As timeless (no pun intended) and fashionable as watches have been for such a long time, smart watches have been a bit of a tougher sell. They’ve been around for a long time, going back to calculator watches from the 1980s, but today’s smart watches can do a whole lot more. Sony has been pushing this concept with its SmartWatch, a device that may have flown under the radar a little bit since it launched, but is worth a look if you like having it integrate with your compatible Android phone.
The SmartWatch has a nice 1.3-inch OLED touchscreen and Bluetooth to pair with a compatible Android phone. The design is more square-like, with a spring clip in the back that easily attaches to the soft rubber wrist strap or even your own clothes. The watch is really more functional than fashionable (not surprising, given the tech angle here), so this may not be the one you strap on for an upscale outing, but could very well be an indispensable friend at the gym or at work.
The reason the word “compatible” comes into play here is because certain functions and notifications can be pushed directly to the watch as they come in. These include text messages, Facebook updates, incoming calls and music playback, among a few other features.
Pairing with the phone can be done by connecting with Sony’s Smart Connect (LiveWire Manager for any Android phone running 2.3 Gingerbread or earlier) app. Tap the + symbol, turn Bluetooth on, and then turn the SmartWatch on (it goes into pairing mode automatically). Using Smart Connect, you can manage the features the watch can tap into.
What’s cool is that there’s support beyond what Sony has managed to offer. Do a search for “Smartwatch” apps in Google Play and you’ll find a pretty long list of options that cover a range of functions, including Google Maps, games, notifications and controlling third-party apps stored on your phone. There are also apps for tricking the SmartWatch into keeping the screen lit up for a longer time.
In light of all that, there are limitations to note here. The screen’s resolution isn’t the sharpest, but that might not matter on a 1.3-inch display. While you can view notifications and control certain functions directly from the watch, you can’t respond to texts or emails the way you want from the watch itself, nor can you update your Facebook status or tweet from it, unless they’re canned responses. The watch is also only as good as the data connection your phone has. If you don’t have a good signal, notifications will be delayed getting to the watch, naturally. If you’re on Wi-Fi, of course, then you have little to worry about.
All that said, the SmartWatch is the kind of device that doesn’t have an immediate payoff. You don’t feel much when you wear it the first couple of times, but after a little while, it can become a useful accessory that keeps your hands off your phone sometimes.
Could it be better? Absolutely, but it’s the kind of product that has something of an acquired taste. Not to mention it won’t work with a lot of Android phones on the market. Sony’s Xperia line of phones are a given, and it’s good to see that the Samsung Galaxy S III (and S II), HTC One X (One S and One V) and Motorola RAZR are supported.
For a full and detailed list of compatible Android smartphones and tablets, check out this page from Sony’s website to get the scoop.
The Sony SmartWatch does more than just tell you the time. Sync it with your Android phone and you'll be able to play your music, see your calendar events, and get your social media updates right on the ultra responsive touch display. Download compatible applications on Google Play and customize your SmartWatch. It attaches easily onto its stylish wristband or any 20mm wristband.
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