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The wearable scene is really hot right now. More and more people are making use of a smart watch or some kind of a fitness tracker that also notifies the wearer of basic notifications from the phone. While Samsung Gear and the Apple Watch have found millions of takers, Sony’s SmartWatch has struggled to gain ground.
The response to Sony’s SmartWatch 1 and SmartWatch 2 was lukewarm at best. Now, with the SmartWatch 3 out, will reception be any different. The answer unfortunately seems to be tilting towards nope.
What can you expect?
SmartWatch 3 has a square face that is unattractive with a dull, black rubber strap. It lacks the charm that other smart watches from Apple, LG and Samsung flaunt in this range. The watch is also a bit chunky and heavy, not exactly a great look for women’s hands or if you have dainty looking wrists.
The watch unit can be removed from the strap. You can change straps according to your liking but as of now only black and a striking lemon-yellow strap are available. Sony has promised to introduce more new colors soon so that you can swap the strap to match your style.
The SmartWatch 3 is waterproof, not just water resistant, so you don’t have to worry about going for a swim with your watch strapped. Overall the design is simple, efficient maybe but lacking in elegance. Sony has designed the smart watch as a fitness tracker rather than as a wearable lifestyle watch for all occasions, something that the Apple Watch and Samsung Gear manage to do.
The watch face is 1.6-inch square with rounded edges. It has a display resolution of 320 x 320 pixels which seems to be the standard for smart watches among manufacturers. The display is as sharp as the rest of the watches in the market. It is fairly brighter than the rest.
Viewing angles of the watch appears to be a hassle. If you are not viewing from the right position then, it could be a little difficult to read information on the watch. Samsung’s smart watches score better when it comes to viewing angles and ease of reading. Sony could have done better with the interface.
The choice of display face is limited. Sony has dumped its customizable interface and has gone with Android Wear’s interface. Sony offers only limited set of customizable options with SmartWatch 3.
The life of battery in wearable devices has been contentious. Sony claims that SmartWatch 3 will be able to last for 2 days. It is an optimistic claim but the SmartWatch 3’s battery is better than its predecessors.
If you are a light user then, the battery might last as claimed but when you are using GPS tracking and other smart functions that involve tethering and connecting to Bluetooth devices, the battery life will certainly take a hit.
With intense use, the battery might last a day which is not bad at all. Like most other wearable devices, the smart watch will need charging every night. The built-in USB port makes charging hassle-free when compared to its competitors.
Unlike its previous version, the SmartWatch 3 runs on Google’s Android Wear, an operating system that aims to provide a unified platform for wearable devices. Integration with Android phones is seamless and convenient.
Android Wear has a few incredible features which would make owning a smart watch a worthy decision. The software is capable of taking voice commands to dictate mails, set timer, get weather updates and more. You can also store music directly on your watch and listen to music using a paired Bluetooth headphone. Isn’t that cool?
The best addition to the SmartWatch 3 is the micro-USB port that lets you charge the watch directly. You don’t have to use a separate charging cradle which is a great improvement. Charging Android Wear devices is a challenge and the introduction of micro-USB port is a good introduction.
SmartWatch 3 has a built-in GPS which enables you to go for a jog and track the distance covered. You wouldn’t need a smartphone to keep track of your fitness regime anymore with SmartWatch 3. Most other smartphones don’t have a built-in GPS which leaves them relying on their tethered phone. Along with the ability to store music, the SmartWatch 3 scores ahead of the rest in being an independent wearable device.
Smart Watch 3 is a great companion for fitness enthusiasts with these key features. But, it doesn’t come with a heart-rate monitor which is a critical fitness function. The lack of stylish design coupled with the absence of heart-rate monitor might make buyers think twice before they decide on this wearable. It appears to be grave oversight from Sony’s end to have not included this function.
In a nutshell, Sony has found a clever solution to the charging woes of smart watches with a built-in micro-USB port but has seemed to have focused a little less on the design and interface. The biggest drawback of SmartWatch 3 is the failure to include a heart-rate monitor which discourages even fitness enthusiasts from picking this next-generation wearable.
The SmartWatch 3 from Sony is on sale for $250 in the US and £190 in the UK. If only Sony had revolutionzed the design, this might be a very exciting wearable purchase, giving the pack leaders like the Apple Watch and the Moto 360 a run for their money. Unfortunately, it is one of the plainest looking watch out there and that might just be a deal breaker for a majority of buyers, considering that a watch is much of a fashion statement as it is a device that tells you the time.
The Sony SmartWatch 3 not quite cutting it for you? Read about other popular smart watches like the Pebble Steel, Samsung Gear Live and the Moto 360.