Review of Verizon Wireless Casio G’zOne Brigade

galaxy s3 covers

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Cell phones today are expensive and really not very durable or rugged, most of them you drop once and it’s over. Get a phone wet and you might as well throw it away, though there are exceptions and ways of trying to dry it out. For the most part though the majority of cell phones are delicate devices that aren’t meant to be dropped and basically need to be babied and carefully handled. Why are more phones not made more durable? There really aren’t many rugged phones on the market that can be used by people that like to be outdoors or for people that have rough and or dirty jobs.

Today for review I’ve got the Casio G’Zone Brigade from Verizon Wireless and I like it a lot. It’s a rugged phone that’s meant to take a beating, it’s built and tested to military specifications. This phone is made to withstand extreme temperatures, drops, water, shock, vibration, dust, altitude and even solar radiation. This is one tough phone, but it’s more than just rugged, it works well, it has decent battery life and good call quality. This a phone for people who like to work and play rough and like to take things to the extreme. If you’re looking for a phone that can work and play with you and your active lifestyle then this in the phone you want.


So we’ll start off with the video unboxing:

Then onto the still pictures for you.

It’s a little box with pictures on it:

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Not much comes with the phone, just the charger and the dock or cradle, along with documentation of course.

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Here’s the phone in the dock:

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The Casio G’Zone Brigade is a phone that’s very well made, yes it’s heavy but I like that. It looks like a portable radio or walkie-talkie to be honest. It has a nice rugged military look and feel to it.

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There’s a display on the front with the number pad, navigation control and other controls.

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There’s not much to the back of the phone, the camera is there along with metal contacts for the charging cradle. There’s also an LED for taking pictures, but the LED can also be turned on if you just need a flashlight without using the camera.

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On the left side you’ll find a big red button when pushed tells me ‘Not Available’,it’s the PTT button, volume up and down and a button labeled Music.

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There are also two doors on the left side as well, behind them are the USB port and the audio jack, these do have rubber gaskets on them to keep the phone watertight.

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The G’Zone Brigade is sort of a flip phone, it opens to reveal a full QWERTY keyboard.

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There’s a navigation pad off to the right, and two buttons below the screen as well.

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The back battery cover does lock into place, there is a slide lock on the side to unlock it. Opening it up is rather hard honestly, but once open you’ll see that there’s another rubber gasket to keep the battery from damage. You’ll also find the microSD slot here are all.

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Specifications:

Casio G’zOne Brigade

Full Retail Price: $419.99
Price with 2yr contract: $299.99

The CASIO G’zOne Brigade appeals to a broader base with a QWERTY keyboard for texting and new refinements for urban and outdoor use. This phone is built to military specifications to survive extreme shock, water and dust environments. Push to Talk  gives you quick access to contacts to get the job done efficiently. Use the Brigade to talk, text, and share photos — wherever you are. Access your favorite entertainment features like the 3.2 Megapixel Camera with Flash, Visual Voice Mail, HTML Browser, V CAST Music with Rhapsody and V CAST Videos.

Design:
* Rugged Design with QWERTY Keyboard
* Meets Military Specifications 810F standards for Water, Shock & Dust Resistance, Immersion, Vibration, Salt Fog, Humidity, Solar Radiation, Altitude, Low and High Temperature Storage

Camera/Video
* 3.2 Megapixel Camera / Camcorder with Flash & Autofocus
* Best Shot Mode: Off/Person/Scenery/Night View/Sepia/Black & White/Negative
* Dedicated Camera/Video Key
* Resolution Adjustment: 2048×1536, 2048×1232, 1600×1200, 1280×960, 640×480
* Self Timer: Off, 3, 5 or 10 Seconds
* White Balance: Auto, Sunny, Shade, Tungsten and Fluorescent
* Multishot: On or Off
* Auto Focus: Off / Single Point AF / 9 Point AF / Face Focus
* Display Setting: Timeout or Always
* Shutter Sound: Shutter or Silent
* Video Capture & Playback
* Viewfinder: Main Display or Front Display

Services:
* Rev A Push to Talk Capable
* V CAST Music with Rhapsody (subscription, wireless and PC downloads)
* V CAST Videos
* HTML Browser
* VZ Navigator Capable
* Visual Voice Mail Capable
* Field Force Manager Capable
* Family Locator Capable
* Text, Picture, Video & Voice Messaging
* Media Center – Download Games, Ringtones, & More
* Mobile Email, Corporate Email, Mobile Web Mail, Mobile IM & Chat Capable
* City ID Capable
* Mobile Broadband Connect Capable
* Voicemail
* Device Software Update – Download Software Upgrades Over The Air

Specifications:
* All-Digital, 1X/EVDO/Rev A.
* Main: 2.9″ 400X240 TFT display w/up to 65K colors
* External: 1.2″ 128×96 Mono PM–OLED display
* Dimensions: 4.4″ (H) x 2.2″ (W) x 0.9″ (D)
* Weight: 6.0 ounces
* SAR: Head–0.813 W/kg, Body–0.752 W/kg
* Usage Time: Up to 360 minutes
* Standby Time: Up to 90 hours

Casio G’Zone Brigade Website


The front display is nice and big, it shows the time, network information and battery status.

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Let me say again that I love this phone, in my time with it I’ve truly grown to like it. Sure it’s not exactly a smartphone and I really do miss the touch screen, but if I had to I could live without having the touch screen on this phone.

It can function similar to a smarthpone though in that you can access email accounts, IM, browse the web and even for navigation and viewing most Microsoft documents.

I can’t tell you about the Navigation features as on my demo unit it wasn’t enabled, I tried it and it said I needed to pay to use it.

Call quality is decent, it’s clear and the phone can get very loud, but it’s almost like talking through a radio. There’s a faint hiss to it, but it’s still clear and the people you talk to can be heard and understood just fine. The speaker is very loud, so using it as a speakerphone works very well. I’m in Pittsburgh and my reception was very good, better than other Verizon phones I’ve used, but your coverage will vary depending where you are of course.

Battery life is just amazing on this thing, I don’t make a lot of calls, but for the 2+ weeks I’ve been using this phone I’ve only charged it once after the initial charging and that was with leaving Bluetooth on at all times. In total I’ve got 54 minutes and 23 seconds in call time, so yes I don’t make a lot of long calls. I was also using the phone for browsing the web as well, so that was using battery life too. I used it almost every day to browse the web while I was picking up my kids waiting for them to come out of school. For some reason the data counter though says I used zero. I also used the camera quite a bit, or I should say my son used the camera quite a bit. So the phone got a lot of use on just one charge.

You can use the front display for messaging, viewing contacts and pairing bluetooth, it also functions as a display for taking pictures too.

I had no issues with Bluetooth, it works great. Once you pair your headset, the next time it pairs automatically for you in a few seconds.

The phone also talks which I have come to like. It will ring and then say “call from” then the number. It also accepts voice commands.

Music is not the best through the speaker but with headphones it’s decent.

The Casio G’Zone Brigade is a very well made phone, it’s tough and rugged. I did drop it a few times, not on purpose though, but I did stick it out in the rain on purpose. I wiped it off and it worked fine after being in the rain for about 15 minutes.

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Yes it doesn’t look like there’s a lot of water on the phone in the picture, but my camera is not waterproof, and I really didn’t want to stand in the rain. I took the picture then let it sit out there….

The screen is nice and big, and it’s bright. You can customize it as I did in the picture below. I couldn’t show it here, but the home screen is actually animated, and you can change it if you wish.

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Navigation through the menus is a bit odd at first, I’m accustomed to smartphones, but it works well once you use it for a while.

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Browsing the web is an interesting experience, the browser works, but it gives me errors. Like I’ll type in our web address and it will tell me that’s not a valid URL, but yet I know it is and it will ask me if I want to search for it, then it finds it and it’s the exact same thing that I typed in. I don’t get it.. The speed of web browsing was fine for me, it all depends on the service are you’re in though.

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Taking pictures is actually fun, the camera itself has many settings for it. I was expecting just a basic camera on this phone but you can change many settings and it even has a macro mode!

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Taking pictures though is a different story, you must hold the phone very still especially for indoor pictures. Outdoors in bright light it works much better.

You can use the main big screen for pictures or you can use the front display to take pictures though it’s in black and white and very pixellated.

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There is an LED on the back that can be used for taking pictures or it can be used as a flashlight.

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Speaking of pictures I don’t know how to get them off of the phone. You can send as picture message and there’s an option to transfer via Bluteooth but it wouldn’t work for me. It does not come with a USB cable to transfer pictures, it doesn’t come with a microSD card either. I could have put a microSD card in the phone, but again it doesn’t come with one so why add a card when you should be able to transfer the pictures without the card. You can upload your pictures to your Verizon online web album and access them there though.The pictures overall aren’t too bad, much better than I expected from a camera phone and the phone does video as well, but don’t expect good quality.

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Conclusion:
If you’re looking for a rugged and reliable phone that has quite a few features then look no further than the Casio G’Zone Brigade. This is a phone that you won’t have to worry about getting wet or dropping, it’s a great phone for people who work outdoors or even for those that like to play outdoors. This is a phone for people who like to play rough, or for those that are rough on phones. It’s not delicate like other phones, get it wet, no big deal, drop it, again no big deal it’ll still keep working.

It’s not a phone for everyone, it is big and bulky, personally though I like a phone with some weight to it so I like this phone.

Call quality is very good and it’s a phone that is fairly easy to use as well once you get accustomed to the interface. Battery life is very good even with doing a variety of things.

9

Pros:
+Extremely well made, ruggged and durable
+Good call quality
+Great batery life

Cons:
-Can’t transfer pictures via Bluetooth even though you have the option
-Issues with web browsing
-No USB Cable

Grades:
Overall score-9-10
Design score-9-10
Performance score-9-10

To learn more about our review policy please visit this page HERE.

  • David

    what does the lock switch on the side of it do???

    • Anggiat_nbx

      i like this,please send from indonesia ( nabire-papua ) i am go to piramid cartens dgm phone this

  • jami

    the lock switch is to lock the back cover on, that covers the battery.

  • woofless

    Thanks for reviewing this phone!! My upgrade is coming on the 28th of July and this is the phone I’m seriously wanting to buy. I am SO sick of flimsy plastic phones and delicate touchscreens that break if you look at ‘em funny. I have an LG Venus that I’ve had to replace 3 times- most trouble I’ve ever had with a phone, and I swore I’d never have anything to do with any sort of touch screen ever again. I wasn’t sure if the Brigade was worth the extra money, and I was wondering about the camera & ease of use features….thanks to your review I have a better idea what to expect. Thanks again :)

  • http://apgarconstruction.com Dan

    Nice review. I am on the fence about getting this phone or the ROCK model. I think I’m leaning towards this one. I have a question about the email, can you only access email via websites? like Gmail or yahoo etc? I have my own domain and email server for my company and I don’t want to have to log in to a website and view mail that way. Is there an actual mail program on this phone that lets you setup an incoming/outgoing mail server?

    Thanks
    Dan

  • Layne

    I recently bought the Brigade and really enjoy how tough it is and all of its feature however I am unable to put any music on it because I don’t have the USB Cable any ideas of where I could find one?
    Thanks
    Layne

  • Taylor

    For an upgrade would it be the regular 50 bucks cuz if so I’m in love with this phone and I want it really bad but
    If it’s $300 price then forget it so what’s the price if it is for an upgrade

    Thanks

  • Paige

    My husband got this phone and we love it so much, I’m getting one too! Our 1 year old tested it by dropping and throwing it….oooops. We also have dropped it in the snow a few times. Oh yes, it has had sand from the beach on it too! This phone is awesome for our not so delicate lifestyle! GET ONE!

  • cynthia

    hate it had other gzone before thought i would stick with the brand…just absolutely hate it. difficult to get on internet… double front lock on keys… the whole thing just hard to use

  • Dwight

    I have one and love it. The only other phone I would even look at is an iPhone. Great call quality and texting is really good.

  • Andy

    have it dont know if i love it or hate it biggest issue is the music and i cant download anything from myxer.com or zedge dont really understand why ? it will say downloading and nothing happens any ideas?

  • Brian

    This phone is a complete failure. My son upgraded to this model because I had some much luck with all the previous GZone / Casio models. I work as a cop and the phones all took the abuse. From day one the first of four, yes FOUR had software problems. The second one filled with water and Verizon tried to say he abused it. He was lefeguarding and stepped in the pool stairs for about ten seconds and it flooded. Mine I can leave in the pool. Phone after phone they after shut down. My son is not the kid that breaks phones. He knows he pays the fees if he breaks it. Four phones later he abandoned the Brigade and is getting his money back. This would have been this ideal phone for the clumsey person, the abusive kid that breaks stuff.Qwerty keyboard so they can fast text and durable. I don’t know what happened, but even the software patch made it worse. My current Casio is up for contarct and upgrade. I was going to go to this model. Not a chance. Its like a new car. Needs a year to get the recalls and mistake out of the design. Casio failed in what would have been a leader in the durable phone market.

    • http://twitter.com/AnthonyStrac Dario

      Dude. Most people do not have that problem with the phone. Defintely not FOUR times. This is not a smartphone. The setup can be a little weird on the phone but its dooable. As for water damage, i will bet one of the hatches were opened. If they are not all closed the phone will take on damage.

  • Damon2125

    I got this phone 2 months ago and love it, the Brigade. It has been dropped in the mood, and water, dropped on the ground, ran over by a pick-up truck in the dirt. I am in the dust every day and have had no problems out of the phone.

  • Zc513

    Have had it for two weeks and love it. Its large, heavy but I dont mind. It’s the closest thing to a smart phone I dare buy. I break 2 or 3 phones a year. I can tell already that I’ll have the phone for the full contract period. The last phone I had was my sons old phone because I refused to buy a new one just to break it, I bought him a droid. As for Brian I dont know what your software issues were but as for the phone getting flooded you need to have a talk with your son, something wasnt completely closed. Im also a cop and have used toughbooks for 18 years. This is the toughbook of phones. No real complaints, it doesnt pretend to be anything its not. If you have doubts I suggest you borrow a friends for an hour to see if you like it. He wont mind, he knows you wont break it.

  • MD42

    just get an OtterBox, Best purchase ever!!

  • Craig

    This product is pure junk. I do not use it in extreme conditions and I treat it with respecet.

    The first brigade I bought lasted me several months until the charging port AND the cradle charger both broke, leaving me no way to charge the phone. I then received a warranty replacement and now the accessory charger has broken. Also, when I first went to the verizon dealer with the original phone to get a replacement phone under warranty, the guy at the counter did not enter my information into Verizon’s computer system – so when I called the number you have to call to get the replacement phone, the lady could not send me one becuase she could not access information as to why my first phone needed to be replaced. I had to go to another Verizon wireless store to have the guy properly enter in the right info. so I could get the replacement phone.

    Also, the old phone periodically just shut off and restarted on me when I was texting. This is a $250.00 waste of money and I will be cancelling my Verizon service when my contract is up.

    • Bill

      Listen up Craig, im going to give u a peace of my mind. You were quite frankly birthed from your uncle. and u smeel like 2 week old asian babies. this phone is awesome. end of discussion. GOOD DAY SIR!!!!!!!

      and u like weiner in ur mouth

  • cheezits

    Bought the phone….with no thrills, hence I’m a hard working man, thus the unwarranted abuse continues, so far uuuuuuraw! Leave the delicacies for my woman. Only set back I have is the phone belt pouch (single stitch) and can’t take the work! My second one will soon be ready for replacement…within a month….is there a rugged pouch availible for the Brigade? @ HOME DEPOT..they sell a good rugged pouch (HUSKEY) for smaller “mickey mouse” phones….

  • shanepauljames

    I like this phone a lot. Wish it displayed the Date have military time displayed on the small screen. I use the alarm a lot and wish i didnt have to unlock the keypad to set the snooze. An option on snooze times would be awesome! 5 mins, 10 mins 15 mins would be a great add on for the 2nd generation.

  • liseetsa

    Oh, I love this phone. I’ve had 5 and they all have the same problem–phone locks up when sending a picture message. Why don’t they make phones like this anymore? There is nothing remotely close out there to replace it? But I need the ability to call 911 at any given point, so I just cannot send pictures. I love that it is “rugged” outside but the flip-open qwerty keyboard is so refined and elegant. I just wish it worked!!!

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