Hands on: Emporio Armani Connected 2018 review

The latest Wear OS from Emporio Armani

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

The Emporio Armani Connected 2018 may look like a small improvement on the outside compared to last year's watch, but there's a lot different on the inside.

For

  • Premium design
  • Big screen

Against

  • No wireless charging
  • No side pushers

Emporio Armani's debut in the smartwatch space came late in 2017, and the company has now seen fit to upgrade its watches with brand new tech.

It comes after Fossil - the brand that makes Emporio Armani smartwatches - has developed new internal tech (something it calls Generation 4) and it's all being rolled out to all its major brands.

The design is along similar lines here to the original Connected, but if you want more smart in your watch, this looks to be a much better alternative to the original.

Emporio Armani Connected 2018 price and release date

You can pre-order the Emporio Armani Connected in the US right now with prices starting at $295 (about £230, AU$400) and heading up to $395 (about £300, AU$550). Exactly when you'll get it is unclear, and we've yet to learn when it'll be available in the UK or Australia.

Design and display

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The Emporio Armani Connected 2018 comes in a variety of colors including silver, blue, black and rose gold. Each looks similar to the other, but there are a range of straps that use metal links, mesh or even just silicone bands as well.

You'll have the option for these when you buy your watch, but we've tried both the versions pictured in this review.

The watch face itself is 1.19-inch, and while that may sound small we found it easy to interact with Wear OS on the display. The stainless steel case itself is relatively small at 43 x 49mm.

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The Emporio Armani logo isn't emblazoned on the front of the watch, but you'll see it appear all over the display when you're moving through the menus and it's featured in most of the watch faces too.

If you like the look of Emporio Armani products it's likely you'll like the design of the Connected 2018.

Specs and features

The Emporio Armani Connected 2018 can do everything the last-gen watch could including step tracking and notifications, but this one comes running Wear OS straight out of the box and has lots of new features.

There's Google Pay compatibility here as it has NFC onboard, plus there's a heart rate monitor on the rear of the watch with GPS tracking tech inside as well.

We're unsure how the design of this watch will feel when you're working out and getting sweaty considering it's meant to be a more premium device but we'll be sure to test that in our full review.

Fossil - the producers of the Emporio Armani Connected 2018 - say the watch should last between one and two days, and with heavy usage we'd expect it to lean toward the former amount of time.

There's fast-charging tech here though that should mean it charges up faster than some other smartwatches you can buy.

Early verdict

If you're a fan of the Emporio Armani brand, it's likely you'll be a fan of the design of this watch, as a lot of the design aesthetics are present here.

The extra tech packed in make this a much more capable smartwatch than the last generation too, so fingers crossed everything will work out to make this a must-have Wear OS watch when it's out.

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What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.