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 occasionally. 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.
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.
7.0 / 10
Great battery life, built-in GPS, clasp works well
No Heart Rate Monitor, thick band, annoying USB cover
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.