Sony SmartWatch 2 Review

Introduction


Take it or leave it, every major brand will seemingly set a wager with a smart watch of its own. Sony is one of the pioneers in this area with its LiveView screen tags way back in 2010, then the slim and stylish SmartWatch, and now we are getting the second edition, dubbed simply SmartWatch 2.

Actually, as all such products so far, it is not overly smart, just a wrist wearable that you can use as a small second screen accessory, paired with the Android phone in your pocket. It is designed to alert you on calls, emails and messages, and allows you to quickly and discreetly check on them, or control your music player from the watch, for instance. Is this an enticing enough proposition to spend $200 on against formidable competitors like the Galaxy Gear or the oldie but goodie Pebble? Read on to find out...

Design


Sony's understated design language is present on the SmartWatch 2, which is a thin, squarish, aluminum piece in black and chrome, or, alternatively, with a stainless steel silver face. The circular power key seems to serve double purpose – on one hand, it reminds of the wristwatches of yesteryear you had to wind, and on the other it bears the trademark OmniBalance design that's found with Xperia phones. If you get the “Active” version of the timekeeper, there will be a pair of silicon straps in the box, which you can have in many different hues, like yellow, pink, turquoise, purple, and black. Alternatively, you can have it with leather bands in black and beige - for you, suit types.

Sony SmartWatch 2 is not the lightest of them all, yet at 122.5 grams with the silicon straps, it still goes almost unnoticeable on the hand, though the feeling would be better with the leather straps. There are no tactile keys besides the power button, as navigation is done with capacitive back, home and menu keys. These are responsive, but you'll have to be careful which one you are pressing if you suffer from a case of fat digit-itis. There is a microUSB port with a protective flap on the left for charging the device as well.

The watch is IP57 certified for water resistance, so it is not scared of the rain or water splashes on its shiny surface. This is neat, because it allows you to keep your precious phone safely in the pocket while checking on a text message in moist conditions.



Display


We don't know what's with Sony and skimping on screens lately, but the 1.6” 220x176 pixels LCD touchscreen on the SmartWatch 2 seems rather dull and low-res. Text looks jagged and colors seem washed out, but it's ОК for quick glances, as that's the most you can do with a watch screen anyway.

The screen is bright enough for decent outdoor visibility, but tilt your wrist even slightly, and brightness plus contrast start to diminish rapidly indicating poor viewing angles. On the bright side, snooping on your messages in the subway becomes harder.

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