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The Apple Watch has arguably been the best smartwatch for a few years, but it is limited to use with Apple iPhones and also has a single standard design. One compelling feature of Google's Wear OS is that companies can get creative with the watch, and lately, we have seen some fantastic luxury options, as well as new Galaxy watches from Samsung.
For the past couple of weeks, I have been golfing, running, walking, sleeping, and living with the Tag Heuer Calibre E4 Golf Edition and I am not looking forward to sending it back.
Tag Heuer makes a few variants of its new Connected Calibre E4 watch; this one is aimed at golfers, with features such as 18-hole bezel labels, a dimpled white rubber strap, and an integrated magnetic ball marker.
If this watch appeals to you, but you do not play golf, then I recommend you check out other Connected Calibre E4 models. Maybe the sleek Porsche Edition with functions that connect to your car would appeal to you, for example.
|Display||1.39-inch AMOLED with 454x454-pixel resolution|
|Processor||Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus|
|Materials||Black titanium case, ceramic bezel, sapphire glass|
|Water resistance||50 meter|
|Connectivity and sensors||Heart rate, barometer, accelerometer, gyroscope, microphone, Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, NFC|
|Dimensions||45mm diameter by 15.3mm thickness|
As you would expect from a luxury smartwatch when you pay up to $2,650 for the product, the unboxing experience is top-notch. The outer package includes three Tag Heuer-branded Titleist golf balls and an extra ball marker. Adjacent is a well-constructed white box, and when you open the rigid top and it locks firmly in place, you will see the Tag Heuer Calibre E4 Golf Edition sitting proudly in the center on a platform surrounded by green framing.
Lift this up to reveal the extra black rubber strap, USB-C cable, A/C adapter, and a very nice inclined charging dock. The charging dock connects via USB-C and sits back at a slight angle, so the watch's face is visible while charging.
Strong magnets hold the watch in position for charging, and a small Tag Heuer logo that lights up while charging is positioned on the front.
The titanium case material has a matte, sandblasted DLC finish that looks great and feels smooth. Sapphire glass covers the brilliant 1.39-inch AMOLED display with a resolution of 454x454 pixels. It's a lovely touchscreen that transitions, flat, out to the Golf Edition bezel, where we find numbers representing 18 holes, though starting at 4 since the words Golf Edition cover where 1 through 3 would be found. White numerals and green marks accent the black bezel.
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The watch tracks the holes you are on and puts a small line underneath the appropriate number that indicates the status of the hole you just played, so you can take a glance at the watch and see how you are doing. Red indicates a triple bogey or more, orange indicates a double bogey, yellow is a bogey, green is shown for par, dark blue is shown for an eagle, and blue is for a birdie. A white line indicates the hole you are currently golfing.
On the right side are two large buttons with green highlights and a center-spinning digital crown with the Tag Heuer logo on its center. The back houses the heart rate sensor and charging connectors.
The watch is one of the first sporting the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus platform (the Montblanc Summit 3 is another). This latest Qualcomm processor brings improvements like faster performance and longer battery life to wearable devices.
The straps are connected via a quick-release sliding locking mechanism and stay in place securely. The default strap has a white outside with a dimpled design modeled after a golf ball. Press the two buttons on either side of the securing latch, and the strap lifts up and over to make room to remove the watch. A magnetic Tag Heuer-branded golf ball marker is positioned on the outside of the latch so you can quickly and easily mark your ball position on the green. The strap adjusts to a large range of wrist sizes and is very comfortable.
Tag Heuer also includes a plain black rubber strap in the package, but for this price, I would love to have seen a leather strap for the office or a more formal event. The white band is sure to get some looks and serve as a conversation starter, though, so some may find that a benefit.
Google's Wear OS 2.38 is installed on the sample I tested, whereas last fall's Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 runs Wear OS 3, for example, so it will be great to see the expected Wear OS 3 update provided in the future since the watch is running the newest Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100 Plus processor.
Swipe down from the top to reveal the various quick controls, including airplane mode, power-saving mode, Find My Phone, Google Wallet, theater mode, and do not disturb. The remaining battery capacity and connection status are shown at the bottom of the display with a gear icon to access the settings positioned at the top. Swipe up on the display to view your notifications. Swipe from left to right to access Google Assistant, which is a custom element from Tag Heuer. Swiping from right to left shows you the tiles that you selected from the Google Wear OS smartphone app.
There are a few default apps installed out of the box, including Tag Heuer Sports, Golf, and Wellness. Other than these, Messages, Maps, Google Wallet, and the Google Play Store appear in the app launcher. You can download and install all the apps you desire through the Play Store on the watch. I installed Google Fit, which has more workout options than the limited Tag Heuer Sports app.
Wear OS 3 should bring faster app load times, improved battery life, more Tiles, and a broader selection of third-party apps.
It seems many of these Google Wear OS smartwatches require multiple smartphone apps for the full experience. Samsung watches use Galaxy Wearable, Samsung Health, and Samsung Health Monitor. The Montblanc Summit 3 requires its own app with the option to have health data sync with Google Fit. For the Tag Heuer Calibre E4 Golf Edition, you should download and install the Tag Heuer Connected, Tag Heuer Golf, and Google Wear OS apps, and consider also installing Google Fit. Let's take a brief look at each of these apps and see how they make the full Golf Edition watch work for you.
The primary application for managing your watch is the Tag Heuer Connected application (for iOS or Android), which has four tabs at the bottom of the display. The launch page is where you select and manage the watch faces.
Tag Heuer wants to relate its luxury Wear OS smartwatches to the analog watches the brand offers, so you will find several Tag Heuer watch faces provided at the top of the page. There are Golf, Sphere, Eclipse, and 10 others, so spend some time going through them to find the one you like best. Remember, you can easily switch between them any time you like as well. Different watch face options let you customize colors, styles, and backgrounds. At the bottom of the page, tap the words Watch Face Collection to see every variation available.
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The next tab shows you your activity: steps, active calories, heart rate, active time, and your goals. Tapping on one of these health metrics provides you with reports to view the data by day, week, month, or year. The third tab shows the activity sessions you've participated in, and tapping on a specific activity shows the map of your activity (if applicable), distance, pace, and specific charts for various measured metrics. The presentation of this data is visually appealing. You can also create workouts to follow, including many workouts created by professional athletes Naomi Osaka, Sydney McLaughlin, and Jimmy Butler.
The final tab in the Tag Heuer Connected app is where you manage the watch units, general settings, and your account information. Tips and help are also provided on this tab.
The other application you want if you purchased this Golf Edition watch is the Tag Heuer Golf app (for iOS and Android). This application is used to manage your golf play with course downloads, round scoring, and performance stats. The watch pairs with the app, and then you use it when you're at the course. You can start a round from the phone app and even add other players so you can manually keep their score on your phone too. This proved to be pretty handy when I was golfing with my daughter, since I do not like to keep score with a pencil and a piece of paper.
As you move around the course, the application shows a 3D mapping of the hole with contours, while a satellite view shows you the hole from above. This proved very handy when my daughter and I played a round on a course where we were unfamiliar with the layout.
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The Tag Heuer Golf app shows you your performance, including scores, putts per hole, greens in regulation, longest shot, score distribution, and scores by par. The drive tracking option, which can be toggled on or off, automatically tracks your first shot on each hole. After that, you enter your score manually. You can view and check your score at the end of your round.
I highly recommend that you enter in the clubs you have in your bag and the standard yardage you hit with them. The Tag Heuer Golf Edition will then show you a suggested club to use as it figures out your distance to the pin from where you are standing on the course. As an amateur golfer who has a lot to learn, club suggestions like this are helpful, and for me personally, this was one of the most useful features of this watch.
The third application to install on your smartphone is the Google Wear OS app, where you can also manage your watch faces. You can also select and organize Tiles using this app. Advanced settings, notifications, and screenshot capture are all controlled with the Wear OS app.
The primary purpose of buying the Tag Heuer Calibre E4 Golf Edition is to use it for golf. I had the chance to play a couple of rounds with the watch during my testing, with a Garmin Enduro 2 sports watch on my other wrist. The Tag Heuer Golf Edition was very helpful when it came to suggesting clubs to use for the next shot. The way the watch tracks the holes you are on and the status of the last hole played is useful too.
Recording shots with my club sensors was not as seamless with the Calibre E4 as with my Garmin, but Tag Heuer provides a fairly easy way to record your shot wherein you press the upper button to start recording, walk to your ball, and then press the top button again to end the recording. The company says the distances are accurate to within 2 or 3 yards, so that's close enough for me. You can then also select the club you used for that shot to keep that metric saved. Use the lower right button to input the number of putts it took to sink the putt.
The brilliant AMOLED display on the Golf Edition watch was great to use during my golf rounds, and I loved the hole status indicator colors. Nine holes of golf with my daughter, mom, and friends consumed, on average, 2% of battery per hole, so you should be able to golf at least two 18-hole rounds before needing to charge the watch again. I understand the previous generation suffered from short battery life, but the newest Qualcomm processor and further development by Tag Heuer appear to have solved this issue. Battery life should continue to improve with the Wear OS 3 update.
The watch is made with titanium, but it is still a fairly hefty watch at 96 grams with the white band installed. I love the matte finish and extremely tactile buttons. The center spinning crown worked flawlessly on the course, and the watch performed perfectly.
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I also used the Golf Edition to track a run with GPS, an indoor rowing session, and a walk with GPS. Its GPS tracking was very close to that of other GPS smartwatches, and heart rate tracking was adequate. It will get the job done for most people, but it isn't a watch to use for marathon training. There is no sleep tracking support, and it's not really fit for wearing to bed considering its size, weight, and battery life.
As a luxury smartwatch focused on golf, it does the job well. It's expensive, but compared with analog luxury watches, it's a bargain. If you are primarily interested in a stunning smartwatch that helps you on the golf course, then the Tag Heuer Calibre E4 Golf Edition is a watch to consider.
There are not many luxury smartwatches available, but we do see a few options for those looking for more than a basic Apple Watch or Galaxy Watch. Check out a few other options we found.
The classic look and feel of a dive watch with the modern health and fitness tools of a smartwatch.
For luxury watch lovers who want some fitness features and are willing to wait for an update.
This high-end designer watch with its alternative OS is luxurious but limited.