Every timepiece has a beginning and Sony’s foray into wearable technology starts with its first-generation SmartWatch.
If you’re the type that wants more from your watch than just the time, Sony SmartWatch delivers a timepiece that’s as attractive as it is multifunctional. Compatible with Android devices, the SmartWatch boasts a classic wristwatch design while keeping you connected to your Android device via an OLED touchscreen. This is Sony’s first-generation SmartWatch, but thanks to several updates since its release, it’s more or less on par with its second and third-generation successors.
The design of the Sony SmartWatch
Its sleek, understated design in silver and black is one of the best things about it. Unlike other wearables on the market, the SmartWatch actually looks like a watch with its classic “face” design and the Sony logo emblazoned across the top.
It’s light and quite wearable (about 40g, main unit and strap included) with rounded edges, and is around the size and shape of the iPod Nano. The standard black strap can be switched for another colour (white, pink, mint, blue or grey) and you can also switch between watch faces.
The little clip on the back allows you to attach it to a bag strap or onto your clothes. The SmartWatch features an OLED black screen displaying in bright colour. It’s also soft to the touch, making for comfortable navigating.
- While the touchscreen is easily navigable thanks to vibrant colours, everything washes out completely once you step into the sun. Users expect the colour display to invert as it would in the dark, a feature that comes as standard with some other wearables available.
- Unless you’re planning to attach the main unit onto anything else besides the wrist strap, the clip can be cumbersome and add unnecessary bulk to what should be a sleek aesthetic.
How does the Sony SmartWatch work?
Essentially, the SmartWatch keeps you connected to your Android device. In most cases, this would be a Sony smartphone, but the company does state that the watch is compatible with certain Samsung and Motorola smartphones too. Like a smartphone, apps are loaded onto the watch and navigated by swiping and pinching a touchscreen.
Start by pairing the SmartWatch and your smartphone via Bluetooth. Download the compatibility application so that you can manage the SmartWatch via your smartphone. You can then start downloading and installing apps for your Smartwatch. Besides accepting or rejecting calls without having to consult your smartphone, you can set a vibrator to notify you of incoming tweets, text messages, Facebook comments, calendar reminders and more. Connect to your PC or Mac using the supplied USB cable to recharge your SmartWatch – usually once every three to four days with regular use. Of course, the degree of functionality depends on which apps you’ve installed. For example, accepting or rejecting a call will only work if you’ve installed the Phonebook and Missed Call apps.
- Each app has to be downloaded and installed separately, which can be time-consuming. Although, basic functions like a calendar and weather app – even Facebook – are usually pre-installed on similar devices.
- The SmartWatch has no built-in settings and must be entirely managed with your smartphone. If it runs out of battery without your smartphone close by, it shuts down completely.
Should I buy the Sony SmartWatch?
While it certainly looks the part of a smooth, high-tech wrist device, the SmartWatch is basically a remote-control device for your smartphone. It can’t operate on its own and all of its functionality has to be managed via your smartphone. As for compatibility, you’re limited to a few smartphones – if you don’t have one on the very short list, there’s no point buying it.
Even its best feature – its design – comes with a major flaw: inverting the colour display in bright sunlight should be one of the absolute basic functions, especially for a company with practically unparallelled technical expertise. That said, this is the first-generation product, so there’s definitely room for ironing out the kinks with follow-up versions.