Despite living in a world of smart watches dominated by the Apple Watch, Tag Heuer remains committed to making smart watches – not just sophisticated watches. Connected 2020 is the Swiss watchmaker’s third generation watch that runs on Google’s Wear OS and is involved in a familiar – and quite beautiful – label design.
Like the Connected watches that came before it – we looked at Connected 45 in 2017 and Connected 41 in 2019 – the 2020 model is for those with deep pockets. The price starts at £ 1,495 / € 1,700 / $ 1,799, which is half the price of one of your Carrera watches. You can also buy some Apple Watche and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active for the same money.
Connected 2020 clearly has a very specific audience. It is for someone who wants extra intelligence on a watch as luxurious as the one without these connected features. Something that Tag continues to achieve as well.
Design and display
- 45 mm watch size only
- Water resistant to 50 meters
- Available in steel and titanium cases
- 1.39 inch, 454 x 454 resolution screen
With Connected 2020, it’s a case of getting what you pay for. Tag’s smart watches have always seemed like the goal was to offer something as well crafted as their clever watches – and that really doesn’t change here.
Although previously added a smaller 41 mm model to its collection, the new Connected is available in the same 45 mm case as the Connected Modular 45.1/18POCKET-LINT
It measures 13.5 mm thick, which means that it is more robust than the first Smartwatch Tag (at 12.8 mm) and only slightly thinner than the Modular 45 (at 13.75 mm). It’s an undeniably robust watch, but if you like to have something on your wrist that you always know is there and feel proud to be wearing it, it certainly stands out on that front.
There is no longer the modular design approach introduced with the latest generation of the Tag watch, which allows you to exchange a traditional watch case for an intelligent one – and even change the watch terminals – which we think is a pity. You even have the ability to exchange watch straps with official options available at various prices (some adding notable expenses).
There are now four models to choose from: three of them include stainless steel cases with a choice of black and silver bezels and a rubber or steel bracelet; the fourth is a titanium case option with a black rubber strap (this is the most expensive option, of course).
In review, here is the stainless steel case with black band. What we can confirm is still interesting. It is clearly inspired by a variety of Tag Heuer’s traditional watch collection. There are elements and characteristics of your Aquaracer and Carrera watches that work to make it look like another label.
The main design change for 2020 is the addition of two buttons (buttons) that now flank the crown of the watch. As we saw on other Wear OS watches with a similar configuration, these extra buttons can be assigned to the features you want to access quickly. Out of the box, they are configured to start the stopwatch and the new Tag sports app.
The front and center are, of course, a touch screen. The Smartwatch screens are improving in general and the new Tag screen is firmly in this good stack. It’s the same 1.39 inch OLED as Connected 45 (although the resolution has jumped from 400 x 400 to 454 x 454).
This screen is still level with the frame and there is no black flat tire bar at the bottom to see it here. This is a crisp and bright display – with this increase in resolution helping the colors of the various display options to really jump.
Use OS and performance
- Qualcomm Snapdragon 3100 processor, 1 GB of RAM
- New customizable watch faces
- 8GB of internal storage
Google’s Wear OS is running the software program once again, providing the basic features of the smartwatch and almost the full Wear OS experience currently available.
There are music playback controls and a built-in music player. The Google Assistant is a blow of the finger or a crown. There is also NFC to unlock Google Pay payments .
Loses a speaker, who has become a more recent addition to the Wear OS clan. There is no cellular connectivity like you can find at Montblanc Summit + or TicWatch Pro LTE to live this life without limits.
The Wear OS smartwatch experience is still one that performs wells in parts and frustrates in others. Aspects like music features and Google Pay work smoothly. Support for notifications still seems a little clumsy, mainly because of the way they can accumulate. Overall, Wear OS still doesn’t feel the full package yet – as we’ve been saying for some time.
Tag makes it possible to make it look less like you’re wearing a Wear OS watch, largely adding your own apps to replace Google, as well as a large collection of watch faces. It’s something that Tag impressed on previous Connected models – and it’s more the same in Connected 2020.
There are watch faces inspired by the iconic Tag Heuer watches and some great digital options that offer different levels of customization to add widgets and change the color of faces. Heuer 01c watches and simply named time displays are definitely watch faces that you can choose from.
The tag includes four of your own applications. There is the new Tag Sports app (which we’ll see below), the Golf app (which launched last year), Stopwatch and Timer (which are not the most exciting additions, but adapt very well to Tag’s timekeeping heritage) .
In terms of performance, you are getting the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 3100 processor, along with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal storage. This keeps Wear OS software running smoothly and smoothly, and there were no problems with the delay or slow launch of applications.
- New Tag Heuer Sports app
- Enhanced heart rate monitor
As for sports tracking features, Connected 2020 maintains the integrated GPS that Tag introduced in Connected 45, with additional support for GLONASS, BeiDou and QZSSl satellite systems. There is also a heart rate monitor, which can be used for monitoring throughout the day and for real-time data during workouts.
However, the big problem here is that Tag decided to present its own Sports app. You still have the Google Fit suite of apps present, and you can still download third-party fitness apps. If you want to ignore them, you now have an alternative place to track your exercises.
The data in the new Tag Heuer Sports app is synchronized and can be viewed in its own companion app, not Wear OS, but you need to have the Tag app and Wear OS to set things up. The exercises can also be targeted at Apple Health and Strava, which will be a source of good news for runners and cyclists.
The new application is based on Golf, which Tag introduced with the Connected Modular 45 Golf Edition last year. It is still present and lives in and out of this main sports app. There is now the ability to track running, cycling, walking and fitness exercises in general.
Unsurprisingly, it is a very beautiful application. When you start it in the app drawer, you will see small animations to indicate the different tracking modes. Away from sports modes, you can view your exercise history and there are several settings to play with. You can adjust the units of measure and the tinker with settings focused on running, such as activating automatic divisions and a low power mode, to provide more battery life for sports tracking (this will disable the heart rate monitor, for example).
When it comes to putting this sports tracking app to use, it’s definitely a mixed bag. As for monitoring a workout, it is pleasant and straightforward. There is a decent collection of sports tracking modes, although we were surprised to see something designed for running on a treadmill. From the point of view of precision, it combined well in general with a Garmin Fenix 6 for GPS data. The heart rate data was generally good, providing almost identical mean and maximum heart rate data.1/2POCKET-LINT
When we took him onto the treadmill and used the Other tracking option to mainly measure heart rate, it was also great – although there were strange spikes in heart rate in very uniform pace runs when compared to a Polar H7 chest strap.
Analysis of data within the Tag phone app for a race provides a simple description of the route, pace, heart rate and divisions. It’s clean, easy to decipher and just keeps things pretty basic. One problem we encountered was that if you accidentally follow a workout, it will be saved and synchronized. There does not seem to be any obvious way to exclude it.
- 430mAh battery capacity
Like other smart watches that depend on Google’s operating system, Tag Heuer is still restricted in terms of battery life, despite the watchmaker increasing the battery’s capacity (to 430mAh). The Modular Connected 45 provided 24 hours of use (at 410mAh), while Connected 41 gave us the same (here at 345mAh), but it didn’t impress much with its staying power.
At Connected 2020, you’ll have battery life throughout the day, including an hour of sports tracking. It was largely what we found in our time with this.
When you consider sports tracking and just use the features of the smartwatch with the screen at full brightness, we find that it got one day and a few more hours the next morning. With a full battery earlier in the day, it dropped to about 65% about 15 hours later. Virtually the norm for Wear OS watches.
When you do a 30-minute workout, it will inevitably be less than that. Using the GPS for 30 minutes, there was a 15-20% drop in battery life in that short period – because the watch is being asked to do a lot more.
Unlike many newer Wear OS smartwatches, it doesn’t seem to include Qualcomm’s new battery saving modes to go even further. There is only the basic battery saving mode, which has been running on Wear OS watches for some time. The watch switches between active and ambient modes, depending on what you are doing on the watch to help preserve the battery, always allowing you to see the time.
When it’s time to charge, there’s a similar charging disc found on previous Connected watches, which cover the entire back of the watch case and take an hour and a half to charge from zero to full.
If you want a smartwatch that looks like a traditional tag, Connected 2020 offers it all. This attractive design now includes an updated display and extra software additions help make it feel less like a Wear OS watch. The included watch faces are great, while the new sports app certainly shows good potential.
Your sports tracking skills can’t really rival what you will get from a serious Polar or Garmin sports watch, but if you are more a 20-minute treadmill runner than a marathon racer, this should do more than get the job done.
There are other brands like Montblanc and fellow LVMH stable Louis Vuitton that have visibly increased their game in front of the luxury smartwatch. But Tag Heuer remains ahead of the pack as far as building a truly desirable smartwatch that feels worthy of that steep price.
There’s no getting around it: Tag Heuer Connected 2020 is a beauty of a smartwatch.