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Sep 18, 2023
Tag Heuer Connected 45 mm Bright Black Edition review We spend time with this luxury Wear OS watch Wareable Wareable is reader-powered. If you click through using links on the site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more September 18, 2023 By Tag Heuer The Tag Heuer Connected 45mm Bright Black is a great looking smartwatch which oozes quality, thanks to the sandblasted titanium case. If you’re looking for a dose of quality on the wrist this ticks all the boxes, but a lightweight set of built-in features makes it a little underwhelming. This can be remedied somewhat via the Google Play Store, but at this price tag, we don’t like having to do all the work. Hit Solid single day battery No sleep tracking Lightweight health features The Tag Heuer Connected has been a staple of the Wear OS smartwatch scene since 2015 – and the LVMH brand is back again with an updated version for 2023. Tag Heuer launched new 45mm Bright Black and 41mm Golden Bright editions of its smartwatch, which are physical upgrades of the line-up, even if the internals remain largely the same as the Calibre E4. We spent a couple of weeks wearing the Tag Heuer Connected 45mm Bright Black – here’s what we found: Price and competition As ever when talking about Tag Heuer smartwatches, money is almost irrelevant. When it comes to luxury watches, it’s about the value you attach to materials, desirability, and status. But the Bright Black is more attractively priced than other Tag smartwatches. At £1,100 it’s a chunk of change less than a standard Connected Calibre E4 . It’s around the same price as the Montblanc Summit 3 – and way less than the Hublot Big Bang e Gen 3 . All of those run the same Wear OS 3 operating system, and underlying hardware, so are very much comparable. Of course, some will point out that as a Wear OS 3 smartwatch , you’re paying 4x the amount of a Galaxy Watch 6 Classic for a smartwatch with fewer features. But that’s not the point. Design and screen Wareable Wearing the Tag Heuer Connected 45mm Bright Black is an absolute pleasure – and you can feel the quality as soon as you open the soft portable case. It uses a sandblasted titanium case using an advanced process called PDV, so it feels exceptionally lightweight in the hand, but with such a solid, quality build. We often passed it around to friends, and it was universally met with admiration. It’s also well-suited to working out, which can’t be said for previous Tag Heuer Connected watches. It didn’t feel weird to take it for a run and get it sweaty – and the hybrid leather/rubber strap also felt secure and wicked sweat well. One of the best features is something we rarely get to talk about on Wareable because other brands do it so badly. The selection of watch faces is such a step up from rivals, and the Tag-designed collection is stunning. Tag Heuer can draw on its sizeable collection of luxury watches, so it has a unique IP – and it elevates the Connected 45mm even further. Elsewhere, there’s a premium array of features. The AMOLED 454x454 screen and sapphire glass make for a good-looking watch. However, we did find some viewability issues in direct sunlight, which was unexpected, and slightly annoying. Upping the brightness will fix this, but it didn't feel adept and dynamically handing brightness levels. It’s also water resistant to 5ATM, so it’s good for the shower and the pool. Features, OS, and ecosystem Wareable The key takeaway is that the Tag Heuer Connected 45 Bright Black runs Wear OS 3 – so you have Google’s revamped OS at your beck and call. It’s worth noting that Wear OS 4 is now out on the Galaxy Watch 6, but we wouldn’t hold your breath about the Tag getting an update. Likewise, it runs on the Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform, which has also been superseded by the Snapdragon W5+, so you are getting a dated OS and processor, by paying a top price. The only smartwatch to run the new Qualcomm platform is the excellent TicWatch Pro 5, but it's not a patch on the luxury of the Tag Heuer. But beware that Tag Heuer could release a new watch next year. Unlike Pixel Watch and Galaxy Watch 6, the Tag Heuer is technically compatible with iOS and Android. However, we did set up the Tag with our iPhone and the experience was so awful and hobbled that we’d avoid this under any circumstance. Tag Heuer has skinned the Wear OS experience with its own “luxury” design overlay. However, like so many things in the luxury world, we didn’t find it very visually appealing, and it was a tad buggy to boot. One of these bugs was when the Tag Heuer came off charge having run out of battery previously – and the watch required turning off and on again. With no native sleep tracking on board (yes, we’re coming onto that) there’s no real reason to wear the Tag to bed, but were disturbed by the screen illuminating even when in bedtime mode. It’s not major stuff, but you might expect a premium experience in return when you buy a premium device. Tag Heuer has stayed loyal to Wear OS from the outset, and it’s been rewarded. The Tiles feature is excellent and notifications are handled with aplomb. It feels like a well-rounded, premium Android OS now. You can also download Google Assistant from the Play Store, and there’s Google Wallet for Google Pay as well. So there’s a lot to like. Wareable Tag Heuer has added to the fairly minimal Wear OS experience with some of its apps. That includes the excellent Tag Heuer Golf, Tag Heuer Sports, and Tag Heuer Wellness. We’ll come onto sports tracking – which is handled pretty well. Tag Heuer Wellness woes However, we did find that Tag’s wellness tracking was extremely basic. It’s steps, calories, heart rate throughout the day (but without much meaningful analysis), and active minutes. It’s a simplistic setup – and not a wellness app as such. The idea of “wellness” should be around tracking core metrics and checking in on your health and vitals, including trends. A daily step count and heart rate are basic activity tracking. A case in point is the lack of any sleep tracking, which is odd in 2023. The Tag Heuer is crying out for a rollout of Fitbit to third-party Wear OS smartwatches – and this would make the Calibre E4 line a stunning purchase. As it is, this aspect feels underbaked. Of course, the beauty of Wear OS is that you can download alternatives from the Play Store, which is perhaps better than relying on half-baked features built into the app. But we feel that perhaps Tag Heuer should partner with some strong health apps – or buy one as it did with Tag Heuer Golf. Sports tracking Wareable The Tag Heuer Sports app is more built out than Wellness, and there’s support for a bunch of activities including: Golf Hiking It’s a much more complete fitness experience than you might expect, and run tracking is nicely presented. It’s easy to read on-screen run data, and we feel the Tag Heuer did a better job of dynamically brightening the screen during workouts, so the direct sunlight visibility issue was less pronounced. GPS data was pretty solid, with a 9K run tracking within 100m of a Garmin Forerunner 255. So while accuracy might not be 100% here, it’s more than good enough for most runners. Wareable Sadly, we did have some issues around accuracy with the heart rate on runs, so this isn’t a device we’d recommend as an alternative to a Garmin or other sports watch. But there's no reason why it can't be an adept tool for casual runners, who aren't relying on the data from the heart rate monitor to train. And you can always grab the Strava app, or similar, from the Play Store and have your workouts uploaded there. You can see the data below from our test and can see quite a disparity, especially in average heart rate across a run. Heart rate test vs Garmin HRM Pro: Run 1: 179bpm On the other hand, the Tag Heuer Golf app is superb and one of our top golf experiences. So that aspect gets a ringing endorsement. Battery life The Tag Heuer Bright Black edition comes with a 420mAh battery, so there’s a bit of staying power – and we didn’t experience any huge battery problems. In terms of battery life, it’s very much just a single day here. We found there was plenty enough battery life to get through the day and night – even with an hour of workout during the day. Should you buy it? The Tag Heuer Connected Calibre E4 Black Bright boasts an incredible design and a luxurious feel – and if you’re simply looking for a dose of connected luxury, it’s a great buy. But we’re going to stand up for you luxury shoppers here and say that you deserve more than some of the lightweight features here – especially around sleep tracking and wellness monitoring. Fortunately, Wear OS is blessed with the Play Store, so you can download all the sleep tracking, wellness monitoring, and other features you need. Specs James is the co-founder of Wareable, and he has been a technology journalist for 15 years. He started his career at Future Publishing, James became the features editor of T3 Magazine and T3.com and was a regular contributor to TechRadar – before leaving Future Publishing to found Wareable in 2014. James has been at the helm of Wareable since 2014 and has become one of the leading experts in wearable technologies globally. He has reviewed, tested, and covered pretty much every wearable on the market, and is passionate about the evolving industry, and wearables helping people achieve healthier and happier lives. Related stories
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