Diesel On Full Guard review

Diesel's expensive Wear OS effort puts fashion ahead of fitness

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Specs, features and performance

  • Snapdragon 2100 CPU running at 1.2Ghz with 512MB RAM
  • 4GB of storage
  • Latest version of Google's Wear OS

The first generation of Android Wear watches were hamstrung by poor performance due the lackluster specifications; the end result was an OS which felt sluggish and often unresponsive.

Thankfully, the current Wear OS range doesn't suffer from this problem, and the Diesel On Full Guard is snappy and responds instantly to your inputs. This is down to the Snapdragon 2100 chipset beating at the heart of the watch, which is aided by 512MB of RAM.

However, while navigating around the Wear OS interface is a relatively quick affair, there are moments when the watch pauses for a second before loading an app or dropping you into the next menu. It's not a deal-breaker, but it can become annoying, especially when you're in a hurry.

While it has a premium price tag, the Diesel On Full Guard lacks NFC, so you won't be able to use it to make contactless payments via Google Pay – a real oversight if you ask us, given that such functionality is available on many similarly-priced rivals.

One of the reasons Google dropped the 'Android' from 'Android Wear' is because it wants to make this line of wearables platform agnostic; like other Wear OS devices, the Diesel On Full Guard works with both Android and iOS.

You have access to slightly fewer apps when using an iPhone, but the process for connecting is largely the same. The only issue we encountered was that when paired with an iPhone, the watch would sometimes fail to automatically reconnect after losing its link.

Apps and fitness tracking

  • No GPS or heart rate monitor included
  • Comes with Google and Diesel fitness apps

Like all Wear OS devices, the Diesel On Full Guard connects to your Android or iOS smartphone via a dedicated application. Certain apps transfer their functions to the watch; you can have Google Translate on your wrist ready to interpret any foreign language, or you can install Google Play Music and control your audio library from your watch face.

Diesel has also installed some of its own apps, although they're rather hit-and-miss. 'Dial Effects' is an app which, once enabled, overlays visual effects on the watch face which end up being an irritation more than anything else; for example, 'Activity Mode' covers the face with dust which is slowly removed the more exercise you do, while 'Weather Mode' shows things like rain and lightning, depending on the local conditions.

Diesel T-ON-I is a more ambitious undertaking, and essentially takes core information like the weather, your appointments and the number of steps you've taken and presents them with occasionally witty messages.

While the design of the interface is nice and it makes the Diesel On Full Guard stand apart from other Wear OS devices, this is ultimately nothing more than needless duplication of content and if you want to rely on it fully you'll need to painstakingly disable all of the other elements of the Wear OS system which already report on this kind of data – otherwise you'll have notifications hitting you from all directions.

Like a great many Wear OS watches, the Diesel On Full Guard isn't being positioned as a fitness tracker – it's aimed at fashion-conscious consumers first and foremost. While Google Fit comes pre-loaded and will track your various physical activities, it's totally dependent on your phone's GPS tech, as the watch itself lacks this capability.

There's also no heart rate monitor, which again limits the Diesel On Full Guard's appeal to serious fitness fanatics. The absence of such features is puzzling when you consider that watches like the Amazfit Bip – which costs a tiny fraction of what Diesel is asking for its device – has both GPS and a heart rate monitor.

As well as Google Fit, you can install various fitness trackers and other applications from the Google Play Store.

Battery life

  • 370mAh battery
  • Daily charges are necessary
  • Magnetic charging plate can slip off

Stamina has long been the Achilles' heel of smartwatches, and sadly the Diesel On Full Guard does nothing to change this sorry state of affairs. The most you can reasonably expect to get out of a single charge is 24 hours, and if you're using the watch a lot then you can expect a much lower figure than that.

You'll need to charge the watch at least once a day, a process which takes much longer than it should do – a full charge is around two hours. 

The bundled magnetic charging pad is also a let-down, as it often slips off the back of the watch during use; you'll need to make sure you lay it down on a completely flat surface where it won't get knocked.