TAG Heuer Connected Smartwatch Review (2017): Good Deal or a Rip Off?

True story.  I’ve been buying and using many smartwatches for this website.  My wife sees me wearing a new smartwatch every week or so.  She doesn’t care much about them; she’s not particularly interested in them herself.  She never remarked all that enthusiastically about any smartwatch I wore home until… I showed up with the TAG Heuer connected watch.

I got in the front door, joined her in the living room and the first thing she said was “I love your watch.”  This was the first time she remarked so enthusiastically about all the smartwatches I had worn.  Moreover, she had no idea what brand it was.  She intuitively liked it far more than all the others.

I guess that goes to show you that yes, TAG Heuer being a premium watch brand does go that extra mile in design.  I agree it’s a great design giving it a 10 / 10 for design, but I never expected my wife or anyone to remark so enthusiastically not knowing that it was a premium brand watch.

I think I just may wear my TAG more than I anticipated.

It must be nice having a brand name so valuable that you can charge 4 times what most other smartwatches providing basically the same functionality.

That’s how I feel with the TAG Heuer (TH).

But, here’s the deal…

TAG Heuer is a fashion statement.  It’s a high-end watch brand.  When you see someone wearing a TAG Heuer watch, even if it operates on the “okay” Android Wear operating system, you know that person is either a total idiot with their money or they’re well-to-do and appreciate style.  TAG Heuer of course prefers the second perception.

I bought the TAG Heuer which maybe makes me an idiot with my money, but I also like to think people will see it and recognize I appreciate style.  I do feel cool wearing it, which doesn’t say much about me.  On the plus side, it’s exceptionally comfortable; the most comfortable smartwatch I’ve tried.

I’ve been wearing it and testing it for nearly a week.  Here’s my TAG Heuer connected smartwatch review.

Overview

Tag Heuer Smartwatch Overview
  • Design – 10/10
  • Ease-of-Use – 8/10
  • Battery – 6/10
  • Comfort – 10/10
  • Features – 8/10
  • Speed – 7/10
  • Price – 6/10

7.9/10

 

What you get

I’ll say this for Tag Heuer, the packaging is cool.  They also didn’t skimp on the charger.  You get both USB and wall charger adapter for USB port.  And then of course you get the watch.

Fortunately I live in a fairly large city with an office downtown so finding one in a local watch store was pretty easy.  I think I found a store with TAG Heuer with my first or second call.

Because it was a high-end watch store, the person helping me was very knowledgeable about the these watches and was very helpful with me trying on the different options.  I was not rushed, she answered all my questions; she was a true professional.  That’s what you get I guess when you drop $1,500 on a watch.

Once I left the store, I couldn’t wait to get this watch set up and on my wrist.  It’s the most expensive watch I’ve ever purchased.  I dove into a restaurant for lunch and dug into the package.

Here’s are photos of the whole package:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How We Tested this Watch

Our testing involved setting it up, including syncing it with Android Wear, checking out the various watch faces and wearing it for a few days.  I’ll skip to the chase, this is one extremely comfortable watch.  I can tell they put a great deal of effort into the design.  It’s made as if custom formed for my wrist.  There’s a setting on the band where it’s not too tight and not too loose.

As we do with all smartwatches we review, I played with as many features as I could and most importantly wore it for several days.  Actually, testing a beauty of a watch like this isn’t exactly an onerous task.  I love watches and getting to wear a Tag Heuer for an article is plenty of fun.

You’ll see throughout this Tag Heuer Connected watch guide the many photos depicting many of the features this luxury smartwatch offers.

FYI, we take our smartwatch reviews very seriously and test/use each one featured in a review extensively.  Often, we’ll frequently update reviews as we continue using each watch over time.

Specifications

  • Operating System:  Android Wear (works with both Android and Apple mobile phones… although the Tag Heuer Connected app which provides watch face selection via mobile phone is only available for Android phones.
  • Water resistant rating: IP67 (rain is okay, but don’t shower or swim with it.
  • RAM: 1GB
  • Storage: 4GB
  • Battery life: 1 to 1.5 days (depending very much on how much you use the apps and number of apps installed.   It’s an Android Wear watch which generally has poor battery life.  Nothing like the Samsung Gear S3.
  • Watch case size:  46 mm

Setting it up

Like all Android Wear apps, it’s very simple to set up.

Of course I have many Android Wear smartwatches so I’m familiar with the process.  Nevertheless, it was easy the first time I set up an Android Wear watch.

You can read my extensive, step-by-step Android Wear Watch tutorial here.  While my tutorial showcases me setting up the Moto 360, the process is the same for all Android Wear watches.

Android Wear Watch Set Up Guide

=> Click here for our in-depth set up guide for Android Wear watches!

Video Review

Below is our video review of the TAG Heuer Connected smartwatch so you can see it up close and really check out the design, hardware features, the strap, charger and the smart features/functionality.

Tag Heuer Connected App

This app isn’t bad.  It manages and offers various watch faces as well as 3 timekeeping micro applications which include:

  • Stopwatch;
  • Timer; and
  • Alarm.

Here’s a screenshot of this app on the mobile phone:

Screenshots of the 3 microapplications:


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Themed Watch Faces via Connected App

You can also choose a themed watch face via the Connected app.  This means you can select which group of data/functions you’d like to appear on the watch face.  Your options are:

  • Google Fit
  • Timekeeping
  • Weather Underground.

Here are screenshots of the app showing you how to change the themed watch faces:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Design

So far I haven’t shed much praise on this luxury smartwatch, but in the Design section, I turn from negative to positive.

Overall, I like the TAG Heuer design.  It’s a casual looking watch but is totally good for most workplaces.

Watch Faces

With the TAG Heuer Connected app, you control your watch face options.  While there aren’t loads to choose from, there’s a decent selection.  My 2 favorites are the Chronograph and GMT watch faces, both with the blue background.  I love the blue background look.

Here are photos of the various watch face design and color options:

Chronograph / Blue                                                                                    GMT / Blue

Chronograph / White                                                                                 GMT / Black

Three-Hand / Black                                                                                    Three-Hand / Blue

GMT / White                                                                                                  Three-Hand / White

Chronograph / Black

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Strap

 

With the Orange Rubber Strap

The strap I have is rubber.  It’s perforated, yet thick and sturdy.

I love that the strap can be adjusted to any size with the sliding clasp.

The buckle is nice too with 2 buttons you push to release the clasp.

When wearing this watch I can tell it’s solid and sturdy.  It feels very good on my wrist.

Changing the strap

When I bought my TAG Heuer, I ordered an additional strap… the orange rubber strap. I love the bright look too.  Unfortunately, it won’t be in for a month or so.

I’ll have to have the watch store swap out the strap.  It would be nice if I could do it easily like the Fossil Q watches.  Moreover, additional straps aren’t cheap.  I paid about $130 USD for an additional rubber strap.

Rubber isn’t your only choice

You can get a calfskin strap with rubber lining or a titanium bracelet strap… so if you want more formal, that’s possible too.

The Watch Case

At 46 mm, it’s a decent size.  Not too big, but big enough to look like a masculine watch.

It’s a sleek design with many angles.  It’s not a rounded or curved design.  I kind of think it looks like the Millennium Falcon from Star Wars.

This watch definitely has a very solid feel, yet it’s deceptively light.

The side button, which is larger than most side buttons on smartwatches doesn’t accidentally get pushed in when I hyper-extend my hand.  In fact, this watch is designed so that it stays put on my wrist so it doesn’t jam up against my hand much when hyper-extending my hand.

Here are more photos of the watch case:

Comfort

It’s an exceptionally comfortable watch.  It’s light, yet sizeable and sturdy.  I don’t feel that I have to be careful with it on.  While it’s not my go-to fitness watch, I like when I wear it it’s a nice-looking watch and I don’t have to worry about breaking it.

With perfect strap sizing using the sliding clasp, I can get the exact fit I want instead of having to choose between 2 holes in a leather strap or whether to remove or keep a steel link in steel bands.  This may sound trivial, but for me, the watch strap fit is important; I don’t like watches too loose or too tight.

Overall design comments

Overall, it’s a decent design.  It’s perfect for casual outings and the fact it’s a TAG Heuer is a cool factor in its own right.

The question for you is:  Is it worth $1,500?  The reason you’re paying $1,000 or more than other smartwatches is the TAG Heuer brand… that’s it.

Features

Because this is an Android Wear watch, you benefit from a lot of smartwatch applications.

Android Wear is the most popular operating system among smartwatches.  In other words, there are more brands that use Android Wear than other operating systems.

This means there is plenty of app development for Android Wear watches and consequently, the TAG Heuer benefits from this.

BUT, I think the Android Wear app isn’t all that great.  It’s slow and you have to scroll endlessly to in the app screen to find the app (unlike the Samsung Gear S3 which displays apps in circle which fits far more apps on the screen at one time.

With respect to the TAG Heuer Connected app, it really offers nothing but watch faces.

One big plus with Android Wear over Samsung’s Tizen is you can compose a new email.  While I’m not composing emails all day on my smartwatches, in a pinch it’s helpful.

Here are the key features in a nutshell:

  • Access to Android Wear apps;
  • Themed watch faces: Google Fit or Time Keeping or Weather Underground;
  • Built-in stopwatch, timer and alarm; and
  • Nice selection of watch faces.

What it lacks:

  • Waterproof: It’s not;
  • GPS: Sadly, no GPS.; and
  • Heart rate monitor: not on this watch.

Health App

This watch does not come with its own health app unlike other smartwatches such as Moto 360, Samsung Gear S3, Garmin, Apple and fitbit to name a few.  That doesn’t mean you can’t track your health data such as

Because it’s Android Wear, this watch works well with Google Fit, which is one of my preferred health apps.

However, you can choose any health app that works on Android Wear, which is many of them.

If you love the S Health app as I do, you can read how to sync Google Fit to S Health here.

Speed

The more smartwatches I buy and the more I use/depend on them, the more I realize how speed is a factor.  It’s the same as computer, tablet and mobile phone speed.  It’s important.

Let’s face it, we’re not a patient society.

Interestingly, my first smartwatch was an Android Wear watch.  I loved it and thought nothing of speed being an issue until I got the Samsung Gear S3 which is lightening fast compared to Android Wear watches.  That’s when I realized that speed is a big factor.

Obviously the slowness of Android Wear isn’t TAG Heuer’s causing, but it is their problem since they designed their watch to operate on Android Wear.

Accordingly, this watch is a bit slow for my liking, but that’s my recurring complaint with Android Wear.  Honestly, I don’t know why more brands aren’t using the Tizen operating system like Samsung.  It’s awesome.

What the heck do I mean by speed?

I should maybe have kicked off my speed discussion with this question because you might be wondering what does speed have to do with a watch.

Am I giving the impression this watch doesn’t tell time properly?  No.  Its timekeeping is perfectly fine.

What I’m referring to when I discuss speed is the reaction time for navigating the screens and using apps.  Principally, my main beef with Android Wear’s speed is the swipe sensitivity and speed.  Swiping from screen to screen can be sticky and slow.  This is an annoying problem, especially on a $1,500 watch. I’m forgiving with a $250 watch (actually I’m not), but it’s unforgivable on a $1,500 watch.

Battery Life & Charger

Battery Life

Android Wear watches don’t last long on a charge.  TAG Heuer is no exception.

You can count on maybe a day, but not quite if you use it a lot and set it to fairly bright (you wanna show off this sucker, don’t you).  It even drains pretty fast when it just sits there.

Android Wear is pre-loaded with quite a few apps, which you can’t uninstall which adds to the problem.  For example, you can’t uninstall Google Hangouts.  In a nutshell, since Android Wear is a Google app, Google doesn’t permit you to uninstall the Google apps such as Google Hangouts.

This is unfortunate because while I use Google products, there are some I don’t use so it would make sense to uninstall them.

If battery life is important to you, and I think it’s an important consideration when buying a smartwatch, check out Samsung Gear S3.  It has a much better battery life.  Of course, while I think the world of the Gear S3, it certainly doesn’t have the caché that TAG Heuer has.

The Charger

I think it’s appalling how some smartwatches put so little thought into the charger design.  The charger is an important part of a mobile device.

Fortunately, TAG Heuer did put effort and thought into creating a decent charger.

It’s magnetic and easily attaches to the rear of the watch.

Moreover, it comes with both a USB port and wall charger.

That said, one complaint I have is because my rubber strap does not separate (it’s a clasp), it’s a little more difficult than I’d like to attach to the charger.  The strap gets in the way a little bit… so much so I have to double check to ensure it’s attached properly to the charger and is charging.

I don’t have this issue with the Samsung Gear S3 charger, which is the easiest smartwatch charger I’ve used.

Here are some photos of the TAG Heuer charger:

 

Gesture Sensitivity

To conserve battery life, the bright screen doesn’t remain on display at all times.  This is typical with most smartwatches.

The full display in all its glory appears with a wrist gesture, namely quickly turning your wrist toward you with a flick.

Overall with all smartwatches, I’m a little disappointed with gesture sensitivity.  Sometimes the screen doesn’t come into full display.  Generally, you must flick your wrist hard and fast to trigger the gesture feature.

This watch, like most others, isn’t as sensitive with gesturing as I’d like.  At first, I thought it was current gesture technology, but then I got a Moto 360, which has amazing gesture sensitivity.

Again, I’ve yet to find a perfect smartwatch (I always have something to criticize), but you’d think for $1,500 something like gesture sensitivity would be perfected.

Main Competition

It’s hard to state which smartwatches are competition to a $1,500 TAG Heuer, which is the most expensive smartwatch I own… by far.

Sure, Apple has a few models that get close to that price.

Yes, Fossil Q has some wonderful designs.

And no doubt the Samsung Gear S3 watches (Classic and Frontier) give the TAG Heuer a run for its money in many respects, but there is no smartwatch with the caché of a TAG Heuer.

Here’s the deal as far as I’m concerned.  Only people who love fancy, top-tier watch brands will want the TAG Heuer smartwatch.  They don’t necessarily want a smartwatch as they want a TAG Heuer; the smart components are a bonus.

For people who truly want a smartwatch for the functionality, this is not for them.

Accordingly, there really isn’t a direct competitor as far as I’m concerned.

My Top 6 Complaints About TAG Heuer Connected Smartwatch

1. Can’t Receive/Make Phone Calls

This is nuts.  I’ve worn my TAG a lot of days and have looked extensively and I can’t seem to get phone app on it which means I’m unable to make/receive calls.  All my other Android Wear smartwatches can  do this so I find this bizarre that a watch costing $1,500 doesn’t do what others costing $250 can do.

2. The Charger

The charger is very clumsy to put on the watch.  There have been several instances where I didn’t have it attached properly and it didn’t charge.  This is totally unacceptable for a smartwatch priced this high given other smartwatches offer awesome chargers that attach flawlessly every time.

3. Sticky Swipe Navigation

This is a big Android Wear problem and that is the swiping and navigation can be sticky. It’s not nearly as fluid as Samsung Gear S3 or Apple S2.  I’m hoping Android Wear 2.0 solves this, but who knows.  For now, Android Wear watches are not the easiest to navigate across screens and within screens using the swipe technology.

4. Not Fully Waterproof

This is nuts.  TAG is a sportman’s watch and it should be fully waterproof.  It’s not as if waterproof smartwatch is impossible.  Apple did it with the S2, Garmin does it, Nixon does it and so too does Casio.  These “lesser” brands (being facetious there) offer waterproof smartwatches and so should TAG (for the money, design and purpose).

5. No Heart Rate Monitor

Being a sportsman’s luxury watch, which could be a decent workout watch given the rubber band, comfort and design, dropped the ball without a heart rate monitor which would catapult it into a decent fitness/activity smartwatch.  Without this, it’s just a pretty smartwatch.

6. No GPS

What? No GPS you say?  Yup.  $1,500 for a sportsman’s watch doesn’t even get you a GPS.  Again, as a sportsman’s luxury watch, it should have some awesome GPS features.  It should be built around a GPS.

At the end of the day, the TAG could have been one of those rare smartwatches that could serve as a fashionable timepiece, fitness watch, and outdoor watch.  It could have been a trifecta; the perfect smartwatch (which Samsung Gear S3 nearly achieved).  I think TAG Heuer needs to work on its smartwatches with one goal in mind: the only smartwatch you’ll ever need… and that ladies and gentleman is worth $1,500.

What about the price?  Isn’t that crazy?

No, the price isn’t crazy overall.  While I think it’s kind of crazy TAG didn’t include the above features it’s missing because much less expensive watches offer those features, the TAG brand and design is synonymous with luxury.  The TAG smartwatches sell because people want to wear a luxury brand.  I’d say they buy a TAG because they want the best, but that’s not the case.  TAG Connected is not the best smartwatch when comparing smartwatch features, but it is beautiful and fits incredibly well.

What’s Unique?

What makes this watch special?

This is easy to answer.

It’s not the smartwatch features.  You can get all this watch offers, more or less, with a $300 Android Wear smartwatch.

It’s not necessarily the design.  Yes, it’s beautifully designed, is very comfortable and is certainly durable.  But so are other smartwatches, especially the Samsung Gear S3, Fossil Q Marshal and even the Michael Kors smartwatches.

What sets this watch apart is its name.  It’s a luxury watch brand.  There aren’t any other watch brands with this name recognition that makes a smartwatch.

While I don’t have a problem with a quality brand leveraging its brand name to gain a foothold in the smartwatch market, I do think this watch could perform better as a smartwatch.  As a regular watch (style, design and comfort), it’s outstanding.  As a smartwatch it’s just okay, which isn’t okay for $1,500.

Pros & Cons

Pros

  • Awesome brand name = caché
  • Very comortable;
  • Lighweight;
  • Solid / well-made;
  • Access to loads of apps; and
  • Great watch face options.

Cons

  • Slow;
  • Not terribly long battery life;
  • No heart rate monitor/GPS;
  • Weak gesture sensitivity; and
  • Expensive.

VERDICT: Is the TAG Heuer Connected Worth $1,500?

Yes, but for only the person for whom the TAG Heuer brand is important and yet wants the functionality of a smartwatch.

For most people who actually want a killer smartwatch and brand recognition isn’t important, this watch is definitely not worth $1,500.

 

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