I walked over 5,000 steps with Apple Watch SE vs G-Shock Move — here's the winner

I walked 5,300 steps with Apple Watch SE vs G-Shock Move — this one won.
(Image credit: Dan Bracaglia/Future)

Fresh off a recent win against the Fitbit Charge 6, the Apple Watch SE (2022) is ready to take on another popular challenger to determine which device offers better step-count accuracy. This time, it's the G-Shock Move DWH5600's turn to see how its step-counting skills measure up.

Priced at $320, the G-Shock Move smartwatch costs more than the Apple Watch SE, even though it omits an onboard GPS and altimeter, relying instead on a paired smartphone for the former.

There are also no third-party apps to speak of. However, the G-Shock move does have some advantages over the Apple Watch SE, even if the latter is the best smartwatch for the money in 2024.

Apple Watch SE vs. G-Shock Move: Features

For one, the G-Shock looks way cooler (see also: less dorky) than the Apple Watch SE (IMHO). The Move also offers a substantially more rugged build quality. In addition to a shock- and drop-proof design, water resistance is good for 200 meters, making the watch truly suitable for all water sports, even scuba diving. The Apple Watch SE, by comparison, has just 50 meters of WR. 

You also get solar charging with the DWH5600 and superior battery life compared to any current Apple Watch model. 

Apple Watch SE (2022): $249 @ Best Buy

Apple Watch SE (2022): $249 @ Best Buy
The second generation entry-level Apple Watch SE is more than a step-counter, it complements your iPhone by providing many of the same features — and apps — as its larger cousin. Plus, you get heart rate monitoring and activity tracking for popular workouts like yoga, strength training, outdoor cycling and more. 

Casio G-Shock Move DWH5600: $299 @ REI

Casio G-Shock Move DWH5600: $299 @ REI
The G-Shock Move looks like a classic 1980s Casio watch with a touch of modern flair. Sure, it tells the time, but it also monitors your heart rate and blood oxygen saturation levels; tracks basic workouts and physical activities; keeps tabs on sleep quality; and charges via the sun. Plus, 200 meters of water resistance is best-in-class. 

But what about fitness tracking? Both devices sport an accelerometer to assist with step-count tracking and an optical heart rate monitor, though only the G-Shock provides blood oxygen saturation readings (SpO2). The Apple Watch has far more activity profiles, though, 

In terms of metrics, both devices cover the basics, like pace, distance, average heart rate, calories burned and more. By the way, G-Shock uses Polar’s fitness and health algorithms to process its data. (That's a good thing.) 

Apple Watch SE vs. G-Shock Move: Step-count accuracy

Our step-count accuracy test is fairly simple. I affix a fitness tracker/smartwatch to each wrist, fire 'em up, and set out on my way, manually counting every step. When I hit 100, I click an old-school tally counter in my pocket and start again at one — wash and repeat until I've walked several thousand paces. (I also run Strava on my iPhone as an additional data source). 

With the sun shining brightly and my belly full of leftover pizza and yerba mate tea, I stepped out of my apartment to begin the test. Here's how it went:

Apple Watch SE vs. G-Shock Move: Test results

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Apple Watch SEG-Shock MoveControl
Steps5,338 steps5,327 steps5,300 steps (manual count)
Distance2.6 miles 2.4 miles3.1 miles
Elevation gain261 feetn/a249 feet (Strava)
Pace21 minutes 4 seconds per mile22 minutes 4 seconds per mile17 minutes, 13 seconds per mile
Calories burned373 calories407 caloriesn/a
Average heart rate121 bpm122 bpmn/a
Maximum heart rate161 bpm161 bpmn/a

Except for some odd numbers from Strava for pace and distance — 17 minutes, 13 seconds per mile is a tad quick —  the recorded data matches up quite nicely across the board. Both the Apple Watch and G-shock were within 40 steps of my manual 5,100-step count, which equates to 99% or better accuracy. That alone is impressive. 

Similarly, the Apple Watch and G-Shock align closely on pace, heart rate, distance and calories. Of course, the latter lacks elevation data, which is a bummer given that ~250 feet of ascent is nothing to scoff at. 

Verdict: G-Shock Move DWH5600 wins

I walked 5,300 steps with Apple Watch SE vs G-Shock Move — this one won.

The G-shock wins this battle. (Image credit: Dan Bracaglia/Future)

Ultimately, the G-Shock Move wins this step count battle against the Apple Watch SE by just eleven paces. But more importantly, both smartwatches spit out incredibly similar metrics that match up with one another and previous step-count trials. This is to say, these are as accurate as any wearable I've tested, and I wouldn't hesitate to rely on either for future workouts. 

Well, that's not entirely true...

The lack of elevation data from the G-Shock means I'll still reach for the Apple Watch SE first before my next walking or hiking excursions (though, for watersports, I'm all Casio all day). The coastal Pacific Northwest is darn mountainous, after all. 

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Dan Bracaglia
Senior Writer, Fitness & Wearables

Dan Bracaglia covers fitness and consumer technology with an emphasis on wearables for Tom's Guide. Based in the US Pacific Northwest, Dan is an avid outdoor adventurer who dabbles in everything from kayaking to snowboarding, but he most enjoys exploring the cities and mountains with his small pup, Belvedere. Dan is currently training to climb some of Washington State's tallest peaks. He's also a big photography nerd.