Over the years, I’ve generally worn smartwatches. It’s been three years since I bought the Galaxy Watch 3 in 2020, and while it has served me well, I was starting to feel a bit tired of it and wanted a change. I was initially waiting for news about the Galaxy Watch 6, but last month, I stumbled upon the new DW-H5600 from G-Shock on a forum, and I was instantly intrigued. I really liked its design and display, and its functionalities also aligned perfectly with my needs.
To be honest, my requirements for smartwatch functions aren’t that extensive. I need basic step tracking, occasional exercise tracking, heart rate monitoring, and sleep tracking would be a plus. I’ve grown tired of the uniform appearance of most smartwatches’ black screens, and I was really wanting a watch with a traditional design and some smart features, without the need for constant charging. I had briefly looked into G-Shock models a couple of years ago, but at the time, I couldn’t find a suitable model. This time, based on its features, the DW-H5600 seemed to be a perfect fit.
When I came across the post, it was early May, and this watch was set to be released by the end of the month, with an official price of 2080 RMB. The distribution channels in China were a bit unusual, with physical stores having virtually no stock, and popular online platforms like JD.com and Taobao not carrying the model. Only overseas purchasing options were available. Surprisingly, there were many shops selling it on Douyin (TikTok), including official flagship stores. So, I bought it from Douyin. I received the watch on the 28th and started using it. It’s been about seventeen or eighteen days now.
Let’s start with the battery life, something that many people are concerned about.
The official battery life data for the H5600 can be easily misunderstood. It’s stated as follows:
Using activity functions (heart rate): Approx. 35 hours maximum; Using watch mode with heart rate measurement turned off: Approx. 1 month. Without light.
At first glance, it might seem that if you keep the heart rate sensor on all day, you’ll only get 35 hours of battery life, which seems abysmal. And to get longer battery life, you have to turn off heart rate monitoring, essentially using it just as a watch, right?
That’s not actually the case. The 35-hour figure is actually referring to continuous usage during activities like walking, running, or being at the gym – in other words, when the watch is in the “activity detection” mode and constantly monitoring. The battery life would be 35 hours under these circumstances (also in a dark environment). In reality, no one engages in continuous physical activity for such a long time. The phrasing “using activity functions (heart rate)” was likely intended to be precise, but it ends up being easily misinterpreted. Even some watch sellers might simply answer “35-hour battery life” when asked.
In practice, I received the watch on a Sunday night with a full charge and left the heart rate sensor on all day. By the second Monday morning, the battery status had dropped to “Low,” and the heart rate sensor was no longer functional. This means that with the heart rate sensor constantly active, the battery lasted for about 7 days.
On June 5th, after charging in the morning, I changed the heart rate sensor setting to “Only activate at night and during exercise.” As of June 14th, the battery still had one bar of charge (out of four bars), and it looks like it can last for another two nights.
Another potential misunderstanding is related to solar charging. The H5600 supports solar charging. However, the official explanation is somewhat unclear. It vaguely states that “solar power can support long-term use of watch functions but is insufficient for the sensors.” Therefore, many people, including foreign media, believe that solar charging can only be used for the watch’s basic timekeeping function, while the sensors require a separate power source. However, based on user experiences I’ve read on Reddit, when you spend enough time in the sun, the battery level of the watch can increase by one bar, which can also power the sensors.
So, the solar charging for the H5600 is more like a low-efficiency auxiliary charging feature. It does somewhat contribute to overall battery life, but in most cases, the energy it generates doesn’t match the consumption rate. Only under extreme conditions would it surpass usage, such as when someone mentioned on Reddit that their battery level went up after spending a day outdoors camping. In my month and a half of usage, I haven’t experienced my battery level increasing, so I’m still not 100% sure about this.
Next up are the sports and health tracking features, which aren’t particularly noteworthy, as they are features commonly found in fitness bands. It mainly includes step counting, exercise tracking, heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, and blood sample testing. This functionality is in collaboration with Polar, so it also supports Polar’s “Nightly Recharge” sleep analysis and cardiorespiratory load status analysis, making it more professional than my previous Samsung smartwatch.
There’s also a handy “find phone” feature and notification function. Especially notifications, they are a mixed bag. While notifications were initially fairly convenient – messages received on the phone would sync to the watch, and reading text on an IMP screen had its charm – there’s a problem. Casio’s app doesn’t allow you to filter notifications sent to the watch; you can only choose to either enable all or disable all notifications. Even background information that’s not visible on your phone, like apps accessing location, Google services’ activities, or NetEase playing certain music, all sorts of irrelevant information also gets pushed to the watch. This limitation essentially cripples the H5600’s notification functionality, making it either unusable or frequently distracting due to unnecessary messages (though I still have it turned on).
Lastly, Casio’s proprietary fitness data isn’t interoperable with any other fitness apps, and it doesn’t support Apple or Google health services.
In summary, the DW-H5600 is best suited for those interested in a traditional watch appearance with some added sports and health tracking features. But, don’t expect it to be a smartwatch; it’s guaranteed to disappoint in that regard. Personally, my experience with it has been in line with my expectations. It’s comfortable to wear, lightweight, the battery life is reassuring, the screen is beautiful, and even after half a month, I find it aesthetically pleasing every time I look at it. Perhaps I hadn’t worn traditional watches enough before, and now I’m realizing the decorative significance of a watch.
And that’s about it. If anyone has any more questions, feel free to ask.