I recently had the opportunity to review the latest SmartWatch offering from Sony, and it was perfect timing since Android Wear has just entered the market so was interesting to see how the Sony SmartWatch SW2 stacked up against the Android Wear platform. Hardware The Sony SmartWatch SW2 follows the same design as we’re used to seeing with smartwatches – a round face and plastic wriststrap. You’ll also find a power button on the right hand side and three touch sensitive buttons on the watch face itself. In addition, the Sony SmartWatch SW2 is water, dust, and scratch-resistant, measures in at 42 x 9 x 41 mm and weighs 122.5 grams, with a 1.6-inch transflective LCD screen. Running Bluetooth 3.0, the SW2 is compatible with any Android device and works as an NFC watch will all devices running Android 4.0 and later. Whilst the design is very much reminiscent of what we have come to expect in a smartwatch, the SW2 unfortunately feels like it falls short when it comes to quality. You definitely feel you are wearing the SW2 given that the connection points for the wriststrap are on the bottom of the watch. This means that it protrudes on your wrist quite noticeably and doesn’t attempt to blend with the natural curvation of the wrist. The wriststrap itself feels extremely poor quality, with the material it is made of picking up every mark possible and the clasp never seating correctly in the holes to offer a secure fit, which when you’re wearing such a pronounced watch on your wrist, you want it secure to not slide around. Looking past the design, you’ll be treated with battery life that is pretty impressive. I found myself only having to charge it every two to three days, but that was a strong hit on Sony’s 4 day battery life claim. It’s worth noting that also since it doesn’t utilise the Bluetooth LE standard, your paired Android device does take a noticeable hit when it comes to battery life. Software The capabilities of any smartwatch is where it can really differentiate itself from the competition, and that is achieved through what it can offer in software. However, whilst the Sony SmartWatch SW2 is by no means lacking when it comes to functionality, the execution leaves a lot to be desired. Any interaction you wish to have between your Android device and the SW2 requires an additional app on your device to be installed through the Google Play Store. Only then can you have notifications sent from your device to the SW2. Nevertheless, the big apps you’d expect are all there: Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, and even Runtastic. Unfortunately, again it’s the execution that lets the SW2 down. The Sony SmartWatch SW2 will deliver you notifications from the supported apps flawlessly, but that’s about it. The SW2 is a way to manage your notifications, and isn’t for those who want to interact with them efficiently without having to resort to your Android device. Facebook notifications are simply presented as a list in a basic table, often only telling me that one of my contacts has updated their status, but not actually what that status is. I can’t reply to Gmail messages, and answering a call via the SW2 only answers it in my pocket, so the recipient has a nice experience of hearing the sound of me rustling to remove my device from my pocket. Summary If you want a smartwatch that retrieves notifications from your Android device and you have to install a ton of apps to add functionality to make the SW2 actually useful, then the Sony SmartWatch SW2 is a great option. But unfortunately with the introduction of Android Wear, the LG G Watch and Gear Live already being released, and the Moto 360 on the horizon, the SW2 simply cannot compete with the Android Wear platform. But if you don’t buy into the whole Android Wear experience then the SW2 is a good contender, but I wouldn’t recommend it currently with the other options available on the market.
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