Small, sleek design; Shows useful information at a glance; Facebook and Twitter integration
Limited number of apps; Hard to read outside; Only works with Android phones
The Bluetooth-connected Sony SmartWatch puts information from your smartphone always at arm's reach, but it's not as versatile as we'd like.
Smartphones keep us connected wherever we are, but it can be a pain to dig them out of our pockets or purses while we're on the go. The Sony SmartWatch is designed to eliminate that step by streaming information--be it Twitter updates, email or caller IDs--right to your wrist. This $149 device has a few other tricks up its sleeve too, but is it polished enough to appeal to more than just the aspiring Dick Tracys of the world?
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The Smartwatch comes with a gray rubber wristband (black, white, pink, teal and blue are also available for $19.99 each). The 0.55-ounce Smartwatch was as comfortable to wear as any watch, but it stood up a little high on our wrist. Overall, though, we like its look; it's more elegant than the WIMM and I'm Watches.
To conserve energy, the screen times out after 15 seconds. While it saves juice, we wish we could adjust the time ourselves. At least the WIMM watch has a monchrome mode that displays the time at all times. With the Sony SmartWatch, you have to press a button.
Before using the SmartWatch, we first downloaded the LiveWare manager app from Google Play (according to Sony, this app will be preloaded on all Sony Ericsson phones). Then, we paired the SmartWatch with our Nexus S 4G. Unlike the WIMM One watch, the Sony SmartWatch lacks Wi-Fi, so it must be paired with a phone to receive apps and updates.
The LiveWare app is used to install apps onto the SmartWatch itself. While these apps can be found in the Android Market, and include Twitter and Facebook, they're essentially extensions optimized for the SmartWatch, and are different from the standard Android apps of the same name. (The easiest wasy to find them is through the LiveWare app). There are currently about 30 apps available, and include not only those two social-networking apps, but a hodgepodge of others from email and Find my Phone to Tic-Tac-Toe.
If you're on an apps page and you swipe downward, you access the widget section of the interface. Akin to the widgets on Android phones, the SmartWatch widgets show tweets, Facebook updates, weather and so forth in real-time.
At the top of every screen is a small battery indicator as well as the time. Overall, the interface is simple, but effective.
There are several different clocks you can download, but unfortunately, the default black-and-white digital clock is the only one that appears when you wake the watch from sleep.
Facebook and Twitter Integration
The SmartWatch isn't just a passive device for catching up on what's going on around you. It can also be used to respond to messages. For example, the Twitter app shows three options at the bottom of each tweet: View in Phone, Send a Canned Reply, or retweet.
We liked that the SmartWatch was smart enough to open the Web pages for Twitter and Facebook if we didn't have those apps installed on our phone, or if we did, opened the app itself. However, the small display on the SmartWatch meant a lot of scrolling if the tweet or post was particularly long.
Voice Call and Phone Integration
One of the more useful apps is Find My Phone, which lets you activate an alarm on your phone remotely, and it alerts you when your phone moves out of range of the SmartWatch.
The neatest app, though, was VFinder, which let us use the SmartWatch as a viewfinder for our phone's camera. When we opened the app, it turned on our phone's camera, and streamed the image to the SmartWatch. A swipe gesture let us capture images, too, but occasionally, the app would crash.
Performance and Battery Life
For the most part, the SmartWatch was pretty painless to use. Its touch screen was responsive; there weren't too many times that we had to tap the display more than once. The device opened apps quickly, and scrolled from one page to the next smoothly.
Sony claims that the SmartWatch will last about four days on a charge. After using the watch for two days, we had roughly half a charge left, which is much longer than our anecdotal tests with the WIMM watch, which needed recharging daily.
There are plenty of apps we would like to see make their way to the SmartWatch. An ESPN ScoreCenter app would be great, and the only email app is for Gmail. The Gmail app only shows that you received an email, and not from whom, or even the subject line.
- Top 5 Smart Watches
- WIMM One Watch App Store Hands-On: Install Software On Your Wrist
- The Time for Wearable Computers Has Finally Arrived
|Size||1.42 x 1.42 x 0.5 inches|