In an effort to address some of its predecessor's shortcomings, Sony’s SmartWatch 2 features a bigger screen and improved notifications across social-media applications.
Among other things.A good looking watch is an accessory that you should be able to wear with anything, from sports gear to a business suit. Sony’s first SmartWatch was definitely an attractive timepiece, but as far as the rest of the functions were concerned, there were several basic oversights: a display blown out in sunlight, laborious app installation and a clumsy clip mechanism that made the whole unit chunkier than it needed to be.
Like all second-gen versions of a product, the SmartWatch 2 is Sony’s attempt at fixing the glitches that plagued the original.
The Design of the SmartWatch 2
Sony took the “if ain’t broke, don’t fix it” approach to the SmartWatch’s design: the screen is slightly bigger, but that’s about it. They kept the black and silver palette for a sleek, modern look, and the Return, Home and Menu buttons give it that “Sony” feel (especially when compared with the Xperia smartphones that hit the market around the same time).
Besides the colourful wrist straps, which you can switch out, the SmartWatch 2 can also be adorned with leather straps from regular watches for a more vintage, classic look. The biggest and best difference? Unlike the first SmartWatch, this second version allows you to see onto your screen in direct sunlight. Also, they’ve done away with the bulky clip-on mechanism.
- Although it’s a definite improvement on the first model, the SmartWatch 2’s screen is still basic and low-res compared other wrist wearables in the same category.
- The standard black wrist strap looks cheap and plasticky, which doesn’t necessarily ring with the design of the main unit. The same strap in a different colour would be a better pick, or even a leather strap from a normal watch.
How does it work?
In terms of its features, Sony hasn’t really added anything of real consequence to its second version. The SmartWatch 2’s screen is slightly bigger for easier touchscreen navigation, but a slow processor and limited app functionality can render it frustrating to use.
You still have to download and install apps separately. You still have to manage your SmartWatch from your phone. You still need to download a compatibility app to be able to pair your watch to your phone. However, the SmartWatch 2 features an NFC chip that makes it compatible with a much wider range of Android smartphones also featuring NFC technology. Apps like Facebook and Twitter can be told to send only direct updates, so now your SmartWatch doesn’t vibrate or ping every time someone on your friends list updates their status. You can also answer calls with the help of a Bluetooth headset and browse your entire SMS inbox in the SmartWatch 2’s Messages app.
- While you can download and install the Gmail app, you have to use the watch’s standard email app to access non-Gmail accounts.
- The SmartWatch 2 sends a “ping” notification for ALL incoming Gmail emails. If you receive lots of emails all day, this constant notification becomes more annoying than helpful.
- This wrist piece features a slower processor than that of its counterparts on the market, particularly the Samsung Galaxy Gear which can be considered its closest rival on the Android platform.
Should I buy the SmartWatch 2?
The SmartWatch 2 needs to be managed entirely from your smartphone, meaning that every app installed needs the sign-off from your phone before it works on the SmartWatch 2. Most people interested in smartwatches probably own decent, reasonably sophisticated phones. The smartwatch they consider would have to be an incredibly smooth device to enhance already streamlined interfacing and communication capabilities.
The arguments for and against the SmartWatch 2 don’t stray far from what was said about its predecessor. Yes, it certainly makes for attractive wrist wear and it’s a confirmed conversation starter, but besides a slightly bigger screen and some improvements regarding notifications, it’s still just a remote-control device for your smartphone.