Tag Heuer Connected Calibre E4 45mm review: big and bold

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Tag Heuer Connected Calbre E4 45mm worn on a mans wrist.

Tag Heuer Connected Calibre E4 (45mm)

MSRP $2,050.00

“The 45mm Tag Heuer Connected Calibre E4 is solid and luxurious, makes a bold statement on your wrist, and has great battery life and performance.”

Pros

  • Big and bold design
  • Choice of luxurious materials
  • More than two-day battery
  • Sharp screen and unique watch faces
  • Wear OS 3 transforms the software

Cons

  • No in-depth health tracking
  • Can’t take phone calls

I really like big watches. I buy too many G-Shocks and Seiko divers watches, and I consider my Tag Heuer Formula 1’s sizable 43mm case just about right. However, in the past, it’s the smaller of the two Tag Heuer Connected smartwatches that have been my recommendation. And having worn the Connected Calibre E4 42mm version — and thinking it was almost exactly right in terms of size — I didn’t really understand who the 45mm version of the smartwatch was for.

It turns out that thinking only about size is the wrong way to approach these two smartwatches, and will not help you make a decision about which one to buy. Let me explain.

Review update July 2023: The 45mm Tag Heuer Connected Calibre E4’s review score was bumped up to an 8/10 and received a Recommended Product Award after we revisited a version of the smartwatch with Google’s Wear OS 3 installed. The new software has transformed the experience. A new section below talks more about it, and we have a complete look at the Bright Black Edition watch with Wear OS 3 here.

Tag Heuer Connected Calibre E4: design

The Tag Heuer Connected Calbre E4 45mm seen from the front.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The 45mm case of the Tag Heuer Connected Calibre E4 is made from stainless steel, and so is the folding clasp, while the bezel is ceramic. It looks and feels like a luxury product should. The finish on the stainless steel puts the very ordinary-looking titanium on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 Pro to shame, as it combines both a sand-blasted-like texture with highly polished sections for real visual appeal. The polished bezel glints in the sun, and the screen is set right up against the sapphire crystal for a very watch-like look.

Is it too big? It’s on my 6.5-inch wrist in the photos, and I don’t think it looks ridiculous, but there’s no doubt it’s a big smartwatch. It’s actually the weight that’s more noticeable. It’s 115 grams, so more than twice that of an Apple Watch Series 8 with a Braided Solo Loop strap, and that makes it uncomfortable to wear overnight. However, Tag Heuer doesn’t really push sleep tracking as a key feature.

The Tag Heuer Connected Calbre E4 45mm worn on a mans wrist.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

The perforated rubber strap with Tag Heuer’s fantastic folding clasp is very comfortable, more so than the full rubber version that was fitted to the 42mm Connected Calibre E4 that I previously wore. It’s also simple and fast to adjust at any time, making it very easy to live with. You can get the 45mm smartwatch with a metal bracelet if the rubber version doesn’t feel upmarket enough, but I’d give this one a try before you make that decision.

The crown is covered in rubber to make it easier to rotate and scroll through the menus, plus the pushers have a dampened motion, so they feel less like buttons. I like the solidity of the Connected Calibre E4 45mm, it’s an obviously luxurious product, and I think it looks superb, even if it is pretty big. But it’s crucial not to think of this as the “big” Connected Calibre E4.

The Tag Heuer Connected Calbre E4 45mm's case back.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Instead, think of it as the “in your face” version, because this is where the two models really differ. The 42mm version gets the balance of presence and everyday wearability just right, and while I do appreciate the 45mm model will easily dominate small wrists, it’s more purposeful, more impactful, and an absolute statement piece on your wrist.

It’s a smartwatch people will notice, not just because of the size, but also because of the big, bright screen that really shows off the fantastic Tag Heuer watch faces. The 45mm model attracts attention, whereas the 42mm version is a little more subtle. Neither are for shrinking violets, as the 42mm version is hardly tiny, but if you want your smartwatch to fly a little under the radar, then that’s the one to choose. If you’re the opposite, the 45mm Connected Calibre E4 is the one for you.

Tag Heuer Connected Calibre E4: screen and performance

Under the sapphire crystal is a 1.39-inch AMOLED screen with a 454 x 454 resolution, and it’s glorious — really bright and sharp. I had absolutely no problem viewing it in bright sunlight outside. The processor is Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 4100+, there’s Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but no option to buy a model with a 4G LTE mobile connection, and no ability to take calls either. When I reviewed the Connected Calibre E4 it came with Google’s Wear OS 2 installed, but there is an update for Wear OS 3 available now.

I’ve subsequently used a Connected Calibre E4 with Wear OS 3, and in a later section talk about the experience. For now though, lets talk about the performance, which has been great. I’ve used the smartwatch connected to an iPhone 13 Pro and then an Android phone, which I also did with the 42mm model, and it performed in the same way.

Screenshots taken from Tag Heuer's smartwatch app.
Tag Heuer app screenshots

I went into detail about what to expect from the smartwatch when you connect it to either iOS or Android in my review of the 42mm version, and because my experience has been identical, I recommend having a read of that as well. Interestingly the vibration alerts are more noticeable on the 45mm than I remember on the 42mm, and I didn’t feel the need to change the default setting.

While the smartwatch works with both these systems, it’s a tough sell for iPhone users. The Apple Watch is the smartwatch we recommend buying if you have an iPhone, as it fully integrates with iOS, so you benefit from more features. If you have a Samsung phone, the Galaxy Watch 5 is a more complete product in terms of features, and the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5 uses the latest software and Qualcomm processor to great effect. However, the Tag Heuer beats all of them in materials, design, and build.

Tag Heuer Connected Calibre E4: activity tracking

Fitness tracking modes on the Tag Heuer Connected Calbre E4 45mm.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Tag Heuer pre-installs its own activity tracking app on the Calibre E4, and it syncs with the Tag Heuer app on your phone, which is also used to connect the watch to your phone with Wear OS 3. However, don’t expect it to match or exceed the fitness and health tracking capabilities of a model like the Garmin Forerunner 265 or a lifestyle model like the Garmin Vivomove Trend. Tag Heuer’s app, features, and the watch’s design are squarely aimed at the casual exerciser.

It covers the basics with a heart rate sensor on the back, but there’s no blood oxygen monitoring or anything as “medical” as an electrocardiogram. The app covers the most often encountered workouts — walking, running, cycling, swimming, and so on — and there are some short animated workouts on the watch, too, but nothing in-depth. It doesn’t provide any feedback on where to improve either. It’s for tracking, not for motivation. This approach fits in with the smartwatch’s design. It’s something I’d wear on the golf course, not in the gym.

Press the top button on the case to open the fitness app, and you’ll immediately see how attractively designed and simple to use it is. It works with the twist crown, and you start and stop workout tracking using the buttons, not the screen. It’s less fiddly and easier if you’re wearing gloves, too. The app installed on your phone provides more data on your workout, including a map if you used GPS.

Steps and heart rate shown on the Tag Heuer Connected Calbre E4 45mm.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

There are still some discrepancies when it comes to that data compared to other tracking devices. I encountered heart rate differences with the 42mm model, and this continues here, but it’s not quite so drastic. The average heart rate recorded by the smartwatch is lower than the one recorded by both the Apple Watch and the Oura Ring, plus it also overestimates the distance you’ve walked or run compared to both.

It’s not the last word in tracking accuracy, but the tools it provides are easy to use, well designed, and there’s plenty of information once you’ve finished tracking an activity. It’s perfectly acceptable for anyone interested in getting a general idea of activity levels, but it’s not for serious sportspeople. The smartwatch replaced the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro on my wrist, and there’s no contest between them. The Samsung smartwatch is the far better choice if you’re serious about fitness and health tracking.

Tag Heuer Connected Calibre E4: battery and charging

The Tag Heuer Connected Calbre E4 45mm on its charging stand.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Expect the battery to last for two days or perhaps a little longer if you don’t track your sleep. I achieved two-and-a-half working days with a single 45-minute GPS workout tracked and the always-on screen active. This is a little longer than the average I got with the 42mm version and a little longer than we’re seeing from the Galaxy Watch 5, too. It’s also not that much shorter than the Galaxy Watch 5 Pro.

I like the charging stand you get with the smartwatch, which has an illuminated Tag Heuer logo, supports the watch so you can see the time, and is ideal for your nightstand. After about 30 minutes, expect the battery to reach 60% charge and for 100% to arrive in about 70 minutes. Considering the technology and software inside the smartwatch are not the absolute latest available, the long battery life and fast charging are somewhat unexpected but highly desirable benefits.

Tag Heuer Connected Calibre E4 (45mm): price and availability

The Tag Heuer Connected Calibre E4 45mm is available to buy now, and the version with the rubber strap (which comes in a few different colors) seen in our photos costs $2,050 or 1,700 British pounds. or one with a steel bracelet costs $2,250 or 1,850 pounds. If you want the titanium version, the price goes up to $2,500 or 2,100 pounds.

There’s also the special Connected Golf model with its titanium case, special strap, and various golfing apps for $2,650 or 2,200 pounds. Alternatively, the Connected Porsche version comes in a special color scheme and with a unique strap, plus apps that work with your Porsche. It costs $2,750 or 2,300 pounds.

Using Wear OS 3 on the Bright Black Edition smartwatch

The Tag Heuer Connected Calibre E4 Bright Black Edition on a person's wrist.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Since first reviewing the 45mm Connected Calibre E4, I had the chance to try the new titanium Bright Black Edition model, which comes with Google’s Wear OS 3 pre-installed. The smartwatch has the same specification apart from the software and the finish, but it is lighter — just 89 grams — and that makes a difference to the wearability. It also has a great strap, with rubber next to your skin and leather over the top. It’s luxurious and really comfortable.

What about the software? Wear OS 3 is noticeably smoother and faster on the Connected Calibre E4 and is a real pleasure to use. The design is more modern, and Tag Heuer has given the entire system a visual overhaul, which looks superb. It’s the same with the app, which replaces the need for the multiple apps needed with Wear OS 2. It’s slick, free from fluff, and informative too. The upgrade to Wear OS 3 has given the Connected Calibre a style and functionality boost, and it’s even better than ever.

The $2,750 45mm Bright Black Edition is joined by a $2,400 42mm Golden Bright Edition, making them similarly priced to the other special editions launched by Tag Heuer.

Tag Heuer Connected Calibre E4: verdict

Forget about the size when choosing between the 42mm and 45mm Tag Heuer Connected Calibre E4 smartwatches. It’s really not that relevant, as even though the 42mm is the smaller of the two, it’s hardly tiny. Instead, think about whether you want to make a statement or not, because the 45mm version is far more noticeable on your wrist. Outside of this, the two perform in almost exactly the same way, apart from the battery life and charging, as the 45mm model has lasted a little longer and charges slightly faster.

Remember, this isn’t really about tracking marathons or all-day bike rides with pinpoint accuracy. If you want something like that, you should be looking at the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 5, the Apple Watch Series 8, or the Garmin Forerunner 265. It’s fine to track a few general activities each week. That’s what I have done, and it works well. I spent the rest of the time admiring it on my wrist. I’ve got used to the size and weight, although the lighter titanium versions remove the weight issue, and love the way it exudes that unique “something special” when you glance down at it, just like a Tag Heuer watch should.

Unquestionably expensive, unnecessarily noticeable, and to some, disappointingly basic when it comes to tech. The Tag Heuer Connected Calibre E4 makes up for all this with its excellent build quality, superb materials, statement-making design, and absolute desirability. The upgrade to Wear OS 3 transforms the software on the watch and the app too.

Editors’ Recommendations






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