The influx of new Wear OS smartwatches continues with the Armani Exchange Connected, the brand’s first touchscreen smartwatch, which combines a modern design with the latest smartwatch technology. While we say “the latest,” don’t get too excited — this watch is powered by the Snapdragon Wear 2100 platform, not the new Snapdragon 3100. You’ve got to be patient for those.
If you’re scratching your head about this being the first Armani smartwatch, when we’ve seen others in the past, the reason is this is the first to come from the Armani Exchange division. Previously, we’ve tried out Emporio Armani smart and hybrid watches. To help understand the branding, it’s helpful to know that a year ago, Giorgio Armani announced it would concentrate on three brand names — Giorgio, Emporio, and Exchange — rather than the seven it had until that point. Exchange is the entry point into the world of Armani, and appeals to those who still want the look, without the massive price tag. Ideal for a smartwatch.
What about the watch itself? It’s designed beautifully, with a distinctive but not over-the-top style, and available in gold, black, silver, and coal colors. The case is quite large at 46mm — that’s only a millimeter smaller than the Diesel On Full Guard 2.5 — making it look modern, and provide plenty of on-the-wrist presence. The AMOLED screen is 1.2 inches, so it doesn’t overpower the watch’s case. We’re advocates of the smaller screen on Wear OS watches, as they remain usable without stretching the overall size of the watch itself.
Like other designer smartwatches released recently, the Armani Exchange Connected has GPS inside so you don’t need your phone when out for a hike or run, plus there is a heart rate sensor on the back of the case. These two features join NFC for Google Pay, and swim proof water resistance too. Google’s Wear OS operating system is installed, complete with Google Assistant, and we imagine the watch will receive an update to the new version of the software, which greatly improves usability. The 300mAh battery is likely to be good for a day before needing a recharge.
If you’re tempted, you don’t have to wait for the Armani Exchange Connected watch, as it’s available to buy from armaniexchange.com now, and through selected retailers too. The color is the only differentiating factor between the four models — all have a metal bracelet — and to get one you’ll pay $295.