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Sony SmartWatch 2 Review

Posted: , by Daniel P.

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Interface and functionality


Simple does it best, and Sony's SmartWatch 2 interface keeps it that way, with a plain grid of icons, reminiscing an Android app drawer. Again, if you have larger fingers, you might have trouble getting to the right one on such a tiny display, and the touch responsiveness is somewhat buggy, too.

If it's not synchronized to an Android phone, the smart watch can't do much but show the time, set alarms, and display already synced notifications (if any). Pair it with the handset, though, and the brainy wearable starts to shine quite a bit more.

If you're wearing a Bluetooth headset for calls, for example, you can use the SmartWatch 2 to answer incoming calls, with the watch showing you who is calling on the screen. You can also review your call log, and start dialing directly from the SmartWatch 2 as well, but you can't talk through it, as it doesn't have a speaker and microphone, so the call will be routed through your phone.

There are a couple of default apps from the get-go like Alarm, Torch and Settings, but for getting the most out of the watch you have to go to the Smart Connect application on your phone and start loading apps. The most popular ones, naturally, would be the ones that pull notifications from the Facebook, Twitter, Gmail, text messaging and IM clients on your phone, and display their content. There are more than a hundred apps available at the moment, with Sony promising up to 400 down the road. These range from alternative dialers through weather widgets to GPS maps apps, many of which ran with various degrees of success in our trials, so you sure aren't getting a mature ecosystem right now.

You get a buzz for each IM or text message, and can review their content on the SmartWatch 2 display. Whatsapp messages can also be read in full with the excellent WatchIt! app. However, some social services like Twitter don't display the full content of the update. So, the watch alerts you for each brain rush of the 100 or so celebrities you follow, and you can't know if it's worth it to take your phone out and view the full update. Facebook alerts are crammed up, too, so you can't tell if the changed tick on the icon is for a personal message, or just a general status update from any of your more productive friends there. In any case you quickly learn the ropes and get used to them with messages and social networking, so glancing after a buzz becomes second nature. Email is a sore loser here, though, as you can barely read the whole body on the SmartWatch 2.

On the other hand, there are some niceties that make your life easier, like swiping down to reach the previous notification, checking your calendar with the Reminder app, or simply staring at your phone gallery's photos with the Slideshow one. Unfortunately, it does what its name suggests – allows you to view your phones in a slideshow manner, one by one; you don't get a grid with all of your photos.

The software itself seems still half-baked overall, full of bugs and glitches that beg for an immediate firmware update. The initial setup is an especially frustrating exercise and we recommend first pairing with NFC if your phone has one, then using the Bluetooth discoverability function on the watch first, and then on your phone.

Only this way we managed to make the downloaded 3rd party apps in Smart Connect show on the watch too, after rebooting it first. All in all, if the SmartWatch 2 doesn't show the new apps you installed, or doesn't update after you've logged into a particular service, your safest bet is to restart it with the circular button on the right, rather than disconnect.


Processor and memory


Setting up and using the SmartWatch 2 requires patience, as this thing seems rather slow if you are used to modern phone standards. It is powered by a measly 200 MHz ARM-Cortex M3 chip, so it doesn't really fly by. Once you get used to the speed with which notifications appear and the general fluidity of operation, Sony's gear is rather usable, though.


Connectivity


The watch connects to your phone via Bluetooth 3.0, which is not the latest edition of the short distance connectivity standard. This is one area where Samsung's Galaxy Gear gains the upper hand, as it uses Bluetooth 4.0 and its Low Energy standard to initiate the connection. Still, Sony ups the ante with NFC connectivity, so if the connection to your phone has dropped, and it has NFC, you can just tap it on the watch, and it will pair up again immediately.

The connection and syncing is managed with Sony's Smart Connect app that you can find at the Google Play Store. It's designed to manage your wireless links to headsets, speakers, and, yes, smart watches. Once you spot the SmartWatch 2 paired there, you can tap it to edit its settings and download apps to the small wrist jockey.

As for wires, you get a microUSB port with a protective flap on the left for charging the wearable, which is much handier than the Galaxy Gear's dock of sorts, for instance.

22 Comments
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posted on 28 Oct 2013, 10:47 7

1. ArtSim98 (Posts: 3306; Member since: 21 Dec 2012)


Weeelll.... At least it got a better score than the galaxy Gear.

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 12:23 8

4. DaHarder (Posts: 174; Member since: 10 Oct 2009)


As someone who has owned used all 3 versions of SONY's 'smartwatch' and now owns the Samsung Galaxy Gear (along with a couple of others)...

My SONY Smartwatch 2 has no where near the speed, polish, display quality or overall functionality/smoothness of operation of my Galaxy Gear and the fact that it's designed to be tightly integrated with Samsung Devices only ensures that it doesn't suffer from desperately attempting to be 'digitally friendly' with multitudes of (often under-powered) Android devices... That simply lack the ability to function well with the Galaxy Gear... and you can bet that if Apple ever makes a 'smartwatch', It Too will be limited to only Apple/iOS devices for the same reasons.

As for those complaining about the price, US 200.00 for the SONY bought me but an easily scratched aluminum casing with a low-res display that's rather unpleasant to view under most situations, whereas the (US 299.00) Galaxy Gear features a case made of highly durable Stainless Steel with an actual Sapphire Crystal covering the display... and let's not forget that the Galaxy Gear also has a surprisingly capable camera and a rather excellent speaker phone and very useful voice control included as well.

Comparatively: The SONY is clearly a Ford Fiesta to the Galaxy Gear's BMW 535i.

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 12:26 1

5. greathero1 (Posts: 494; Member since: 13 Jun 2008)


Lol! Not the Ford Fiesta!

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 13:55

8. AwesomestMaximuss (Posts: 123; Member since: 09 Jul 2013)


Yeah,,i mean look at the pros and cons they concluded for both the devices...and u ll know that GEAR gets a lower rating so as not to upset Michael h lol

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 15:39 7

11. buccob (Posts: 1564; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


I would categorize both of them as "different" devices...
The Sony SmartWatch 2 is an Accessory for your smartphone (almost any android) and it serve that purpose very well... while replacing also a regular watch in a more practical way...

The Galaxy Gear is more of a standalone device that happens to have additional functionality when pair to a new Galaxy Smartphone...

I would rather get the Sony SW 2 because: its waterproof (I tend to forget taking my watches off when showering), also because the battery lasts significantly more, so it is less of a headache...

I couldn't care less for having a high res on a watch, having a camera... for that I already bought a SmartPHONE...

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 23:31 2

15. GTR722 (Posts: 241; Member since: 20 Oct 2012)


The samsung fan has spoken.

posted on 29 Oct 2013, 08:27 2

16. buccob (Posts: 1564; Member since: 19 Jun 2012)


And regarding your analogy of cars.... following my line of thought (taking them as different devices)...

I would say that the Samsung Gear is an airplane and the Sony is a nice SUV...

The airplane is awesome and can take you to many places... but in reality there are only a limited landing areas, and it is a chore to take it daily to everywhere...

On the other hand, the SUV can also take you to many places, maybe slowly, but in day to day is more practical...

You may want a plane... but most of the time you are going to travel by car

posted on 13 Nov 2013, 11:10

20. greyhulk (Posts: 124; Member since: 30 Jun 2010)


Unfortunately, the Sony does the whole "watch" thing better, since it displays the time all the time without having to hit a button or jerk your wrist like you're having a spasm (which doesn't always work).

To me, the Sony is the better watch, which is what I'm looking for. It also doesn't need to be charged nearly as often and doesn't have an awkward special charging unit. Oh, and I'd rather not be stuck with only Samsung devices just so my watch works, thanks.

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 12:20 6

2. WHoyton1 (Posts: 1635; Member since: 21 Feb 2013)


I'm sorry i would chose the gear over this!

posted on 03 Nov 2013, 01:50

18. cripton805 (Posts: 996; Member since: 18 Mar 2012)


I would choose a pip boy ;)

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 12:23 8

3. iluvsonynokia (Posts: 139; Member since: 27 Aug 2013)


my score 8.5

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 13:00 3

6. rd_nest (Posts: 824; Member since: 06 Jun 2010)


Sony Smartwatch is a joke. Pathetic screen, horrible interface - who ffs uses a phone UI on a watch?
Over that you have on-screen buttons..LOL
Someone must be drunk when the designed it.
Apple/Samsung will eat this for breakfast. Exactly the reason why Gear will sell much more than all generations of Sony's combined.

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 13:54 14

7. Rexperia (Posts: 100; Member since: 28 Sep 2012)


Ohh woww, are you mad? Or drunk? What a pathetic fanboy... shame on you

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 15:19 14

10. emadshiny (Posts: 1142; Member since: 05 Dec 2012)


At least it can endure more than 3 days.
You don't need to charge your watch twice a day.
And also it won't die when you're washing your hand. LOL

posted on 30 Oct 2013, 21:16

17. DONUT (Posts: 307; Member since: 27 Jun 2013)


i think u should get ur eyes checked, it doesnt have on screen buttons

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 14:29 4

9. mr.popo2525 (Posts: 5; Member since: 26 Sep 2013)


Not a very good $200 device, but neither is Galaxy Gear a good $300 device. To spendy for a glorified notification center.

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 18:43

13. Windsponge (Posts: 92; Member since: 01 Nov 2009)


I love my gear. A good quality watch could easily cost 350 or more. Gear is a great device. I don't regret the price, worth it to me.

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 18:07 3

12. anleoflippy (Posts: 318; Member since: 03 Jan 2013)


I find this better than the Galaxy Gear. But then again, I don't use Smart watches.

posted on 28 Oct 2013, 21:04 1

14. cheetah2k (Posts: 869; Member since: 16 Jan 2011)


Well, I'm no iFan, but for sure Apple will be watching this space, as well as the feedback on both Galaxy Gear and Smartwatch2 and designing something that is actually useful.. Its a shame, but this is exactly what happens when products are rushed.

Sometimes its not optimum to be the first with a product like this, although IMO, Sony should know better after 2 previous attempts - the SW2 should have been a cracker and it's clearly not.. Doh!

posted on 10 Nov 2013, 01:45

19. PhillipCabral (Posts: 10; Member since: 02 Nov 2013)


It looks just like my iPod Nano 6 with the iWatch case -.-

posted on 05 Feb 2014, 14:02

21. fjftokyo (Posts: 57; Member since: 06 Jun 2013)


Am I the only one who feels that buying a smart watch is a stupid idea considering that the price for one are rediculous plus you could buy a much better cheaper watch for less who's battery would last you way longer.

posted on 18 Feb 2014, 02:56

22. tanni12 (Posts: 1; Member since: 18 Feb 2014)


watch companies is a News Portal Website, that belongs to TugaLogix Lda. and watch reviews is part of the PhoneRPT Communities. Both organizations are very well quoted internationally for their Mobile Phone, SmartPhone, wristwatch , Tablets and Gadgets Web Portals and Websites.

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