Sony SmartWatch 2 Review7
Interface and functionality
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.
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.
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.
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.
Sony SmartWatch 2 Review - Interface and Functionality