After hearing Matt Isherwoods presentation “The state of wearable tech” at Hot Source last week I was again quite surprised not to hear the mention of the Sony Smartwatch. You always hear of the new apple watch, that isn’t even out yet, or the samsung version and the pebble, but never the Sony Smartwatch, so I’m going to give you a review of this watch, as I think it’s brilliant and does all of the things a smartwatch should but keeps being overlooked…
Admittedly I got the watch as part of a deal with my Sony Xperia Z1 last year, and when it arrived I had a look and put it back in the box, but I was intrigued.
I have always worn a watch, which seems a little old fashioned as so many people these days would prefer to find their phone, turn it on and then see the time but I have always enjoyed the simplistic twist, look and see the time. I also liked being able to swap watches to suit my mood, or my outfit, a big sparkly job for going out and a simple black strap for the weekends, but always there, always able to find the time.
About a week later I decided to give the Smartwatch a week’s trial properly, not swapping for my favourite blue one, but giving over to the need to play with a new bit of tech.
I started searching and researching online for recommended apps and ways to set it up, changing the clock face to a regular one, not a digital readout – I’d been taught properly how to read the time – hooked it up with my email, twitter and facebook accounts and gave it a full charge all ready for the morning.
I found it really easy to connect to my phone, just swipe the backs of both devices together and they both vibrate to say they’re connected, along with a particular ‘bing’ and I was off.
The first thing I recommend to anyone who gets one of these watches is to turn off facebook notifications, facebook literally bombard you with every nugget and nuance that happens and it totally annoyed me, so that app got removed straight away, the twitter one has been much better with the recent update making it simpler to only receive important notifications, but in the early days that got removed for the same reason as well.
At first I found it almost too big for my little wrist, I do have particularly small wrists, so it wasn’t uncommon for many of my watches to have an extra handmade hole in the strap, but this one was rubber, so I couldn’t do that, but due to the large flat face of the watch, it doesn’t have a chance to wander too far round.
I really like the masculine flat gloss black front and simple black strap, it only has one physical button on the side, the other controls, back, home, settings, are touch areas, just like on any (oh not apple) normal smartphone. Whilst ‘asleep’ it shows the time with a display that reminds me of an e-ink display so it functions just as a watch should. I have a friend who has the first version of the sony smartwatch and I can’t believe he has to press the physical button to get it to tell you the time. If you tap, or bash, or move your hand quite violently, you will find that it lights up by about 50% so you can see the time in the dark, whilst a single press on the button will light it up fully. You need to press on the home button in the middle to access the many screens and apps actually on the watch, which I find a great bonus as you never access them by accident.
My first wow moment was when I realised I could be James Bond and take photos on my phone, but using my watch, how cool is that!
Although this is a bit gimmicky, I did find a genuine use for this distanced photography when I tried to take a photo from the highest possible point in a room of a large scale model, I found the tallest friend there and got them to hold my phone as high as they could, obviously they couldn’t see what they were pointing at or focusing on, but I could, on my watch display of what my phone could see, everyone was mightily impressed with that. It only has a short range, but it does work through floors and walls very well!
I can control my music from my watch, which I don’t use so much, but when I’m playing music with my phone laying on a table as a portable stereo, then it is easier to do this from my watch, I can also adjust the volume from within the watch app.
Of course the essential requirements of a smartwatch are to receive texts, calls and emails and this the Sony does really well, you can see the name and a small preview of the message both with the text and email.with just a downwards glance, and this is where I found I grew to like and want to use this watch more and more, until these days I feel a little lost without it.
I like that I can quickly see who’s ringing me, is it worth looking for my phone, or wait til later, also if I have my headset in and my phone tucked deep in a pocket I can answer the call and be straight onto the important calls, and even if I’m not plugged in, I can accept the call and just shout at the caller, as I fumble to the bottom of my bag for my phone, and they can hear me and I don’t miss it. Which I used to do a lot, so this has been a big improvement.
But the most used app on my watch is the timer, my girls want to race ‘Can you time us Mum?’ the microwave doesn’t have a timer, but I do, eggs need cooking and I can wander away with the clock running, timing the perfect cup of tea.. is that going too far… 🙂
I have now had the phone a year and thought it time that I reviewed how it has crept into being an important part of my life, I see my texts straight away, so can keep in touch and receive vital information at the turn of a wrist and I still have the time where it has always been, on my wrist.
I’ve never had a problem with the length of charge, it usually lasts a week and is a non-intrusive piece of tech, which when people see it in action, they are quite blown away…
It’s definitely one that has gone under the radar, but I’d highly recommend it, the only downside, maybe it could be a bit more smaller?
I feel like it’s a special little secret that only I have discovered and want to tell people about it, so when I see someone talking about wearable tech, they shouldn’t overlook this hidden gem.