on 1 August 2012
I've had my SmartWatch for just over 2 weeks now, and while I am still happy with my purchase, there are a few things to bear in mind if you are considering buying this watch.
1. It requires a constant bluetooth connection to an Android phone to do anything - it won't even display the time if you have not connected it at least once after powering it on.
2. The device itself is essentially an extra, remote screen for your Android device - although it may appear that way, the various SmartWatch apps available on Google Play do NOT run on the device itself, instead they run on the phone and their output is sent to the watch. This means that any apps you have downloaded for the watch will be constantly running in the background on your phone. So, if you have an older Android device with not a lot of memory, this could be a big problem and cause your phone to slow up considerably. I have an Xperia Arc which has 512 MB RAM, and I would say that is about the minimum spec of phone you should try using with this watch. I need to turn off my bluetooth connection (which automatically shuts down the SmartWatch apps) when using memory intensive apps/games on my phone or performance will be affected.
3. The bluetooth connection requires 2 apps to be installed on your phone, LiveWare Manager and the SmartWatch app. The bluetooth connection is however still not perfect, and drops out from time to time. This is improving with new LiveWare releases, and I understand it's MUCH more reliable than the old LiveView connection, but it's still not perfect.
4. The music player widget will not show the album art and track name (as shown in the pictures here) unless you have a Sony phone and are using the stock Sony music app. The controls still work for other players (like PowerAmp).
5. The email widget also only works if you have a Sony phone and are using the stock Sony email app on your phone (which I fortunately am), otherwise the best you can do is get one of the SmartWatch notification apps from Google Play to send email (and other) notifications to your watch. Unfortunately, these notification apps do not allow you to read the text of emails on your watch (unlike the email widget) and also require an accessibility service running in the background constantly on your phone, which can take up quite a bit of memory.
6. The screen is not good in bright, direct sunlight. Unfortunately, there isn't a way (yet) to adjust the screen backlight brightness.
Otherwise, the SmartWatch has worked very well for me. It's just about right size-wise, battery life is ok (given its OLED screen) and it responds well to touch gestures like swiping and pinching.
The Motorola Motoactv may well be a MUCH more powerful Android SmartWatch (which you can also root and run Angry Birds on!) but it is also over twice the price of the Sony watch, which probably offers pretty much all the functionality you'll be looking for in a SmartWatch anyway. As long as you can live with the points mentioned above.
on 19 December 2012
... this will have to do. It's a lovely idea that fills a clear gap in the market. I have been using this product for over six months now and so feel qualified to comment on it (unlike the people on The Gadget Show who used it for all of ten minutes). I work in a strict environment where any sight of a mobile phone on the shop floor gets one into serious trouble. This watch has proven the answer to the problem of staying in touch with people when otherwise I wouldn't have been able to. In that respect, it is very handy.
However, for a Sony product this is shocking in one major way: whoever decided to produce a charging system of this nature needs considerable therapy. It is appalling. The pressure of the sprung back is in no way sufficient to maintain a charging connection. What's wrong with the usual charging hole that you push a lead into ?!
Over the months of fighting with paperweights and other ridiculous contraptions, I have perfected my own technique that I now share in the hope it will prove useful for future/present owners of this device. All you have to do is remove the watch from the strap, briefly lick the contacts on the charging lead (not the USB end, obviously), insert it into the watch and then tie an elastic band around the watch. I have found that this works every time and I no longer get the 'USB device not recognised'-type message when I plug it into my PC or funny vibrations from the watch as it switches itself on and off like a mad thing.
I have not found any significant problems with bluetooth connection (I have an Xperia Mini Pro). Yes, the touchscreen needs a little work and the screen is all but impossible to see in any kind of sunlight but if you can put up with all the shortcomings listed above then go ahead and get one - after all, your options are somewhat limited ...
UPDATE: February 2015. I am pleased to report that this device is still going strong. I continue to get four/five days between charges (although I am not a heavy user: weather, texts, e-mails and calls only). Unfortunately I broke the clip that holds the watch to the strap a while ago (by catching the watch on something) and this is, alas, according to Sony, irreplaceable. However, I used some sticky Velcro on the strap and the watch back and this is working fine. I now utilise a small, sprung hand clamp to hold the charger in place on the watch; I still need to lick the contacts but, in addition, every now and then I have to use a sharp point to scratch the contacts to bring back better connectivity. In short, I think three stars is still an accurate assessment of this gadget. I will not be rushing to buy the new Sony SmartWatch (boy, I hope they have sorted out the charging issue) whilst this one continues to operate ... x
on 26 July 2012
The Sony Smartwatch has proved better than expected. The watch connects to my Xperia S perfectly and responds to SMS,Email,Facebook notifications. I like the fact that you can read the whole message on the phone and respond with an automated reply. Using the music player function is great as I can leave the phone in my pocket whilst selecting tracks adjusting volume etc. The Sony designed apps work well and some other ones I have found are cool, especially the app that lets you see the camera view from your phone on your watch and take a photo from the watch!
The bluetooth connection is fast and I have found the battery life pretty good. I used the watch for 4 days on 1 charge. The Phone battery is affected but not as much as expected. Another bonus is being able to see who is calling without getting your phone out. Shame that the charging connection is not micro USB but overall very pleased with the purchase.
on 5 December 2012
What I liked:
- The discrete nature of staying connected without having to rely on checking the Android phone - great at work.
- Feels good quality, comfortable, the design itself is second to none, and it certainly grabs attention.
- Touchscreen works like a dream and is very responsive.
- It functions fairly well as a remote access point for your android phone (although this is ALL it does).
- Good battery life (but it takes longer to charge than my phone).
- Really useful and comes into its own when driving.
- For what it is and what it does it is good value.
- Initial set up is very easy.
What I disliked:
- Android is supposed to be an open source OS which relies heavily on 3rd party apps; the music app and mail app do not function correctly unless you are using the default Sony apps, which somewhat defies the point.
- Blutooth needs to be always on for the watch to work; the Blutooth connection isn't always reliable.
- The screen is responsive but difficult to read, suffers with glare, you often find yourself having to partially cover the screen with your hand to read it.
- The watch face is rather thick, it is set into the strap, but it means it takes more knocks (although its well built to stand up to it).
- If your phone is too far away or not connected, the watch stops working completely. It does not function in its own right.
It isn't a watch so much as it is a remote access point for your Android phone which sits on your wrist, that is ALL it is designed to be, so don't expect anything more than that; it does that fairly well though but with a few obvious flaws. The watch is a 2nd Gen. model so it's a shame Sony hasn't yet ironed out any of these issues. It also somewhat defies the point of using an Android OS, since it relies heavily on default apps to function correctly. I would recommend it, although it's a far cry from perfect.
on 18 May 2012
I haven't worn a watch for 10 years.
I bought this watch as I thought it might be useful.
I don't use all the features but even just using message & email alerts, phone finder, weather, call handling and music player it is fantastic.
The battery also lasts at least 4 days (for my usage).
The only downsides: the charger is a bit fiddly and I put on a leather watchstrap for comfort.
A great product!
on 24 July 2012
I'm using this with a Samsung Galaxy SIII. Connection and set up were basically OK, although it did manage to somehow delete all my SMSes - so if you have messages that you are very attached to, make sure you back up before buying! My problems with setup were mainly due to my not reading the instructions closely enough - keep to them, and you will be fine. There's a nice little tutorial inside the Smartwatch app that helps with the gestures.
The watch is fun to wear - lasts about a day on full charge, same as the Galaxy, which is a bit of a pain, but manageable. It shows the time well, and happily vibrates when I get a phone call, SMS or Gmail message, which is all I want from it. It also has Facebook apps, and a few more, but I haven't gone that far. Oh, and I can control the music on my headphones via the watch - so you could also use it as a remote control for the car, for instance.
In general, this is one for the early adopters. I'm sure that in a couple of years, these watches will be much slimmer - (it's raised about 3 mm off the wrist by the clip to the strap), and larger and better, but if you don't want to wait a couple of years for the technology to be perfected (I'm looking at YOU, I'M Watch), then this is available now, it works, and it's not too expensive that you will regret the money you spent on it.
on 2 July 2012
I bought this watch with the intention of it replacing my old Casio Wavecepter which I never once had to replace the batteries for. When I first got the watch I already new about battery life issues but thought nothing of them, however when first getting used to the watch and setting up apps ect, the battery life barely lasted 1 day! I was pretty shocked and was quite disappointed, but I hoped for the best and that when the battery has been charged a few times maybe it will be settle in. After about 3 days I started noticing the battery life increasing, even with prolonged use, and now to this day I only ever need to charge the watch every week or so.
The Watch itself looks visually stunning with the nice clear display and vibrant colours from the OLED screen and the customisable watch face is a great plus. Currently there are three to choose from (you can buy more from Android Play however) one is a always on digital watch face which consumes a lot of power, another is a classical two hands watch face which is also always on, and the third is the more battery efficient watch face which is a digital face with the time and date but goes off unless the screen is tapped or the power button pressed.
Apps currently out include Mail, Gmail, Google Maps, text message reader, call handling and even Photo gallery viewing. There is also a Facebook app, but I have been unable to set it up and working properly however (Even though I have a Sony Ericsson phone!). There are many other apps out there by third party developers that add great functionality to the watch, my favourite including a calculator app and a viewfinder for my phones camera that shows the cameras view on the watch screen and allows you to take photos too.
Over all I am happy with my watch having used it every day for over a month now. I have changed the strap that came with it as black isn't really my colour and I much rather prefer a metal strap to a rubber one. This was really easy to do with Sony even shipping an adapter with the product to allow you to do so too. I recommend this watch to anyone wanting a cool new gadget, or just a new watch, it looks great and performs great too.
I hope this review helps anyone out making a decision!
on 13 October 2013
I bought this watch specifically to implement an extension to my Android email alert filtering app eNotify
I like this device overall:
. Good value price wise
. Good looking device overall -- came with 2 watch bands as well
. Many very cool alternate clock faces available that completely transform the look of the watch -- like having a new watch everytime you choose a face
. The touch screen works well the gestures well designed and intuitive
. Plenty of good apps available since Sony is a first mover in this area
. Apps are easy to find because they encourage developers to add a special tag to their Googleplay descriptions
. Notifications are well designed
. Each app can have its own section [Bit more like iOS than the usual monolithic notifications in Android]
. You can move through individual notifications with swipe gestures which is really cool
. Loses the bluetooth connection with the HTC One V a little bit too often even when the devices are sitting side by side
. It would have been more practical had they chosen to use standard micro USB charger [Smartwatch 2 uses the standard]
. I would like a tiny speaker to offer alert beeps
. It would be good if it could do different vibration patterns as well
But I think this watch is good value for money. I'm happy to recommend it.
on 5 March 2013
So the story goes like this. Before buying this Smartwatch I did some research and found that expert reviewers had given it negative reviews early on however, their opinion changed to good recently. The reason being Sony released firmware upgrade and that fixed lot of issues.
I read Amazon user reviews and found more than 60% reviewers from US and UK gave this Smartwatch 3 stars and above. I looked at Pebble watch but got discouraged by its limited availability due to high demand. Finally considering all the factors and looking at Amazon price tag I decided to buy this watch.
Day 1: Charged the watch for 2 hrs as suggested by the user manual and did initial set up with my Samsung galaxy s3. As other reviewers have mentioned, watch does not come with any apps pre-installed (rather apps don’t really get installed on the watch but on the phone under Sony smartwatch app). So downloaded various Sony apps and third party apps from Google Play and started playing with the watch. I liked “Analogue clock” watch face so chose that from 3 available clocks that Sony provides.
Day 2: Even before day two started my watch died sometime in the night just after few hours of use. I charged it again and the battery was full with just 1 hr of charging. I played some more with the watch and since Sony mail app only works with Sony phones I installed one third party mail app called Mail Notification but had trouble using it with hotmail pop3. I also tried other third party notifier apps like watchit, notifysmartwatch, customnotifier etc but they all failed to work with Samsung standard mail client and did not notify me of any incoming emails from hotmail or yahoo. My watch died again not lasting even for one full day.
Day 3: I then tried trial version of Augmented Smartwatch Pro as lot of other users and expert reviews had mentioned it. This worked well and I was very pleased with it so I bought the paid version for £2.52. It does not show you the email contents on non rooted phones but gives you details about sender, subject and mail to. It gives you facebook alerts, sms alerts (shows the sms on watch), weather alert and supports various other apps from which you can get alerts like google now, google voice, google talk, skype, xabber, viber, calendar and many more and list is growing. It also supports google navigation on watch. This app is highly configurable and people even mention about how it improves the battery life of the watch immensely. I would highly recommend this app as after installing this you can get rid of various Sony apps like weather, messaging (sms), facebook, mail, calendar etc.
Watch died again. I was not sure why it was dying despite me getting rid of all these apps, using this highly recommended app, switching off all the notifications and deactivating all the widgets etc. I was very frustrated.
Day 4, 5, 6: I was very unhappy with the battery life and seriously started thinking of returning this back as the watch was great when it worked but only if battery lasted longer.
Day 7: I started searching for why this was happening and then got the answer. DON’T and I am insisting don’t use “Analog clock” watch face. This drains your watch battery as it stays on as long as smartwatch movement is detected. I recommend using “Large digital clock” watch face as that is the most battery efficient watch face. I hope Sony will change “Analog clock” watch face so that it turns off and stays off till you double tap as this is the most cool looking watch face. Sony guys if you are reading then please at least give this option to users otherwise you will have lot of unsatisfied customers.
After this change my battery lasted 5 days on single charge with all notifications on. I then activated all widgets, reinstalled all Sony apps and few third party notifier apps just to test the battery life and it still lasted 3 full days. If you switch off your watch at night then battery will easily last a week.
Conclusion: Sony smartwatch is not perfect but this is a new concept and will soon be the next best thing after smart phones. I have been using it for over a month and I love it as now I don’t miss any phone calls or any notifications. Battery life is great as long as you follow the advice of actual watch users. Yes screen is not so visible in sun light but here in UK we hardly see any sun. charging cable is fiddly as mentioned by other users and you need to make sure once connected ans showing battery charging symbol don’t move the watch else it will disconnect. Recommended apps are Augmented Smartwatch Pro for all your notifications and Endomondo for all your fitness needs. Giving it 4 stars.
on 3 January 2014
Amazing idea, this was bought for a deaf person and her signer had one also. Now she never missed a text or message and all the members of the deaf club are buying them. I know the watch wasn't necessarily designed with this in mind but what an awesome tool for them!