As wearables continue to be the big tech trend going into 2014, I have taken a look at Sony’s third version of a smartwatch, the snappily titled Sony SmartWatch 2:
I actually found it really useful when writing, Because the email is flashed up on the screen I could simply tilt the wrist and decide if that email needed to be dealt with immediately, or if I could mentally defer it and keep writing, with almost no break in my typing. It’s also a discreet option when in meetings or in situations where you wouldn’t feel right going to your smartphone.
The smart thing about this smartwatch is that it was designed with a rigid idea of the function it would fulfil. Couple that with very little feature creep on the product, and Sony has a product that works incredibly well in the role they have defined for it. While some companies struggle to build a watch that will do everything, only talk to their own hardware, or try to do far too much with not enough battery power and watch that looks like a prop from a 1970′s British dystopian space opera, Sony’s minimalism and iteration has resulted in a product that works in the real world.
Unlike certain other smartphone products (principally the Samsung Galaxy Gear), the SmartWatch 2 can be used with any Android device, although I’m sure that Sony would prefer that you use one of their Xperia handsets. I’ve been using the SmartWatch 2 for the last fortnight with an Xperia Z1.
On the hardware side of things, Sony has managed to find a good mix of form and function. Even more than a smartphone, the size of a smartwatch determines almost all of the functionality, and the two primary considerations are battery life and the user interface.
Starting with the screen technology, the SmartWatch 2 has a 220×176 transreflective LCD screen, which is touch sensitive. Given the nature of this watch you’re not going to need to make precise inputs with your finger, so the interface is driven by finger sized icons and a blend of swipes across the screen to scroll through lists.
One gesture that is missing from the SmartWatch 2 is the pinch gesture. Sony previously employed this as a gesture to take you to the home screen, but this has been depreciated since their first smartwatch design in favour of something more familiar to Android users, namely the three soft keys under the screen. You have a ‘back’ button, a ‘home’ button, and a ‘menu’ button. These don’t light up, but are marked with a silver colour to stand out against the black fascia of the watch. Along with Sony logo top centre of the watch, this is a smartwatch that on a second glance is clearly ‘more than a watch’. Wearing it out and about, it has caught the eye of many people with an excited “what’s that?”
Read the full review over on Forbes.