Armani Exchange Connected review

Wear OS gets a smart new suit

Image Credit: TechRadar

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We grew to like the Armani Exchange Connected more than we thought we would. Its large size soon melted away as we found the strap to be comfortable and the weight no real burden.

Helping here is how the Connected has the aesthetic of a regular watch, so remains subtle despite its size and doesn’t shout about its smartness.

Armani Exchange has included a good range of fitness features - GPS, a heart rate monitor, Google Fit and water resistance - making the Connected something of an all-rounder. We can see a lot of people picking this up as their first foray into the smartwatch world and being happy with it.

Image Credit: TechRadar

Image Credit: TechRadar

However, the performance can be troublesome at times. As we mentioned earlier, the watch felt so unstable during and immediately after setup that we wouldn’t be surprised if less patient owners sought to return it, assuming a fault.

During daily use this situation improves markedly and for the most part the Connected worked just fine. We found it was sometimes unstable when taken off the charger, or freshly powered on after the battery running out of juice, leading to frustration at an interface which felt like it was forever walking a tightrope and about to fall off at any moment.

That said, the Connected’s performance would always return to normal if left for a few seconds, as if giving the aging chipset a moment to get up to speed.

Image Credit: TechRadar

Image Credit: TechRadar

Who’s this for?

Smartwatches offered by fashion brands like Armani Exchange tend to appeal more to consumers who put fashion before technology, but want to try something new, and we feel this is also true of the Connected.

Technology fans may balk at the use of the Wear 2100 chipset - rightly so if they demand cutting-edge performance - but for regular consumers who just want a smartwatch from a brand they are already a fan of, the Connected comes off well.

Similarly, daily gym-goers will want a dedicated fitness wearable rather than a fashion watch, but those who exercise more casually will likely enjoy how their smartwatch works well with a suit, yet still helps out at the gym without looking out of place.

Should you buy it?

If you know what you want to get out of a smartwatch - and that involves an emphasis on fashionable looks rather than blistering performance - then the Armani Exchange Connected could well be the smartwatch for you.

It’s attractive, has a premium feel to it, offers a good range of customizable faces, and packs enough apps and fitness features to keep most casual tech fans happy.

If you want the latest in smartwatch performance, and/or a wearable to replace your personal trainer, you should look elsewhere. But for striking a balance between looking smart and acting smart, the Armani Exchange Connected does a good job. Just remember to look past that jittery setup process.

First reviewed: March 2019

Alistair Charlton

Alistair Charlton is a freelance technology and automotive journalist based in London. His career began with a stint of work experience at TechRadar back in 2010, before gaining a journalism degree and working in the industry ever since. A lifelong car and tech enthusiast, Alistair writes for a wide range of publications across the consumer technology and automotive sectors. As well as reviewing dash cams for TechRadar, he also has bylines at Wired, T3, Forbes, Stuff, The Independent, SlashGear and Grand Designs Magazine, among others.