Review of Tag Heuer Connected smartwatch
The Tag Heuer Connected is an Android Wear-toting ‘luxury smartwatch’, the first of it’s kind if you believe the press materials and it is certainly in a different class to watches like the LG Urbane or the more ‘connected mechanical’ watches from the likes of Bulgari and Montblanc. It is also worth noting that this has been the most divisive watch that the PixelHealth team has reviewed to date. We all fundamentally agree on the performance of the watch, but then fundamentally disagree as to its purpose and position in the market.
This is a very large watch. The screen is 1.5 inches across making it bigger than the large Apple Watches and even bigger than the Moto 360. The bezel has some nice raised numbers around the edge and generally this is a pretty by the numbers Tag Heuer watch. That is to say it is made out of titanium largely and so is surprisingly light for its size. It has an inuitive to adjust rubber wrist band because Tag has always been to motorsport what Bretling is to aviation and Omega is to Bond. As Such it comes with ‘racechrono’ which i’m sure is useful for the gentleman racer, but not me so much.
I would be remiss not to mention the custom Tag Heuer watch faces. They are a triumph of skeumorphism in a post iOS 8 world of flat UI design. The hands and numbers are all shaded to look like they are made of metal and various watch faces have extra dials for the stopwatch and timer which work! What is clear is that the the design team for the watchfaces and the hardware were not in the same room as many of the watchfaces double up on the numbers around the edge. Maybe this is to make it easier to tell the time at night, but it ends up looking messy.
It is a large, chunky masculine design with some subtle Tag Heuer logos over it, and the menu button on the side is exactly as satisfying as you would expect from a watch of this pedigree to be. I like the way the watch looks and it is supremely comfortable most of the time, however when you are buying a watch in this price range it is the little things which irk you, and there is one niggle. The titanium clasp has a sharp corner which can irritate your wrist in certain situations.
This is where the Vertu analogy comes in. This is a dare I say it, basic Android Wear device. Bluetooth and WiFi are on board, as well as 1GB RAM and 4GB of storage for music. A 410mah battery provides some battery life, about 17 hours real world. Enough for me to be able to keep the charger in the office and charge it during the day, but it meant that I had to keep an eye on battery levels if I was going to go out in the evening.
I am a long time Pebble Steel user and so I was keen to see what Android Wear could do better for me. I cycle to get around London and so I was excited to try out Google Maps navigation, and I have to say it is a fantastic solution to getting Sat Nav onto a bike. being able to see an actual map of your route makes the nav information so glanceable and even when the screen goes into to low-power mode the map is shown in black and white, which is even visible in total darkness (it keeps the backlight on very low).
This is not really a fitness tracker and it doesn’t pretend to be one either. Its concession to fitness was Google Fit coming preloaded, and as this is likely to be a lot of Android Wear users’ first foray into fitness tracking I thought I would give it a go.
Given that there is no heart rate monitor on the device and the gyroscope is used to track your movement your options are pretty basic. Google decided my goal should be to get an hour’s exercise per day, which given I cycle around 30 minutes to and from work wasn’t difficult.
The Google Fit watch face is nice, but having it on this watch feels perverse.
The experience of owning this watch is pretty great. It has been a great talking point and people have noticed it on my wrist when I’m out and about (luckily only friends, colleagues and family noticed it!) It is a special device, one which isn’t for everyone but for the select few for whom the brand, style and build of the watch are worth the price, it is great.
This is where this watch stumbles. at £1,045 this is a seriously expensive device, however this also places it near the bottom end of Tag Heuer’s range, which bottoms out around £900.
Editor Tim Bond just doesn’t understand luxury watches, I however own a luxury watch and a smartwatch and so feel much better qualified to weigh up the pros and cons of the Tag Heuer Connected.
It is a bonafide Tag, and that is not to be dismissed lightly. For the person who wants a smartwatch but can’t deal with the plasticky build quality of most of the Android Wear devices on the market, this could be an ideal device, a well built branded entry into the world of smartwatches.
However, this is an expensive piece of kit and the technology in it should be top notch, however in terms of features it lags behind watches a quarter of the price. The screen isn’t bad, but it is not best in class. There is not heart-rate sensor which seems odd for such a sports designed watch.