Sony Smartwatch 2: A Change for The Better?

It’s pretty safe to say that the original Smartwatch left many people feeling disappointed and underwhelmed. Sony has just released its successor, and many are waiting with baited-breath for the verdict. Here’s a run-down of what it has to offer, any improvements on its predecessor, and how it fares against the competition.

First impressions:

At first glance, there doesn’t seem to be a great deal of difference between Sony’s latest offering and the original; the screen of the SW2 is only ever so slightly bigger, but it does offer an LCD touch screen, in contrast to the OLED of the SW1. The resolution is also greater.

The Smartwatch 2 is aesthetically pleasing, although understated in comparison with some of its flashier competitors. It offers a very simple, yet elegant design; it is also well-fitting with a light-weight aluminum body. A new feature for the SW2 is that there is an option to switch watch straps, and is compatible with any 24mm strap. You can also find  cheap smart watches with better features.

Improvements on the SW1:

Sony seems to have listened carefully to the niggles raised by SW1 users, with a fair amount of effort put in to rectify common complaints; for example, unlike the original, the SW2 is now water resistant, and has an “all-weather” screen, which allows the user to read unhindered in bright sunlight.

There are three capacitive buttons, which replace the largely ineffectual swiping gestures of the original SW1, increasingly response time significantly. The SW2 has introduced a useful micro USB charger, which eradicates the need for the cumbersome, awkward proprietary cable used with the SW1 (and many of its competitors).

Battery life has been greatly increased, exceeding that of the SW1 and the majority of its close competitors, now allowing for three to four days of regular use, and a five to six day of more infrequent usage. The slightly annoying disappearing time display, implemented in the SW1 as an energy-saving tool, has now been eliminated, allowing the SW2 to display the time continuously.

Connectivity:

The connection process is simpler with the SW2. The watch incorporates One-touch NFC technology, which means that pairing with an android device is relatively simple: the theory is that when placed close by, or tapped together, the watch and device will instantly connect.

However, the effectiveness of this has been questioned, with reports of failing connections or the inability to connect in the first place, rife.  The SW2 is compatible with almost any android devices, unlike the SW1, which has a more limited compatibility.

The SW2’s ability to work with any android device increases its mass-market appeal; unlike its nearest competitor, the Galaxy Gear, which is limited by only being compatible with the Note.

Software:

There are very few noticeable differences between the software for the SW2 and SW2; their main function, and selling point, is to act as a discrete way to stay in touch with the outside world, without having to look at your phone. Both watches allow the user to read notifications from Facebook, read emails, and to handle and log calls.

However, the SW2 does have some limitations when compared to other smartwatches on the market, in that its lack of a microphone prevents the user from being able to take or receive calls. Another limitation is that, although the SW2 can read data already downloaded, it needs the phone to pull down new data, so the two needs to be in close proximity of one another.

Although the SW2 offers a wide variety of applications (over 300, in fact), half of these were made for the slightly smaller SW1 screen; however, they are still compatible. That said, some of the applications appear amateurish, and many just don’t function correctly; finding particular applications out of the 300 can sometimes be difficult. Sony is ahead of its competitors in that it offers some important and useful applications that its competitors don’t, such as Gmail; this is an advantage seeing as it is most android users preferred choice.

Verdict:

There are many positives for the SW2, and Sony have definitely included some useful improvements on the SW1. The smartwatch provides the basic function of allowing the user to read notifications sent to their phone, without having to retrieve the actual phone; however, the jury is out on whether it is more convenient to look at your watch, than it is to take it out of your pocket.

Its compatibility with almost all android devices blows the Galaxy Gear out of the water, but its uses are further limited by not having a microphone or camera. It’s not quite there yet, but it is definitely on its way.

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