Hi there guys how are we all? I’ve recently been given a Sony Smartwatch to play with, and I’m here to tell you about the ins and outs, and my experience with it.
Let’s get you up to speed with the history and the device itself. The Sony Smartwatch is an updated version of the Sony Ericsson Liveview, a small miniature screen linked to your phone, small enough to clip on a notebook or, as the name suggests, wear as a watch. The Liveview was a great concept allowing you to read messages, tweets and Facebook posts without needing to remove your phone from your pocket. You could download additional plugins to give you features such as controlling your camera meaning you could join in the family group photo without running to the group trying to beat the timer. It also allowed you to control your music player…when it worked that is. While the Liveview was great, it had a few problems, mostly it would disconnect quite frequently causing massive battery drain to both the liveview, and your phone trying to get it to reconnect. The average battery life of my Liveview was around 8 hours.. kind of pathetic really for something that I couldn’t really use. When it did work, it worked well and offered battery life of around 3-5 days depending how often I was using it to read messages. The other major issue was using it with custom roms. CM7 was a great example. When it disconnected, it would try reconnecting but ask you to enter a passcode… defeating the point of having a device to read messages without touching your phone. So what did Sony do about it? After releasing a few updates to the Liveview firmware, and a few changes to the Liveview app… it was still highly buggy and little more than a time keeper. Then they released the Smartwatch, that’s when everything changed.
The Smartwatch is more than a sequel to a good idea poorly excecuted. It is everything the Liveview wishes it was. The Smartwatch features a full touch screen interface as opposed to the 4 directional buttons used on the Liveview. This new interface made it easier to navigate and control the plugins installed. You use swipe gestures to navigate your installed apps and widgets. The widgets show you a sample of the feed such as the last message you received, or quick access to the music players controls. The music player plugin looks alot more advanced showing you the album art, but keeps the same basic features. The screen is clearer and more vibrant with a higher resolution, so viewing images is possible, and not tinted a strange yellow colour. It has a metalic bezel making it look futuristic next to the full plastic counterpart. Better yet… it has none of the issues of its predesessor. It really is everything the Liveview should have been. Here’s a side by side view of the Liveview and Smartwatch. Which do you prefer the look of?
So, what comes in the box? Aside from the smartwatch iself you’ll find a generously sized rubber wrist strap, a charging cable and a metal plate to use with your own strap. You’ll also find the usual literature in more languages than Google translate. You can purchase additional straps in a veriety of different colours, so if you’re not a fan of black, or your outfit calls for a different watch… just change the strap. The metal plate included allows you to use your own watch strap with the smartwatch. With all these options you’ll always look the part. When you’re not using the strap, the Smartwatch has a handy clip so you can clip it to your shirt, coat or tie!
To start using the smartwatch, you’ll first need to install both the Sony Liveware manager (often preinstalled “bloatware” on Sony Ericsson handsets), and the Smartwatch app. Once installed you can then pair the watch with your phone using Bluetooth. This on its own won’t really do much for you apart from tell the time. Let’s get some plugins and make this a smart watch. Open up the Liveware manager and then select smartwatch. From here you can see a list of the available plugins recommended by Sony, and a link to search the play store for additional plugins. To make the smartwatch have the same default features as the Liveview, you’ll need to install the music, messaging, Twitter and Facebook plugins. You can configure each plugin by selecting it from the menu. Fancy going for a run? Install Endomondo and you can use the smartwatch to open Endomondo on your phone and begin a workout without touching the phone. The Endomondo plugin allows you to see the current distance, time and your heartrate if you have any monitors connected. There’s a small selection of other plugins including an updated version of the camera viewfinder I mentioned earlier, and with the newer more vibrant screen, what you see really is what you get.
The Smartwatch retails at around £100 and is available from most good electronics retailers, or from your favorite online store. If you’re a fan of the Liveview, you will not be disappointed with the smartwatch. You’ll wonder how you ever coped with such an inferior chunk of plastic. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Liveview. I’m one of the few people that actually enjoys using it, but compared to the Smartwatch, Liveview is deadview. Want to know the only thing I’m confused about with the Sony Smartwatch? Check out who made it.
Confused? me too, so I’m going to bed. Hope you enjoyed it, and if you own one, or are going to get one, let me know what you think of it.