Casio G'zOne Commando Review

Introduction and Design

Over the years, Casio has been known for producing rugged Push-to-Talk phones for Verizon Wireless, from the Type-V and Type-S to the Boulder, Rock, Brigade, and Ravine. But this time around Casio brings to the table something different, the G’zOne Commando – a rugged Android smartphone. We understand why Casio has done this, as more people are moving to smartphones, while some still want a device that can withstand a certain amount of abuse, whether it is from a construction site foreman to a guy coaching his kid’s football practice.

Included in the retail package is the Casio G’zOne Commando C771 smartphone, 8GB microSDHC memory card pre-installed, 1460mAh battery, and wall charger with detachable microUSB cable.


Even though the Casio G’zOne Commando is a candy-bar style smartphone, it has some design aspects carried over from the Casio Ravine, such as the all-black construction with orange accents. On the front is a 3.6” WVGA TFT display, which is a pretty nice size, of course not as big as the 4.3” ones in use with some of today's smartphones. Text and images look sharp, and color is pretty accurate, but unfortunately it is hard to view while in direct sunlight.

You can compare the Casio G’zOne Commando with many other phones using our Size Visualization Tool.

Below it are four touch-sensitive buttons for accessing the menu, home, back, and search, as well as stereo speakers that have the microphone in the middle, which seems like an odd placement. Located on the sides are the power/lock key, multi-function button, volume rocker, and camera key. The microUSB port and 3.5mm headphone jack are kept sealed with protective covers on the right side. On the back is the 5MP camera and battery cover, which has to be unlocked to remove, as it has a rubber o-ring to keep water out.

Overall, the Casio G’zOne Commando feels well made, which comes as no surprise, as the device meets MIL–STD–810G certification for being resistant to water (1 meter at 30 minutes), shock (4 foot drop), dust, temperature extremes, solar radiation, humidity (95% for 24 hours), salt fog, and vibration. The screen is also protected by 1mm thick tough glass that is resilient to breakage. Even with all of this, the phone still feels comfortable to hold in the hand, and isn’t too heavy at 5.45 oz.

We water tested the device by filling a sink full with tap water and submerged it for several minutes. With the screen turned on, we noticed that when water came into contact with it there was some interaction, due to it being capacitive touch-sensitive. It was weird seeing the email app or phone dialer launch by the water. Because of this, we’d recommend having the screen turned off before it comes into contact with water. But the phone did remain water-tight. We removed it from the sink after a few minutes, wiped the water off, and were able to use the Commando without a hitch. We opened up the two side ports and the locking battery cover, and there was a few small water drops, but it never passed the rubber seal of the orange o-rings.

Casio G'zOne Commando Water Test:

The second test we conducted was by dropping the phone on to a cement sidewalk from the certified 4 foot distance. We did this with the phone dropped on its back, and then with the phone dropped on the front. This did make a few scuff marks in the plastic around the sides, but the battery cover did not pop off and the display was undamaged. We then tested the phone some and it worked just fine. It’s nice to see that it can withstand an occasional fall without breaking into pieces and shattering the screen.

Casio G'zOne Commando Drop Test:

Casio G’zOne Commando C771 360 Degrees View:


The Casio G’zOne Commando comes with Android 2.2.1 Froyo installed, but layered over that Casio is using their own custom G’zOne skin. It’s not as feature-rich as HTC Sense or Samsung Touch Wiz, and only has 5 home screens instead of the standard 7, but there are some added features. At the bottom left of the home screen is a circular icon, and when you drag it out to the right side it will show 5 quick-launch icons for accessing the contacts, email, messaging, voice control, and calendar. What’s nice about this is those 5 icons can be replaced with anything that you use frequently, from device settings to different applications. This is a nice idea, and we did use it a few times, but we still would have preferred the extra two home screens where we could place icons on.

There is also a nice selection of desktop widgets, including some that use the G’zGear app, such as a compass, flashlight, moonrise, pedometer, sunrise, tides, virtual trek, and weather. It’s nice to have those as widgets right on the desktop, but you can still use the full featured G’zGear app (more on that later).

Phonebook, Messaging and Organizer:

Accessing your contacts is pretty straight forward, but it only displays contacts that are stored in the phone or ones from your Google account. What is missing is any way to import contacts from Facebook or any other social networking site. You can install and use the standalone Facebook app, and view its contacts in it. There is also a Social Beat app, which links your Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and RSS feeds together, but since it lacks the functionality of the standalone apps, we didn’t really see much use for it.

For messaging, there is the regular messaging app for sending and receiving text and picture messages, an email app, and a Mobile IM app for connecting to your AIM, Windows Live and Yahoo! buddy lists. All of those work well, but we did notice that the email app is pretty bare-bones and doesn’t display pictures or HTML encoded messages, but instead shows them as plain-text. Because of this, you might want to install the K-9 Mail app or equivalent as a substitute.

The organizer is also pretty standard, as it only links to your Google Calendar, not Facebook or any other social network calendars.

Internet and Connectivity:

The Casio G’zOne Commando comes with the standard WebKit based browser, and since the device uses Verizon’s EVDO Rev A network, we were able to load the web site in 40 seconds, including all Flash content and ads. We also didn’t encounter the browser lock-up problem that we saw on the Samsung Droid Charge when visiting site that use Flash. Scrolling was smooth, as was pinch-to-zoom.

We also tested the data speeds using the app and were able to get downloads of 1.57 Mbps and uploads of 0.88 Mbps with 137 ms ping times. These are about average for a Verizon 3G EVDO smartphone, but it would have been nice if 4G LTE were included, though you can connect to Wi-Fi 802.11b/g/n.

Camera and Multimedia:

The included 5MP autofocus camera is easy to use, as there is a standard 2-stop shutter key. Pressing it down half way will focus in on the center of the image (the square on the screen will turn green) and then pressing all the way down will capture the image. There are a few settings available, such as the resolution, quality, brightness, white balance, night mode, color effects, flash, focus, GPS location, and zoom. We were not impressed by the daytime images that we took outside as colors were dull and muted, and fine detail was lacking, with edges looking soft instead of sharp and defined. We also noticed that the auto white balance had issues a few times. When using the camera inside, it continued producing soft looking images, and color accuracy was lacking. Even though there is an LED flash, it is a joke, as the light stays on the entire time, and makes almost no difference in dark pictures. Videos can be recorded up to 720x480 resolution, but is limited to 15 frames per second. When played back on a PC, the video looks blotchy and there is plenty of stutter due to the low frame rate. Overall, the camera on the Casio G’zOne Commando is not one of its strong points, but is still useable for quick on-the-go pictures and videos when you don’t have a dedicated digital camera with you.

Casio G'zOne Commando Sample Video:

The gallery shows all of your pictures and videos categorized into folders for easy viewing. We were able to playback all of our MP4 videos from 320x240 to 1280x720 resolution without any problems, but some H.264 videos would drop the audio track while playing. DivX, XviD, and H.263 videos were not recognized.

There is also the standard music app that comes with Android 2.2, again nothing out of the ordinary, as it will show music by artists, albums, songs and playlists. When the song is playing, it will display the album cover art on the screen, but there are no other visualizations, equalizers, or sound effects. With the stereo speakers on the front of the device, the Casio G’zOne Commando is one of the few smartphones that can produce decent quality audio, without the need for using headphones. Music was loud and crisp, and low to high frequencies were reproduced nicely with good fidelity.


As we mentioned earlier, the Casio G’zOne Commando includes their G’zGear software app, similar to what we saw last year on the Ravine. The Earth Compass shows your current heading in degrees, as well as an arrow to North, and the Layer Compass shows where you are in relation to world cities, US Parks, world mountains, and world nature. The Walking Counter has a virtual trek for different trails, and a pedometer for how many steps you’ve taken for each day of the week, which is shown in a handy graph. Adventure Training has a selecting of running opponents to choose from, so you can see how well you match up to them, such as the men’s marathon world record of 26.224 miles at 2hr 03min 59 sec. The Trip Plot uses GPS to plot where you have been, so can bring it up again and take the same path, which is handy for hikers. The Thermometer shows what the current temperature is, and the temps of 3 cities you can select from, or view a global map of temps around the world. Tides show what the current high and low tide times are for your location as well as their height. The sun/moon will show how many hours until the sun rise/set and moon rise/set for your location. And the Star Gazer will show what stars and constellations are in the sky, through it isn’t as good as Google Sky Map. Overall, the G’zGear app has a lot to offer the outdoorsman, as some of these features can’t be found on other phones.

For GPS guided driving directions you have a choice of using Google Maps, which is free, or VZ Navigator, which is $10 per month. Both provide you with turn-by-turn directions and audio prompts, though their layout is slightly different. Our choice between the two is Google Maps, as it doesn’t have a monthly fee, but this is our personal preference.

If you are in need of viewing Microsoft Office files, there is the Document Viewer app, which can open Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and even Adobe PDF files.

Naturally, you can download a wide variety of apps from the Android Market.


The processor is only clocked at 800MHz, so it’s not the fastest out there, even though it comes with 1GB Flash ROM and512MB RAM. We ran the Quadrant Benchmark app, which got a score of 1082 (less than a Motorola DROID X), and the AnTuTu System Benchmark got a score of 1472. The NeoCore app, which measures graphic performance, got 43 frames per second.

Call quality through the earpiece speaker on the Casio Commando is better than what we’ve experienced with past Casio G’zOne models on Verizon, as voices are louder and clearer, instead of sounding thin and distant. There also was no noticeable distortion even with the volume turned all the way up. This was also true when using the speakerphone, as it uses the front stereo speakers. People that we called said that we sounded clear and natural on their end, without any background noise. Reception was also good, as we didn’t drop any calls and had 2-3 bars of 3G showing in high-coverage areas and with a signal strength of -89 to -92 dBm.

The included 1460mAh battery is rated to provide up to 7.5 hours of talk time or 11 days of standby time on a full charge. During our testing we were able to get up to 7 hours of continuous talk time with a full charge, but under mixed daily usage, which includes some talk, web, text, app use, and standby, we were able to get about 36 hours before requiring a charge.


Even though the Casio G’zOne Commando isn’t the fastest or most high-end smartphone on the market, it fills a void for a mid-level device that is also rugged and durable, which can withstand water and being dropped on occasion. We love its overall build quality, and that it has a different utilitarian look than most other flashy smartphones. At the current $199 price for the Casio Commando, it is only $50 less than the awesome HTC ThunderBolt, which offers a faster processor, larger screen, 32GB memory, and 4G LTE for data. But if you need a more rugged smartphone that you don’t have to worry about damaging much, the Casio G’zOne Commando is the one to get.

Software version of the reviewed unit:
Android 2.2.1
Build: C771M030

Casio G'zOne Commando Video Review:


  • Solid build with MIL STD 810G certification
  • Useful G’zGear apps
  • Loud call volume and speakerphone
  • Good music playback quality


  • Only 5 home screens
  • Not as fast as other smartphones
  • Shows all emails as plain-text
  • Camera quality is lacking

PhoneArena Rating:


User Rating:

6 Reviews

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