Monthly Archives: May, 2020

MontBlancSummit2

Hands on: Montblanc Summit 2 Plus review

May 26th, 2020 Posted by News Story 0 comments on “Hands on: Montblanc Summit 2 Plus review”

A slight upgrade at a high price

EARLY VERDICT

The Montblanc Summit 2 Plus adds LTE to the mix, boosts the battery and makes other small changes, but is held back slightly by an aging chipset and a very high price. Still, it wouldn’t be a Montblanc if it was cheap.

 

FOR

  • Now with LTE
  • Gorgeous design

AGAINST

  • Similar core specs to its predecessor
  • Very expensive

Apple still hasn’t flattened the luxury watch market, despite its best ongoing efforts, and until it does we’ll continue to see brands like Tag Heuer, Frederique Constant and Montblanc fend off its advances with smartwatches that offer something more traditional.

The new Montblanc Summit 2 Plus, an update to the Montblanc Summit 2 that launched in 2018, tries to bring a touch of luxury to Wear OS – and throws LTE connectivity on top.

More than that, the Summit 2 Plus has been given a face lift and a few other small tweaks. Here are our initial impressions.

Montblanc Summit 2 Plus release date and price

The Montblanc Summit 2 Plus will be available from April. We only currently know the US price, which is $1,170 (roughly £900 / AU$1,780), though that’s before you factor in the monthly data cost if you’re going with LTE.

It’s a lot of cash, but remember that luxury is Montblanc’s entire USP.

Design and display

For the Summit 2, Montblanc managed to squeeze the components into a unisex 42mm case size, but going plus-sized on the specs now means bumping up the design, with the Summit 2 Plus coming in at 43.5mm, with a 1.28-inch AMOLED display.

It’s not a drastic difference to 2018’s model, but it is creeping into that larger territory which may put off some people, particularly those with smaller wrists. It’s actually a tiny bit thinner than the Montblanc Summit 2, but it’s so negligible you won’t notice it.

The watch comes in four finishes: black DLC (diamond-like carbon) steel, stainless steel, rose gold steel or bronze steel. The good news is that all four cost the same, and Montblanc is offering a variety of leather and silicone straps to mix and match with.

The black steel is probably the only option that can conjure a sporty look when combined with a silicone band; the others are a bit too luxe glam to pull it off, but they all look good and share the same raft of health and fitness features.

Features and fitness

So, there’s good and bad news here. The good news: the Summit 2 Plus comes running the latest Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset with 1GB of RAM. The bad news: those are the same internal specs as the 2018 Summit 2, which means it’s running on the same tech as a watch that’s 18 months older.

To be fair, this isn’t the fault of Montblanc, which is technically still using the most cutting-edge Qualcomm smartwatch technology available. Qualcomm’s progress in smartwatch technology has been excruciatingly glacial and the 3100, announced in 2018, was far less of a leap forward than we had anticipated.

The better news is that the battery has been upgraded from a 340mAh charge to 440mAh, so that it can handle the extra drain of LTE.

Speaking of which, the Summit 2 Plus is an LTE watch that’s also running Google’s Wear OS, which makes it an incredibly rare breed. We’ve seen very few of these, and the ones we’ve tried haven’t convinced us.

Apple’s had more success with LTE smartwatches, but that’s largely because of the way it has weaved it into the Apple Watch software and hardware. But because every Wear OS smartwatch is a mishmash of ideas – Google’s software, Qualcomm’s chip, the watch manufacturer’s design – it doesn’t feel as elegantly put together.

At launch, LTE will only be available through Verizon in the US and Vodafone in the UK (along with some networks in France, Spain, Germany and China), although Montblanc told us it hopes to add more providers in the future.

We weren’t able to test out the LTE in any meaningful way during our demo, but we’re fascinated to know how it will perform in the wild.

Montblanc has also added a speaker and microphone to the side of the Summit 2 Plus, so you’ll be able to make and receive calls when away from your phone.

But we’re more interested to see how the LTE impacts battery life. Montblanc is promising a full day with the LTE running, so we’ll see. You’ll apparently be able to stretch the battery life to a maximum of five days if you enable the low-power mode, which deactivates the smart features and simply shows you the time.

While LTE is the big new feature here, there’s plenty on offer for those who don’t want the data connection. There’s a heart rate monitor and built-in GPS (also found on the 2018 Summit 2) and, like the Summit 2, Montblanc has peppered some of its own micro apps into the Wear OS experience.

The new watch comes with an app called Timeshifter, designed to give travelers advice on how to minimize their jet lag. There’s a stress-tracking micro app too, which presumably extracts heart rate variability data from the sensor.

And you’ll also get access to Montblanc’s Travel Info app, which serves up some local knowledge on any area you’re exploring.

These should give you a sense of the type of user Montblanc is shooting for. But you might also wonder… why not just call this the Summit 3?

Daniel Arfi, Montblanc’s senior product marketer for tech, told us that Montblanc worried that calling it the Summit 3 would suggest the Summit 2 is dead, when in fact it plans to continue selling that watch.

Early verdict

The Montblanc Summit 2 Plus is an undeniably gorgeous smartwatch, but it’s less of an upgrade than we had hoped for.

Without extensive testing we can’t speak to its LTE abilities, but with so few Wear OS watches offering this feature right now, we’re all the more intrigued to see if Montblanc can convince us it can work. Because if we’re honest, right now, no other Wear OS watches have.


(Image credit: TechRadar)

By 

 

MOTO 360 Smartwatch

The Moto 360 smartwatch is back, but Motorola isn’t making it

May 26th, 2020 Posted by News Story 0 comments on “The Moto 360 smartwatch is back, but Motorola isn’t making it”

The 2015 hit is being resurrected.

The original Moto 360 was one of the most attractive smartwatches around when it launched way back in 2015. As the first round Android Wear watch, it made a huge impression with slick-looking wearables fans despite some hiccups at launch, but as with so many tech firsts, it gradually lost its charm. Now, however, it’s making a comeback.

In the same nostalgic vein as HMD’s revival of the Nokia, or TCL bringing back the BlackBerry, the Moto 360 has been given a contemporary makeover and is being brought back to the masses. This time around it’ll feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform, 8GB of storage and 1GB RAM, an always-on display and fast charging that’ll have it juiced from zero to 100 percent in just an hour. Plus it comes with all-day battery life and a battery-saving mode that will keep the time displayed for three days even when the battery is critical. And, of course, it’ll boast the good looks that made it so popular the first time around.

Moto 360 eBuyNow

What’s interesting, however, is the company behind its resurrection. While Nokia and BlackBerry had the likes of HMD and TCL behind their resurgence, the Moto 360 has a company called eBuyNow. It’s under license and in partnership with Motorola, but it’s still a relative unknown. Whether this will have any impact on the watch’s comeback remains to be seen — the company’s website does say that it has 15 years of experience in this area — but the real question is whether the Moto 360 can once again find favor with buyers in a market that’s now saturated with equally attractive-looking devices.

The Moto 360 will be available for $350/£340 through select major retailers this December. Pre-orders will begin in the US, Canada and the UK mid November at Moto360.com.


Rachel England@rachel_england

October 29, 2019
Tag Heuer

TAG Heuer Introduces A New Generation Luxury Connected Watch

May 26th, 2020 Posted by News Story 0 comments on “TAG Heuer Introduces A New Generation Luxury Connected Watch”

FRÉDÉRIC ARNAULT, TAG HEUER’S CHIEF STRATEGY AND DIGITAL OFFICER, Hosted the launch of the new edition on March 12th, 2020 in New York.

Ali Krieger, Ashlyn Harris, & Paulina Vega attended the immersive event in NY.

The new connected combines elegance and craftsmanship with new high-tech features for a customised physical and digital experience focused on performance.

LA CHAUX-DE-FONDS, SwitzerlandMarch 13, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — TAG Heuer pioneered the luxury connected watch segment in 2015 and with the third generation of its visionary Connected timepiece, the brand makes a design and technological statement that further solidifies its position as leader of the luxury connected watch category for the long term.

Experience the interactive Multimedia News Release here: https://www.multivu.com/players/English/8703851-tag-heuer-connected-watch-launch/

The TAG Heuer Connected has the elegance of a chronograph-inspired timepiece crafted in the purest watchmaking tradition, with a 45-mm case in noble materials like stainless-steel titanium, ceramic or sapphire crystal, subtle polishes, mechanical pushers and a rotating crown, as well as interchangeable strap choices with a folding buckle. The all-active OLED touchscreen displays a choice of custom-designed dials, mechanical or digitally inspired.

The highlight of this new model is the immersive sports experience developed in-house, the TAG Heuer Sport app. It provides detailed tracking for golf, running, cycling, walking and fitness sessions thanks to the watch’s built-in GPS and heart-rate monitor, among other sensors. The experience on the wrist is complemented by a newly developed TAG Heuer mobile companion app.

In addition, a range of daily connected services offered from Wear OS by Google will enhance the user’s daily life, including notifications, Google Assistant, Google Translate, Google Pay where enabled, music controls, agenda, weather, maps and more.

TAG Heuer’s Chief Strategy and Digital Officer, Frédéric Arnault, who has led this ambitious project and built the brand’s internal technological expertise over the past two years, explains: “The TAG Heuer Connected watch was designed and engineered with the same passion and attention to detail as our mechanical watches. The Connected watch is not only a beautiful timepiece, it’s a truly immersive experience, as it now sits within a complete TAG Heuer digital ecosystem geared towards performance and sports. It expresses the brand in a completely new way and offers limitless possibilities in terms of innovation for the future and will lead the way into a new era for TAG Heuer.”

The new TAG Heuer Connected watch is available in four references and lands in select stores worldwide and at www.tagheuer.com on Friday, 13 March 2020.


NEWS PROVIDED BY

TAG Heuer 

Mar 13, 2020, 10:37 ET

SUUNTO 7 Sports and life, combined

May 26th, 2020 Posted by News Story 0 comments on “SUUNTO 7 Sports and life, combined”

SUUNTO 7

wearOS-logo-grey-text-01@2x.png

Juggling your passion for sports with a busy life can be hard – you want a sports watch that is ready when you are and a smartwatch that handles your everyday. Suunto 7 gives you the best of both worlds and is designed to help you get the most out of your time. It’s our first watch that combines Suunto’s versatile sports experience and free offline outdoor maps with helpful smartwatch features from Wear OS by Google™.

Suunto 7 works with Android™ and iOS phones.


See rest of SUUNTO and LifeQ go here.

Xiaomi Watch Color

Xiaomi Watch Color is an all-new smartwatch – that looks pretty familIar

May 26th, 2020 Posted by News Story 0 comments on “Xiaomi Watch Color is an all-new smartwatch – that looks pretty familIar”

It’s the Amazfit GTR but not as we know it

We’re all hungrily waiting for Xiaomi’s first smartwatch to hit Western shores but the company has already taken the wrappers off its second effort – the Watch Color.

It may just sound like a funky colour way for the standard Mi Watch, but the Watch Color couldn’t be more different from the original. Xiaomi teased the new watch on its site and over at Weibo.

It has a round case, bold vibrant displays and a range of straps, and Xiaomi boasts that you can mix up over 1,500 combinations. However, Gizmochina reports that you can only buy two case colours and color straps are coming after launch.

The official unveiling is set for 3 January, but specs for the Watch Color have already leaked on the usual Xiaomi-watching sites out in China.

According to Gizchina we’re set for 47mm case size, with reports of a second, unconfirmed, 42mm version.

The larger version will reportedly have a 1.39-inch AMOLED display with a 454 x 454 resolution – which stacks up pretty well against the biggest, baddest screens on the market.

Gizchina also leaks that the Watch Color will last 14 days in smartwatch mode thanks to a 420mAh battery. That’s seriously impressive stuff from a device with a display as smart of the Watch Color.

But the key detail we’re going to have to wait to find out is what OS is on-board. The leaks don’t specify, so we’re going to hope that it’s packing the same forked version of Wear OS that’s debuted on the square Mi Watch. However, if the leaks are right, it seems unlikely that a 14 day battery life could be compatible with any usage or Wear OS.

As with the standard Watch there’s GPS on-board, with a heart rate monitor – and those are linked by Firstbeat’s VO2 Max algos, which offer deep biometric insights to runners. On the subject of sports tracking there’s 10 tracked activities, according to Gizchina.

Xiaomi Mi Watch Color is an all-new smartwatch – that looks pretty familIar

So where does this all fit in? Well, it seems to be identical to the Amazfit GTR, and shares most (if not all) of the specs. And as you can see from the side-by-side, they look pretty much identical too. That’s not a hugely exciting prospect, as we gave the GTR a three-star review, thanks to the poor accuracy of the heart rate tech and basic smartwatch experience.

So it really comes down to the OS. Amazfit used its own OS which means a severe lack of apps. It looks like the Xiaomi Watch Color will go the same way. Which makes the differentiation even harder to fathom.

Amazfit is part of Huami, of which Xiaomi is also a subsidiary – but the latter certainly has a bigger brand recognition in the US and Europe, which may be part of the motivation.

We’ll update with confirmed specs as we get them.


Thursday
Xiaomi Mi Watch

Xiaomi Mi Watch first impressions: We get our hands on the upcoming smartwatch

May 26th, 2020 Posted by News Story 0 comments on “Xiaomi Mi Watch first impressions: We get our hands on the upcoming smartwatch”

It won’t get a global release until later this year, but here’s what to expect

Xiaomi officially revealed the Mi Watch in China last November, but there’s currently no word on when the Apple Watch clone will be given a global release.

To help fill the gap until it does, and to get some idea of whether this is a viable alternative to the top smartwatches arriving in 2020, we’ve got our hands on the Chinese version of the Xiaomi Mi Watch.

Remember, this is the first smartwatch to receive the Xiaomi branding, with it previously only producing the in-demand Mi Band trackers.

Read next: Top Apple Watch alternatives

There’s plenty to unpack with the first Mi Watch. Even though we can’t access the device in full, due to location restrictions regarding the companion app, we can get good feel for the design, screen quality, responsiveness and more.

Here’s everything we know so far about the Xiaomi Mi Watch – and why not check out the latest news on the Xiaomi Mi Band 5, which could be launching over the next few months.

Update: This article was originally written on 5 November when the Mi Watch was unveiled. We’ve updated it to offer more details about Mi Watch, and to include details of our first impressions.

Quick look: Xiaomi Mi Watch specs

  • 1.78-inch AMOLED display
  • 44mm case size
  • 410 x 410 display
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100
  • Wear OS (with MIUI)
  • Quad-core 1.2 GHz Cortex-A7
  • 8GB memory
  • LTE
  • GPS
  • Accelerometer, gyro, heart rate, barometer

Xiaomi Mi Watch first impressions: We get our hands on the upcoming smartwatch

Design

In terms of design, the watch features a 44mm square face, with a 1.78-inch AMOLED display pumping out a resolution of 410 x 410 pixels and a pixel density of 326 pixels-per-inch.

At first glance, the Mi Watch screams of an Apple Watch imitation – which is something of a modus operandi for Xiaomi. And though it is thicker, it doesn’t necessarily feel it on the wrist.

The build quality isn’t as solid as the Apple Watch – and that’s not necessarily a surprise, considering it will retail for potentially less than half the price of a Series 5 – but this does mean it’s slightly lighter.

Read more: Best cheap smartwatches for 2020

Interestingly, the case matches the first three generations of the Apple Watch, offering the same square look, but the screen is prominently rounded, more in line with the later models.

This blends into the case much less elegantly than Apple’s smartwatches, but it does also look more attractive than a square screen would.

And while it’s hard to assess overall screen quality, since the initial menus only really offer white text on a black background, the AMOLED display certainly doesn’t appear to be anything to worry about. It’s also very responsive, whether you’re swiping back or tapping through menus or using the crown to navigate.

Xiaomi Mi Watch first impressions: We get our hands on the upcoming smartwatch

That crown is, you guessed it, in the same style as the Apple Watch, and can be twisted to move through menus, as too is the side-button microphone and speaker on either edge.

Internally, the smartwatch is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 3100 platform – the latest version of its processor, though an upgraded Snapdragon 3300 version has recently been rumored.

And it has a lot to power, too, with LTE available for music streaming and voice calls when you’re not connected over Bluetooth to a phone, joining Wi-Fi connectivity, GPS for location tracking and NFC for contactless payments.

There’s a quad core processor on board that should be enough to keep things speedy, and 8GB of storage, which is pretty typical across the smartwatch world. That should offer plenty of room to store music.

Xiaomi Mi Watch first impressions: We get our hands on the upcoming smartwatch

Features

When you first turn the Xiaomi Mi Watch on, you’re greeted with typical Wear OS load-up screen; the four colours start out as dots and begin to form the logo before you’re prompted in Chinese to continue.

With this being the first-ever ‘skinned’ version of Google’s smartwatch software, it does appear like it will be slightly different during setup – and the menus, like the one shown above, won’t necessarily be in the usual Wear OS style.

Leaked: Xiaomi Mi Watch Color details

The personalized skin of Wear OS, called MiUI for Watch, has been designed to enable stripped-down versions of Xiaomi apps, like Mi Home, Tasks and Maps. However, it’s not clear whether the watch will support current Wear OS apps when it lands or be paired with the Xiaomi Mi app.

That’s new territory for Google, which has previously clamped down on brands forking its smartwatch OS. But with the market now moving quickly away from Google technology – it seems like something of a gamble from Google to help Xiaomi use its OS to aggressively corner some market share.

Xiaomi Mi Watch first impressions: We get our hands on the upcoming smartwatch

However, there’s more here than meets the eye.

We already know that Firstbeat has been called upon to license its technology for VO2 Max and heart rate analytics during sport. It’s the same algorithms that Garmin uses – and takes advantage of the Mi Watch’s heart rate sensor and GPS chip.

That means there should be some decent workout features to take advantage of – and body energy measurement is listed amongst the features, which should be similar to Garmin’s body battery measurement.

There’s a blood ox sensor on board, too, and the Mi Watch gets one up on Apple by including sleep tracking.

However, it’s not clear whether the pulse ox sensor will add data to the sleep tracking features, as we’ve seen on Garmin devices.

Aside from that, you can also expect the standard set of smartwatch features, such as notifications, alarms and more.

Xiaomi Mi Watch first impressions: We get our hands on the upcoming smartwatch

Battery life

Despite its similarities to the Apple Watch, it actually manages to outlast the device in the battery life department –at least on paper.

Xiaomi claims the Mi Watch will manage 36 hours of continuous use, even with LTE enabled, thanks to its 570 mAh battery packed inside.

Price and availability

We’ll be testing the battery life claim during our full review, but, at least for now, the Mi Watch will remain exclusive to China, having released on 11 November for CNY 1,299. That translates to roughly $185.

At those prices, it seems like a compelling purchase – although Apple has really killed off some of the hype by reducing its Series 3 smartwatch to $199.

The Xiaomi Mi Watch is currently available on Geek Buying for around $279.99, but there’s no English version of the app yet, so we’d certainly wait for proper support.

Xiaomi has said that the Mi Watch will land outside of China officially in 2020, and we expect that to happen some time over the first half of the year.


Thursday