In 2020, Japan’s Citizen watch firm formally entered the smartwatch race with the discharge of the Citizen CZ Sensible assortment of merchandise powered by Google’s Put on OS (working system). Citizen has really been early to the good(er) watch recreation, and again in 2012, it debuted the Citizen Proximity (aBlogtoWatch review here) watch that tried to meld the world of Citizen’s light-powered Eco-Drive watches with a Bluetooth-enabled telephone connection that provided on-dial telephone notifications. The CZ Sensible is nonetheless a completely totally different product.
On this smartwatch-maker function, Citizen takes a backseat in some areas that it has conventional experience, and presents what it is aware of greatest (case and hardware design) in others. Competitor Casio has taken an identical function when providing its personal Google Put on OS-powered watches the place has no alternative however to go away a lot of the watch’s operation to the core working system and attempt to design a correct timepiece round it. Casio and Citizen have taken very totally different approaches to this. The previous is usually eager on rugged open air and sports activities watches, whereas the Citizen CZ Sensible could be very a lot meant to be a succesful every day put on.
Actually, that’s what the Citizen CZ Sensible does greatest: mix the consolation of a standard watch-wearing expertise with the high-functionality of a up to date smartwatch. On this regard, the system works, and within the smartwatch market, Citizen presents a really competent bundle at a good value. Its solely actual drawback is the quickly shifting nature of the smartwatch market itself, and the software program that drives it.
As somebody who has now reviewed a plethora of smartwatches, I wish to first clarify what the Citizen CZ Sensible does notably effectively. Every of the variations is supposed to look extra like a basic Citizen sports activities watch than something actually modern. The considerably retro-vibe of the case and bezel design work in its favor, with the ultra-modernity of the touchscreen, contrasting relatively elegantly with the general case design which you may name “timeless diver.”
The case is water resistant to solely 30 meters, which is ok for every day use, however which means you may’t count on to take it swimming (considerably ironic since it’s modeled after a diver’s watch). Why so little water resistance? Merely, Citizen made the choice to go for a decent-functioning case speaker, which is recognized by the small horizontal slice on the left aspect of the case. Citizen markets the CZ Sensible as a timepiece you should utilize to have telephone conversations with (Dick Tracy-style). My guess is that this technique — in a watch at this reasonably priced value — pressured Citizen engineers to decide on what the CZ Sensible would do greatest at. I believe they have been appropriate in saying that the deliberate viewers for this watch will most likely want the case to have a greater speakerphone for enhanced calls than serving as a swimming or diving watch.
The CZ Sensible case is 46mm-wide in metal, with one model in IP-coated black colour, whereas every has a particular colour palette for the aluminum bezel insert. The case ending is excellent for a smartwatch, and a part of what Citizen brings to the desk. Extra necessary is that the case wears very skinny. Whereas the roughly 14mm-thick case isn’t skinny when in comparison with different Google Put on OS smartwatches, it very a lot is. On high of that, the watch “wears” a number of millimeters thinner due to the visible separation between the metal case center and the tapering black caseback. If you’d like a full-fledged smartwatch that doesn’t put on as thick because the competitors, the CZ Sensible is a good alternative.
Over the display is a Gorilla Glass crystal. Sapphire would have been higher, however we sometimes discover artificial sapphire crystals in dearer merchandise. The 1.28-inch diameter AMOLED display is vibrant and sharp. The display can be responsive, however you don’t want to the touch the display fairly often in case you don’t wish to given the 2 pushers and pressable crown. Citizen does the good factor by utilizing the crown as a scrolling enter gadget. That mentioned, the crown is only a bit too small and stiff to be as comfortably operated with one’s reverse hand, as I would love. Given the iterative method to product design at Citizen, we all know for a truth that every time the model releases a brand new smartwatch product, increasingly more refinements will reveal themselves.
Citizen packs a lot of the sensors that mainstream shoppers count on in a smartwatch into the CZ Sensible. That features GPS, in addition to a heart-rate monitor. The latter is essential to these individuals who depend on their smartwatches for health exercise monitoring, which Put on OS does with a sturdy number of first and third-party software program selections. The CZ Smartwatch fees wirelessly through a magnetic charging dock, and battery life is on par with different Put on OS watches I’ve worn (that means it’s essential to cost it every day). However the CZ Sensible does have a number of prolonged battery modes that may lengthen by a number of days how lengthy the CZ Sensible can function a timekeeper.
Citizen features a small handful of proprietary software program watch faces, however these can, after all, be swapped out with any variety of watch faces obtainable for Put on OS units. The Citizen-designed dials are engaging however not revolutionary. As somebody hungry for novelty within the wristwatch area, I’d wish to see watch manufacturers put much more effort into actually slick smartwatch faces. I believe new faces must be launched on a regular basis which might be helpful not just for people who find themselves Citizen product homeowners, but in addition anybody who has a Google Put on OS product and may like a professionally designed Citizen smartwatch software program dial on it.
Like different fashionable Put on OS watches, the CZ Sensible has an always-on display state that may be a lower-resolution, low-power state for the dial. Relying on the chosen watch face, that always-on state will probably be totally different. The standard and execution are well-done, however I actually wish to see extra customization options and choices in relation to each the always-on watch face and the totally animated watch faces you can choose. Given the theoretical means for customers to really personalize their expertise, Google Put on OS presents comparatively little proper exterior of the field. I’m certain that may change sooner or later.
These with Google-based smartphones will most likely have probably the most smartwatch success with Google Put on OS-based wearable units. There is no such thing as a scarcity of merchandise on this class immediately, however most of them aren’t very exceptional. The Citizen CZ Sensible doesn’t per se attempt to push the envelope in any significantly progressive course, but it surely does try to supply a modern look in a well-made and well-priced bundle. As a mainstream product, I believe Citizen did a fairly good job with the CZ Sensible. On the wrist and on-paper, it appears and looks like a strong product throughout the context of a quickly evolving area. That implies that even after being requested to spend a number of hundred on a smartwatch, the smartwatch market will ask you to do the identical factor in 12-18 months (lots like your smartphone, that’s).
Connected to the CZ Smartwatches are both matching metal bracelets (in pure end or black) or a collection of sporty silicone straps on quick-release straps that Citizen additionally sells individually. This explicit Citizen CZ Sensible reference MX0000-07X has a black and red-colored aluminum bezel insert and comes on a black silicone strap. Value for every of the Citizen CZ Smartwatches is $395 USD. Learn more at the Citizen watches website here.