- Design - this is gorgeous
- Travel Info
- GPS doesn't work
- Heart rate is off
The original Montblanc Summit was a bit of a disappointment. The Wear OS-packing smartwatch looked good, but it didn't have that extravagant look you'd expect from a company noted for its design. It also was pretty basic on the features front too and a pretty no-frills experience on the whole.
The Montblanc Summit 2 aims to up the ante in every area, including introducing a more alluring look and a bunch more features. It's also one of the first smartwatches to run on Qualcomm's new Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip, which aims to make performance improvements across the board including battery life.
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Unsurprisingly though this is one smartwatch that doesn't come cheap. You'll have to part with to get one onto your wrist. That's putting it in the same pricing realms as Tag Heuer's watches although it's not quite as pricey as Louis Vuitton's Tambour Horizon.
Is it worth the extra spend over a more sensibly priced smartwatch? We've been living with the Summit 2 to find out. Here's our full verdict.
Montblanc Summit 2: Design
The Summit 2 eschews the bland design of the original for something a little more inspired. Specifically, it's inspired by Montblanc's 1858 collection. And boy, this makes for one gorgeous smartwatch.
This smartwatch has an elegant look about it. It's not as minimalist as the original, and it comes across as having some confidence. This is a watch that, when it's on your wrist, makes you feel good about yourself.
In fact, it looks so good that I had people surprised that it was a smartwatch. My dad even yelled out "that's a smartwatch?" when I told him about it. A lot of that is because the Summit 2 accomplishes something that other smartwatches struggle with: The display often gives away that it's a smartwatch.
The 1.2-inch 390 x 390 AMOLED display is crisp, and Montblanc's original watch faces complement its hardware design perfectly. All of this makes the Summit 2 easy to wear. It passes the sleeve test nicely, so you won't have to worry about wearing this with a suit.
In addition to the display, you've got three buttons on the right side. There's an elegant crown that spins and also has a button on the edge. The crown is a little extra compared to the rest of the design, but it works. It gives the rest of the smartwatch a nice pop.
The other two buttons are used to pull up apps of your choice, but they're just OK. While the crown is satisfying, these buttons are not. They're pretty squishy, and you can't even tell if you've pressed them.
Despite that, the Summit 2 is one of the best designed smartwatches we've tested. It's fun to look at, it's fun to wear and it definitely is a fashion piece. You can use this to complement your outfit.
Montblanc Summit 2: Wear OS
The original Summit lacked features that would have allowed it to stand out in a crowded luxury smartwatch market. Montblanc does not repeat this mistake with the Summit 2, which has a lot more going on on the smarts front.
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It still runs on Google's Wear OS giving you all the usual suspects from notifications, Google Assistant support, the ability to download apps directly from the watch and customisable watch faces. On the Wear front, it's all pretty normal here. As we've said in other reviews recently, Wear is improving, but there's still room for improvement.
Montblanc does throw in some of its own software into the mix to make it the Summit 2 feel more like using a Montblanc watch as opposed to just another Wear smartwatch.
Up front, we've got a number of watch faces created by Montblanc. All of these are pretty good, and it's hard not to swap between them based on your mood. 1858 is the natural choice, as it's intended for the design, but my favorite was the Boheme Classic. There are a total of 10 to choose from, including two based around fitness - the Activity and Workout Coach faces.
The Timeshifter face is the most unique, and that's because it's built for Timeshifter. This is an app built for frequent world travelers, and it's there to help you get rid of your jet lag. It'll create a jet lag plan for you and then recommend things to do to stay awake and refresh.
For instance, it can recommend whether you need to look at some light, or whether it might be a good idea for a nap, or whether now is a great time for a coffee break or a dose of melatonin. It's also not binary with any of this stuff. It won't just tell you whether you should nap or not, it'll tell you whether you should nap or whether you can nap if you can. There's a slight vagueness there that gives you some options.
There are a number of other Montblanc apps here, too, including a stopwatch, a timer and something called Travel Info. This essentially is a travel guide on your wrist. It gives you information like what the customary tip is, some phrases, basic country info, do's and dont's, cuisine and how the taxi fare works.
It's a wealth of information, and it's all presented well enough that you could give it a quick five-minute glance while waiting for your airplane to de-board. All of this goes well beyond another luxury travel watch, the Louis Vuitton Tambour Horizon.
Montblanc Summit 2: Fitness
The Summit 2 really seems to be a luxury watch first, but that doesn't mean it's holding back when it comes to fitness features. You've got a heart rate sensor on board as well as GPS and 5ATM water resistance.
That experience, however, is a pretty sad miss. Heart rate, when put up against a Wahoo Tickr chest strap, was a pretty solid miss. It largely kept up with the trends of my run, but it struggled mightily in doing so.
The Tickr had my average heart rate at 165bpm, while the Summit 2 with Strava clocked me in at 142bpm. The Tickr had my high at 187bpm, while the Summit 2 had me at 178bpm. While the high wasn't too far off, the average being 23 beats off is concerning.
These fitness problems persisted elsewhere, too. The Summit 2 comes with a fitness app called Workout Coach, which is supposed to give you your VO2 Max and recommend a workout plan for you to get more fit. It recommends 20 minutes of either running or brisk walking to get it going, but it failed to work for me after multiple 20 minute sessions - walking and running. It just kept saying that not enough data was recorded.
Summit 2 HR via Strava on left, Wahoo Tickr on right
Similarly, GPS would not connect when going up against a Garmin Fenix 5 for a GPS test. Connected GPS worked fine, but solo GPS never found a connection in multiple environments.
It's worth noting that Workout Coach did save my fitness sessions, and it seemed to do a good job of keeping up with the Tickr live during the run, but there's no way to export that data to your smartwatch to take a better look at it. All of it lives on your watch. That's fine, but sometimes I want to sit back and look at my workout data on a bigger screen like my phone - you can't do that here.
So yeah, fitness is a pretty big whiff on the Summit 2. It's all a bit of a shame because Montblanc clearly put in the work to do things as best as they could, but it didn't seem to work out the way they wanted. The Summit 2 can still be your workout companion - for the most part - but don't expect anything great until Montblanc goes back and adjusts its software a bit more.
Montblanc Summit 2: Battery life
Montblanc promises about a day and a half of battery life here, and that was pretty easily attained by me during my roughly two and a half weeks with the device. This thing is not going to give you any trouble if you forget to charge it overnight - especially if you decide to turn off continuous heart-rate monitoring.
There's also a battery save mode that turns your smartwatch into a dumb watch. It'll just show a Montblanc watch face and cut off access to the rest of your smartwatch's features. It's a handy feature if you're running low on juice, and it can give you up to a week of battery life, but it's clearly something to get you out of a battery emergency, not something to rely on in place of a hybrid smartwatch.
How we test