The Emporio Armani Connected goes on sale on 14 September and we got a sneak peek of the suited and booted Android Wear smartwatch at IFA 2017. Ol' EA first got involved in wearable tech with a batch of hybrid watches, as part of Fossil Group's plunge into connected accessories.
Now it joins the Diesel On Full Guard and Michael Kors Access Sofie as part of the fall line-up of Wear 2.0 designer watches. Here are our first impressions as well as pics of the Emporio Armani Connected in action.
Emporio Armani Connected: Design
Trend wise, this is businessman swank and though it is a big, masculine watch it could probably be pulled off by badass, strong-wristed businesswomen too.
One note: I reckon people need to choose wisely when it comes to the Emporio Armani Connected. In person, the matte finish body and stainless steel bracelet (above) looks pure class but another model with more of a shiny gold finish watch case and (cheaper) leather strap didn't pull off the heft nearly as well.
Of course, hues and materials are a matter of personal preference but, depending on the style, the Connected does a better or worse job of masquerading as a traditional wristwatch. Plus the straps are interchangeable.
We saw a range of styles, colours and straps on the stand - so much variation we actually had to check they were all the same watch. We're not sure the final numbers of style options yet, though, as the watch isn't live for pre-orders online.
On the right hand side, there's a crown and two pushers/buttons flanking it - as on all Fossil Group's designer smartwatches. It's a crisp, fully round AMOLED screen that's nice and responsive and, as on other FG watches from other fashion brands, you'll notice an extra bezel of dead screen around the pixels - bt it doesn't detract from the overall look.
Emporio Armani Connected: Initial verdict
So we didn't get to use a Connected outside of demo mode - though we did see Fossil VP Antonio Nigro's fully working watch in action on his wrist.
When it comes to features, the only addition over other Android Wear 2.0 watches are the pre-installed Emporio Armani watch faces.
There's all the usual stuff you'd expect - notifications, activity tracking, voice controls via Google Assistant and music controls. As I've bemoaned elsewhere, there's no NFC for Android Pay and there are also no sporty additions like built-in GPS, but the latter might not be so important to you on a fashion-focused watch like this.
We're pretty confident this will do well - just look at the likes of the Tag Heuer Connected Modular 45 if you need proof that people will put down a lot of money for a classy designer smartwatch with some nice watch faces. We'll be keeping an eye on this one.
The Emporio Armani Connected is $345 with a leather strap and $395 with a metal bracelet so it's not as much of an investment, or quite as impeccably finishes, as the Tag but we're sure it will appeal to those who find the Apple Watch too retro-preppy and the rest of the smartwatch cohort too gadget-y.
Check out the rest of our IFA 2017 hands ons with all the latest smartwatches.
Shop for recommended Android Wear watches on Amazon
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