Guess Connect review: smart-ish notifications in a mechanical watch

We got blinged up with the Guess Connect

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  • Well built and comfortable
  • Attractive app


  • Chunky
  • Unreliable
  • Poor battery life

We're more used to reviewing smartwatches with large displays, fitness tracking and apps here at T3, so when the more mechanical looking Guess Connect landed on our desk, it was met with slight confusion.

What can it do? Is it any good? Why is it blue and gold? Let's have a closer look.

Design, Screen and Battery Life

Let's start by looking at the design. Based on the company's "best-selling style", the Guess Rigor, it's bold to say the least.

Personally, I don't like how it looks, it's too loud, too bold. Of course, taste is subjective, and some people will love the look of this watch. Maybe I'm wrong.

Objectively, it is chunky, with the metal case measuring 15mm thick. There's a choice of two diameters, either 41 or 45mm.

In comparison, the normal Rigor is 12mm thick, so the smart-ness adds 3mm. The Samsung Gear S2 is much thinner at 11.4mm.

The strap is made from stiff rubber, and comes in a number of colours, including black, white, and blue.

The watch is certainly comfortable to wear, though thanks to the thickness, snagged shirt sleeves can be a problem.

On the right side is a crown, which is used for adjusting the time, two buttons to control the smarter functions, and a microphone.

The left side has a MicroUSB charging port and a speaker.

The face is occupied by a large, traditional watch dial, so it excels at telling the time (something which some smartwatches can be pretty poor at).

The 'smarts' in the Guess Connect appear in the form of a tiny monochrome OLED display and flashing LED on the watch face.

In terms of battery life, the mechanical watch will last around two years, which is very impressive.

The actual smart side of the watch requires charging via a microUSB every four days (approximately), which is pretty poor, considering it's a tiny screen and isn't actually very smart...

Features and Performance

So what features actually make the Guess Connect smart? Well, it has voice control and smartphone notifications (but no fitness tracking).

The Connect runs on Martian's platform, so it's reasonably well developed.

We did, however, have problems while testing several functions, which seems in-keeping with Martian products. We found it had either with poor voice control, or notifications simply didn't appear.

Voice control allows you to make and receive calls (although call quality isn't brilliant), you can set reminders and dictate text messages. They're reasonably useful features, making use of Siri and Google Now, but I didn't find myself automatically using them during the review.

Similarly, with the smartphone notifications on the small screen, scrolling through a long message can take an age.

In both cases, it's probably easier to use your smartphone than this watch, especially as the controls aren't instantly intuitive.

Unlike the Mondaine Helvetica Smart and Withings Activité, this doesn't include fitness tracking, which is a shame, as it seems like a more natural fit for mechanical watches.

Despite running Martian, the Guess Connect still uses its own app. The app is very attractive, and allows you to customise the watch, set up silent alarms, and most interestingly, set individual vibration alters for different apps. While this sounds like a good idea, in practise, it's simply too difficult to remember which pattern relates to which app.


The Guess Connected was an intriguing prospect, but after using it for several weeks, I'm now less than enamoured with it.

The design is marmite, it's chunky, using it is unintuitive and doesn't give users a reason to use it over their smartphone. Building on that, the battery life is poor, and we encountered a few bugs and problems during our review.

It also costs £299 at the Watch Shop, who are UK launch partners. That's the same price as the entry level Apple Watch. I know which smartwatch I'd prefer to have.