Emporio Armani Connected review

One of the smartest-looking smartwatches around, but its features are lacking

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Our Verdict

The Emporio Armani Connected is a fantastic-looking device that does the Armani brand justice. It’s just not smart enough for our liking. Yes, it has a lovely Super AMOLED screen and decent performance but a lack of NFC, heart rate sensing, GPS and LTE means that we are left wanting more.

For

  • Great-looking device
  • Well built
  • Good performance

Against

  • Battery life could be better
  • Fitness features are lacking
  • No Google Pay

If you are looking to buy the Emporio Armani Connected smartwatch, then you have already bought into the brand. Your expectations will be high that Armani’s first foray into the world of proper smartwatches (it previously launched a line of hybrid offerings) will be as fitting as its haute couture, and for good reason - this is a fashion brand that’s precious over its label, so it’s to be expected that it wouldn’t put its name to any old piece of gadgetry. That’s why it’s teamed up with watch giants the Fossil Group for this one. 

The smartwatch is the inevitable place where fashion and technology intersects. More fashion brands are releasing smartwatches because they know that, if they manage to get it right, this is a highly lucrative area for them. 

Watchmaking is a billion dollar business, if a smartwatch can slice off a fraction of that money then everyone is happy. But with the Apple Watch as desirable a timepiece as anything currently in the market - smart or otherwise - competition is fierce. When it comes to looks at least, the Emporio Armani Connected has a fighting chance.

Emporio Armani Connected price and release date

The Emporio Armani Connected launched toward the end of 2017 around the world, and the price started at £339 / $345 / AU$549 when it was first released. We've yet to see the price go much lower, but you may find one or two deals around.

Some models of the Connected watch are slightly more expensive depending on the type of strap you opt for, but the top-end price is £389 / $395 / AU$649.

Design and comfort

  • Fashion-focused
  • Great, solid link-based strap
  • A good-looking, water resistant smartwatch

The Emporio Armani Connected smartwatch is a head-turner. It’s a great-looking smartwatch, sleek but also made to be a statement on the wrist. We are reviewing the Black Steel Display variant (also known as the Touchscreen Smartwatch 5005), there is a leather strap version (the Touchscreen Smartwatch 5003) available as well. 

As you can probably deduce from the Black Steel description, this is one is black in color, made of steel and undoubtedly means business. 

Emporio Armani Connected: wrist

The Emporio Armani Connected looks great on the wrist.

With most fashion brands, the logo is key to the product. For this smartwatch, there are two places you will find the logo on the actual body of the device. 

The first is on the underside of the watch face. It’s big, taking up most of the surface flanked by the initials EAC (Emporio Armani Connected). It’s clear Armani want EAC to become an important part of their makeup going forward. The second is a lot more subtle: it’s stamped on the top of the rotating crown.

Emporio Armani Connected: logo

The Armani logo is on the back, not that you could miss it.

The other place you find the logo is on the selection of faces you get with the smartwatch. They have all been created to make sure the logo stands out and there are myriad color options to choose from - this is a smartwatch that’s been made, digitally at least, to go with whichever outfit you happen to be wearing that day. 

As we mentioned this is a watch made from steel, so the strap (like the face) is big, solid and IP67 rated. That means you can have it on your wrist in the rain without fear that the water will degrade the strap in any way, but don't wear the watch into the shower as it's not fully waterproof.

The strap is link based, which means you'll need a good watch repair shop if you want to take out links to get the smartwatch to fit the size of your wrist. This is a common thing with fashion-focused smartwatches, though, as their makers want them to be seen as watches first and smart second - things like straps are treated as they would be on traditional watches. 

The strap complements the Emporio Armani Connected’s fascia, which is fully round. There is a speaker grille on the left side of the device (yep, you can talk into this watch but more on that later) and three buttons on the right side. The middle one is the aforementioned rotating crown, which is handy for quickly digging into the features of Wear OS

The thickness of the face is 13mm which may sound a touch bulky but it never felt that way on our wrist. Make no mistake, this is a solid smartwatch - one that could do some damage if knocked against anything fragile - but it’s fashion conscious and looks good whether you are showing it off wearing a t-shirt or if it’s half-hidden under a shirt cuff. 

What the linked strap isn’t good for is anything fitness related, but then that goes for this watch as a whole. Yes, it makes use of Android Fit, but a lack of a heart monitor, no GPS and being only really splash proof means that while its design might get the heart racing, it’s lack of fitness features certainly do not.

Screen 

  • Super AMOLED
  • Full circle
  • Could be brighter

Back to the display and it’s a full AMOLED rounded touchscreen, with nary a flat tyre in sight - which isn’t a surprise given how far smartwatches have come in the last few years. 

The diameter of the screen is 46mm (around 1.8 inches) and big enough to get all you want out of a smartwatch. It’s an always-on display (if you choose it to be) but one that gets brighter when you move your wrist to your face to read the time. 

While the brightness was decent, we would have preferred the adaptive brightness to be a touch brighter and had to go into the settings to tinker to our tastes. 

Emporio Armani Connected: brightness

You may want to tweak the screen brightness a little as it struggles in direct sunlight.

When it comes to watch faces, the Armani branded ones are endlessly customizable. We spent ages in the settings, changing the hand color, the digits and the backgrounds. As the watch uses Wear OS, you can also choose from an array of other watch faces on offer. 

Other than the faces, Armani hasn’t done much else to customize the software of its smartwatch - what you get is pretty much stock Wear OS and all the nuances and niggles that come with it.