Posted: March 29, 2016

Contributed by Dick James

We recently dissected a Tag Heuer Connected smartwatch, a $1500 luxury Android Wear device, which looks and feels really good, but received only mediocre reviews. At 12.8 mm thick, it’s clunky, but only weighs 52 gm thanks to the titanium case – no aluminium or plastic here!

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The specs are functional, but limited; motion sensors with a vibrations/haptics engine and a microphone, but no heart rate monitor or GPS, so not a runner’s gizmo. Communication is via Bluetooth LE 4.1 and WLAN 2.4 GHz 802.11 B/G/N.

When we got our hands on the watch, we noted that it does look quite sleek and up-market, as it should do for the price:

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If you look at the back, you can see the “Intel inside” logo, giving us a first clue as to what the application processor is. Tag Heuer details it as an Intel dual-core processor, rated at 1.6 GHz, but de-rated to a normal operation speed of 500 MHz. This works with 1 GB of DRAM and 4 GB flash storage.

The great thing about wearables, even high-end ones like this one, is that when you take the back off, you can see some of what makes it work right away. STMicroelectronics, SK Hynix, and Texas Instruments are the immediate winners:

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When we get the motherboard out of the case, we can see the other chips in there: more TI and STMicroelectronics, Broadcom Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, Maxim, and InvenSense. Not shown here is the Synaptics S1222B low-power touch controller, which is on the flex connector to the screen.

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We still haven’t seen the Intel CPU yet, but it is tucked away in the package-on-package (PoP), under the SK Hynix memory, which contains the 1 GB DRAM and 4 GB NAND flash in the same multi-chip package. Now we can identify it with Intel’s SPEC code of SR2AC, which is the T1000 ultra-mobile version of their Atom processor.

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Although the relatively large size of this watch may allow some flexibility in layout, it is still a good example of compact and efficient design, and there is even space for a couple more chips that could enhance the capabilities – see the solder pad arrays in the top right quadrant of the motherboard.

It still seems a pity to have to pull a $1500 watch apart, but there’s some good stuff in there!