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Sony joins the Android Wear ranks with underwhelming SmartWatch 3

Sony joins the Android Wear ranks with underwhelming SmartWatch 3


Also introduces a SmartBand Talk with voice commands, an altimeter, and sleep detection

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In March, Sony said it'd stick to its own smartwatch software in lieu of joining the Android Wear party with the likes of LG, Motorola, and Samsung. Today, Sony's completely reversing that stance with the introduction of SmartWatch 3, its fifth-generation smartwatch, which has completely embraced Google's Android Wear platform. Sony intends to add a Walkman app for music playback via a Bluetooth headset along with a remote control app for stuff you're playing on another device. Don't look for much more to distinguish this device on the software front.

Check out all of Sony's new devices

In terms of design, the SmartWatch 3 leans toward a sporty look and seems to prioritize ruggedness with a steel-backed case, interchangeable silicon straps, and an IP68 waterproof rating. This makes it feel rather bulky and unrefined in the hand or on the wrist. The 1.6-inch transflective LCD display is also not particularly bright or impressive, making for a disappointing first impression — particularly when compared against the Moto 360 or LG's G Watch R, which place their emphasis on classic watch style and good looks.


Not ready to compete with LG or Moto in the looks department

The SmartWatch 3 has a resolution of 320 x 320, 4GB of built-in storage, and a quad-core 1.2GHz processor powered by a 420mAh battery. Sony promises that will provide up to two days of typical usage. Pricing in Europe is set at 229.99 and availability is expected this autumn.

The other member of Sony's expanding SmartWear family is the new SmartBand Talk. It has a 1.4-inch e-paper display like the Pebble, however its refresh rates are significantly slower, making for a frustratingly sluggish user experience. Its big new feature is HD Voice support with an integrated microphone and speakers to let you conduct phone calls directly on the band. It also has a nice trick of letting you remotely control music on other devices and start and stop it with a snap of your fingers (it senses the movement of the wrist rather than listening out for a particular sound).

Replete with Sony's usual fitness-tracking software — which is aided by the inclusion of an altimeter that can recognize the elevation of your runs or stair climbs — the SmartBand Talk will also be available in the autumn, at a price of 159.99 euros. Both the new SmartWatch and SmartBand come with Bluetooth and NFC connectivity along with MicroUSB charging connections, making them neatly compatible with most of the equipment you already own.