TAG Heuer Connected review: The smartwatch for watch lovers

£1100
Price when reviewed

Tag Heuer Connected review: Display

The screen is a 1.5in transflective LCD affair, and although some may wonder why TAG has decided not to use OLED technology, you only have to spend a few minutes with it on a bright, sunny day to know it made the right decision. Thanks to that transflective design, the Connected is a breeze to read whether you’re inside or out.

By default the screen will automatically dim when the watch detects you’re not using it, but it’s still easily readable in its dimmed state, and a light tap on the screen will wake it up. In fact, just twisting your wrist upwards will wake the display.

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The resolution of the screen is 360 x 360, which gives it a pixel density of 240ppi. It’s not the highest-resolution Android Wear screen around, but it’s still a very good one. It’s crisp and clear, and it’s no chore to read your emails and messages on it, or even catch up on the news via the BBC News app.

Just as importantly, gestures and single-finger swiping are smooth as silk, making it simple to navigate around Android Wear. The sapphire crystal glass probably helps with that smooth feel, while also offering a degree of robustness that matches the watch’s chunky look.

TAG Heuer Connected: The tech

It’s not  only the design and construction that sets the TAG Heuer Connected apart from other Android Wear watches, however, it’s also the technology inside it. This is the first Android Wear watch to be powered by an Intel CPU.

Driving the Android Wear OS in the Connected is a dual-core 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z34XX processor, backed up by 1GB of RAM. This seems to be more than up to the job at hand, with fast and smooth operation of both native and downloaded applications.

Voice recognition works well, with the watch correctly transcribing and acting upon any questions I threw at it. I’m not big a fan of speaking into my watch for internet searches, but Android Wear’s uncanny reliability with setting up things such as alarms, timers and calendar entries is extremely useful.

TAG Heuer Connected: With charger

Elsewhere, there’s 4GB of storage, which you can fill up with apps or music. You won’t find a built-in heart-rate monitor, however, which I have to admit is a little disappointing. When I spoke to TAG Heuer, I was told Intel had wanted to include the same monitor as used in its Basis Peak fitness watch, but the designers at TAG decided it would spoil the look of the watch and declined.

The battery life of the watch isn’t all that impressive, either. With a transflective display in place and a large 410mAh battery, I had hopes of Sony SmartWatch 3-rivalling stamina. Instead, the Connected is rated for a mere 25 hours of use, which from my experience is about right. Ultimately, you’re going to be charging the Connected overnight, which means you probably won’t be using the vibrating alarm function to wake you up in the morning.

And there’s nothing special about the connectivity. Although the TAG Heuer Connected can be paired with both Android and iOS phones, iPhone users won’t really get the full benefit of the Android Wear platform. You’ll still receive notifications from all the apps on your phone, and see who’s calling you, but as far as new watch apps go, you’ll be stuck with what shipped with the device.

It’s a shame, since I can’t help but think that a lot of the TAG Heuer customer base will be iPhone users, but it’s unlikely Apple will open up its watchOS to third parties anytime soon. Still, if you’re an Android phone user, the Connected works just as well as any Android Wear device, with the watch instantly smarter and more feature-rich.

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