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Casio G'zOne Commando review

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What you see above is the Casio G'zOne Commando, a rugged Android device available from Verizon right now, only without the ice. But you can definitely ice it if you'd like because the Commando is certified for the military's MIL–STD–810G standards for shock, extreme temperatures, dust-, salt-, and water-proofing. 

This is definitely not your typical Pocketables review, folks. Oh no, this review literally put the device through hell and back. It was even slightly singed through that journey. Are you ready to witness the torturing of Casio's latest tough guy through a plethora of words and pictures? If so, then join me below to watch (and read) as I perform science.

DISCLAIMER

Before we begin, I need you all to know something: This phone is not meant to actually be thrown around and dunked in water for long periods of time. You shouldn't throw it in your freezer, either. While the box may say it can handle all of this, accidents do happen. And not every phone is alike. Your buddy's Commando might be waterproof, but that doesn't necessarily mean that yours is as waterproof. Manufacturing processes aren't perfect, and eventually somewhere down that assembly line, some devices just won't be as well-built as others. Take this all into consideration before you torture your own phone. 

We can begin now. 

Quick Specs

The Commando's main feature is ruggedness, and you can definitely tell that Casio spent more time and money on the outside than in. It's got a measly 800MHz processor, coupled with 512MB of RAM. You also get a pre-installed 8GB microSD card. The camera is of the ubiquitous 5MP variety, and of course, it has an LED flash. It packs a moderately skinned version of Android 2.2, as well.

It runs on Verizon's CDMA network; call quality was pretty good, if a little muffled due to some of the waterproofing materials. I always had a consistent three out of four bars of 3G, as well. 

Design

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The Casio G'zOne Commando is designed to even look tough. Durable plastic lines the outside, held on not by glue, but visible screws. This is obviously to add to the whole toughness image that the Commando has, but I think they're really ugly. They're functional, sure, but they are ugly. On the front, up top is your earpiece and below are two speakers.

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On the back is that 5MP camera, and also the flash that goes along with it. You can also see the waterproof back cover. It locks into place and has a rubber ring that slips into the crevices between the battery and the sides of the battery compartment to keep liquids out of that area. 

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On the left, you've got your ports and a dedicated camera button. Again, just like the battery cover, these covers are waterproof, with rings that cover up the ports so liquids cannot get in. We'll get to how well they do their job a little later. 

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Turning over to the right, you'll find a volume rocker, a programmable button (which is preset to open a Casio G'zOne app), and the power button. 

Now all of these pictures were from before my fun. Later in this review, I will show you everything that has happened in an "After" sort of gallery.

Display

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Remember when I disappointed you with the specs of this device?

I left one out on purpose so I could make up for it here. The Commando has a very nice display. It's a 3.6" screen with a resolution of 480×800. It's certainly not as high as the Retina Display, but it's also not as low as some other phones that I've been reviewing lately. Text is sharp and colors pop. It's also this way underwater, which I'll show you when we take a look at its swimming abilities. 

However, one of the bad things about this display is how unresponsive it is. I'm blaming it on the extra effort Casio put into making it durable, but it's really, really bad. And the more and more I used the Commando, the less and less responsive the screen became. I don't really understand how screen responsiveness can be overlooked, especially when the company took such an overwhelmingly large amount of time to make the device durable. They could've (and should've) taken more time on the quality of actually using the device. It doesn't matter how durable your device is if you can't even use it effectively. 

G'zOne Skin

Screenshot_02 You probably notice that I'm using a stock image here. We'll get to why a little later, but I'm sure you have a guess.

Anyway, the Commando is running a lightly skinned version of Android 2.2. Really, the only "enhancements" Casio made to the operating system are a few navigation widgets, a different dock, and a fast way to launch your most used apps. Other than that, it's your basic stock Froyo build. 

Oh yeah. And the horrid keyboard. If you do any typing at all on your smartphone, stay away. The theory is similar to Swype, but the execution is the farthest thing from it. Swiping in "Monday," for example, will usually give you "nobody." It's not predictive text; it's more like, "you swipe some letters in and I will find the most random word that doesn't resemble the swipe you just put in." < /p>

And remember how unresponsive the screen is? Sometimes, your swipes won't register all the way through, and you'll get an assortment of abbreviations instead of what you actually swiped. And not swiping is even worse due to that unresponsiveness. Depending on how quickly you're typing, sometimes keys won't register or that abbreviation effect will haunt you yet again. It's absolutely terrible, and it makes no sense to put such a bad keyboard in what is supposed to be a business-oriented phone. If you were out in the field, would you really want to have to take 2 minutes out of your working time to say yes to a co-worker? I don't, and I'm almost certain nobody else does, either.

Battery Life

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Another unfortunate thing about the Commando is the battery life.

Not only does it take forever to charge, but it also takes very little effort to drain. In fact, I didn't make it through half a day during the whole trial period. I don't understand why either. The specs definitely don't make it seem like the device would get such bad battery life. And I didn't even use it all the time. If I had to take a guess as to why, I'd say that the skin is simply too unoptimized, which would make sense for its little big of lag, as well. 

"After" Gallery

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Torture and False Advertising?

As I previously mentioned, the Casio Commando is set to withstand the specifications of the military's MIL–STD–810G standards. Part of that set of standards is the ability of the device to be submerged under water that's up to three inches deep for a duration of up to thirty minutes. I kid you not, the deepest of water the device was in was one inch, and it was only in there for 15 minutes. At first it was fine, but then I watched as the water started seeping into the space between the glass and the screen. Eventually, the water condensed and the screen ceased to work.

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I can't tell you how demeaning it is to consumers for a company to say one thing, only for the device to do something completely different. Especially with something this serious. You might not think that it's that big of a deal; who drops their $200 smartphone in water?

But let me tell you something: companies with employees that work out in the field always buy tough phones to last them through whatever tough things they have to do. If a company bought these for their field workers and they simply cannot take anything, what point is there to buy this device? Well, I'll tell you: there isn't one. 

I'm not going to hold a grudge against Casio for this. I simply could've received a defective unit. It happens to the best of companies. But if I hear of one more incident that happens like this, then I will update this review and let you all know. You deserve to know. Why waste money on something that isn't going to work? 

Conclusion

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Up until the point that it died, the Commando was a typical Android device, with the addition of rubber and screws around the perimeter. But when it died, I realized that the quality of the device was lacking. And remember, this might be just my device. I will have to assume that's what it is until I read another review in which the same thing happened. Until then, I will say just this: if you buy this device, be careful. 

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Calob Horton

Calob Horton is an associate editor at Pocketables. He loves all technology, no matter which company it comes from. This unbiased view of the tech world allows him to choose the products that best fit his personal needs and tastes: a Microsoft Surface Pro, a Samsung Galaxy Note 3, and a third-gen iPad.Google+ | Twitter | More posts by Calob | Subscribe to Calob's posts

Avatar of Calob Horton

16 thoughts on “Casio G'zOne Commando review

  • It looks like that phone was beaten up pretty badly before the water test, which would be worth mentioning. Part of the specification is 26 4 foot drops, which looks like what was attempted, if not more. I personally do not feel like slamming my phone on the concrete, but I’ve had it in water a few times and it has survived fine. The specification for immersion is 1 meter for 30 minutes IIRC. There are videos online of a commando in the bottom of a tub being spun around by water jets, as well as one thats dropped onto concrete once from about 4 feet and kicked into a fountain thats at least 1 ft deep. They can take a lot, but they’re not bullet-proof.

    Reply
  • Also, forgot to add, I found battery life to be pretty good. Games or web browsing will drain it obviously, but some occasional news browsing, texts, and a couple short calls will still leave me with ~80% at the end of the day. My screen is very responsive as well. I’ve seen a couple complaints about that though, may be a QC issue.

    Reply
  • That’s why we didn’t shoot it. :) But as stated in my review, the phone was submerged for 15 minutes. It shouldn’t have gotten water into the screen and my PR folks know that, too. Was it a faulty unit? Was it truly a false advertisement? Who knows? It doesn’t matter, though, because I will admit that I was more harsh on it than people who actually bought the device. But hey, the box said it would live. And it’s my job to put that up to the challenge.

    Reply
  • Avatar of so bad im blind

    Its hilarious how you hint false advertising when you find out the phones not water proof. Hey genius, you beat the hell out of it, of course its not going to be water proof. And the manufacturer states 3 feet of water, not 3 inches. Did you even read the specs? Isn’t it your job to know about a phone before you read it? And why do you say “ill get to that later”, twice. How about instead of saying that, just talk about it, when its time to talk about it? Instead of filling the review up with repeatitive uselessness? Good lord this review is as useful as the phone at the end of your review. I’ve read a lot in my life and I can’t even begin to word how horrible this review is. And I’m a writer, I’m supposed to know how to word things.

    Reply
  • Why won’t my commando play my portable radio? My ipod has no problem with it. Same cord being used.

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  • Avatar of Alex

    MY casio had to be replaced after the first time i dropped it. I got a brand new phone, Now the new phone has water damage and Verizon will not replace it. Fucking horse shit.

    Reply
  • I have owned the Casio since July and have given it every chance to meet expectations stated from the Verizon salesman at the time of purchase. I would not recommend this unit to anyone who actually uses their phone as the primary means of communication (text / email / telephone) during the business day – unless you keep your chargers very, very close to you. If I communicate on Casio for more than approx. 1 hour (with full 100% charge), the battery drops into the warning “yellow” mode 32%. If the unit is used another 10 mins after that, the battery drops into the “red” 14%. The red lasts maybe another 10mins and then I am sunk for the day because every charge after that, takes forever. The keyboard is ridiculously unresponsive to even well-aimed finger keystrokes. The Casio is quirky. My apps have simply disappeared without warning and the screen lock program, once initiated, cannot be reversed. The screen icons also will vanish without warning. I would never, even as an experiement, emerge Casio into water – I can alraedy see that the rubber waterproof banding does not cover all vulnerable areas! Today I shop for the Android Razor or the new I phone.

    Reply
  • wow im so glad i read this because this one lady at verizon said that u can take pics underwater with this so i decided to research it because stuff happens and im getting this phone soon and i think that part is too good to be true. and also i know someone who has this phone and his screen cracked. so im hoping when i get this phone it will with stand being dropped because i drop my phone alot and thats how my LG Ally got messed up and cracked.

    Reply
  • Avatar of love the phone

    My commando seems to swipe just fine as I am swiping with it right now. It took me about 45 minutes to fully charge it yesterday morning and it hasnt died on me yet. I haven’t done a durability test on it but why would I? I paid 200 bucks for it I’m not going to throw it at a tree and let it fall in a lake. And the water test is three feet under water for thirty seconds. Just enough time for you to grab it if it falls in a toilet when you’re drunk. I bought one and I love it.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Dennis

    Probably late to say this but… it’s ment to be rugged for people that want their phone to stand occasional drops or meets with water. That being said dropping it 26 or more times then putting it in water WILL break it. The thing is that something will loosen that’s why there is a thread on a website on how to maintain the seals. The fact that this is a rugged phone doesn’t make it a play phone. Your review was wildly unrealistic and largly useless. This is a false review the advertising wasn’t. Think before you sway the decisions of people that do little research please and thank you.

    Reply
  • Avatar of CommandoDude

    This review is as ridiculous as the dumbass that wrote it. Sounds like it was completed ass backwards and the phone was never given a benefit of the doubt from the start. Definitely the most useless review on any phone I’ve read thusfar. Thanks Corncob!

    Reply
  • Avatar of Schnell

    I put my 4 day old Commando (with seals in place) into a glass of water for a short period of time and it stopped working. The screen and camera lens looked like thy had water in them. I sent it to their repair site (PCD LLC) and received the phone back with a note saying it is un-repairable. I feel I bought a defective phone and would like to know how to get a replacement. I’ve contacted Verizon, PCD and Casio without success.

    HELP!!!!!

    Reply
  • Avatar of Matthew DiPace

    My phone received water damage as well. I’ve had it for a year now.

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  • I left mine in the poring rain for 4 hours no problem. I have had it for two years I have put I in a sink full of water . Still kicking but yesterday i dropped it 4 ft on the rocks “not intentionally” and the screen cracked . But I had dropped it several other times . I will get another one or upgrade when available.

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  • Perhaps the unit reviewed was defective, or I got some sort of super-phone. Additionally, you need to make sure the rubber plugs and rings (especially on the battery cover) are seated properly before submerging the phone. If you just snap on the back cover, it WILL leak. You need to press at the top, bottom, all 4 corners, and sides to properly seat the battery cover… you will hear audible clicks when you do so. My phone has been dropped while mountain climbing in China, where I used the GPS and compass (when I couldn’t get a GPS signal) to navigate. That phone got a torture test on that mountain. While passing through a cave and using it as a flashlight, I banged my head on a rock and dropped it into a puddle. No problem. I agree that the keyboard is terrible and the internals are slow at best, but that’s not why I bought this phone. I bought it so I could go adventuring in the mountains in China or Thailand or wherever and have a phone that could take it. Lack of GSM means the phone is useless as a PHONE in those locations, but it works great for an all purpose ruggedized adventure tool. And yes, if you plan to be spelunking or mountain climbing all day using GPS, etc, bring a spare battery. You can get them on Amazon for 8 bucks. I have three. My C771 has been submerged, kicked, dropped, sat on, and has gotten through it all with no more than cosmetic damage. I don’t deliberately abuse my phone, but my lifestyle means there’s a good chance I’ll get stuck in a rainstorm somewhere in another country and NEED my phone to be available during the storm… parks close when they close and you need to be off the mountain, rain or not. Casio didn’t sell the phone as indestructible, they sold it as one tough mother, and it has met that test as far as I am concerned.

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  • Maybe I’m just lucky, but my commando seems to have survived much better than everyone else. I’ve dropped mine more than enough to break any other phone. I’ve also left it on the bottom of the pool playing music underwater for 40 minutes while I do laps at the pool. I’ve even gone wakeboarding for a couple hours and my phone had no problems whatsoever. This phone has exceeded my expectations by far. I just had to install a low memory driver because the stock driver makes the phone lag.

    Reply

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