In March of this year, TAG Heuer, a luxury Swiss watchmaker, announced they were making an Android Wear smartwatch with an Intel chip inside. For background, this was a full month before the release of the Apple Watch, but just over a week after Apple announced the prices of their watch. It was clear from the start that TAG Heuer would be competing with the highest end Apple Watch.
The TAG Heuer Connected was finally announced this morning. During that eight month period, Android Wear devices have matured and are in their second iteration. And for the most part, Tag’s watch is not all too different from the current line-up of watches running Google’s operating system — but there are a few notable differences.
Notable on the hardware side is the addition of an Intel processor versus the Snapdragon 400 that is the norm and a full 1 GB of RAM. The Intel Atom Z34XX is a 1.6 GHz dual-core processor, though the spec page of the Connected notes how its “normal operation speed” is 500mHz, thus is in line with other Wear processors.
The only other Wear watch announced that runs Intel is the upcoming Fossil Q. Yet for the switch to Intel, there is no discernible improvement that we can see yet, with battery life staying at a full 24 hours and according to hands-on impressions, similar smooth performance.
Noticeably absent from the Connected is a heart rate monitor. Though, arguably the state of heart rate senors on current Wear devices is abysmal and TAG Heuer itself does not have any experience with them. Rather than include a sub par experience, it’s likely better in their eyes to not include one.
The only real difference that comes with Connected would be the hundreds of years of experience that TAG Heuer has in making watches. The Connected probably has the best build quality and materials of any smartwatch out there. However, that can only translate to the actual case of the watch and not as much its internals.
Talking about build, the watch is on the larger side at 46mm, though that is average in regards to the high-end watch market. The watch is comparable in size to the larger Moto 360 and also carries a 1.5-inch screen.
Software-wise, it appears that Tag Heuer (by way of Google) opted for their own branded timer, stopwatch, and alarm “micro apps”. The Connected’s watchfaces are those of classic Tag Heuer watches, but also features an interactive watch face. It appears that you cannot individually change the complications, but rather all three get changed at the same time. Interestingly, the process of getting more exclusive Tag Heuer watchfaces involves registering your device online.
The $1000+ premium of the TAG Heuer watch provides one more benefit. At the end of two years, when presumably the technology in the watch is outdated, owners will be able to upgrade to a mechanical watch for $1500. You have to drop the watch plus another $1,500 to get a similar Carrera, but notably, $3,000 isn’t a bad deal for such a watch.
By just its name, the TAG Heuer is going to draw comparison to the $10,000 Apple Watch Edition. The Connected is the premium Android Wear device. However, just as how premium smartphones (Vertu) have failed to garner any market (even the luxury one) it is baffling to see why TAG Heuer wanted to make a premium model of a product category that has yet to be proven even in the eyes of normal consumers.