Review: Sony Smartwatch 3 (SWR50)

41WZ83JiK2LWhen the Apple Watch was introduced last year, one would think that this is the first smartwatch ever, much like the introduction of the iPad in 2010. However, there have been several other manufacturers who have released smartwatches well before Apple.

One of these was Sony. They have released two previous models under their own operating system. Late last year Sony introduced the Smartwatch 3 (SW50) its first watch using Google’s Android Wear OS.

Pricing

This watch comes with either a rubber-like silicone band or a metal band and is priced significantly less than the Apple Watch. The silicone band model sells for $249.99 while the brushed stainless steel model goes for $299.99. Currently, there are no vendors that sell the all-metal band unless you go to eBay for a seller outside of the U.S.

Sony engineers have made it possible to change out watch bands, so you can opt for the silicone one now, and get the steel one later. Unfortunately, the band is not a standard size, so only a band made for this smartwatch will work.

Unlike the Apple Watch, discounts can be found for the Sony watch. Typical prices can be around $200 for the silicone-banded model.

Features

The Sony watch offers a beautiful 1.6” LCD transflective display. Even in direct sunlight, the bright colors do not appear washed out. It has a 320 x 320 pixel count.

One of the key benefits of a smartwatch is that you can change the watchface display SmartWatch-3-SWR50-metal-1240x840-b6a777bb2fa9e840150ab3e5b103bbb8as easily as changing your clothes. The Sony Smartwatch 3 is a perfect example. Just go to Get Watchfaces in Android Wear and you’ll find many faces to choose from. This is as easy as changing the wallpaper on your Mac or iPhone.

The key to the Sony Smartwatch is that it connects to your Android phone via Bluetooth. When a call comes in, it sends a notification alert to your watch via your Bluetooth connection.

Android Wear offers a myriad of apps that you can load into your watch. These include apps for watch faces, fitness, stopwatches, alarms, music control, etc.

Like the Apple Watch, the Sony watch has a 3D accelerometer so movement will control certain functions such as turning on the watch’s backlight. It also has a built-in GPS for fitness fans. In addition, it has a built-in pedometer than counts your daily steps. These can be transferred to several Android Wear apps that can keep your records.

Most smartwatches like Apple’s need to be charged daily. The Sony Smartwatch 3 holds a charge for 2 days. Charging is via a micro-USB cable on the rear of the watch.

Setup

The installation process is quite simple:

  1. Charge Your Sony Smartwatch – Just hook up the included USB cable from your Mac to make sure it is fully charged
  2. Download Android Wear from the App Store – Make sure you have the latest version of the app.
  3. Enable the Bluetooth on your phone – Be sure your phone is in discover mode and then pair the watch with the phone. Then just follow the instructions on your watch to complete the install.

Evaluation

The Sony Smartwatch 3 performed as expected. It does what it promises.

3484-49c574931b6ad10b1927e649086a41edWhat stands out and the main reason to get this watch is its ability to deliver notifications on your wrist. No longer do you need to have to take your phone out of your pocket/purse. At home I do not carry the phone with me.

As indicated above, the phone is quite easy to set up. When you load the app, you will receive steps on how to activate and load your watch with the latest software.

There are a few negatives with this watch. The size of the watch could be a problem for some users. The display is only 1.6” in diameter and may be hard to read for those with vision problems.

Although it is welcome to have a standardized micro-USB cable, why does Sony have to be cheap and only include a 6” cable? It would have been preferable to have a magnetic charging cable like Apple and other manufacturers have done. With a plug-in device your are increasing the risk for contact failure.

The Sony watch does not have a universal band size option, making it difficult to easily change watch bands. You have to purchase additional bands from Sony or its vendors.

Conclusion

If you are in the market for a smartphone watch that is truly versatile, there are many watches available to you at substantially higher cost.

But if you are looking for a watch with most of the key apps you would expect with a smartphone connection, the Sony is a serious one to consider. You can still purchase Sony’s previous models, but they do not run on Google’s universal Android Wear platform.

However, if you want a stylish watch that has these same functions, the Sony Smartwatch 3 offers much to its users. With a 1.6” LCD color display and easy to use features, this watch is hard to beat.

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