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printed September 1, 2014
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Review: Casio G'zOne Ravine

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The Casio G'zOne Ravine is in some ways a very impressive, rugged device; and in other ways a collection of missed opportunities. The phone can take a serious beating, including a dunk in the pool or a drop into a dirty puddle. Some of the outdoors features are pretty cool, like the compass and pedometer, the star map and the convenient flashlight feature. It also has better call quality than previous G'zOne phones I've tried, and the speakerphone is disturbingly loud, which is exactly how I want it to be.

My only problem is that Verizon has confused this outdoor enthusiast phone with a 3G feature phone. Instead of using a high-quality camera, the phone features "fast" networking that couldn't even deliver in the simple Web browser. Instead of some music for exercising outdoors (or perhaps while taking a swim), the phone tries for corporate email and sub-par messaging. In other words, instead of focusing on a few key features that buyers would appreciate, the phone tries to do everything, and ends up failing miserably at the tasks that don't fit its outdoor lifestyle.

Still, it's hard not to like a phone that is equally comfortable hiking through a saltwater bog as it is working hard in a desert war zone. There are just enough customization options to keep your favorite features close at hand, and the rugged design has been refined to an attractive clamshell that feels more polished than durable, even though it's both.

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