A sad truth in life is that nothing is ever perfect. That helps to explain why smartwatches that are highly useful tend to look unattractively plasticky; while high-end versions tend to be somewhat lacking in the functionality department. Tag Heuer’s Connected smartwatch, for instance, has always scored high in terms of looks, with an aesthetic that’s drawn from the brand’s Carrera watches. But it has long had drawbacks, the most glaring of which has been the absence of a heart rate monitor.
With the recently unveiled, third-generation Connected, the brand addresses this issue, and then some. More on that later, but first, here’s the most obvious improvement: The Connected looks sharper and sleeker than ever. Taking its cues from the chronograph watch, it incorporates two functional, angular pushers, alongside existing details such as faceted lugs with polished and brushed finishes, and a graduated ceremic bezel. Gone are the protrusions at 12 and 6 o’clock, which housed the antenna (it’s been re-engineered to fit within the watch), so the Connected looks much cleaner — and yes, more like a real watch. Also, it has become slimmer, with a thickness of 13.5mm. (The previous Connected Modular 45 had a thickness of 13.75mm.) The result is a watch that looks and wears better on smaller wrists, despite having an unchanged 45mm diameter on paper.
It’s notable that it has lost some bulk, even though, as we mentioned earlier, it now finally has a heart-rate sensor embedded into its caseback. In our opinion, this is a must-have for any smartwatch worth its salt. This functionality has allowed Tag Heuer to go a step further to unveil a new custom-designed sports app that provides tracking tailored to different sports, including golf, running and cycling. The user can therefore track metrics such as speed, pace, distance and splits, and then use the Tag Heuer mobile app for further detailed insights. If you so please, you can also wear it while swimming, thanks to the Connected’s water-resistance of 50m.
That said, it must be noted that the Connected is now a bit weightier than it used to be. While the previous version was done in titanium, the three new variants feature a steel case (with black ceramic bezel and black rubber strap; with a black ceramic bezel and a steel bracelet; or a black ceramic bezel with silver PVD treatment, and a rubber strap). The steel case makes it less prone to scratches, but it also means that the watch is a tad heavier than before, and might start feeling like an unwelcome weight on your wrist a couple of kilometres into a run.
Naturally, it’s not all play and no work. Powered with Google’s Wear OS, the Connected works on both iOS and Android. The watch thus offers services like Google Assistant and Google Translate, email and message notifications, Google Pay and so on. Its versatility is reflected in its interchangeable bracelet system: Users can buy additional rubber straps in black, red, orange, khaki and more, and easily change the straps themselves by releasing a catch. All in all, this is definitely the most convincing Connected yet.
Prices for the Tag Heuer Connected start at $2,550.