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Casio g’zOne Commando Review

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Casio g’zOne Commando ReviewIt is Casio’s first Android device. Pronounced “geeze-One”, the phone is designed to resist shock, dust, water and other physical abuses. Obviously, the phone is destined for those who enjoy active lifestyle and want a reliable phone that can withstand a good beating. Other than its durability, you may appreciate some of its unique features.

Hardware

The Commando is simply a sturdy and tough handset. It has Droid-like touch and the red accents look great, while the exposed screws give the phone a masculine and industrial look. Some may be somewhat turned off by its bulk, but the phone is constructed as durable as they come.

A 3.5mm headphone jack, USB port and camera key are located on the right side. To use them, you must pop the watertight covers out. On the left side you can find a “one-click-access” button, power/standby key, dock connector and a volume rocker.  It has four standard Android softkeys under the displays, along with a couple of speakers. The speakers are better-placed than most Android phones, which allows better sound output. Additionally, the speakers themselves are of good quality, they loud, clear and even have a slight bass boom.

The screen has a resolution of 480 x 800 and measures at 3.6”. It looks nice enough, but unfortunately feels unresponsive at times. If you are deliberate and slow with your strokes and swipes, then there shouldn’t be a problem. But if you are used to quick flicking, you’ll be annoyed by its sluggishness. Thankfully, the decent 800 MHz CPU can somewhat redeem some of the interface issues. Apps launch quickly, and in terms of raw performance, the Commando feels like a typical mid-range Android phone.

Software

The Commando is powered by the Android 2.2 (Froyo), plus some of Casio’s customized interface. But, as a whole, it feels like a standard, stock experience. The interfaces behave and look as they would a typical Android device. Unfortunately, Verizon bloats the device with numerous apps that you may not need, like VCast and VZ Navigator. Snap-Out Menu is a huge refinement in the Commando’s interface. It is a customizable menu that can be dragged from the bottom left corner of the device. When the menu is “snapped-out”, you get several shortcuts to choose from, while the sound cue makes it easier to locate services. You may eventually love the menu and quickly get used to it. You can also deploy the menu using the “one-click-access” key located at the left side of the device. To use the key, you can assign any function and app to it and quickly call them up with a single press. For example, you can launch the email client app and dial a specific phone number with the button.

The keyboard allows you to type by dragging your finger across the virtual keyboard instead of tapping on the key, one at a time. If you’re a huge fan of Swype-style keyboard, you shouldn’t have complaints about the Commando’s implementation. Given the fact that this phone is geared specifically toward active people, the pre-installed applications suite can measure many external factors, including tides and temperature. This phone is outfitted to help you find your way on an outdoor trip, whether you’re hiking or running.

Camera

It is perhaps the weakest link in your Commando experience. Although snapping some pictures with the flash-equipped 5Mp camera is incredibly easy, the result is a little disappointing. Videos are a little worse, as the end results look more like clips taken by feature phone models from a few years back. If you don’t take photos and videos too often, it won’t hurt your overall feelings, but for others this could be a big concern.

Verdict

Being Casio’s first foray to the Android market, you may expect to be disappointed by the g’zOne Commando. But that may not be the case. It is certainly not a phone for everyone and far more suited to those who want a durable Android phone that can accompany their active lifestyle. It could be constructed tougher than necessary and the Android experience is pretty much familiar, with a little twist to add some values. The Tactile Key and Snap-Out Menu are both useful and practical. The Commando definitely has some flaws, for example, the screen can be unresponsive and lagging at times, while the mediocre processor can’t do much to elevate the performance. Throw-in the disappointing camera and you’ll get a phone that is only attractive to no-nonsense people. As the result, those who want to be on the cutting edge should stay away from the Commando.

Pros:

  • Very durable
  • Tactile Key and Snap-Out Menu
  • Good speaker placement and quality
  • Good onscreen keyboard

Cons:

  • Unresponsive interface
  • Disappointing camera

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