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Casio has unveiled its new G-SHOCK watch that is capable of tracking steps and fitness. Dubbed G-SQUADGBA-800 is the first model in the series.

The step tracker might not be a big deal for many as it’s already been built into many gadgets; phones, fitness bands, and smart watches all have it. However, history tells us that Casio usually know what they are doing. They clearly see a market for G-SQUAD.

The watch looks sporty with “STEP TRACKER” written on it, and it really looks like other cool G-SHOCK watches.

G-SQUAD has three important characteristics that other fitness watches don’t.

  • Just like the rest of G-SHOCK watches, it is resistant to shock and accidental hits. And a fitness watch should be like that.
  • G-SHOCK watches are waterproof. They are not sweat proof, but waterproof to a degree that you can go into sea water sporting them.
  • This watch reportedly has a battery life of two years on a CR2016 button battery.

The step tracker is built on a three-axis accelerometer which is more accurate than a mechanical sensor.

The watch features digital and analogue displays. The digital display can show the number of steps taken. Additionally, there is a little graph showing the hourly step count for the past 11 hours.

The watch can connect via Bluetooth. When it is connected to the app (that is made by Casio by the way) you can watch your activity in more detail. This includes the calories burned and the intensity of your exercise. Also, the app can project your step counts on the map.

Casio GBA-800 fitness watch with step tracker

The timer in this watch is pretty much better than in any other current G-SHOCK model. It allows interval workouts so you can put rest time between your exercises. You can plan it in the app, save it and transfer the plan to the watch. It’s quite simple but extremely useful. This functionality comes in handy for jumping rope.

It has dedicated backlight for both the analogue and digital displays.

It’s pretty much suitable for everyday wear just like other G-SHOCK watches. You can wear it even during your travel because it has world-time functionality with support for 300 cities.

If there is one thing that doesn’t look promising, it is that it seems like the hands of the analogue display can block some part of the digital display between 4 and 8 o’clock, which can make it difficult to read the digital display.

While this watch is not comparable to Fitbit or Apple watch in terms of fitness experience, it wasn’t meant to be. It is meant to match the G-SHOCK standard, with an additional step tracking functionality.

Reportedly, the watch will be available for purchase later this year. According to Casio’s Japanese website the price will be ¥16,500 that is approximately $150.

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Story Highlights:

  • Out of the many tech gadgets available, only few stand out in terms of longevity and usability
  • The G-SHOCK watch’s accuracy, simplistic functionality and weatherproof design makes it a good contender
  • The Nintendo 3DS’ basic graphics complement its gameplay and new games still play well on this old console
  • The Geonaute Bluetooth Heart Rate Belt stands out for its stellar battery life that extends well beyond a year

Out of the many tech gadgets out there, only few stand out in terms of longevity and usability. One such gadget is the G-SHOCK watch. It’s practical for many due to its accuracy, simplistic functionality and its weatherproof design. The Nintendo 3DS is another such gadget as its basic graphics complement its great gameplay — new games still play well on this old console! Last but not least, the Geonaute Bluetooth Heart Rate Belt is another amazing gadget that stands out for its stellar battery life which extends well beyond a year.

These days, the tech gadget market is diluted and there are far too many products available for consumers. While the products remain innovative, many lack the level of quality and don’t last long. Moreover, their usability is questionable.

There, however, are long lasting tech gadgets with very good usability in the market.

I’m reviewing three such products that I’ve been using for years. That’s right, they’re still functional after years of usage.

These products haven’t just proved themselves as durable, they’re usable too. On top of that, they don’t show significant deterioration.

1. G-SHOCK Watches

I’m the proud owner of an array of G-SHOCK watches that I’ve been using 24 hours a day for many years. The reason I have multiple of them is because I like to wear them based on which best suits the occasion: whether it’s a beach activity, or if I’m traveling, or for everyday use. Regardless of the occasion, it’s important that they serve their purpose.

A collection of G-SHOCK watches: older purchases left, newer purchases right

The most important functionality for watches is accuracy, and G-SHOCK watches are reasonably accurate. I don’t mean atomic accuracy, but instead, I mean that it doesn’t need to be regularly synchronized with another device to keep the watch accurate.

I also admire that they are weatherproof. I have no problem wearing them when swimming in the sea or during winter time. Once, I even forgot to remove my watch before going into the sauna room and, on a different occasion, I accidentally hit one of them to the door frame — no damage was sustained in both cases. Their design makes them resistant to wear and tear.

What’s more, the battery life of G-SHOCK watches are pretty decent, and I don’t remember changing the batteries in any of my watches in the past five years. That being said, I did once have to change the strap on my oldest model as I use it for swimming.

Another notable function is its backlight. The display is always visible in the day but at night, you need to press a button to light the screen up.

All in all, the watch has basic but useful functions — world time, stopwatch, and tide functionality are some of my favorite ones.

Once the time is set, you will likely be able to use your G-SHOCK watch for many years without hiccups, even if you use it 24 hours a day, and 365 days a year.

2. Nintendo 3DS

The Nintendo 3DS is a handheld game console with a solid housing shell and responsive control buttons — after all, it’s a console that’s made for gamers.

I bought mine more than five years ago. I’m not a frequent gamer but I do own a few games and, whenever I’m in the mood, can spend hours on it for weeks on end.

At other times, I don’t touch my 3DS for months. There was even a whole year that I didn’t use it for! After which, I switched it on and the device worked perfectly. Some batteries — when not used for a certain period of time — die completely. The battery quality of the 3DS is thus incredibly good.

To illustrate my point: I have batteries that are newer than my 3DS that have already deteriorated beyond usage. One such example is my power bank that I use to charge my mobile devices. There hasn’t been a significant deterioration to my 3DS battery, even after many years.

Nintendo 3DS console purchased in 2012 — photo taken in 2017

It’s not just the battery that comes with a certain level of quality — the Nintendo Store is organized and have the best games in the market.

Although the device is a couple of years old, it’s still supported today and most new games run fine on the old console.

Over the years, Nintendo has made small upgrades on their consoles without affecting the core characteristic of its products — to my knowledge, no incompatibility issues have arisen and old games run well on new consoles.

While graphics are important, gameplay and responsiveness are even more so. Other devices often overheat — from attempting to render the over-engineered graphics — and feel hot in your hands. The 3DS, however, has just the right balance between graphics and gameplay.

One downside to the device is that it does feel a bit heavy. I don’t know how many other handheld consoles weigh in comparison, but I do believe that the reason for its heaviness might stem from its housing shell, which is resistant against stronger key presses.

Recently, a new console called Switch, which allows for different play styles, was released by Nintendo. However, I don’t think it’ll replace the 3DS just as yet as its fanbase is still pretty much alive and will probably continue to stay so for many more years.

3. Geonaute Bluetooth Heart Rate Belt

This product is a heart-rate monitor that wraps around the chest. It can be used to monitor your heartrate during various exercises. Although it’s a cheap product without an expensive look, both the chest belt and the heart rate monitor itself are made of good material.

The heart rate monitor uses a bluetooth low energy standard. It only needs a single, non-rechargeable coin battery to operate.

I’ve been using the belt on a weekly basis and I haven’t yet needed to replace the battery in the past one and half years. It’s convenient to wear, and I don’t need to worry about charging it before use.

The best part about the Geonaute Bluetooth Heart Rate Belt is that it doesn’t depend on a single app. Instead, it’s compatible with many apps because the belt relies on open standards rather than on proprietary protocol. When connected to your mobile device, the connection remains stable. I don’t recall a time when the connection has ever dropped.

Geonaute Bluetooth Heart Rate Belt after one and half years of usage

Some exercises I’ve used this for include skipping, cycling, and floor exercises. During which, there were several times that I had to tighten the chest belt as it expanded due to physical movement. If this continues, I might need to replace the chest belt but, nevertheless, it’s a cheap product with good reliability.

What’s more, it even works with Windows phones. Currently, I’m using it with my Windows 10 Mobile with the Runtastic app. However, the app is no longer supported on Windows so I might need to start looking for another app.

Please note: I chose to review the three most favorable gadgets from my own collection which is limited and, obviously, does not include all the gadgets available in market. It is certainly right to assume that there are far better alternatives on the market that suit your individual needs.

This article previously appeared on Medium.

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While on an overseas vacation, I decided to purchase a zoo ticket online – digital purchases were entitled to a 10% discount – a saving that, albeit small, was worth striking up. Through the hotel’s sluggish Wi-Fi, I managed to get to the booking site to select the type of ticket I wanted along with the date of my visit. After which, I proceeded to provide the details of my payment. Everything was going smoothly up until this point.

Then, the browser refreshed. My card was charged four times and I was given four tickets instead of one.

Flabbergasted, I immediately emailed the company about the mishap. Fortunately, they responded promptly and I was relieved when they assured me the refund of three of the purchased tickets. I then provided them with the details needed to proceed with the refund.

What happened next was rather unexpected. After returning from my trip, I realized that the refund had not been credited to my bank account. Concerned, I emailed the company again – this time asking for a status update on the refund.

Since I hadn’t received a response, I sent reminder emails every three days for about a period of two weeks. To ensure that my emails were addressed to the right people, I made sure to include several key contacts that I had found on their website. Unfortunately, this proved futile and still I received no response.

I then decided that it was time to go ahead with another plan – I realized the company in question was using a third-party payment system for their online purchases. A quick search online led me to the contact details of said company. Thus, I decided to write to the third-party processors explaining my unpleasant situation.

In my email, I mentioned that the company I purchased these tickets from had assured me a refund of three of my tickets, but that I had yet to receive any. I also included the date of my purchase, along with my booking reference to make it easier to track. I made sure to provide as much information as I could to help with identifying the transaction.

In just an hour, I received a response! A representative from the payment company replied and apologized for the long wait. They confirmed that my refund would be reflected in my bank account in a couple of days. To add on, they took the initiative to inform the company I had purchased the tickets from that it had been processed. Sure enough, I received the rightful refund in just a few days.

The payment company’s objective is to make online transactions seamless, and handling money is their number one priority. The reputation of these companies can be badly affected if they don’t deal with consumer complaints in a professional manner – It thus made sense that this particular company strived to resolve my case as soon as they could.

Lesson learned

To make sure incidents like this don’t dampen your travels, make sure to check with your bank if you can use two-factor authentications in the country you’re traveling to. Activating two-factor authentications for overseas online purchases will allow you to authorize transactions via your bank instead of from the website you’re shopping from.

Additionally, don’t mess with the browser during the payment process. That means no navigating back, and no refreshing the page.

Last but not least, if you believe that you’ve been wrongly charged for something, immediately contact the company for a refund. If the company is unresponsive, try contacting them through different channels. If even that doesn’t work, resort to contacting their third-party payment processor. In extreme cases, you could also try contacting them via their partners, or even their investors.

Remember: often the problem lies with your issue not reaching the right person, and not with the company refusing refund requests.

This article previously appeared on Medium.