Having shown the public the third generation of SmartWatch, Sony apparently wants to stake out a certain part of the promising smartwatch market. All that remains from its predecessor with index 2 is the name; everything else is new: a larger and better screen, compact dimensions, a pedometer and built-in GPS. How successful was the work on fixing the errors, how was the transition to the new Wear rails? Let’s try to figure it out.
- screen: TFT LCD, 1.6 ”, 320×320 pixels, capacitive;
- processor: quad-core ARM A7 processor, 1.2 GHz;
- operating system: Android Wear 5.0;
- RAM: 512 MB;
- built-in memory: 4 GB;
- wireless interfaces: Bluetooth 4.0, NFC;
- navigation: GPS;
- sensors: accelerometer, gyroscope, digital compass, illumination;
- battery: 420 mAh;
- dimensions: 36 x 51 x 10 mm (module);
- weight: 38 grams – removable watch module, 38 grams – strap, 35.7 grams – sports strap.
The device comes in a transparent box, similar to the packaging of a classic watch.
The watch itself with a strap is located on a kind of pedestal, and a few accessories are packaged separately – in a small compartment below.
The package includes a Core watch module, one replacement strap, a USB cable and documentation.
Sony SmartWatch 3 differs significantly in appearance from its predecessor. The image is not replete with bright details. The removable Core module is a small box made of stainless steel and plastic.
The screen has small black frames, and in the center above it there is a light sensor window. The module is inserted into the strap, creating a single structure. The strap itself is silicone, quite wide, with a metal latch. There is also a sports version. It differs from the standard one by the presence of a large longitudinal slot, due to which it is lighter and provides better ventilation. There is a small slot for a microphone above the screen, and the power button is on the right side.
It is not possible to use the module separately from the strap, because the power button is part of the strap, and there is only a small protrusion on the watch itself. The back cover is metal; at the bottom there is a plug covering the micro-USB connector.
The SmartWatch 3 case is protected from water and dust according to the IP68 standard – you can safely wash or shower with the watch on your hand. You can even swim: the watch must withstand immersion to a depth of 1.5 m for 30 minutes. Of course, provided that the connector plug is tightly closed.
The watch is light, its weight on the hand is practically not felt. They do not interfere with working on the computer or writing. The strap has several slots for adjustment, so finding the right wrist circumference is not a problem. The latch is reliable, it will be difficult to lose the watch. All notifications are transmitted only via vibration (quite weak).
There are a couple of controversial points. The first is the location of the USB connector on the back cover. The second point is the strap itself. If it clasps your hand tightly, then the skin underneath it noticeably sweats. Probably, the sports version does not have this drawback, but in the test we had a watch in the standard configuration.
It is worth considering that Sony SmartWatch 3 “bulges out” quite a lot and does not fit under a shirt sleeve at all, and can also cause discomfort when wearing any other clothes with long, tight sleeves.
Sony uses a TFT LCD matrix with a diagonal of 1.6 inches and a resolution of 320×320 pixels in this watch model. The screen pixels are quite large, but this does not spoil the perception of the picture; all small interface details are displayed without problems. There are no noticeable dips in color rendition; the picture does not lose its quality even at large viewing angles. Largely thanks to the use of a transflective screen, it was possible to improve readability in bright light. For example, on a sunny day there is no problem studying received messages or looking at navigator signs. If the screen is always on, then in sleep mode it displays the time, just like a regular electronic watch. If desired, this mode can be disabled, slightly increasing the battery life. Note that this model has automatic brightness adjustment. It works quite adequately, although it has only five levels.
Of course, the screen has an oleophobic coating, so removing fingerprints is not difficult.
Interface and functionality
The watch runs Android Wear 5.0. We will not dwell in detail on the description of the OS itself, we will just go through some of the features of this model.
To establish a connection with the watch, you need to download the Android Wear application to your smartphone. Through it you can control almost all parameters of SmartWatch 3 without touching them. From there you can go to the applications section for the watch itself.
SmartWatch 3 offers the user a wide range of ways to display time, although most of them are familiar to Wear users. These can be either classic pointer chronographs or digital ones; there is also an interesting photo mode in which the time is displayed against the background of various landscapes loaded from the device’s memory. You can select the desired skin both on the watch itself and through the application on your smartphone. A large number of additional watch faces from third-party developers are available in the corresponding section of Google Play.
Another distinctive feature of SmartWatch 3 is the presence of a GPS navigation module. You can create a route using voice commands. The screen displays a general map of the route and more detailed navigator tips. But all this can only work in conjunction with a smartphone.
The presence of a pedometer in conjunction with a GPS module allows you to keep statistics in Google Fit, as well as make detailed notes in Lifelog – an application for Android, with which you can systematize and record all the data collected by the watch, creating your own activity log.
Otherwise, all the features of the latest version of Android Wear are present: a full-fledged top curtain, player controls, voice commands, notes, etc.
Filling and autonomous operation
The manufacturer does not mention the exact chipset model in official sources. An in-depth search revealed that the Sony SmartWatch 3 uses a Broadcom BCM23550 system. It includes a quad-core Cortex-ARM A7 processor clocked at 1.2 GHz, VideoCore IV GPU and image processor. It is worth adding that SmartWatch 3 is the first smartwatch model built on the platform of this manufacturer. The amount of RAM is 512 megabytes, and the internal memory is 4 gigabytes. All this ensures smooth operation of the interface in any application and when performing any task.
SmartWatch 3 is equipped with a 420 mAh battery. This allows them to work for two full days (if you turn off the clock at night) in a contented active mode. During testing, the backlight worked “automatically”, GPS positioning was turned on and standard smartwatch capabilities were used – viewing notifications, responding to messages via voice commands, counting steps, using a navigator while driving in a car. It takes about an hour to fully charge the watch.
SmartWatch 3 showed how Sony can use Android Wear. This is a completely new and independent model, in which necessary things like GPS and a pedometer have been added to the previous capabilities. For a full-fledged fitness device, a heart rate monitor is not enough. It is convenient to read SMS or messages on social networks without taking your smartphone out of your pocket, this will be especially true in winter or in rainy weather. There are a number of complaints about ergonomics; I would like more battery life.
The watch is best suited for those who want to always be aware of current events and constantly use the capabilities of Google Now. The price in retail chains ranges from 8,990 to 10,990, which, taking into account the exchange rate difference, is not so much.
- good transflective display with automatic backlight adjustment;
- convenient strap latch;
- GPS module.
- weak vibration motor;
- inconvenient access to the USB connector.