A few years ago the Casio G’zOne flip phones were a huge hit for Verizon customers. These were some of the most rugged, waterproof, dustproof, shockproof, drop-proof, practically indestructible phones money could buy. And they looked pretty cool too.
Many office-bound tech reviewers complained that they traded features for durability, but those criticisms completely missed the point.
Sigh…that’s what happens when you design a cell phone for extreme outdoor adventurers and heavy-duty laborers and then hand it over to office boys and girls to write up the reviews.
Now at the tail end of 2014, Casio doesn’t make them anymore, and Verizon doesn’t sell them anymore. But these phones are definitely still in demand.
In fact, their scarcity is actually driving prices just as high as or even higher than their original sale prices from 3-6 years ago. On one popular cell phone e-commerce site, a brand new, still-in-the-box Casio G’zOne Rock listed for $400! That’s double the msrp from when the phone came out in 2009!
Today, these rugged cell phones are as hot as ever!
Casio G Zone Cell Phones…
Casio G’zOne Boulder
The Casio Boulder was one of the best rugged flip phones ever. Designed to meet military standards for ruggedness against the elements, this phone was basically waterproof, shockproof, dustproof, and drop proof and was impervious to all but the most extreme temperatures.
Reviewers literally threw it against walls, froze it into a dish of ice, then thawed out the phone…and it still worked perfectly.
Casio G’zOne Rock
This was a classic design that previous owners look back to with fondness. The G’zOne Rock looked like a cross between a Corvette and the Batmobile. And it was built tough, but surprisingly, some reviewers found it to be not quite as tough as the Boulder that preceded it. Still, it handled hundreds of drops onto concrete and full submersion in water as advertised.
Mark Anders from Surfline.com took his Rock surfing with him and put it to the test. The Rock performed perfectly, surviving crashing waves, smothering sand, and multiple collisions with various ground surfaces. Not many other phones on the market can boast that, even to this day.
Casio G’zOne Ravine
The Ravine took the G’zOne phones in a new direction, aesthetically. While the first designs were more edgy and sleek – like some kind of weapon from a Star Trek movie – Ravine took on a more conservative yet stylish look that could draw a crowd at party and yet would not seem out of place in a boardroom meeting either.
The Ravine maintained the same rugged functionality that earlier G’zOnes exhibited, but with improved sound quality, media options and web interface. It still wasn’t a smartphone, but it didn’t need to be.
The reviewer at PC Magazine gave it a nearly perfect rating, throwing it against walls, submerging it in water, and even running over it 6 times with her car!
Scratches…nothing more than scratches…
Casio G’zOne Ravine 2
Casio’s Gzone Ravine 2 was an improvement in many ways over its predecessor, but some reviewers just didn’t love it like the original Ravine. Reviewers put it through a lot of abuse, and many were satisfied, while others were not.
In all honesty, as the years went by and more Casio G’zOnes came out, many reviewers simply went to extremes to try to break these phones. It’s almost laughable to see how each model had to jump through more hoops than previous ones to get a thumbs up.
But the Ravine 2 was still a damn tough phone, and most negative criticisms were – not surprisingly – from people who wanted more features and weren’t particularly interested in phones that could survive the elements.
Casio G’zOne Brigade (qwerty keyboard)
While outdoorsy types (the G’zOne’s original target audience) absolutely loved every G’zOne that came out, the desk-bound naysayers continued to whine about the phones’ lack of bells and whistles, and Casio was listening.
The Casio Brigade was the first G’zOne to come with a full QWERTY keyboard for easy text messaging. So…now you could flip it open and send a text while…snorkeling? While…rock climbing?
The Brigade received mixed reviews and more criticism than its predecessors.
Because it was leaving its target audience (i.e. rugged, outdoor adventure types) and trying to compete against more fragile phones who boasted lots more functions and apps.
That was a fight it could never win.
Casio G’zOne Commando (smartphone)
The G’zOne Commando is Casio’s first smartphone in the series. It has a touchscreen made from nigh-invulnerable “gorilla glass.” And like the other Gzones, it meets military specs for resistance to wind, rain, dust, shock, impact, water submersion, extreme temperatures, etc.
But this is no iPhone, so again, you have to decide how much of a trade off you’re willing to endure to have a nearly indestructible smartphone.
The Commando is a great phone…nothing else on the market in its price range even comes close. But it is still designed to be a rugged phone first and a high tech interactive device second.
Casio has since released an improved version of the Commando, and it’s looking pretty sweet. If you’re looking for a military quality, yet stylish waterproof smartphone, then you should take a look at the new Commando RIGHT HERE.