Top positive review
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A great heir to the original G-Shock, updated with solar-charging and atomic synch
on February 1, 2016
The direct descendent of the original Casio G-Shock that was released in 1983 is the GW-5000, which is available as an import from Japan. This GW-M5610 is a first cousin of that pricier watch and it carries on the tradition of tough square G-Shocks. What you lose from the GW-5000 is the stainless steel case with a screwed-down back whereas the GW-M5610 has a resin case with a stainless steel back plate held down with four screws. Both watches have identical features including solar charging, atomic time synchronization, World Time, four daily alarms with snooze function, a countdown timer, a stopwatch, and electroluminescent illumination that can be automatically engaged with the movement of your wrist in a dark environment. The GW-M5610 gets a red surround and white, blue, and yellow writing on the face which makes it a little busier aesthetically than more monochromatic versions of the 5000 and 5600 series.
The first thing I noticed about the watch is how much smaller, thinner, and lighter it is compared to round G-Shock versions I own. It is an excellent choice to wear under long sleeves and jackets because it easily fits underneath them with minimal interference. I will be using this watch in the winter months for daily wear due to its sleek profile. The second thing of note is the crisp clarity of the numbers in the positive LCD screen. It surpasses my Casio Pro-Trek PRW-3500 in regards to off-axis legibility even though the Pro-Trek’s digits are 50% larger than the GW-M5610’s. I am really impressed with how good this watch’s display is.
I find the strap fits comfortably on my 7-1/2 inch wrist. The light weight makes me forget that I am even wearing a watch at all. Contrary to the dozens of complaints from previous owners here on Amazon, my auto backlight function works perfectly fine even though I leave it shut off in order to conserve power. My watch was manufactured on January 8, 2015 so maybe Casio has finally fixed the issue with faulty backlight switches. There are several one star reviews of this watch here because of this issue and I honestly cannot understand how one can downgrade the rating of the entire watch due to one feature that most G-Shock users end up turning off anyway. The auto backlight duration unfortunately is not adjustable like my Pro-Trek and Gulfmaster. I would prefer the ability to lengthen it from 1 second to 3, but this is a minor nit.
The function buttons are all recessed into a protective niche on the side of the case so pressing them only works for me when I use the tip of a fingernail. Action is positive and appropriate for the pressing force I apply. The World Time, stop watch, and timer functions all work like other Casio digital watches and are intuitively accessed with mode button. The one complaint I do have is that the volume of the alarm signal is very weak and probably would not wake a person from a deep sleep. If Amazon’s star rating system would allow it, I would subtract a half star for this and would suggest not relying on this watch for important wake-ups and instead using the alarm from dedicated alarm clock or smart phone. Note that this isn’t any different than the other Casio solar-charged watches, so it may be a function of reduced battery capacity.
My watch arrived from Amazon with the power reserve showing at the Medium level. I put it out in the sun for about 30 minutes and the reading went to High. I set my home city, clicked Daylight Savings Time to the automatic setting, and synched the watch to the atomic clock signal in Ft. Collins without any trouble. Each evening just after midnight it synchs automatically so the watch always has an accurate time reading. I’ve had no issues with not receiving the signal but then again I live in a state bordering Colorado and all my atomic watches synch each day without fail.
This watch is a great heir to the spirit of the original G-Shock. It wears small and comfortably on the wrist, is tough as nails, cost about one-third of what the GW-5000 does, has the accuracy of atomic synching, should run for a decade or more on the original solar battery (note that all solar watches will need to have the rechargeable battery replaced as some time in their lives), and has a very clear and legible display.
As a long-time G-Shock owner, I have previously been drawn to only the round case models. I find it remarkable that after finally taking the plunge with this square case GW-M5610 that I have been absolutely delighted by this watch. It’s certainly not very flashy and has a nerdy charm of its own. No one in going to compliment you on it, but that’s all part of the fun of being a G-Shock fan. I now regret taking so long to come around to the Square Side and can recommend this watch most highly.