Everyone knows I love tech watches. That’s why, despite being enamored with the Pebble E-Paper Watch expected late 2012, I recently purchased the $150 Sony SmartWatch. The watch launched Friday and is meant to pair with any Android 2.1+ phone to provide much of the capability of a handset in the watch form factor.
The SmartWatch itself is about the size of the iconic iPod nano. In the box was the watch, a very comfortable black rubber watch band (more colors are available for $20 apiece), the proprietary charger, and links/rods for mounting the watch on a traditional watch band.
The watch paired easily with my U.S. Galaxy S Note after downloading the free Sony LiveWare Manager App. The LiveWare Manager is used to install and organize the apps available on the watch.
Once paired with my handset, I was able to choose from ~50 applications to download from the marketplace to the watch face.
When not in use, the watch face goes dark. It can be woken up by double-tapping the resistive touchscreen or shaking the wrist. Once awake, you are greeted by the default watch face.
From here, you can tap to see the menu of installed applications.
Tapping any icon will take you to that app. You can check texts, missed calls, tweets, and Facebook all from your wrist.You can also initiate calls without taking your phone out of your pocket (assuming you have also have a Bluetooth headset paired).
When receiving a text or tweet, the watch can be setup to vibrate in notification so you can keep up-to-date without pulling your phone out of your pocket or backpack. Most apps also allow the sending of a short canned response from the watch itself, like “Nice” or “Busy now – will sync with you later.” When a call is received, the watch vibrates and displays the caller.
I LOVE this watch. So far I have very little reason to complain. The watch paired easily and has not disconnected from my phone a single time. The battery easily withstands a day’s worth of heavy use, probably more like 2-3 days of light use (not a problem since I will be charging mine every night beside my cell phone). The device is SUPER responsive, with no stuttering at all on app switches and page scrolling. All of the official apps work wonderfully and are very usable. Perhaps the highest praise I can give is that I honestly feel like some sort of cyborg from the future while wearing this watch.
Having said that, there are a few small issues. While the display is fairly bright and easily read indoors, outdoors the glossy screen kicks back all kinds of glare and the colors (while visible) are washed out. The second issue is the current lack of apps. While the watch already pretty much what you’d expect, I’d like to see some innovative apps that really take advantage of the smaller form factor.
Overall, I would strongly recommend this watch to anyone out there even remotely interested in owning a smart watch. Right now, the Sony SmartWatch is king of the hill.