I was there for the release of the first TAG Heuer connected watch in San Francisco a few years ago, and here I am today reviewing the latest version, the TAG Heuer connected E4 (originally launched here). Over the past few years, TAG Heuer has really stepped up its game in the smartwatch market – I think it’s safe to say that TAG Heuer produces the most desirable Google Wear OS-based smartwatch at this point. I can’t really think of any others I’d like to get right now. Of course, Wear OS faces big competition from other operating systems like Garmin or Apple, but most people will find a Wear OS-compatible watch ideal for them, especially those who want a city/town watch with Android. -based smartphone, or something visually more distinctive than the Apple Watch.
One of the best things about the TAG Heuer Connected series isn’t just the physical product, but the software experience as well. TAG Heuer has a dedicated team in Paris responsible for the additional software layers added on top of the base Google Wear operating system (I understand). Google allows hardware manufacturers like TAG Heuer to develop their own watch faces and a selection of software interfaces for exercise tracking, travel and other commonly used tools. Hardware manufacturers can’t go far with software additions, and the underlying Wear OS system can’t really be tweaked. That means companies like TAG Heuer are subject to Google’s will to some extent. There may be pluses and minuses to that position, but I think it still makes a lot of sense for TAG Heuer to work with a popular and supported platform (Wear OS) instead of coming up with its own smartwatch operating system from scratch. Others have.
TAG Heuer currently has a good level of diversity in its smartwatch offerings. The Connected E4 is available in 45mm-wide and 42mm-wide sizes, and on top of that, there are various themed versions, including the TAG Heuer Connected E4 for Golf, Porsche and Fun Super Mario Edition. . These products share much in common, such as the underlying hardware and case shape, but product materials, cosmetics, and software may also vary. For example, TAG Heuer has different software on the connected Golf and Super Mario versions as opposed to the base model. That’s something to know. For this review, I’m looking exclusively at the base model (ref SBR8A10.BT6259The 45mm-wide TAG Heuer Connected comes in E4 steel on a black rubber strap.
While this wasn’t always the case (no pun intended), most luxury smartwatches today look almost identical to traditional watches on the wrist. That means the size and shape of the TAG Heuer Connected E4 resembles a traditional mechanical watch. It took a few years of hardware miniaturization, but the resulting wear experience makes today’s connected watch more or less look and feel like a traditional watch to wearers and observers. The result is that many people who want a more upscale product experience (which looks traditional and wearable) can enjoy the sex appeal of a European luxury product while having the convenience and functionality of a modern smartwatch.
In this 45mm-wide form, the TAG Heuer Connected E4 is 15.3mm-thick and has a lug-to-lug distance of around 54mm. The strap is 22 mm wide. The case is water-resistant up to 50 meters and the screen has a sapphire crystal. The steel case is finely polished with elegant lines and the black bezel is produced from highly scratch-resistant ceramic. In addition to the touch-screen interface, the watch has two pushers, as well as a crown to control the operating system. The crown acts as a button as well as a scroll wheel to effectively see information on the screen without swiping with your finger (and getting fingerprints on it).
TAG Heuer has the usual sensors and features expected inside the Connected E4, including a heart rate monitor along with a full complement of location and activity sensors. This latter feature is important because TAG Heuer recognizes that many wearers want their watch for exercise and activity tracking features. TAG Heuer has their own exercise tracking software with an attractive interface and a selection of specific physical activities.
Many people enjoy the various watch faces that TAG Heuer has developed exclusively for its smartwatches. They combine functionality and TAG Heuer brand DNA in a watch that feels very satisfying and the little details will make you smile. I love how most analog watch dials have an always-on effect, which appears to glow. Note the particular focus here on keeping the look and feel of the smartwatch experience within the traditional TAG Heuer world, as opposed to trying to invent a whole new visual experience. This helps maintain value in the brand’s mechanical products (which they produce the most), and TAG Heuer is a definite statement that a good smartwatch feels like a traditional mechanical watch, rather than a unique beast with different looks. User interface aesthetics.
I am not referring to the technical specs of the connected E4 hardware. Because only a small number of smartwatch buyers today want products because of the technical specs on the inside. TAG Heuer seems to update the hardware in their connected watches every two years or so, which seems appropriate given the pace of technological advancements today. Most of these products balance battery life with processor performance. You’ll still need to charge a connected TAG Heuer every day, and your battery life performance will really vary depending on screen brightness and how much connectivity the watch has to end up with. As a luxury product TAG Heuer always has good hardware in its products, even if it is not always the absolute latest hardware. I think for most people, a combination of software and hardware experience is important (they expect snappy performance and a clear display), and in that regard, TAG Heuer delivers nicely.
While I like the software that TAG Heuer included with the Connected E4 watch, I would have liked the option to get more out of it. I can’t find any way to download more TAG Heuer designed watch faces or other software, although this is possible through the TAG Heuer Connected app. TAG Heuer has clarified that you can use the TAG Heuer Connected E4 to display NFT graphics on the face. This requires special software as well as a connection to your applicable NFT wallet. So if you have NFT graphics and want to display them on your smartwatch, TAG Heuer has your needs in mind.
Photographing smartwatch screens is a particular challenge, so many of the images in this article feature blurry-looking screens. That’s not really the case and I think screen brightness is the highlight of the TAG Heuer Connected E4. I’ve worn the watch on several occasions and found it to be probably my favorite “urban” smartwatch, given its cute looks. Other products are better suited for more hardcore activity and fitness tracking, but the TAG Heuer Connected E4 is a very nice product and comes with a lot of convenient features thanks to the Google Wear OS platform.
The most important consideration most consumers have is whether the luxury price of the TAG Heuer Connected E4 is worth the special factor. Fortunately, that calculus is easier now that TAG Heuer smartwatches have become more affordable over the past few years. This is important because people know that unlike a traditional watch that lasts a lifetime, people want to replace smartwatches with better technology. Although prices have risen from this base level, the TAG Heuer Connected E4 45mm’s price tag of just $2,000 USD isn’t too bad considering the competition (which includes other fellow LVMH brands like Hublot and Louis Vuitton).
The people I enjoy the most with the TAG Heuer connected smartwatch experience are sophisticated city dwellers who want the best of both worlds: a modern smartwatch experience with a designer commenting on their status and personality. TAG Heuer does it better than any other luxury brand right now, and the good news is that the experience keeps getting better. I look forward to getting to know the design team at the TAG Heuer smartwatch office and what the brand has in store for future connected products. Retail price for this reference SBR8A10.BT6259 Connected E4 45mm in steel on a TAG Heuer rubber strap $2,050 USD. Learn more on the TAG Heuer website here.