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Casio's latest G-Shock Mudman is one tough, solar-powered adventure watch

Can your smartwatch do all this? The Casio G-Shock Mudman GW-9500 -- sporting three sensors, a dual-layer LCD, and sustainable materials -- delivers all the data you need, plus unlimited battery life.
Written by Matthew Miller, Contributing Writer
Matthew Miller/ZDNET

Since I thoroughly enjoy watches and gathering data from my wrist, a watch is usually found on each of my wrists. One wrist has a smartwatch of some type, Google Pixel Watch, Apple Watch Ultra, or Samsung Galaxy Watch. The other wrist carries a Garmin, Coros, or some other type of watch with long battery life. 

Also: Best Garmin watches

For the past couple of weeks, I've had my non-smartwatch wrist adorned with a new Casio G-Shock Mudman GW-9500 watch that doesn't require charging, has classic G-Shock looks, can withstand anything I throw at it, and reliably provides useful data and guidance. The watch is solar-powered and should provide you with unlimited battery life.

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The new G-Shock Mudman GW-9500 is available in three color schemes; orange/black, green/black, and black with red highlights. Each is available now for $380 and we tested the black model with red highlights. The Mudman, weighing in at 81 grams, sports dimensions of 56.7 x 52.7 x 14.8 mm -- and this 14.8mm thickness manages to pack in a dual-layer LCD. It's one tough watch, too,  with a 200-meter water-resistant rating, mud- and dirt-resistant structure, and classic shock resistance.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The dual-layer LCD allows the digital compass to appear over the top of the text compass readings so you can view the direction you are facing quickly and easily with the graphics on the upper layer. The watch measures and displays your direction as one of 16 points on the compass with a graphical directional pointer.

Six large buttons are mounted on the sustainable bio-based resin case. The two left buttons are used to adjust settings and change watch modes. The three right buttons are used to provide you with output from the triple sensors. Buttons for the compass, barometer, and altimeter are clearly labeled and easy to press. 

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

It actually took me longer than it should have to figure out that the sixth button is a button positioned at the bottom of the bezel along the watch band. This button activates the LED backlight that can be set for a one- or three-second duration. The left side lights up well to illuminate the entire watch face.

Also: Best smartwatches

Make sure to check out the back of your new watch too as the iconic Mudman mole character is etched into the stainless steel back. The urethane band is also constructed of renewable organic resources with enough openings in the band to fit any size wrist.

The mode button advances the watch through displays that show time/day/date, sunrise/sunset, altitude recall (min, max, ascent, descent), stopwatch (1/100th of a second), timer (1-second intervals for up to 24 hours), alarm (five daily alarms available), world time (31 time zones), and radio control status. The watch receives time calibration signals daily to ensure the watch remains first and foremost a reliable watch that keeps accurate time.

Matthew Miller/ZDNET

The G-Shock Mudman fits my wrist well and looks fantastic. It is refreshing to have a watch mounted to my wrist that provides essential watch functions while also supplying key data that helps while trail running, hiking, and exploring the outdoors. If you are looking for a reliable, capable G-Shock, then I highly recommend the Mudman GW-9500.

Also: The best fitness trackers of 2023: Expert tested and reviewed

ZDNET's buying advice

Smartwatches show you the time, but they also need charging every other day. Sometimes it's nice to have a watch that provides the time and essential, basic watch functionality with a battery that charges via available light so that you never have to think about battery life. 

Casio continues to produce classic G-Shock watches and the Mudman GW-9500 has classic good looks, rugged durability, and an advanced sensor to provide you with key data for your outdoor adventures. If you ever considered leaving behind all the bells and whistles of the latest smartwatches for a "regular" watch, the Mudman GW-9500 is a solid choice.

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