What you need to know
- Citizen will remove the Gen-2 CZ Smart from sale following withering early reviews and complaints.
- Noted problems with the Wear OS 3 watch include performance lag, rapid battery drain, and proprietary apps not working.
- Android Central's Derrek Lee, who is currently testing the Gen-2 CZ Smart, experienced some of the same issues, especially with terrible battery life and freezing screens.
- This product recall affects the CZ Smart touchscreen models, not the CZ Smart Hybrid.
Citizen placed its Gen-2 CZ Smart touchscreen watch on sale in April, but its launch flew under the radar because it didn't send out review units until about a month ago. Now, based on reviewers' comments to Citizen, the company is "temporarily suspending sales on touchscreen models while we pinpoint the source of the issue."
"We have identified a technical software issue that is affecting the Gen-2 CZ Smart touchscreen models listed below and are working with our quality control team to resolve it," a Citizen representative told Android Central.
Wired's Julian Chokkattu first reported the news, describing a myriad of serious issues with the Wear OS 3 smartwatch. MrMobile's Michael Fisher tweeted that Citizen made this decision after he spoke with the Citizen US president before he could publish a "scathing" review of the watch.
Good move. My review of the CZ Smart 2.1 would have been scathing.Background: I reached out for comment about the watch's many issues and ended up talking to the president of Citizen US. He told me they would suspend sales of the watch due to them (see Julian's story for more). https://t.co/DpuJMjAWG2August 24, 2023
Citizen says that the following models will be recalled, and that CZ Hybrid watches don't have the same issues:
Chokkattu and Fisher's problems with the watch included "laggy interface, poor battery life, inaccurate heart rate data, inaccurate sleep tracking, the watch freezing on specific screens, and Citizen’s proprietary YouQ features not working."
YouQ, for reference, was a unique app co-designed by NASA engineers that was supposed to give you a "Power Score" based on your sleep recharge — similar to Garmin Body Battery or Fitbit Daily Readiness. Only problem is, it doesn't work.
Android Central's Derrek Lee — who would have written this post himself if he weren't traveling — tells me that he experienced many of the same problems while testing the Citizen Gen 2 CZ Smart for himself.
He initially liked its "sexy as hell" design but quickly discovered that the "battery is so bad I haven't really been able to use it consistently," making it hard to even notice some problems.
When it wasn't prematurely dying, the CZ Smart had "hit or miss" performance with occasional freezes — definitely worse than what you get with other great Android smartwatches from Google, Samsung, or Mobvoi.
He also noted that the performance is about on par with a Fossil Gen 6, and that he suspects that Fossil must have "some form of partnership" with Citizen. Both the Citizen companion app and wellness app are "carbon copies" of what Fossil offers; plus, the CZ Smart offers Google Assistant like Fossil, while other brands are still struggling to add it to Wear OS 3.
Citizen plans to recall Gen 2 CZ Smart review units for now, and says it will take the watch off market. Currently, it's still available on Amazon, where it has a 3.1-star rating and reviews harping on the battery life and software bugs.
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Michael spent years freelancing on every tech topic under the sun before settling down on the real exciting stuff: virtual reality, fitness wearables, gaming, and how tech intersects with our world. He's a semi-reformed Apple-to-Android user who loves running, D&D, and Star Wars. Find him on Twitter at @Michael_L_Hicks.