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Citizen's 2nd-gen CZ Smart is Wear OS at its best

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Compared to phones and tablets, Android on watches – until very recently – provided a fairly universal experience. Wear OS 3 changed that, especially Samsung, but now we’re seeing a more interesting level of customization with the 2nd Generation CZ Smart of Citizen.

The 2nd Gen Citizen CZ Smart is available in 41mm and 44mm with a 1.28-inch AMOLED. This larger version features a five-minute increment bezel that does not rotate and pairs better with an analog watch face.

The Wear OS 3 experience is virtually unchanged, with the biggest difference being how blue the quick settings, accessible by swiping down from the watch face, are. Otherwise, you swipe up for notifications and left/right for Tiles, Citizen’s fitness apps offering several.

The 41mm CZ Smart is quite compact, but feels slightly larger than the similarly sized Pixel Watch. There are three buttons on the right edge, in addition to the rotating crown, although the pushes seem quite small from a surface perspective.

Citizen estimates battery life at “24+ hours” with a full charge in 40 minutes. A look at the underside reveals how closely it matches those of watches made by the Fossil Group.

For the most part, Wear OS 3 forces manufacturers to come up with their own companion app and health solution. Google Fit is more or less supported on all watches, but Fitbit is exclusive to the Pixel Watch, while there are in-app offerings from Samsung Health and Fossil.

Citizen is setting up its own healthcare suite billed as a “personal care advisor”. This CZ Smart YouQ experience is intended to specifically monitor fatigue and alertness, and to offer “personalized insights and personalized strategies.”

There’s an “Alert Monitor” test which involves pressing moving dots on a screen to assess your mental acuity, and this is combined with sleep data to determine your chronotype, or when you’re likely to sleep (early riser or night owl). Citizen offers more granular categories, while this information, along with other statistics, is used to offer suggestions called “Power Fixes” that can improve alertness, habits and reduce fatigue.

Citizen touts NASA research as the driver of this experiment with IBM Watson machine learning to power it all. How useful that is remains to be seen – stay tuned, but the idea of ​​an OEM customizing Wear OS in this way seems notable. Citizen goes beyond Samsung’s UI tweaks, but rather strikes deep and offers something new to the basic health and activity tracking that is making wearables increasingly vital.

Wear OS used to power the core watch experience on Citizen’s CZ Smart is both obvious and still remarkable. It’s expected that there won’t be another open operating system like this, but notoriety comes from recognizing that Google’s offering is well suited to this plug-and-play customization. play. Streaming services and third-party apps are already on the platform through the Play Store, while that’s the best way to access first-party Google services, especially when Gmail and Calendar arrive. Meanwhile, the fundamental UX/navigation is good and doesn’t need to be reinvented.

The way Citizen is building on Wear OS could be a sign that other major wearable players are following suit, and that the underlying uniformity is good for consumers.

The 2nd Gen Citizen CZ Smart is available for pre-order today starting at $350 for the 41mm Casual (cases: rose gold, silver, gold, black) and $375 for the 44mm Sports (case/bezel: silver/silver, black/black, silver/black, silver/blue, gold/black). There are different variantsand it will be available on March 1st.

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