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printed October 25, 2014
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Review: Casio G'zOne Commando

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The Commando runs Android 2.2.2 with some modifications made by Casio and Verizon Wireless. The lock screen has its own custom look, but the basics and operation are the same. The Commando has five home screens which are pretty well stuffed with Verizon and Casio applications, but those can all be customized. The main menu is stock Android, as are the settings menus.

The Commando offers two unique things that other Android phones don't: G'zGear and a customizable swipe menu.

The G'zGear applications are meant for the outdoor enthusiast. They can be accessed by pressing the dedicated button on the left side of the Commando or by selecting them from the home screen. There are 8 special applications in the G'zGear menu: Compass, pedometer, adventure training, trip memory, thermometer, tides, sun/moon rise and set times, and a star gazing application. They each offer pretty much exactly what you'd expect given their names.

Quite frankly, these apps are awesome. You won't find any lame skins or warmed-over versions of wimpy apps here, they are hardcore and feature rich. For example, the thermometer captures the real temperature where you're standing in addition to readings reported by official weather stations in the surrounding areas. The pedometer doesn't just rely on your stride length to make calculations, it also takes into consideration your height and weight to offer useful information. I found the compass to be highly accurate, and it tracked direction much, much faster than other phone-based compasses I've used. In addition to being solid applications, most of them have extremely well-designed widgets that let you access the best features without having to open the full apps constantly. This is great, for example, if you're in the middle of a training run and need to make an adjustment to the application.

The other piece of the Commando's menu is a customizable menu shortcut. There's a little ball in the lower left corner of the home screen. Swipe it up, and there are shortcuts to five applications. Out of the box, this shortcut menu lists the calendar, voice control, messaging, email, and contacts. These can be deleted, rearranged, etc. Honestly, I don't know why Casio/Verizon bothered, as it doesn't necessarily get you to those applications any faster than a normal home screen shortcut would.

The one real bummer with the Commando is performance. Its 800Mhz processor felt sluggish compared to devices with faster processors under the hood. Swiping from screen to screen, for instance, was jittery and sometimes lagged.

 

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