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Casio G'zOne Ravine review: Casio G'zOne Ravine

Casio G'zOne Ravine

Nicole Lee Former Editor
Nicole Lee is a senior associate editor for CNET, covering cell phones, Bluetooth headsets, and all things mobile. She's also a fan of comic books, video games, and of course, shiny gadgets.
Nicole Lee
7 min read


Casio G'zOne Ravine

The Good

The Casio G'zOne Ravine is a sturdy durable phone that is military-certified to take a beating. Features include outdoor-specific applications, EV-DO Rev. A, Push-to-Talk, GPS, a 3.2-megapixel camera, and more.

The Bad

The Casio G'zOne Ravine doesn't have external music player controls or a 3.5mm headset jack. Call quality was not as good as expected.

The Bottom Line

The Casio G'zOne Ravine is a great all-purpose phone for the outdoors enthusiast, but the mixed call quality is disappointing.

Dropped phones and broken handsets are nothing new to many cell phone owners. That's why the Casio G'zOne series of ruggedized handsets have been so popular over the years; they're not just for those with construction jobs, but also those who want a reliable phone that won't break at the drop of a hat. The most recent Casio G'zOne Ravine is an update of the G'zOne Rock from last year, and it continues the Casio trend of military-certified toughness. It also comes equipped with outdoor-friendly applications like a compass, a tidal graph, an astro calendar, and more. The Ravine has a slightly better camera than the Rock, but its features remain largely the same. The call quality could be better as well. It is available for $149.99 after a $50 mail-in rebate and a new two-year agreement.

The Casio G'zOne Ravine's overall heft and bulk is similar to its predecessor, the G'zOne Rock. However, the front of the phone is slightly better styled; the Ravine has beveled edges that run along the length of the handset for a more streamlined look. We also think the metallic red circle surrounding the external display is a nice contrast with the mostly black phone.

Measuring 4.3 inches long by 2.1 inches wide by 0.9 inch thick, the Ravine is constructed out of a durable plastic shell. In fact, it meets the military 810G standards for resistance against water, shock, dust, immersion, vibration, salt fog, humidity, solar radiation, altitude, and extreme temperatures. The result is a rather bulky phone with rubber stoppers in all its ports and a textured rubberized back. The battery cover also has a locking mechanism to ensure the phone's internals don't get damaged.

The Casio G'zOne Ravine is military-certified to withstand the elements.

The aforementioned external display is a 1.35-inch mono LCD. It shows the signal strength, battery life, date and time information, and any incoming calls or text messages. It also shows the currently playing track when the music player is active. You can use it as a camera viewfinder as well, but it's black and white and very pixelated, so we wouldn't recommend that. You can change the clock format and whether you want the background to be black or white. However, there aren't any external music player controls as on the G'zOne Rock. You also can't access Push-to-Talk contacts and applications while the phone is closed.

Above the external display is a secondary microphone for when you're using the Ravine as a walkie-talkie device. There's also a charging-indicator LED inside the red circle. On the left spine are the voice command key, the volume rocker, a red key, and a 2.5mm headset jack. The voice command key also acts as a bottom side key for unlocking the external display. The red key acts as a Push-to-Talk key when PTT is active, but you can map it to any shortcut when the phone is on standby. The charging port is on the right spine. On the back is the camera lens and LED flash. You can use the LED as a flash light as well. To get to the microSD card slot, you need to remove the battery.

The Ravine has a very sturdy hinge that snaps and locks into place when you open or close it. When opened, you'll find an inviting 2.2-inch 65,000 TFT color display. It might not be as rich as a 262,000 color screen, but we actually found the 240x320 pixel display to be quite sharp and colorful for the most part. You can adjust the screen's backlight time, the menu layout, the font size for both the dial fonts and the menu fonts, and the clock format.

Underneath the display is the navigation array, which consists of two soft keys, a round toggle with a middle select key, a camera key, and a speakerphone/flashlight key. The toggle's up, left, and down directions can be mapped to three user-defined functions, while the right arrow brings up a My Shortcuts dialog box with four more user-defined shortcuts. There are also the usual Send, Clear, and End/Power keys under the navigation array. The Clear button doubles as a shortcut to the G'zGear application suite. The overall keypad mirrors the phone's geometric exterior. The keys are raised and angular-shaped, which definitely make them easy to find by feel.

The G'zOne Ravine has a 1,000-entry phone book with room in each entry for four numbers, two e-mail addresses, an instant-messaging screen name, and a street address. You can also add up to 500 Push-to-Talk entries with multiple contacts. As usual, you can add your contacts to groups, pair them with a photo for caller ID, and match them with any of 12 polyphonic ringtones. A few more basic features include a vibrate mode, a speakerphone, text and multimedia messaging, a calculator, a calendar, an alarm clock, a stop watch, a countdown timer, a world clock, a notepad, and the aforementioned flashlight capability.

For the slightly savvier phone customer, the Ravine also has voice command support, mobile IM (Windows Live, Yahoo, and AOL), a wireless Web browser, Bing search, and three e-mail options: mobile e-mail, corporate e-mail, and mobile Web e-mail. Mobile e-mail is essentially an application that lets you get e-mail directly from your provider, be it a Web service like Yahoo or your own POP/IMAP server. The corporate e-mail option uses the RemoSync service to sync your company's e-mail, contacts, and calendar information to you via Exchange. Last but not least, the mobile Web mail option simply opens up a browser with links to popular Web mail services like Hotmail and AOL Mail.

Rounding out the Ravine's features are USB mass storage, Push-to-Talk, GPS with VZ Navigator built-in, and Bluetooth profiles for headset, hands-free, dial-up networking, stereo (A2DP), phonebook access, basic printing, and object push for vCard. The Ravine also comes with Verizon's "Social Beat" application that provides quick access to your favorite social networks like Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and a variety of other newsfeeds. Like other Verizon Push-to-Talk phones, the Ravine is compatible with Field Force Manager, a resource management tool that lets businesses keep in touch with mobile field workers. The Ravine is also Mobile Broadband Connect capable, which means you can use it like a modem when connected to your computer.

The one feature that makes the G'zOne Ravine a true phone for the outdoorsman, though, is the G'zGear suite of applications. It includes seven preinstalled applications: an compass, a walking counter/pedometer, a thermometer with both Celsius and Fahrenheit measurements, a tidal graph application complete with optimal fishing times, a Sunrise Sunset app, an astro calendar that displays the lunar cycle, and Star Gazer, an app that displays the stars in the sky and names the constellations. All of the apps are specifically designed for outdoor activities like fishing, hiking, camping, and star-gazing.

As the Ravine comes with EV-DO Rev. A, you won't be stuck without entertainment options when you're in the great outdoors. This lets you access Verizon's broadband applications like V Cast Video, its streaming video service, and V Cast Music with Rhapsody, which lets you purchase and download music over-the-air for around $1.99 per song. As for the music player, it has the same look and feel of V Cast Music, so it's not very pretty in our opinion. Still, it has all the basic music player functions--repeat, shuffle, and the ability to create and edit playlists on the fly. The music player supports MP3, WMA, unprotected AAC, and AAC+ formats. You can add music via USB sync, a microSD card, or via download. If you sync it to your PC's V Cast Music with Rhapsody program, you can download Rhapsody subscription tracks as well. The phone supports up to 32GB of external storage.

The Casio G'zOne Ravine has a 3.2-megapixel camera and LED flash on the back.

We're happy to see that the Ravine has a 3.2-megapixel camera, which is a slight upgrade over the Rock's 2-megapixel model. The 3.2-megapixel camera can take pictures in six resolutions (2,048x1,536, 1,600x1,200, 1,280x960, 640x480, 320x240, 160x120), five white balance presets, and six color effects. Other camera settings include a self-timer, flash, brightness, a shutter sound toggle, multishot mode, and night mode. Photo quality was fairly good, but we think it could be better. Images looked clean and well-defined, but we thought the colors look a bit washed out. Flash helped to brighten low-light photos, but the overall lighting was harsh. The built-in video camera can record videos in 320x240 resolution in either 60 seconds for MMS or 60 minutes for storage.

The Casio G'zOne Ravine's photo quality was just OK.

You can customize the G'zOne Ravine with wallpaper, display themes, alert tones, and your own graphics and sounds. You can get more of them, plus games and apps, from Verizon's Get It Now store.

We tested the G'zOne Ravine in San Francisco using Verizon Wireless. Call quality was mixed. On our end, we had no problems hearing our callers--they sounded loud, clear, and natural. There was a slight tinny quality to their voices, but it wasn't a big deal.

The quality on their end, however, was different. While they could hear us loud and clear, they said our voice sounded very harsh; as if it was overly processed. They detected a slight bit of static as well. Thankfully though, speakerphone calls weren't much worse. They could hardly tell we were on speakerphone most of the time.

Audio playback quality was surprisingly good from the speakers as well. You won't get much bass, of course, but it wasn't as tinny as we expected. Still, we recommend using a headset for optimal sound quality. It's just too bad the G'zOne Ravine doesn't have a 3.5mm headset jack.

The EV-DO Rev. A speeds were pretty good. We downloaded a 2.05MB song in 45 seconds, and loading CNET's mobile page took around 49 seconds. When streaming video on V CastVideo, we only experienced a few seconds of buffering time. Video quality wasn't very good however--it was choppy and pixelated, especially when there were a lot of action sequences.

The G'zOne Ravine has a rated battery life of 5 hours talk time and 3.33 days, assuming Push-to-Talk is active. Our tests revealed a talk time of 5 hours and 22 minutes. According to the FCC, the Ravine has a digital SAR of 0.53 watt per kilogram.


Casio G'zOne Ravine

Score Breakdown

Design 7Features 8Performance 7