Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar

After the Alpina Alpiner X Alive failure, we were very hesitant to order another Swiss smartwatch with its own operating system. We checked for reviews, but only found people demonstrating the features without much commenting about the reliability or problems. The reviews in the app store were not encouraging, but they mostly seemed about missing functionalities and not so much about connection problems or crashes. So, we took a risk and ordered one anyway. We own a previous generation T-Touch Solar, and that has always been a very good watch with very good ABC (Altimeter-Barometer-Compass) functionality. That made us take the jump.

The styling of the Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar is similar to the Alpina. Both are hybrid watches that have real hands, and a display in the bottom half of the dial for the smart functions. The Alpina looks better if you ask us, but the Tissot has the advantage of an always-on display that you can set to display whatever function you want.

The Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar is a very big watch. A bit too big to look good on the wrist, actually. The curved lugs compensate a bit for this, so the watch is not floating on your wrist as you see with some other big watches. The titanium bracelet looks good but is actually a bit cheaply made. It’s not possible to quickly swap bands as with many other smartwatches these days. A missed opportunity here for Tissot to sell extra bands and straps.

Thanks to the curved lugs, the Tissot does not seem to float on the wrist.

While using the Tissot, it feels as if someone at Tissot read our review of the Alpina, and decided to not make the same mistakes. Indeed: the biggest problems with the Alpina are not to be found in the Tissot:

  • The hands move extremely fast, and do not move more or further than they need to, so there is no unnecessary movement. Information is displayed immediately without waiting for the hands to stop moving. So there is never a need to wait like with the Alpina. The Tissot feels very fast and fluid. The Alpina always feels a bit slow.
  • The connection to the phone is very stable, and if you have been out or range (about 8 meter), the watch will reconnect by itself within a minute. You can speed this up by just unlocking your phone, and it will reconnect immediately. No need to reconnect manually a dozen times per day like you have to do with the Alpina. Note, however, that we are using the latest software version as of July 2021. The watch did have some connection problems when it was launched according to other users.

The Alpina has a much better display and some more smart functionalities like a weather widget and activity tracking. And of course a heartbeat sensor. The display on the Tissot can be compared with older Garmin smartwatches. It has muted colors, is not as sharp, but is extremely readable in bright light. And most importantly: it’s always on. The backlight functions as you would expect. It turns on automatically on incoming notifications. Lume is great also and lasts all night.

Lume on the Tissot is beautiful

Battery life

The Tissot has another strong point: solar power. This means you almost never need to charge the Tissot, while you need to be lucky to make it through the day with the Alpina because it can suddenly drain the battery when it crashes.

Charging the watch is very simple if you do need to do this. Just put it on the wireless charger. In fact: you can use any wireless charger if you can put the watch on it.

Because of the solar power, you could also compare this watch to the Casio G-Shock GBD-H1000 Smartwatch that we recently reviewed. Functionality is more or less the same: they are both solar-powered ABC watches with a connection to your smartphone for some extras. The Tissot has no heart rate sensor or GPS, however. Battery life of the Tissot seems stellar, and we think the 6 months battery life that Tissot claims will be easily achieved.

Notifications

The support for notifications depends on the type of app it comes from. For example: the only information about an incoming email is the sender and the subject. There is no way to read the first couple of lines of a message like you can on many other smartwatches. The Alpina does a slightly better job here. However, other types of messages such as SMS do better and allow you to read them entirely. You also have an incoming call notification that allows you to reject or silence the call. That’s great. We really miss this on the Alpina and the Casio.

Because there is no heart rate sensor, there is also no wrist detection. So the watch will also display notifications when you are not wearing it, and it is in range of your phone. It’s not a big problem since battery life will always be great if you keep the watch in enough light.

There is no way to select which notifications to receive on the watch. In theory, every notification on your phone is sent. But it seems the app is doing some filtering and does not send things that are not so important.

For us, notifications work just fine like this, but we can understand that many people would like to select the ones to receive or see some more of the content of email messages.

Vibration and notification sounds are just noticeable enough. This watch will probably not wake you in the morning, however.

ABC Functions

We already mentioned it in some of our other reviews: our older Tissot T-Touch Solar was a real champ when it comes to the ABC sensors. Always spot on, and the only one which seems to keep our altitude correct, even when air pressure changes. This new Connect version seems to have the same quality sensors. One of the best, that is.

Activity Tracking

This watch only has a step counter and calculates a theoretical value for burned calories. It uses the GPS from your smartphone to also calculate your traveled distance. And that’s about it. So don’t buy this watch if you need any kind of activity tracking. This is an ABC watch with support for notifications and a step counter.

Usability

Charge the watch for at least an hour and a half before trying to connect it to your smartphone for the first time. After that, connecting the watch is not that difficult, although Tissot could have provided some more explanation.

Most things are easy. But it does take some time to get used to the way the watch works. We found no real problems or bugs, except for the fact that emoticons are not displayed correctly. The different watch functions can be navigated much faster than you can with the Alpina or the Casio. You can jump from any function to any other function directly. No need to go through a sequential menu structure.

It took us some time to figure out how to set the second time to a specific city. You can easily set the second time to any time you want on the watch, but there seems to be no way to select a city on the watch itself. In the app, things are a bit confusing: it shows T1 and T2. When you tap these, the only option is to switch between the two. There is no option to change these two. You can add a city, but this appears at the bottom of the list and does not appear on the watch. A bit confusing. After a couple of days we found out by accident that it is quite simple: first, add the city in the app and then tap on it and choose to set it as the first or second time. A bit of a strange logic, but it works, and is quite handy if you need to change cities often.

A tip: you can immediately get back to normal timekeeping mode by swiping from top to bottom. Make sure you start to swipe down starting with your finger on the bezel, otherwise you just switch to the Meteo mode. You can also just press the Start button for at least 1 second when you are done.

What is missing?

Sleep tracking, a weather app, and sunrise/sunset times would have been nice.

Conclusion

Finally, a Swiss-made smartwatch that does what it says it will do. Although very limited in functionality compared to some other smartwatches, the functions that are there also work as expected, and the watch is very fast and reliable. This is a watch that looks and feels like a normal watch (although it is bigger than a classic watch) and is a joy to wear and use.

Highly Recommended

5 thoughts on “Tissot T-Touch Connect Solar

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  1. Nice review but I think you’re attacking Alpina was not warranted or accurate. The references to connection issues is just plain wrong in my experience. I have the Alpina X Alive. It connects automatically and rarely have issues.
    The battery is great. Lasts easily 5-7 days without using the gps function. This obviously uses up power.
    Not sure about the Alpina model you’re referring to but clearly this isn’t the case. I’m proof of that.
    I’d just like to see a little more balance if your reviews are to be taken seriously.
    Given my Alpina experience I’m not sure I can rely on the Tissot comments.
    Good that you take the time and effort to provide content though. Thanks.

    1. Hi Steven,
      We just report the experience we have with the Alpina. Our full review is linked. If you look at their app review on the Google Play store, you will see that we are not the only ones complaining about this. Alpina (MMT) confirmed the issue to us and explained it is due to them using old legacy tech in the Android app. Our guess is that the problem only happens when using it with an Android phone. For us, the Alpina is simply unusable while the Tissot (and all the other smartwatches we reviewed here) don’t have this issue. Can you confirm if you are using an iphone?

  2. I am an iphone user. Correct. I rarely have issues…what can I say. But thanks again for the review and the honesty. I also wanted to mention the physical size of the Tissot is very large. Larger than the Alpina. In terms of lug to lug and depth. I have a large wrist and this has always bothered my a little bit. Having said that, after a short while you get used to the larger watch on your wrist and all is good….until you swap back to a 41-43mm watch! :-). Suppose you can’t have it all.
    I do agree with you though, that it’s a shame Alpina don’t make a concerted effort to fix the bugs you report. I don’t disbelieve you re the Android phone issues. The battery life however would really surprise me and I’d even say indicates a fault in your specific phone.

    1. Yes, the Alpina is definitely the more handsome of the two. The Tissot is too big indeed but still wears comfortable.

      Today we checked the Google Play store again and we still see users reporting the same issues as we have. Even the battery issue where it suddenly drains to 11% as we mentioned in our review is reported by others also. This is the reason for the low battery life. If the watch does not crash, we also get between 3 to 5 days of usage. We mentioned this in our review, and now also added a screenshot of some of the Google Play store reviews.
      Comments on our review also indicate similar problems for other users.

      We truly hope Alpina fixes the Android app and connectivity. It would be one of our favorite smartwatches if they did. But when I look at the history with their previous model I see a pattern: after launch, they provide a couple of updates, but then the updates just slow down and only some functionality is changed but the real problems never get solved and customers are left behind with the problems. Even after 2 years, people are still complaining about problems with the previous model that can easily be fixed with an update.

      I just hope they are working on a completely new Android app that ditches the legacy tech, as MMT promised me many months ago.

      We keep trying the watch after every update, however, and will change our review when things improve.

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