Tag Heuer Connected is Google’s answer to the Apple Watch
Watchmaker TAG Heuer has finally pulled back the curtain on its Android Wear-powered smartwatch, becoming the first traditional watchmaker to create a fully functional smartwatch.
Known as the Tag Heuer Connected, the watch was developed by Intel, Google and Tag Heuer, and promises to have “almost the same features as an Apple Watch” according to statement from Tag president Jean-Claude Biver to Swiss newspaper Le Matin.
With more than 150 years under its belt, Tag certainly has the expertise when it comes to watchmaking. So, as you’d expect, the Tag Heuer Connected isn’t your typical Android Wear watch.
For one, it’s packing an Intel Atom Z34XX processor and a mighty 4GB of RAM, ensuring that it should always run smoothly. Its 46mm diameter case weighs just 52g and is built from Grade 2 Titanium – the same sort planes are made from. The Connected also uses a Sapphire Crystal touchscreen display, has a water resistance rating of IP67 and, according to Tag’s claims, is the most accurate smartwatch on the market, accurate down to 1/100th of a second.
As a first for an Android Wear watch, the Connected also comes with a set of Tag-made official watch faces, all of which are customisable through a specialised Software Development Kit.
Tah Heuer’s watch is, quite clearly, the most premium Android Wear watch on the market. It’s essentially the watch that Google needed if it wants to go head to head with Apple in the premium smartwatch sector. While Tag’s £1,100 watch is more than double the price of a standard Apple Watch, its brand heritage means that people with that sort of money will consider buying the status symbol that is a Tag watch over the more widely available Apple Watch.
However, while aesthetics and build quality alone may win over a certain type of customer, it’s functionality that determines a product’s success. Thankfully for Tag, its partnership with Google means that the Connected is potentially the best Android Wear watch on the market.
While the Apple Watch and numerous Android Wear watches put app information front and centre, Tag has built a smartwatch that focuses on being a watch. This means that at all times the dial and hands remain onscreen, while app information is displayed inside the three chronograph dials. According to Tag, this ensures the watch never stops looking like a watch.
When you want to open an app, all you have to do is tap the relevant counter and it opens in full-screen mode. Interestingly, it’s currently unclear whether Tag vets watch apps to work with this layout or if any Wear app can occupy those spaces. Four sport-focused apps will come as standard with the Connected and work seamlessly within the updated interface, and Tag is also supplying bespoke Timer, Alarm and Stopwatch functions created in accordance with its brand image.
It’s also fantastic to see that Tag is keeping to its brand promise of building watches that last a lifetime. After the Connected’s two-year warranty expires, owners can exchange it for a mechanical Swiss Made Carrera watch of similar design. It isn’t clear from the press release if this is a free exchange or just an opportunity to buy an exclusive watch unavailable to normal Tag customers.
While many levelled criticism at Apple for creating an absurdly expensive smartwatch with a short shelf life, it’s hard to really say the same of Tag due to its heritage – and its generally absurd watch prices. However, what Tag Heuer Connected has shown us is that if a traditional watchmaker really wants to make a smartwatch, instead of a watch with some smartphone connectivity, it’s going to create a watch capable of blowing everything else out of the water. Now we just have to see how it really feels to use.
If the Tag Heuer Connected is a little out of your price range – and we feel that it may be – take a look at our list of the best smartwatches of 2015.