If there’s one thing I fear more than the zombie apocalypse (rest assured, it’s coming) or black holes (seriously, science needs to stop messing around with quantum physics), it’s Skynet – the artificial-intelligence (AI) baddie from the Terminator series. If you stop and think for a moment, AI is encroaching more and more on our lives. The smart home is here and pretty soon we’ll have computers in our fridges having passive-aggressive conversations with us about not completing our To Do list. Don’t take my paranoid word for it, even Tesla boss Elon Musk reckons Skynet will be a reality a few years down the line.
Having said all that, just because I look rather dashing in a tin-foil hat, doesn’t mean I can’t talk about smartwatches. After all, this column strives to cover the gamut.
First up is the Emporio Armani Connected Hybrid, an intriguing proposition for guys who want some of that smartwatch tech but can’t stomach the idea of going all in on something like an Apple Watch or a Samsung Gear. Priced at a reasonable HK$3,000, the Armani watch has the outward design that’s familiar to the brand, including the oversized logo, which has always bothered me. The hybrid element from the name is an allusion to the classic dial face and the connectivity inside. The features list is impressive and includes wireless timekeeping for unerring accuracy, activity tracking, alarm, second time zone, sleep tracking, notifications and controlling smartphone music player. All of this is done by syncing the watch via bluetooth to a smartphone. The case and bracelet come in several fetching options. The steel case is sized at 43mm, water resistance is a handy 30 metres and the battery has a life of six months – yes, you don’t need to charge this watch, just change the coin battery twice a year.
Fossil dived into the smartwatch trend head first after Apple changed the game and the accessories company is launching seemingly dozens of pieces every few months with the recent focus, like Armani, on hybrid watches. Something that caught my eye was the Q Crewmaster Blue Silicone Hybrid Smartwatch, to give it its full name. It does all the smartwatch things, such as activity tracking, sleep tracking and notifications, but what I like about it is the sports-watch design, in that, it doesn’t pretend to be all sleek and modern, or all delicate. You can knock this watch about and it will still keep ticking. The Q Crewmaster Blue Silicone Hybrid Smartwatch is priced at HK$1,800.
Finally, we have an update on a watch that I’ll admit has been more of a success than I ever thought possible. Tag Heuer’s Connected came on to the scene late last year with a lot of industry trepidation, after all, it wasn’t as technologically advanced as the Apple Watch and the design was a touch clunky. The Connected, though, has been a hot seller and the new iteration (left) comes at a time of increased goodwill for the enterprise so, one imagines, it will also be a success. The big sell here is the rose-gold case, which pushes the price up to HK$78,000. Everything else is much the same, with the Android-only watch boasting all the now-standard smartwatch features.