Review: Sony Smartwatch 3

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Smart watches are a brand new thing out on the market and we’ve been seeing iteration after iteration of models from different companies such as Pebble, Motorola, Samsung and LG. These manufacturers have been pushing out some pretty nifty products including the Moto 360, LG G Watch and Samsung Gear S, however, Sony has a bit of a hit and miss record with the original Smartwatch and Smartwatch 2 – which left a lot to be desired (apart from the fact they didn’t run Android wear!) The latest edition to the Sony Smartwatch family is the Smartwatch 3 which was the first to bring two really cool features – a built-in GPS and a screen you can read without backlighting.

While not being strictly stylish with it’s silicon band, it seems Sony are pushing the Smartwatch 3 towards fitness fans. The watch has a built in GPS and IP68 certified water/dust proofing (1.5m depth for 30 minutes) built in making it perfect to take along while jogging, swimming or anything in between. The included rubber strap is rather comfortable once you get the fitting right but I did notice dust and other small particles sticking to the strap after a few days of use, requiring it to be wiped down SmartWatch-3-SWR50-gallery-bandoccasionally. You can swap out the band for another colour or version as the watch itself can be popped out with no tools required. The clasp which comes with the band is very easy and simple to use, simply needing to push down on it to lock in place. However, the band was a little thick in places especially when typing on a keyboard – it was rather annoying.

 

On the back you’ll find the Micro USB charging port which was awfully hard to use. Due to the waterproofing construction, the port was hidden behind a rubber cover which was difficult to remove each time – I left like I was about to rip it off each time due to the amount of force I needed to use. I found it was best to remove the watch from the silicon band before trying to attempt to remove the port cover.

The Sony Smartwatch 3 has a 1.6-inch transflective LCD screen which means it can emit light and reflect ambient light as well. This means in most lighting situations, you’ll be able to see the screen without needing to use the backlight. This is very useful when you’re outside in the sun as you can see the screen perfectly. However, the colours are a little washed out but still very readable. In terms of the processor, the Sony Smartwatch 3 has a 1.2GHz quad-core AMD Cortex A7 and 512MB of RAM – while slightly underpowered than other Android Wear devices out there, Sony have hit the mark between performance and battery life. I never had the watch freeze or stutter on me at any time. The Smartwatch has a 420mAh battery inside which translates to almost 48 hours of battery life during testing.

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As mentioned earlier, the Sony Smartwatch 3 also has a built-in GPS and in fact, is the first Android Wear watch to include it. This means you can head out for a run or a ride without needing to carry your phone with you. Pairing this with the recent Android Wear update allowing you to store some music on the watch itself, you can pair some bluetooth headsets to the watch and be completely phoneless. During my testing, this feature worked well when I went for a bike ride. However, I didn’t see the appeal of not taking my phone with me – especially when being limited to a small amount of media I could store on the watch (just a few gigs – a pittance!). Unlike other Android Wear smartwatches, the Sony Smartwatch 3 doesn’t have a built in Heart Rate monitor which seems like a key feature for those using the smart watch as an exercise buddy. While this wasn’t a deal breaker for me, it may be for some.

  • Score:

    7.0 / 10

  • The Good:

    Great battery life, built-in GPS, clasp works well

  • The Bad:

    No Heart Rate Monitor, thick band, annoying USB cover

  • Bottom Line:

    All in all, I think the Sony Smartwatch 3 is a great device.

With impressive battery life, a screen that you can use without the backlight (in most cases) and built-in GPS capabilities, the watch would definitely suit those looking for something to take along while exercising. However, the omission of a Heart Rate Monitor may deter some. All in all, I think the Sony Smartwatch 3 is a great device.

Join the Conversation

  • Paul Carpenter

    sorry for the negative comment…had mine for a week and am having no joy ! – can you tell me does yours remain connected all the time – when I try to do anything with this the disconnected icon keeps coming up on the phone screen – for example if I try to transfer music it appears to disconnect

  • mandy puch

    I’ve had my sony smartwatch 3 for 3 weeks now and love it. I bought to train for a half marathon and the offline gps is awesome as well as the music storage. I wear my wireless headphones and have no need to carry my phone now on runs (not interested in heart monitoring). I didn’t think I’d use or have a need for sending/receiving texts on my watch but such a useful feature for me. So nice not to dig my phone out of my purse to see who’s calling or texting. And voice text from the phone is so convenient and easy. Love, love love this watch.

  • XCmanCraig

    I’d like to see pictures of the screen in daylight conditions at noon time With no overcast. Running with watch is a big deal for me. GPS is a plus, but wouldn’t make me run without phone because I have a heart rate monitor. So the phone would have to come with anyway.
    But my Sony SmartWatch 1 is pretty much useless on any amount of daylight outside. So daylight screen readability is a big deal to me.

    • Howard

      Transreflective LCDs were used when Sony used to make pocket pc’s. They are very effective in daylight. The smartwatch 2 uses this type of screen and on my sw2, the brighter the sun is, the easier it is to read. In fact a shadow on the screen when you’re outside makes it harder to read.

    • mandy puch

      I just ran Saturday with full sun in 80 degrees and the screen is vivid and easy to see. No issues.

  • Ken McKean

    Its rubbish, too big, full of shortcomings not least the USB charger – if you can get it…….

  • Paul Carpenter

    did you actually test the music part of this device ??? – or did sony pay you for this review ! – Had the smartwatch 3 for a week and still can not get the thing to play music offline !

    • dj s.i.c.

      I did

    • mandy puch

      No issues here with music download