Cast your mind back lớn the period between August & October 2012, & there was barely a whisper about a smartwatch round these parts. Pebble was funded và well underway, & we discovered a curious Google patent -- but that was pretty much it. In that same period one year later, you"ll find nearly 40 news stories on alone. There"s definitely been a climate change.

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One player in this year"s wrist-based giải pháp công nghệ battle is Sony"s SmartWatch 2. That number appended to lớn the kết thúc of its name lets you know that this isn"t the company"s first foray into this area (it"s technically its third). Because it"s a tech giant, then, và also one of the more established players in this market, our expectations were rather high. So, can Sony show the competition how it"s done.

Gallery: Sony SmartWatch 2 review | 34 Photos







Gallery: Sony SmartWatch 2 đánh giá | 34 Photos


Sony SmartWatch 2

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Well-builtEasy khổng lồ useLarge number of apps


Some software issuesAverage battery life


Watches have a tough job from the outset. Not only must they fulfill their functional purpose, but they also have an intrinsic links to style, image và fashion. A good watch must stand up khổng lồ both tasks, ahem, at hand (sorry). What looks good khổng lồ you, however, will largely be a matter of taste, và there are plenty of pictures here & above khổng lồ let you decide if it"s to lớn your liking. What we will say, however, is that it might not fit all occasions (it"s definitely not a dress watch for example), but it won"t look too out of place with most smart-casual outfits. As for the thiết kế itself, well, if you"re at all familiar with any of Sony"s phones, you might already know what you"re getting into. The Xperia DNA (that"s not the name of an actual phone!) is more than a little evident here. That means a square face with rounded corners, chamfered edges và flat sides. The strap on our mã sản phẩm is a basic rubber affair; it"s practical, at best. It feels a lot softer and more comfortable than it first looks, but it"s not at all jazzy. You can, however, spice things up & change it for a number of other straps, including leather & metal ones.

The watch has a 1.6-inch, sunlight-readable display (220 x 176-pixel TFT), surrounded by a moderate bezel -- the bottom of which is where you"ll find three capacitive buttons. These are similar lớn what you might find on an Xperia phone: back, trang chủ and menu. In brief, this is how you"ll interact with the watch in addition lớn the main touchscreen. Lớn rate the screen on its px density (176 ppi, if you"re interested) seems a little heavy-handed. The reality is that it"s fine to lớn look at for glancing at the time (which, incidentally, you can do without having khổng lồ interact with the watch, unlike the Galaxy Gear). It"s also adequate for navigating the menus, et cetera. Icons and text can look a little pixelated at times, and viewing galleries or media from the phone isn"t that great. But it"s acceptable for general use, and matches what you"d expect from a device like this.


There is one more control we"ve yet khổng lồ mention, và that"s the aluminum power button on the right-hand side. As you"d expect, it switches the device on and off, but it also wakes the watch to activate the touchscreen. The only remaining hardware feature is the micro-USB port on the other edge, which is kept out of sight thanks to lớn a sealed cover -- much like on the Xperia Z and Z1, in fact. There are more than just aesthetic reasons for having a sealed charging port: the SmartWatch 2 carries the same IP57 dust- & water-resistance rating as the Xperia Z. This technically means it"s good for 30 minutes under one meter of the wet stuff, but the sale material is a little more conservative, suggesting it should survive rain showers và splashes while washing your hands. Really, though, it"s unlikely water or dust will penetrate anyway, as there"s no microphone or audio jack opening. In fact, there"s just bluetooth không dây 3.0 and NFC for communicating with the outside world. We feel that pulling out the processor details might be a little bit much for a watch, but for "thems that wants lớn know," it"s a single-core ARM Cortex-M4, clocked at 180MHz. As for the performance, we"ll be returning to lớn that in just a moment.

Software and apps


Most smartwatches we"ve seen so far lean heavily on the host phone for their actual "smarts." They often rely on a companion phầm mềm for configuring the watch via your handset, và that"s the case here, too. Before you even get this far, however, you"ll want to lớn get mix up. Fortunately, this is a relatively simple process. A key point khổng lồ mention here is that unlike Samsung"s Galaxy Gear -- which only works with a limited number of devices -- Sony"s SmartWatch 2 will work with any app android handset running 4.0 & above (we used it with a Galaxy chú ý 3). Without reading the instructions, we simply held the watch against the phone"s NFC sensor, và sure enough, we were sent off khổng lồ the Play Store to tải về the corresponding Smart Connect app. Once that was installed, we were good lớn go. We"ve read other reports saying this process went less smoothly, but we can only confirm our own painless experience. If your phone doesn"t have NFC, or you prefer to get mix up manually, you can of course bởi vì so. Simply grab the Smart Connect ứng dụng from the Play Store, và pair devices as you would any other accessory.

Customizing the watch is also straightforward. Once you"re phối up, you"ll see the watch symbol in the status bar of your handset; just swipe down from there và you"ll be able lớn access the settings directly via a persistent notification. In total, there are three sections in this view, all of which relate to apps. Up top is a shortcut to tìm kiếm for SmartWatch apps; beneath that is a danh sách of those you"ve got installed; & if you keep going down, you"ll find a menu of recommendations. If an installed ứng dụng has configuration options, it"s here that you can play around with the settings. Likewise, the app search feature can be done manually, but the shortcut drops you right into those that are optimized for the SmartWatch 2, and you can broaden that search to show all compatible apps. There"s also a settings phầm mềm on the watch itself, và this is where you can control some of the more practical features such as turning bluetooth on/off, toggling vibrate, choosing watch faces, enabling or disabling some mặc định apps, triggering master reset và so on.

Given that there"s no camera or mic, we"re pretty much dependent on apps to showroom features & functionality. The good news is that -- thanks to lớn the backward compatibility with the previous SmartWatch"s apps -- there"s a generously stocked larder to choose from. The not-so-good news is that much of the selection isn"t really worth getting excited about. As you scroll through apps that have been optimized for this device, you"ll quickly spot some thẻ games, a currency converter và many other offerings that are neither practical nor work well. What"s even more frustrating is that a surprising number of these are paid apps, which you can"t kiểm tra without ponying up first. We"re obviously not against ever paying for apps, but many that cost a few dollars here would be the sort of thing you"d expect to see for không tính phí if it were for a phone -- including a $2.99 Nyan cat! There are still some good apps, but beware that any boast about how there are 100 or so apps specifically optimized for the SmartWatch 2, and nearly 300 in total doesn"t tell the full story.


Naturally, notifications are key with smartwatches. Sure, you might not want lớn read all your email, tweets & Facebook updates on your wrist, but being able khổng lồ glance at your watch & know if that beep from your pocket is worth your attention is the whole sản phẩm category"s raison d"être. The email notifications show you the email"s sender, along with a quick snippet of the text. It"s usually enough information khổng lồ let you know if it"s something you urgently need khổng lồ attend to, but if you were hoping you could scroll through the whole message, then you"re out of luck. There"s also an official email app from Sony that works with the default email client on Xperia phones, should that be your weapon of choice.

As for social networks? Well, this will depend on how much "noise" you want. Twitter and Facebook both have apps, and they can be a little bit spammy. On the plus side, Twitter"s short-worded nature means that you"ll usually get the whole message on screen. With Facebook, of course, it depends on the post. Both apps let you manage whose updates will trigger notifications, making them reasonably easy to tailor lớn your needs. It is worth pointing out, however, that you can"t click web links in either of these apps, since there"s not actually a web browser on board.


Despite these three big hitters, there are some notable sites that don"t have official apps (Google+ & Instagram, lớn name but two). If these happen to lớn be your haunts of choice, then what"s a smartwatch owner khổng lồ do? Well, there is hope. An app called "WatchIt" lets you get notifications for pretty much anything you wish, including popular messaging apps such as WhatsApp & Line, et cetera. OK, so it"s not as neat as an official app, but it"s a good all-round solution for those who want an easy way khổng lồ keep tabs on what"s going on in their pocket/bag/digital world. It"s worth noting that the vibrate alert on the watch is quite strong, so you can imagine it gets quite distracting if you have it set to shoot out a large amount of alerts.

Something related to lớn this, is wearing the watch while driving. We"ve all suffered the tease of hearing our phone alert us khổng lồ an incoming message while we"re busy at the wheel -- & it never fails lớn happen when we"re actually expecting news. But, if you"re in slow-moving traffic và that message can be read just by twisting your wrist a little, the temptation is potentially a little too strong. This would be true in theory for any watch that has notifications, but perhaps due lớn the ferocity of its vibrate, we noticed it more here than when wearing, say, the Galaxy Gear.

On the flip side, perhaps, is basic điện thoại tư vấn handling. As there"s no speaker or mic, all you can really bởi is reject or answer a điện thoại tư vấn from the watch face. Answering a call is really only a useful option when you"re wearing a công nghệ bluetooth headset. However, when an unwelcome call springs upon you, lượt thích when you"re driving or have two hands full of groceries, you can reject it swiftly.


Our last word on notifications goes lớn what, at first, seemed like phantom wrist vibrations. If you walk any amount of distance away from your phone, the SmartWatch 2 lets you know it"s lost connection khổng lồ the phone. But, sometimes it loses connection when you"re right by it, too, triggering an unexpected alert. Oh, we said just one more thing, but we meant two. The number of unread notifications for an phầm mềm is shown next lớn the icon on the watch (as on iOS), so you have khổng lồ "mark all as read" from the phone companion app, even if you glanced at them all. It seems like a minor point, but having lớn go back to lớn the phone (or go in and read every email) to lớn reset things means you either start ignoring the number, or are forever resetting. Sony, if you"re reading this, perhaps we can get a basic long-press option next time? Thanks.

Performance và user experience


The SmartWatch 2 was designed to lớn fill a small gap in our lives: that gap between your hand and pocket/bag/purse. It"s also a watch! The time-telling part is hard to lớn fault. The display is clearly readable in daylight, even when not backlit. Just glance at your wrist & you"ll see if you"re late for that meeting just as easily as any other horological device -- even Samsung (which asks you push a button, or perform a gesture) didn"t quite nail this part. As for general "smart" performance? It"s a bit of a mixed bag. In general, the touchscreen is responsive enough. Unlike with phones, you"re not expecting lớn wade through lots of screens & menus. Scrolling isn"t as swift as you"d expect from a half-decent phone or tablet, but it"s not prohibitively sluggish by any means. Taps, however, don"t always register. You can find yourself poking the screen two or three times, unsure if you"ve missed (perhaps touching the next icon,) or if it"s just not responding. This can be even more of a tease when you"re actually aiming for a long-press. As there"s no voice command/S Voice-type option, this is your only way of opening apps, so we"d hope it was as painless as possible.

As for those notifications (we didn"t talk enough about them already, we know), they sometimes came in twice, in short succession. We"ll defer lớn your patience on how much of an issue that is, but if you get a lot already, you don"t really want any more. Additionally, there were a few other software hiccups that surprised us. Take "Smart Camera," one of the official Sony apps. It"s a useful tool that lets you use the watch"s display as a viewfinder/shutter button for the phone"s camera. Great for taking self-portraits, or any other photo where you might not be able lớn trigger the phone directly. Unless it crashes frequently, occasionally freezes or is just a little bit slow to respond (as was the case for us). If this had been a third-party app, we"d put it down to lớn bad coding.

The same goes for the official media-control app. It makes sense khổng lồ be able khổng lồ skip through songs and adjust the volume of music from the watch. It"s just a shame that the app rarely worked well enough that we wanted lớn use it. Beyond general unresponsiveness, we"d often swipe to move on khổng lồ another track, & it"d instead restart the same track. Repeatedly. Or display the wrong cover artwork, or hide the volume bar. It even caused the phone and watch to lớn disconnect when we went to lớn double-check it before writing this very paragraph. We had to lớn restart the watch completely.


On the bright side, we were impressed by how quickly the battery charges -- around half an hour from empty. You could almost (if you"re so inclined) watch the battery percent number grow in front of your eyes. For us, real-world battery life came out lớn between two và three days of serious usage -- not unlike what we saw on the Galaxy Gear, which took a beating from critics about its charger dependency. At least that quick charge time means you can drip feed it at your desk with fast results. We"d wager you could get more battery life out of it if you limit the number of notifications (and therefore vibrations) it has khổng lồ dole out.

We also have lớn hand it to Sony for keeping the user experience simple. Essentially, if you can work a touchscreen phone, you know how khổng lồ use the SmartWatch 2. You can arrange the icons by name và favorites, and while there are clearly some software bugs, they seem lớn be app-specific, rather than endemic lớn the interface itself. The companion/controller ứng dụng for the host phone might be basic, but it provides the access you need without getting in the way, though we would lượt thích to see the option for some of the watch settings (e.g., alarm, vibrate on, language) available on the larger screen too, just lớn provide an easier option.

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The competition

As we alluded to in the intro, the smartwatch space is one that"s really starting khổng lồ heat up. That said, the category is crowded with almost as many rumored products as real ones. With word of devices from Nokia, Google and Apple in the works, there"s been plenty of speculation to go around. In the here and now, however, competition comes mostly from two camps. There"s the Galaxy Gear that we"ve mentioned several times already. At $300, it"s a lot more expensive, but it does have a few quality tricks -- namely, a camera & better điện thoại tư vấn handling. The other contender is Pebble, the most successful Kickstarter campaign the world has ever seen. In brief, the Pebble"s strengths are its price ($150) & battery life (about a week of use) và a healthy app developer community. There are a slew of other offerings, too, that might meet your specific needs. The I"m Watch ($299) has a lot of promise, but has yet lớn establish its reputation. For the more fitness-oriented, Nike"s new FuelBand ($149) & the Fitbit Force ($130) are both technically watches, và will be available in the next two weeks. Perhaps the dark horse is Adidas" Smart Run, which is both a sports tracker & Android watch. Again, not available until November 1st for a rather hefty $399.