Sony Smart Watch 2 Review

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Sony Smart Watch 2 Review

There are a handful of competitors out there, most notably the Samsung Galaxy Gear and Pebble, but the market it still very much there for the taking with no clear leader just yet. No one is quite sure what a smartwatch should offer, and what it shouldn't, so we find the current crop floating in no-mans land when it comes to the features they offer. Samsung has gone all out with the Galaxy Gear, while Sony has been a little more refined in its implementation. And with refinement comes a more affordable price - a new Sony Smartwatch 2 starts at around £100 - that's half the price of its Samsung branded rival and while it may still seem a little on the steep side it's certainly easier to deal with. One of the big trump cards for the Smartwatch 2 is the fact it's compatible with any Android smartphone running version 4.0 (Ice Cream Sandwich) and above, meaning you don't have to fork out for a specific Sony phone for it to work.
It feels solid and there is a certain premium appeal about the Smartwatch, plus it's waterproof (sort of) so you won't need to take it off when you wash your hands, or cover it up when the rain comes down. The Smartwatch 2 carries an IP57 certificate, meaning it will happily last up to 30 minutes in fresh water up to a depth of 1 metre - plus it also means it's dustproof too.
Measuring 42 x 41 x 9mm the Sony Smartwatch 2 isn't particularly overbearing and while it may be a tad bigger than your current time piece, your wrist won't feel swamped. It also doesn't weigh a great deal - only 122.5g in fact - which actually made it lighter than my day to day watch, and after a while you won't even notice it's on your wrist. The signature, oversized power/lock key which is slapped on the side of every Sony smartphone at the moment finds its way onto the right side of the Smartwatch 2 - it's easy to hit and responsive to all manner of prods.
You also get a trio of touch sensitive keys below the 1.6-inch "Transflective" LCD display, and if you're an Android user you'll instantly recognise these as the back, home and menu keys. On the left is a covered microUSB port to allow you to charge to the Smartwatch 2, with the flap obviously being a vital part of making the watch waterproof. If you've got some nails then it's relatively easy to flick open, although those lacking any length may find it a little trickier. The slender rubber connection between flap and watch doesn't exactly fill me with any great hope - I can see this is something which could break off pretty easily.
I've bemoaned the strap on the Galaxy Gear for being rather tricky to adjust, while the Qualcomm Toq offers just one size which really isn't overly helpful. Thankfully the Smartwatch 2 employs your standard watch strap, with a peg and a number of holes to ensure a snug fit to your particular wrist size. There's a number of colours to pick from too, with two leather finishes in black and light brown, plus five plastic offerings comprising of black, pink, purple, turquoise and yellow.
If you're looking for something slightly more premium there's a black stainless steel strap option as well. And if none of those take your fancy you can fit any 24mm watch strap to the Smartwatch 2. Sony has popped a relatively mediocre 1.6-inch, 220 x 176 TFT LCD display in the Smartwatch 2, which is no where near as detailed or bright as the AMOLED offering in the Galaxy Gear, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. The Transflective (transmissive + reflective) display means the screen is always on, displaying the time, while making it really easy to see in direct sunlight and reducing battery drain.
It's a similar technology to the Mirasol screen used by Qualcomm on the Toq, but when woken from the passive clock display the screen lights up providing a brighter, more smartphone-esque experience. While there are power and viewing advantages, everything displayed on the Smartwatch 2 is noticeably pixelated, but at the same time you're unlikely to be watching movies or viewing photos on this device - it's predominantly text only.
A word of warning when you do hook up your Facebook and Twitter accounts to the Smartwatch 2 - it can notify you of every update made by all your friends and by default everyone is selected in the notifications options. Sony SmartWatch 2 review Digsby IM, Email, and Social Networks in one easy to use application!

If you don't go in and change this you'll find your wrist constantly vibrating as the steady stream of Facebook and Twitter updates filter through. To adjust which notifications get to you, head back to the Smart Connect app and navigate to the particular service to then select which (if any) of your friends you want to keep track off. You can quickly unselect everyone with one click, and if you don't want to be kept up to date with any of your mate's ramblings then you can choose to only get notified when someone interacts with you directly. The flexibility in terms of notifications is impressive and it allows you to tailor your Smartwatch 2 experience to your own personality.
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