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4.6 out of 5 stars210
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 16 November 2012
This watch came today as a replacement for a 7 year-old Casio G-Shock GW2310(Tough Solar, not Multiband or Waveceptor) which I gave away.
Probably would've bought the same watch if it'd been available at a reasonable price, but only more expensive upgrades available with extra features I didn't need. So back to the drawing board.
Definitely wanted a Tough Solar G-Shock again as it worked so well on the last watch, and eliminates battery changes which just haven't gone well in my experience - they usually result in an unused or broken watch for some reason.
So given the available choices, I *really* wanted the 5610 1ER with its sharp design, reverse monochrome and proper-looking strap. Ultimately I just couldn't justify paying £115(on sale) for looks and very limited extras I didn't need.
So, excluding the uglier designs, I felt I *should* get the M850-1ER as it appeared to offer the best all-round functionality vs price. In the end I just wasn't crazy about the look of it, and once again didn't really need those extras.
Finally, out of the remaining contenders I settled on this 8900A-1ER because it has Tough Solar, all the features I actually need(see below), a good backlight and the overall design is pretty easy on the eye.

Features:

- stopwatch(inc' split)
- countdown timer(0 to 24 hours duration)
- 5 alarms(inc' snooze)
- hourly signal
- world time(48 cities, plus UTC(aka Coordinated Universal Time))
- electro-luminescent backlight(inc' auto-backlight when wrist/watch tilted up through ~40 degrees)
- power-saving mode - doesn't reset anything but effectively shuts display down when watch inactive, unmoved or out of light for a certain length of time. Reacivated by pressing any button.
- rubber strap with 2 pronged metal buckle
- flat(though slightly raised round middle) steel backing attached by 4 small phillips screws
- 200m water resistant

The only other thing I'd have wanted in this watch is a vibrating alarm as I find the alarms on all G-Shocks I've had/seen far too weak to wake me up. Couldn't track one down that had Tough Solar, was within my price range and didn't look ugly though so abandoned that idea.

Upsides/Downsides to the watch:

Major downside:

- I tried the auto-backlight earlier but couldn't get it to work despite repeated and thorough testing. As such, cancelled order with Amazon and asked for a replacement. Tried the auto-backlight again just now and it suddenly started to work. Very, very odd indeed - my guess is there's a mechanical component involved in this feature which can seize up after post-production storage. Who knows. I'm only really mentioning this in case someone else encounters the same problem and arrives here in desperation. Anyway it seems to be totally resolved now but will obviously keep an eye on it just in case. By the way, to enable the auto-backlight feature, hold down the light button until the right-most small circle in the plastic Saturn-like arrangement(on the upper left of watchface) turns from black to light grey/green. Instructions not too clear on that so I had originally thought it was the other way round(no - not why auto-backlight didn't work - I made sure I tried *all* possible permutations at the time, and it still didn't work believe me!!!)

(Edit: please see my comment for a possible explanation of this auto-backlight problem_

Minor downsides:

- Personally, I'm not sold on the big plastic Saturn-like arrangement on the top-left of the watchface. Obviously it wasn't a deal-breaker for me or I wouldn't have bought the watch, but I think the watch would be better without it. It's purpose just doesn't justify the real estate it takes up, and it looks a little tacky to my eyes. It comprises a larger central circle, flanked by 2 smaller circles, all framed by a raised(cheap-looking IMO) plastic frame. The larger circle is split into 10 segments corresponding to seconds ticking up(or down on countdown timer) - totally unnecessary bells and whistles IMHO. The other 2 smaller circles reflect whether power-saving or auto-EL are switched on - I think this would be better achieved with less space in line with the smaller snooze, alarm, sig & mute indicators. So for my money, Casio could scrap the whole plastic Saturn-like arrangement altogether and replace this with something more useful and less ugly. For me that would make this watch the best G-Shock available. I appreciate that's totally subjective though and it's really no biggie for me.

- While not a problem for me personally, I can totally understand why people complain about the contrast. The display is light grey/green on black so under certain lighting conditions it could be difficult to read, but of course you have that great EL-backlight which hopefully overcomes most adverse lighting conditions. Besides, I'm guessing that anyone who digs the reverse monochrome display, like me, is probably already aware of this common complaint and is nevertheless opting for style over visibility regardless. Also worth noting that there's no contrast adjustment setting on this watch, unlike some of the other reverse monochrome G-Shocks available.

Upsides:

- strap bit softer/more comfortable than the 2310. I have a 6.5" wrist and, if done up literally as tight as humanly possible, there's still 3 out of 11 rows of strap holes remaining.

- good EL backlight. No LED so whole screen equally lit - results in bluey/white characters on indigo background - higher contrast and brighter than usual. Better than the backlight on the 2310 I'd say. Not strong enough to be used as a torch though! (edited 20/11/12: on further inspection, there do appear to be 2 LEDs after all, *but* the overall effect is a very evenly lit watchface as opposed to the old bit-of-light-in-one-corner effect)

- buttons for mode/adjust/forward/reverse are large, flat***, square, plastic as opposed to small, round metal(e.g. 5600 / 5610). I personally find these much easier to find/press, especially when it comes to prolongued pressing.
*** OK so they're not exactly flat or square, more like a coat-of-arms shield shaped, folded by about 20 to 30 degrees down the vertical centre.

- If you're in a foreign country you can set the World Time screen to the foreign time, go back to the standard time screen and click the top-right button to display the foreign time permanently in the top-right window, replacing the date. Of course, you could alternatively adjust the usual time to the foreign time and display your home time on the top-right.

- Not too much pointless stuff printed on the screen like some G-Shocks, (e.g. 5610-1ER). Less is definitely more in a watch user interface.

- This is obviously massively subjective and probably not even worth mentioning, but ... the watch *feels* solid, and has a reassuring weight(not too heavy by any means though). Looks chunky on my wrist but not ridiculous - any bigger and it might just though!

Overall, I'm very happy with this watch for £65. Shame about the auto-backlight wild goose chase but I guess it's just one of those *weird* things (Yup still working!).
I know this review is somewhat on the long side but that was absolutely deliberate, as I struggled to find much useful first-hand information about this watch before I bought it. Hope it's useful to someone!

(edited 29/03/13: The watch lost exactly 19 seconds over the last 5 weeks. It lost a little more than that when I last checked though)
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on 22 June 2013
This is my first G Shock and it is fair to say that it had lived up to and even exceeded my high expectations from such a prolific brand.
What sold this one for me over other models was the solar charge feature. Although this made it around £10 dearer than an equivalent, non-solar model, I felt this would be worth it due to the fact it would stop me having to try and carry out any horrible, nervous battery changes. This is particularly good on a tough watch, as removing the back cover to change the battery can compromise the waterproofing if you aren't careful.
The watch comes in a very nice metal tim/case and has a warranty card and full instructions which aptly explain all the minor details and functions of the watch. I will therefore not bore you with these in the review.
I was initially worried about the size of this watch when I bought it as I have very slim wrists, but even so I do not think the watch looks silly or out of place on me. There are also no issues with getting it tight enough as I have three spare holes on the strap to tighten. If you have larger wrists, the strap is easily long enough for you too as it is "extra long".
The watch is really comfortable. It is actually quite lightweight for its size and the resin strap is smooth and well finished. If you do a lot of sport then it is not particularly breathable, but even so this has not caused any discomfort for me.
The negative display looks great, and while it is sometimes tricky to read in low light conditions, the "illuminator" light does a great job of evenly lighting the whole display.
All of the buttons are very easily accessed and pressed. I understand that difficult buttons is a common complaint with other G Shock models, but I have encountered no such issues woth this one.
After a month of using this watch, the power level had never dropped below "H" for high and all of the features have been easy to manage and very useful. My previous watch had been a Timex Expedition analogue which only had a light and the date. Although I paid almost twice as much for this G Shock (£60 rather than £35) it has been more than worth it for the comprehensive feature levels and the more robust feel and look.
Overall then this is a great watch which I would happily have paid £80+ for, and so at £60 it was terrific value. If you are in to outdoor activities, in the military or just want a tough, reliable watch, then you won't do much better than this.
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on 4 January 2012
I was looking for digital watch that looks and is solid, this is perfect. The back light is not dazzling, but is bright enough and on long enough to tell the time at night. I would highly recommend anyone to get this watch.
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on 14 November 2015
Total junk. This is my second GR-8900A-1ER watch: the first model suffered water damage after being dipped in a swimming pool once during a holiday. So much for 200M waterproof. Casio UK accepted it as a return but didn't have any replacements in stock and refused to supply a suitable replacement. Thankfully, Amazon UK stepped in and kindly replaced it. However, all of this second model's buttons have all become unresponsive after three years light use (it's not even my daily driver, I have a Seiko for that) rendering it completely useless. I am never buying a G-Shock again.
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on 26 June 2013
I have a lot of G Shocks, and by any standards, this is a big one. If you have particularly small wrists you may want to consider a 6900 instead. Having said that, it's very smart and has probably had more wrist time than any of my others.

The negative display is clear and easy to read in any light, and the Auto EL means that even in the dark it's never a problem.

As with all coloured G Shocks, the resin around the face has scuffed where there are corners, revealing the grey resin underneath and the strap is prone to discoloration, just from everyday wear and tear, and general grime. Mine is 18 months old now, and still looks great unless you really get up close to it.

And if it gets dirty? It goes in the dishwasher!!
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on 2 April 2012
It is my first review for an item I bought cause I usually don't care about giving my comments on this sort of items but now I wanna say how amazing the watch is. The design is absolutely amazing. although it's got negative display it is really good in all light conditions just like a normal display. I had a little doubt in buying it first because I was afraid the negative display might not be a good option but now that I have it on my wrist i really love it and it is no way like what I thought.
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on 2 May 2012
this product is AMAZING by far the best watch ive ever had i have and will keep recommending it to everyone it has so much features and is well worth the money it is a must bye.
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on 13 January 2014
I wear it for work which keeps me indoors most of the day. That doesn't affect the solar cells though, the watch stays fully charged all day and all night!

The five alarms are useful. I use three of them regularly. As others keeps saying, they are too quiet. Luckily I work in a fairly quiet environment so I hear the alarms most of the time. If only Casio would hear us! The Timex equivalents have louder alarms and they vibrate too!

The auto-light feature is excellent. It rarely comes on when it's not supposed to and even when it does, it only stays on for a second or two (you can set the length of time yourself).

Power saving mode is also excellent. I set mine to go off after 10pm and start again next morning. Of course, it doesn't really go off completely. The screen goes blank until a light source shines on it again. Press the `G' button and it wakes up long enough to tell you the time before it nods off again. A very clever feature!

The World-time functions are not very useful to me but they're unobtrusive. Same with the Stopwatches and Countdown timer; they're very easy to use and don't get in the way of the watches everyday functions.

Not much to grumble about. The date is in the wrong (American) order of Month/Day instead of vice versa.
The `negative' display is hard to read in the shade but then, the Auto-light feature to remedies that. It's an ugly looking thing at first glance, but its utilitarian appearance grows on you...well it has on me anyway!

Btw, the Amazon picture is misleading. That blueish looking bit around the watch face is actually dark grey/black (it's the solar cells). The watch is all black - except for the writing.

Don't be put off by the apparent complexity of these watches. They're really intuitive to operate and in fact, most of the instructions you'll need are printed on the watch itself (`Adjust', `Mode', `Forward'...etc). There's a very lucid instruction booklet included.

I don't know why the price has jumped to £80. I paid £55 for mine on Amazon. Shop around, you might get a better deal :D
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on 9 August 2013
I've got quite a hefty watch collection and this stands out as one of my favourites. It has masses of functions and options, but they're actually useful and relevant rather than pointless gimmicks for the sake of it.

The build quality is up to G-Shocks usual high standards, with the possible exception of the strap keeper, which may discolour over time. Everything else is faultless though, it can take a knock and still look flawless, it offers good levels of water protection and even in wet or muddy conditions it remains easy to use.

The screen is very clear and legible. It's easy to view at a glance and gives you all the information you need. It makes it's numerous functions very accessible. The blue backlighting is excellent, clear and makes the watch really easy to read in the dark - it's bright enough to see clearly, without being too bright if you use it at your bed side.

Being solar powered means batteries simply aren't a concern and it doesn't take a huge amount of sunlight to charge and remain charged. The screen has a small 'High - Medium - Low' display to reflect the batteries charge level. Should it drop below 'High', simply wearing it outside or placing it on a windowsill for a little while gets it back up to charge again.

Setting the time, date and other functions is simple and consistent with other G-Shocks.

Best of all, it looks freaking superb! Let's be honest, that's what you really care about, right...!?
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on 14 April 2014
I bought this for work and for wearing when am out and about when a dress watch is a little too much.

Work wise it does everything I need it too and l love some of the little features; the beep function on the hourly mark keeps me on track during the day without having to keep on looking at the time. Even down to the fact that when skipping through the functions you don't even need to look as there's a different tone when you get to the the time. The auto backlight took a little getting used to but I think this was more down to the fact that the battery needed a little charging up after being in storage. A day outside got it charged up fully and its been working perfectly ever since. I do shift work and when I'm in the dark it only takes a second and doesn't require me having to use my other hand if I have a grip of someone.

Wearing it casually I love the negative display and have had no issues with being able to read it in the light and as soon as the light diminishes to an extent where it would be difficult to read the watch senses the conditions and lights up! Spot on. Nice and chunky on the wrist but doesn't look as if i'm wearing a dinner plate and light enough not to have any issues when walking/biking/running.

This is my first G Shock but won't be the last judging by how this one is turning out. However, on the evidence I think this is going to be a fair old while as quality wise really feels like it's going to last.
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