Designed to perform and impress, the SmartWatch 3 delivers a good combination of technology and style
Android wear devices are slowly becoming affordable and popular. They will become more so in the coming months. My first, and only,
encounter so far has been the Moto 360 smartwatch which I thought was a bit half baked especially since the battery life was horrible. Now, I am testing a second generation device in the Sony SmartWatch 3 (SWR 50).
As far as looks go, the SmartWatch 3 looks like a digital watch and does not diverge much from its predecessors. There is just one power/home button on the right side. The timepiece part can be removed to enable charging or to change straps. Which is a good feature. But the best part of
the design is the fact that the device can be charged with a regular micro-USB and you don’t have to carry a special charger in your pocket.
What is good?
Well, to start with it will tell the time pretty well. Like with Android phones, Android Wear devices too have the same software inside. There is very little scope to differentiate. So the SmartWatch 3 does a neat job of what it is supposed to do. The voice controls work well and so does the entire range of Google cards that tell you what is happening around you.
I liked the fact that every day around the time I usually leave office the watch tells me how long it will take me to get home. Of course, all this is not the watch’s doing, it is just Google being hyperactive.
The notifications also work seamlessly and you don’t have to set up anything. All notification that have permission on your phone also appear on the watch. However, not all of them open fully on the small screen of the watch. It just lets you open the same on the phone. It also tells you how many steps you are doing a day, though every smart device throws its own numbers for the same day.
But the best feature of all is the fact that this one has much better battery life than the earlier generations of Android Wear devices. I got two days on a full charge, which is clearly a 100% improvement on the Moto 360.
What is not so great?
Having used a Pebble for over a year, I still can’t get to use a smartwatch that needs to be charged more than twice during a working week. Though the battery life is much improved, it still has a long way to go. The problem with a dead smartwatch is that it is useless. Maybe, these should come with a power save mode where in the last 20% of battery life it shows just the time and works longer. The other issue is that there are still not a lot of apps that you can use on the watch to increase your productivity. Yes, all Google services work well. But that is about it, unless you want to play games on the watch. These are more issues with the platform and less with the device itself.
Should you buy it?
Yes, if you are looking for a smartwatch that will keep a tab on you and let you keep a better tab on your work life. For me just the fact that a smartwatch lets me keep the phone silent in my jean pocket during a meeting is a great plus. Add to it the fact that it does a good job of tracking my steps and calories. If you are looking for a top-end smart watch this might just be the best bet before the Apple iWatch comes along.
* Display: 1.6-inch (320 x 320 pixel) transflective display
* Processor: Quad ARM A7, 1.2 Ghz
* Operating system: Android 4.3
* Memory & storage: 512 MB RAM, 4 GB eMMC
* Battery: 420mAh battery
* Connectivity: Bluetooth 4.0, NFC, Micro USB
* Estimated street price: R19,990