There have been a few threads lately asking which Frog to get. There is no one answer for everyone, so I thought I'd do a comparison. All pics are thumbs that can be clicked to zoom in.
First up, the contenders
On the left, the mighty GWF-1000 (mine is a standard with MIBR resin)
In the center, the GW-200 (it's the Navy version)
On the right, the DW-8200 (mine's the Men In Smoke (MS) version with real black resin)
I'll also be adding commentary for the 8250s based on my now sold DW-8250 and some time spent in the mall playing with the GF-8250.
I'll be ranking the watches, according to my own personal criteria, in the following categories:
Fit and Finish
Let's get started ....
This will probably be the longest section in this review.
Let's start by comparing the size of the watches.
While the lighting in this pic isn't great, it is already clear that the GWF is significantly larger than the other two. The others are very similar size wise.
Thickness wise, the watches are all very similar. I was surprised to find that the DW-8200 is the thickest of the watches by a hair. It doesn't wear that way. The 200 and 1000 are almost identical at just 1-2mm thinner.
The most telling picture is looking at the bottoms of the watches. If you look at where the bands are mounted to the watches you can see that the GWF-1000 has the "springbars" (the 1000 doesn't actually use springbars, more on that later) significantly further apart than the other two watches. The lugs on the sides of the watch are a clear indication of that. The GW-200 is actually slightly smaller than the 8200 in this regard. But we're talking a few mm here.
In this shot I tossed a silver 6900 Krink and a square DW-5000SL in the mix to give you an idea of how big these watches really are. The 6900 appears to hold it's ground, but the reality is these watches don't have the small protrusions on either side that make the 6900 stand tall.
Here's how I rank these watches in comfort:
1. The GW-200
The GW-200 feels like the lightest watch overall. Don't misunderstand that to be light and wimpy feeling. This sucker is solid and nice. All of these watches have issues when you're putting on and taking off long sleeve shirts. I like to wear hoodies and you have to mess around with the knit cuffs to get all of these watches through. The biggest downside comfort wise for the 200 is the very flat steep edge where it says Frogman. That'll catch any shirt you're trying to take off. Otherwise, the closer spacing of the springbars and nice weight make this one fit better than the others. One weird thing is pressing the mode and set buttons. The case side overhangs it and causes you to reach around a bit. This is too minor to make up for the comfort.
The DW-8200 is just slightly larger than the 200. It still wears well though and is the easiest to deal with when donning and doffing long sleeve shirts. The rounded edges make them slide on pretty easily and the delta in size over the 200 is very minor. It feels slightly heavier than the 200, but it may actually be the extra thickness giving it a higher moment of inertia when you move your arm. Overall, this second place is by a hair.
Stainless steel construction makes this watch heavier than it's identically sized DW-8200 cousin. The weight is quite noticeable, especially when I exercise. I didn't like wearing the 8250 when I ran as it moved around where the 200 and 8200s did not. I also found the yellow resin (both new from casio and on the new in box GF-8250) a bit stiffer than either the smoke or black resin or either of two bands I have for the 200. (note: the clear resin I had on my WCCS frog was even stiffer). This also had an effect of pushing the watch into the air, similar to the effect of wearing a standard cheap 5600 loose. Perhaps this will go away over time. Otherwise it fits exactly as the 8200.
This watch is a beast. It's huge and heavy. It weighs significantly more than the Ti watches and feels heavier than the 8250. You can see from the pics on my wrist it is oversized for me. Because of this it moves around quite a bit during the day. When I exercise I have to keep it cinched down. But, cinching it down does hold it in place, so I can use it when I run. I prefer just about any other watch I own though. The thing is so wide that getting shirts over it is very difficult. One redeeming feature is that you can use the dive timer as a stopwatch that shows time of day. But, you shouldn't have to figure that out.
If your wrist is more Sasquatch sized than mine, you may prefer the 1000 series. But, the two Ti watches are nearly equal in comfort over either of their stainless brothers.
What makes these babys Frogmen is the case. All the cases are things of beauty. You owe it to yourself if you have a frog to remove the resin.
But, I'm going to rate what's inside of those cases in this section. While all of this is just my opinion, this section I expect everyone to have differing priorities for the modules. My module rankings may seem crazy, but I'll justify them as best I can.
I am a scuba diver, but I'm not going to rate these watches on the dive functionality. Frankly, if you're going to spend nearly $400 for a dive watch, you should've spent the cash on a dive computer. Then any G with a stopwatch will make a good backup. The functionality on any of these frogs is just a bonus. There is only one instance where I'll mention it.
The entire DW-82xx series uses the 1294 module. So far, it's my favorite G-shock module period. It is simple and sensible. Pressing the mode button takes you to stopwatch-timer-alarm in that order. That is the order I use them. If you stop and use any mode, the next mode button press returns to the main screen. Time of day is shown in both stopwatch and timer modes. Simple and effective. Everything I personally use logically laid out in the order of frequency I use them. The only real downside is that you can't set seconds in the timer. Also, if you use world time, you won't like this one.
The 200 series is an upgrade if you use world time. It can show the world time instead of the day/date on the main screen if desired. It also adds solar charging. The 200 series also has this identification screen, that shows some identification information and blood type. OK, with all these extra features, why would I like the 200 series 2422 module less than the dumbed down 1294 module. Let's start with the identification screen. It seems like something good to have in a dive watch, but honestly, do you think responders know that stuff is in your watch. OK, so lets press the mode button: world-ID-alarm-timer-stopwatch. Yep, they reversed the order of everything and added a couple screens in between. One completely useless one is at the second press of the mode button. My most used feature, the stopwatch is 5 presses in. The good news is they kept the return to main screen feature. They also kept time of day displays in stopwatch and timer modes. An added bonus, this is the only one that allows you to set seconds in the timer. On the one hand, I like solar because I won't have to change a battery for a long time. On the other hand, I have to put it in the sun sometimes. I have to admit, this one keeps a charge for a long time.
The GWF-1000 module is both solar and receives an atomic signal. It also has a tide moon display. It has excellent world time capabilities like the 200. There are some significant downsides to me. They took time of day off both stopwatch and timer modes, boo hiss. It also suffers from the same ailment as the 200 with regards to the mode button. It is slightly different in that the mode button goes dive log-tide-world-alarm-stopwatch-timer. Still 5 presses to stopwatch, but now 6 to timer. And, the auto return to home screen is gone. If you use tide/moon information, this feature may be important to you. I like it, but it's a novelty to me. It's not worth the screen real estate that used to house time of day in stopwatch and timer modes. Much like solar, I'm mixed on atomic. It's nice, but I have to take the watch and put it in a specific window overnight to receive the signal. I usually leave it there for a few days to charge and receive signal, then use it for a couple weeks. But, having to think about that stuff is sort of a pain. My GWF also needs to be charged much more often than the GW-200. Perhaps trying to receive atomic is the culprit, don't know.
4. GF-8250 (and GF-1000)
The module on the GF-8250 (and presumably the non-atomic 1000) are similar to the GWF-1000 module. Only they don't have atomic. So, points off for that.
This is another completely subjective category. And frankly one that is difficult to rank. There are so many varieties of each watch it is almost impossible to pick. But, I'm going to.
1. DW-8200 & DW/GF-8250
1. DW-8200 & DW/GF-8250
What can I say. I like to see the metal. The metal cases on all these watches are things of beauty. All 3 cases look fantastic. On the 8200 series, Casio features it. I really like the polished case with black letters on my 8200MS. The only thing that would make this watch better would be the guts of the real black version behind the glass. Overall, I consider this the best looking frog. If I had to be honest, I'd rank the 8200 slightly above the 8250 because it says Titanium on it. Cool.
This watch has the best detail of all the frogs. Everything is crisp and clear. A small amount of metal is shown. See fit and finish for other reasons I ranked this above the GW-200.
Admittedly, my GW-200 is not the best looking in the series. When you remove the resin, the case on this thing is polished titanium. But the choose to only let you see that through some very small windows. The side that says frogman on this one looks big and chunky compared to the rounded versions on the other two. While I like the asymmetric look this feature just looks odd. There are some great color combinations in this watch though. I think it outranks the others in terms of that. But, every 200 series was a limited edition. So, they are all "rare" and "hard to find" according to ebay.
FIT AND FINISH
Final category before my final rankings. And there are no surprises here. Casio has gotten better through the years.
Taking the resin off really shows the attention to detail on this. The DLC on the module and the large style buttons make this one killer case. The resin itself has a smooth feel and is much more flexible than the older resin. Yet when installed it feels really solid. All the details in the resin are significantly crisper than on the other watches. There are also no mold marks to be seen on this watch. Casio has really upped it's game. The bands connect with 4 screws that also hold on the resin. The screws have a long end on them that goes through the hole in the band, almost half way across the watch. No more springbars. This one is a joy to take apart. All you need is a Phillips #0 screwdriver. The clarity of the display is also a step up from the others.
The case on this is a step up from the 8200. It is polished Titanium, although the watch barely shows it. The resin is shaped to reduce the weak spots around the buttons that are found on the 8200. The case does have a molding mark, but it is less obvious than the 8200. The band/springbars are identical to the 8200 series and they are interchangeable.
3. DW-8200, DW/GF-8250
I love the more raw looks of this watch, but it is a little more raw. The molding marks on the case are clear. There are also weak spots on the resin below the buttons. As the resin ages, I can see it being a problem if I keep changing resin looks on my watch. The 200 and 8200s are very close in this category, while the GWF stands clearly at the top.
So I'll do the conclusion in reverse order from last to 1st. Just to make things interesting/confusing.
** 4th PLACE - GWF-1000
The massive size and weight of this watch pretty much put it in 3rd without an issue. But, the lack of time of day in stopwatch and timer mode cement it there. It is a great looking watch though, especially in red.
** 3rd PLACE - DW/GF-8250
The extra weight of this watch over the other 8200 series takes it down a notch. I have a preference for the DW version over the GF version due to my preference for its module.
** 2nd PLACE - GW-200
This was a close race. The ultimate decision is my preference to see more metal. But, great comfort and a darn good module. An added bonus, I like to rock the bull-bars.
** WINNER - DW-8200
Great looks, fit, and module.