Smart Watches and wearable devices have made significant presence at IFA 2014. Over at Sony, they had launched their 3rd generation SmartWatch that’s powered with Android Wear while their new SmartBand Talk offers more functionality with a power efficient E-ink display and the ability to handle voice calls.
During our workshop session with the product guys from Sony, they have shared their core pillars behind its wearables. Lifelog is their core component as it tracks your life moments and stores them in a single hub. Next is the ability to have flexible style. Having a smart watch doesn’t mean you would need restrict its appearance for functionality. Therefore they are interchangeable with variety of straps and accessories to suit your mood and activities. It is worth pointing out that they have done away with any prominent Sony branding on their watch faces, which is apparently a big change with their standard branding approach. The Sony brand is visible discreetly on the strap buckle and underneath the watch/band itself.
Sony SmartWatch 3
Google’s new Android Wear appears to be the preferred platform for manufacturers to get on board. For its 3rd smart watch, Sony has ditched their proprietary smart watch and went ahead with Android Wear. On its new version, they have moved away from its boxy and clunky design, for a more curvy and natural appearance that’s quite close with the current Samsung Gear 2 but with more rubber. The front gets a 1.6″ screen that pushes 320×320 pixels resolution, which is similar with the Samsung Gear Live.
The main watch piece is easily detachable, allowing you to switch to different colours and styles. When attached, only the front glass is visible and it is surrounded by the strap material itself. Like other Android Wear devices, it uses on-screen swipe gestures and voice commands to navigate around. While the SmartBand Talk has a speakerphone, unfortunately there’s none on the SmartWatch 3, so you can’t use this for voice calls. In terms of specs, it runs on a 1.2 GHz Quad ARM A7 processor and 512MB of RAM. With a 420mAh, the SmartWatch 3 is rated for 2 days use.
Another plus point on the SmartWatch 3 is its offline mode where you can go for a jog while leaving your smart phone at home. Your offline activities will continue to be tracked on the watch and it will sync back with life logger once you have resumed connection with your phone. For music playback, it has 4GB of internal storage to store your music and it can be played back to a pair of bluetooth headset. When compared with the Gear Live, LG G Watch R and ASUS ZenWatch, the SmartWatch 3 lacks a heart rate sensor.
For now, they are offering Black and Yellow colour straps and there are various of other choices available. Sony says that they would be partnering with 3rd party brands to release speciality straps and we are told that a steel band would be available sometime next year.
For more information, check out Sony’s SmartWatch 3 product page.
Sony SmartBand Talk
The original Sony SmartBand was primarily a basic life logger that doubles up as a notification device. In its next iteration, the new SmartBand Talk gets more functionality with a built-in display and like its name suggests, would let you use it to make and answer voice calls from your wrist.
At first glance, it does look like a Huawei TalkBand B1 and it even features a similar sized 1.4″ display. Instead of an having a stowable bluetooth headset, the SmartBand Talk uses a built-in mic and speakers for voice calls. In our hands on with the device, the rubber band feels more sturdy and is much more refined than what Huawei had to offer.
The display on the SmartBand Talk uses E-ink display, which is basically the similar technology used on Kindle for great outdoor visibility and it does a resolution of 296×128 pixels in Black and White. The only drawback is the screen tends to have a ghosting effect whenever it refreshes. Well, it is a small price to pay but what you do get is a longer 3 days of battery life. As comparison, the Pebble smart watch has a 1.26″ 144×168 Memory LCD display and it last an average of 5-7 days on a single charge.
To use it, you’ll need to pair it via Bluetooth 4.0 and it relies on Sony’s Lifelog app for full functionality. Since the screen is non-touch enabled, it has a up and down rocker buttons and a power/select button at the side. On the plus side, it also supports tap and gesture controls. For example, you can play or pause music by simply snapping your fingers. Since it has a built-in mic, you can also perform task via voice commands as well.
Like its new flagship devices, the SmartBand Talk is also water and dust resistant with IP68 rating. On-board, it gets a tiny 70mAh battery which is charged using a standard microUSB port that’s tucked away underneath.
For more information, head over to Sony’s SmartBand Talk product page.
Sony SmartWatch 3 Hands-on Photos
SmartBand Talk Hands-on Photos