finally had to stop using the thing when it felt in a vat of oil; the oil did wonders to clean it, but it has a oil sheen about it that I just can’t clean off.

      I turned the thing on the other day after being off for over a year, and it still had battery enough to power up.

    • internetsandman
    • 7 years ago

    I’m not sure what’s more surprising to me, that Casio made a smartphone, or that any company at all had the balls to eschew the thinner and lighter craze. I’m certainly not complaining though, I’m a sucker for ruggedization and I’m pining for a better armoured (and hopefully battery augmented) case for my iPhone.

    • juampa_valve_rde
    • 7 years ago

    Finally a good replacement for my defy!

    • ludi
    • 7 years ago

    I doubt this will be cheap, and much like the Panasonic Toughbooks, I doubt it’s targeting the casual user’s rainy weather concerns. This seems more like a business smartphone for contractors, field service technicians, rescue personnel, etc.

      • dpaus
      • 7 years ago

      Yeah, perfect for our clients (firefighters, cops)

    • jensend
    • 7 years ago

    I wanted my phone to be rugged and weatherproof for peace of mind on hikes and long road bike rides (finally got around to my first century ride this year, and have had some fun rides with >3000ft climbs). While I may eventually cave in to the smartphone trend, and some things e.g. the Android maps/GPS/route recording are kinda tempting, I don’t really have much use for a smartphone, I don’t want the higher monthly charges, and rugged smartphones have in the past involved settling for much much worse specs than normal smartphones.

    So over a year ago I got the main feature phone from the G’zone line (the Ravine). All in all, I’ve been quite pleased with it. One downside is that its picture quality is kinda miserable, and there are plenty of other phones with somewhat better picture quality. But (except for the Nokia 808) even the best of cell phone cameras are still, due to their teeny sensor size, completely outclassed by my ancient inexpensive digital camera with its 1/1.7″ sensor, so on occasions where I really care about the quality I’ll use that anyway.

    • cynan
    • 7 years ago

    Off topic, but I’d really wish someone would do this with a decent small/light mp3 player. I love my Sansa Clip+s for running, etc, but going through about 4 a year is not the greatest..

    Ironically, they have mp3 players for swimming – one reviewed by Geoff even – but the couple I have seen generally involve a lot of compromises designed for them to be functional while submerged. And they offer pathetic storage capacities..

      • MadManOriginal
      • 7 years ago

      Just get a small, sealable case?

        • jensend
        • 7 years ago

        Agreed. When I purchased my Clip I also grabbed a neoprene case with a clear plastic screen/front button cover. Not waterproof or anything, but able to withstand sweat, light rain, etc just fine. A nylon armband carrier came included as well. Cost me $10 or so. cynan’s “regular replacement plan” costs more than that every month.

          • cynan
          • 7 years ago

          lol. Happen to have a link to the case? The ones I’ve seen have either been overkill like the this [url=http://www.x-1.com/store/running/amphibx-fit-waterproof-armband-for-nano-shuffle.html<]H2audio one[/url<] (which I'm considering anyway) or cheap silicone garbage that doesn't look like it would protect anything.

            • jensend
            • 7 years ago

            A quick google search for ‘sansa clip neoprene’ comes up with it- apparently it was the DLO Action Jacket. The version for the original clip is easy to find, the one for the clip+ I’m currently only finding at [url=http://www.ebay.com/itm/DLO-DLA1506D-ACTION-JACKET-CASE-SANSA-CLIP-SPORT-ARMBAND-BELT-LOOP-/221064338400<]one ebay auction[/url<]. I don't like silicone cases either. Goopy plastic trash.

            • cynan
            • 7 years ago

            Thanks for the link! That one does look better than the other cheaper options I’ve come across. +1

      • Washer
      • 7 years ago

      Where are you clipping it that it gets soaked? That’s what confuses me.

        • cynan
        • 7 years ago

        I generally clip to my shirt collar/neckline so I can get away with a short ear bud cable. Perhaps clipping to the outside of clothes (so no part is touching my sweaty skin) would be smart, but I haven’t found a comfortable location for that.

        A few times a year I get caught in the rain. And perhaps unlike some, I tend to sweat a lot when doing intense exercise (which happens often during a run). Once I even noticed a couple of beads of sweat clinging to my head phone cable and pooling around the headphone jack… Then there was the couple of times I stupidly attempted to change tracks, etc, with my sweaty mitts..

        And it doesn’t need to get soaked. Just a couple of drops in the wrong place seems to do it if unlucky. I think I’m on my 7th clip in the past 2 years or so.

        Anyway, life would just be simpler if they made a ruggerdized version like this here phone..

      • JohnC
      • 7 years ago

      Write e-mail to Liquipel, see if they can also seal your player…

    • trackerben
    • 7 years ago

    Just bring a zip bag along. A big and tough freezer size would float better.

    • not@home
    • 7 years ago

    I would love a rugged phone. I have tried several but they are never loud enough. I am hard at hearing.

      • cynan
      • 7 years ago

      So you’re likely actually @home then and just didn’t hear the knock…

      • oldDummy
      • 7 years ago

      Just got my sons “old” gZone ravine.[Verizon]
      While not a smartphone…it’s still smarter than me.
      Ruggedized and water resistant [have not tested it] it seems plenty loud.
      I don’t hear well either but it works.
      So, maybe the new smart versions will maintain these qualities.
      good luck.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 7 years ago

    The problem with a “waterproof” smartphone is that a water droplet will still screw with the touchscreen, regardless if it’s physically damaging it or not.

      • indeego
      • 7 years ago

      I’ve used my phones in the misty rains of Portland numerous times and not seen this.

        • Chrispy_
        • 7 years ago

        Depends on the touchscreen tech, I think.

        I know it screws up the iPhones and my Galaxy SII a little bit but I doubt it would affect pressure-sensitive touchscreen systems. What are you using?

          • Meadows
          • 7 years ago

          Pressure-sensitive (resistive) touchscreens are more prone to failure however, and many users (yours truly included) find the increased effort required to actuate the screens bothersome.

          • nico1982
          • 7 years ago

          I’m not indeego, but my Xperia Active has a capacitive touchscreen and it track touches no matter if dry, soaked up in sweat, rain or moisture. It doesn’t work underwater though.

    • vargis14
    • 7 years ago

    I love the phone and the general idea in itself. I wish more company’s would make there phones much more durable. The iphone 5 already feels too light and this is 67% heavier. OMG 🙂 if you cannot hold up 2-3 say iphone 4s to your ear because of weight you are a infant or have a serious problem.
    Here is a sale pitch “It will stop a 9mm solid metal jacket bullet” Or you can beat up your abusive spouse with the snap out whacker wand / long range antenna 🙂

    I want my phones to have some weight to them not feel like some best buy empty demo with a sticker as a screen.
    But that’s not good for business for the phone producers “This is the CEO memo, All phone’s will be made with thinner plastics and metals from now on, also no raised edges around the screens for protection. We want them to buy another phone. Also you will now be working 18hr days with 1 bathroom break. If you do not like it nets have already been put up in all jump/fall zones. Managers report to your supervisor where you will be issued a cow prod er to keep employees under you awake and alert.
    P.S. Its squid day in the cafiterea:)…..10 minutes all u can eat.

    Jack MeHoff CEO cell phones inc

    • Scrotos
    • 7 years ago

    First thing I thought of when I saw the title?

    [url<]http://www.pizzahut.com/pzone.html[/url<]

      • dpaus
      • 7 years ago

      I was going to offer “The Casio Or’Gasm – it doesn’t mind getting wet or a little rough handling” but then I saw your username and re-considered.

        • cynan
        • 7 years ago

        Means to an end m’boy. Means to an end.

        If you hit the G’zOne enough you’re bound to end up with an Or’Gasm sooner or later – that is at least if all that rubberized coating doesn’t dampen vibration too much (or maybe that’s what that largish 1800 mAh battery is for)..

        I can see the ad line now: “Reach out and touch someone. Right on their G’zOne”. With the possible addition of “Guaranteed to get a response every time – even if it’s not exactly the one you expected”.

        I also think “Casio G’zOne. Ruggedized for her pleasure no matter the weather.” might work, if a little cliche.

          • dpaus
          • 7 years ago

          How about “The Casio G’zOne: make your one call in style”

      • Meadows
      • 7 years ago

      Wow, P’Zone is an [i<]intensely[/i<] ill-chosen name.

      • kvndoom
      • 7 years ago

      Beat me to it, totally.

    • sweatshopking
    • 7 years ago

    i’d love a waterproof phone. the lack of waterproof boggles my mind. we’ve done it on watches for EVER

      • indeego
      • 7 years ago

      Do your watches have speakers, microphones, headphone jacks, HDMI, easily removable battery covers, ports, etc?

        • sweatshopking
        • 7 years ago

        yeah. it’s 2012, get with current watch tech…

        • dpaus
        • 7 years ago

        King. Sweatshop King. Likes his OS shaken, not stirred.

          • sweatshopking
          • 7 years ago

          you can be my money penny with such pandering. That’s a compliment.

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