G-SHOCK GA800 Review

G-SHOCK GA800 money shot

The Truth About Watches’ G-SHOCK GA-2100 1A review is our most popular post to date. “An attractive, minimalist feature analog/digital G-SHOCK that puts a traditional spin on classic Square aesthetics,” Ronnie Schreiber wrote, awarding Casio’s runaway hit five stars. Simplicity, legibility and wearability made the “Casioak” a hit. The same description applies to the G-SHOCK GA800 1A. Only more so . . .

G-SHOCK GA800 closeup new

This GA800’s high-contrast deep dish dial positions light colored hands against a dark background, interrupted by monolithic hour indices, harder to miss than the broad side of a barn. It’s the same basic dial structure as the Casioak, but the GA800’s large central position digital display beats its brother for at-a-glance-ability.

And then there’s the G-SHOCK GA800’s bright red, independently driven seconds hand. The Casioak doesn’t have one. Die-hard minimalists like RF may disagree, but I welcome the third hand for practical purposes and its symbolic value. Hey! I’m a traditional watch! One with a button that moves the pointers out of the way of the LCD panel.

G-SHOCK GA800 lume

The emphasis on legibility extends to the positive LCD panel occupying the dial’s lower third. It’s significantly larger than the Casioak’s. Not one but two LED lights enable nighttime viewing; one for the analog dial and one to backlight the digital panel. That’s in addition to the lumed hands. Press the front and center button and the G-SHOCK GA800 looks like a brightly-lit hockey rink.

The G-SHOCK GA800 isn’t a solar-powered or atomic clock accurized Casio. It’s accurate to +/-15 seconds a month with a three-year battery life. Running off ye olde module 5535, the GA800 offers your basic full feature set [sic]: stopwatch, countdown timer, five alarms, dual time, automatic calendar to 2099, and hourly signal. In Time Mode, you have a choice of Day-Date or digital time in the LCD panel.

G-SHOCK GA800 on wrist

Like the G-Shock Rangeman 9400, the GA800’s provides a one-touch stopwatch in Time Mode. Press the lower right button and you’re instantly in Stopwatch Mode with the clock running.

I’m not sure when, where or why you’d need to use it, and I’m not sure I want to know, but there it is. Meanwhile, this G-SHOCK stores up to 120 (running?) laps in its memory – a lifetime’s worth for this reviewer.

At 63 grams, the G-SHOCK GA800 is light on the wrist. Like many G-SHOCKs in this price range – and higher – the rubber strap is majorly meh. It’s not as stiff as most of Casio’s resin straps, but it’s no joy to have and to hold.

Luckily, the GA800 is compatible with the famously soft GW-5000 rubber strap, available on ebay for about $17. Bonus! The softer strap positions the large case a bit closer to the wrist.

The G-SHOCK GA800 1A lives in the shadow of the GA2100. And yet the GA800 is clearly the more watch-like watch for watch buyers who want all the features and durability of a G-SHOCK with a simple, easy-to-read dial. You might even say it’s G-SHOCK’s best kept secret. Until now . . .

Model: G-SHOCK GA800-1A
Price:
$99 (paid $80)

SPECIFICATIONS:

Case / Bezel: Resin
Crystal: Mineral Glass (flat).
Strap: Resin strap with pin buckle.
Lume: Hands lumed. Two LED lights (digital panel and analog dial).
Dimensions / weight
: 54.1 X 48.6 X 15.5-mm / 63g.
Movement: Casio Quartz Module #5535
Accuracy: +/- 15 seconds per month (measured +6.9 seconds per month).
Battery life: 3 years.
Water resistance: 200 meters.

Functions: Analog Hour / Minute / Seconds, Digital Hours (12 / 24) / Minutes / Seconds, Day / Date, One-touch Stopwatch, Countdown Timer, 5 Alarms, Hourly Signal, Dual Time, Hand Shift.

RATINGS (out of five stars):

Design * * *
The GA800 falls into the quintessential G-SHOCK form factor, though it’s not as busy or garish as many others in the G-SHOCK line. It’s big, but it’s light and comfortable.

Legibility * * * * *
The large, simple analog dial, ginormous hour indices, and three contrasting hands make time-at-a-glance easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy. The generously proportioned LCD panel is legible in the day and at night with the backlight.

Comfort * * *
The stock strap is the usual suckage. It will be much better with a genuine GW-5000 replacement strap (Ebay).

Overall * * * *
The G-SHOCK GA800 is a value-driven, feature-rich watch. Being a G-SHOCK, it can take whatever you throw at it or whatever you throw it at. At this price, you won’t care if it gets banged up. You might even bang it up intentionally to give it some character.

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12 comments

  1. I imagine that light button up front is quite handy, but it looks like the watch is wearing a gas mask to me.

    1. Ha! There are several models with front mounted light buttons. I’m not sure how many have this style (round with the diamond knurling – or whatever they call it) of button, but I know the Rangeman 9400 has it.

  2. I use a “GMA-S” (GMA-S140), strap on mine GA-800. Fit perfectly too.
    I will make some mod on it. Will share as soon as finish. BTW really nice article, in my opinion, GA-800 its a legend, it is my favorite G-Shock ever.

      1. Where did you find this for $80? I can find only the (1AJF) Japanese domestic market version of the GA800 through parallel imports going for $120.

  3. Where did you acquire this for $80? I can only find the Japanese domestic (1AJF} version parallel import for $120. Contacting Casio directly was not helpful. Any suggestion?

    1. I got it on Amazon. Just checked, and it’s showing “unavailable.” I wonder if it’s being discontinued?

  4. Bought the Casio GA-800 as a souvenir during my stay in the Philipines at the G-Store in Manila, Greenbelt in 2020.
    I have several Casio’s (Pro Trek, G-Shock, Illuminator,…) but definitely one off my most worn watches. Great design, easy to manipulate and very and fast readable.

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