The Sony SmartWatch is a cool and attractive gadget, offering plenty of apps and functionality. The downsides are a slightly bulky design and the need to charge it up regularly. Read our Sony SmartWatch review to find out more.
PRICE WHEN REVIEWED
£79 inc VAT
SONY SMARTWATCH REVIEW
There’re plenty of rumours floating around suggesting Apple, Samsung and Google will all launch their own smart watches. However, Sony already has one of its own. Read our Sony SmartWatch to see what it can do for you today. See all Smart Watch reviews.
The Sony SmartWatch is a wrist-ready Android device with a 1.3in OLED screen. So the SmartWatch really is like having a tiny smartphone strapped to your arm.
We can’t help but notice how similar it looks to the iPod nano, launched two years earlier. The screen resolution is rather low at only 128 x 128 pixels, about half that of the iPod nano’s 240 x 240 pixel display.
Whether it’s an intentional copy or not, the SmartWatch looks undeniably cool with its rounded corners, silver metal edge and glossy black fascia.
However, the SmartWatch is quite bulky at 12.8mm thick, making it tricky to fit underneath some clothing. It’s lightweight at just 40g with the wristband.
You don’t have to wear the SmartWatch on your wrist, though. It’s got a clip on the rear so you can attach it to whatever you want. It simply clips to the supplied wristband which comes in different colours but its rubber material means it can get quite clammy. Sony does supply an adapter which means you can instead use your own strap.
SONY SMARTWATCH: FEATURES
So what can the SmartWatch can do for you? Once you’ve hooked it up to a Google Android phone via Bluetooth – thankfully an easy and simple process – it can do quite a lot.
It’s worth noting that you don’t have to have a Sony smartphone for the SmartWatch, as the device is compatible with most Android handsets. You’ll need to check first though.
Navigation around the SmartWatch is similar to a smartphone because it’s got a touchscreen. The gestures aren’t overly intuitive but you soon learn them – if you get stuck there’s a guide within the smartphone app.
As you would expect, the device can tell the time, and since is uses a screen like your smartphone, you can select from a number of clock faces. A recent update brings this up 10 to choose from, both digital and analogue watch styles.
The only issue here, and one that might really annoy some people, is that the time isn’t shown continually. To save battery life the screen times out so glancing at it is not an option. Instead you must push the button on the side to bring the screen to life.
Beyond telling the time, the Sony SmartWatch can give various notifications and perform different tasks. You choose which features you want to use, in the same way you decide which apps to download to your smartphone and how to arrange your homescreen.
Custom apps and widgets for the SmartWatch are downloaded and installed by the Google Play Store, it’s easy to do this via the smartphone app. The smartphone app is also used to arrange the installed apps and widgets as this would be difficult to do on the SmartWatch’s small screen.
The apps range from the basic text messaging, call handling, weather and email, to social networks, fitness and more.
It’s really handy getting notifications via the SmartWatch. If you often miss text messages and calls because your phone is in a pocket or bag then the device is a real boon – it’s impossible to miss when it vibrates on your wrist. You can also use it as a remote control of your phone; to control what music is playing, for example.
You can’t bring up an onscreen keyboard and reply to messages (the screen is just too small) but you can send a pre-defined reply from the SmartWatch.
There are hundreds of apps beyond the regular ones, too – far too many for us to try out. However, they range from games, to presentation tools and camera companion apps.
SONY SMARTWATCH: BATTERY LIFE
One of the main issues with a smartwatch is that battery life may not match a normal watch. Not only will you have your Android phone to charge on a regular basis, normally daily, you’ll have an Android smartwatch to top up too.
Over a few weeks of use, we found the Sony SmartWatch typically lasted us around two to three days of use before needing a charge. Sony is about right when it says heavy usage will mean it lasts a day and low usage will give you up to a week.
Charging is made more difficult since the SmartWatch uses a custom USB cable which you need to make sure you carry around with you. And in case you’re wondering, no, you can’t charge it while it’s on your wrist.
SPECS: Sony SmartWatch review
1.3in OLED screen (128 x 128 pixel)
Android (compatibility 2.1 and up)
36 x 36 x 12.8 mm
40g including wriststrap
The Sony SmartWatch is a cool and attractive gadget, one that you want just for the sake of it. However, it’s more than just a shiny touchscreen watch offering plenty of apps and functionality. The downsides are a slightly bulky design and the need to charge it up regularly.