Sony, a Japanese multinational corporation, better known for its lifestyle products, entered into the emerging wearable industry last year with its simple ‘Smartband’ 2014th edition. Although Sony is a big name in the electronics industry as the company have some globally successful product lines in its portfolio that include Xperia, Bravia and Cybershot series. But Despite that, It’s never been an easy task for any company to accomplish itself as a trusted player in an outlandish product line (wearables) where the seats have already been occupied by pioneers like Fitbit and Jawbone. And the same course is applicable for Sony’s wearable journey as its 2014th smartband version had nothing novel to offer.
Nevertheless, the company come up with a brand new ‘Smartband 2’ 2015th edition having improved specs and added features. The Smartband 2 comes with a built-in heart rate sensor that will continually monitor your heart rate and it is IP68-compliant that means it’s purely waterproof and won’t need to be taken off while activities like showering or swimming.
Having said that, the product is an affordable one, priced at approx £100 that tries to integrate both health and fitness tracking with the help of features like stress level measurement. But does it do cardinal tracking well enough to emulate with maestro players like Fitbit and Jawbone?
Design and Comfort
As far as I know, the design and comfort are the most significant aspects of any wearable gadget. And I have been wearing the band since October and had a decent experience with the device. The SmartBand chases the same norms in its fresh version as it did in the original model where you put the core into a wristband to allow it to trace your activity during the day. Again, Sony’s Lifelog plays a protagonist as it tracks activities beyond steps, such as listening to music, sleep, walking, running and so on.
Design-wise, the Sony SmartBrand 2 is very minimalist and has no texture on an outer side of the wristband. In particular, the wristband has been utterly redesigned in the Smartband 2, adding a more refined buckle and softer material finish to it. And, Sony has improved upon the design of the latch with the 2015th edition smartband, introducing a latching metal buckle that keeps the band very sturdily to your wrist. Although, you have to tighten the wristband flabbily to release the latch, but it’s manageable, a big thank to our fingernails.
The Core is 9.5mm thick and has a heart-rate sensor, but never feels bulky on the wrist because of the silicon rubber material finish. But there is one downside associated with the device is that the band can easily get sweaty underneath if you’re wearing it during workout sessions. Nevertheless, it’s very comfortable to wear.
Features and Specifications
As far as physical specifications are concerned, There’s a single button on one side of the SmartBand 2, applied to switch the device on and off, snooze alarms and execute various other tasks. This is backed by three multicoloured status LEDs, which indicate the connection, charge and the mode the band is in. However, there’s no display for the time or monitoring steps and heart-rate functioning.
The Sony SmartBand 2 functions with both iOS and Android devices, through Sony’s SmartBand app (which is compulsory to download, to activate the band). The app is available for free to download on the iTunes and Google Play. This app enables you to pair facilely with your device via Bluetooth or NFC and track your main stats, recorded through the SmartBand’s accelerometer and heart rate monitor.
As you proceed with your daily activities, the band uses an accelerometer to track your steps, sleep and calorie burn, while the heart-rate monitor takes stock of your pulse at regular intervals, around six times per hour by default and conveys its verdict on your stress levels. It does this by tracking your heart rate variability and works upon the doctrine, the steadier your heart rate is, the more stressed you are; the more alteration in the time between beats, the more relaxed your state of being.
Whenever you’re working out, you can put the SmartBand 2 into ‘heart activity mode’ for increased accuracy with a double-press on the device’s button. But one thing that I liked about this smartband is that you don’t need to tell it you’re running, walking or sleeping as the band is smart enough to tell the difference and log it automatically.
Apart from tracking, the new smartband has handful features that include preparatory music control where you can press the button and then tap to pause, play, and skip tracks on your smartphone. And the band can be set to buzz when you receive text messages, calls and other notifications. There’s also a ‘smart wake up’ feature, where you select an interval of time and the band wakes you up when you’re sleeping lightly within that interval, based on your sleep cycle.
Software and Apps
There are two dedicated apps for the Sony SmartBand 2. The first one is the control app, the SmartBand 2 SWR12 app, which is compulsory to activate your smartband. The app is necessary to fabricate the connection between your smartband and smartphone, also gathers the data from the band. This app also lets you check the battery status of your band, as well as giving you concise activity stats from your day.
It’s also where you configure objects like the notification alerts for call or messages from your phone, the smart wake-up alarm. There’s also a remote control option to let you control music tracks of the phone by using taps and button presses.
In total, The SWR12 app offers you a basic level insight into your daily activity, assent you to track your steps, total sleep, current heart rate, total walking and running times.
On the other side, the Sony’s Lifelog app gives you the overview of in-depth details of the data collected, as the app breaks down the data, marking it in hours and shows your daily activities in chronological order throughout the day via a timeline interface. This will display when you were walking, running, sleeping and so forth, as well as showing you the weather.
The other fractions that Lifelog can track are browsing the internet, taking photos, using transport, watching movies, communicating, reading, listening to music and so on. All these elements are gathered from the phone itself. Accordingly, if you want to learn how much time you’ve spent listening to music, it will show you.
When it comes to battery life, we found we got two to three days with heart rate monitoring on, out of the smartband 2. As there is no display and with the stamina mode (when the Heart Rate Monitoring is off) on, you can easily get a battery life of five days.
Charging is via micro USB; that is easy enough – simply pop the core out of the wristband and you’ll find a microUSB port at one end, which can be plugged into your laptop or a plug point if you have a USB adapter. Battery life can easily be viewed in the Sony SmartBand 2 app or via the three LEDs next to the band’s single physical button.
This Sony SmartBand 2 is available for £79 from Mobilefun.
- Comfortable to wear
- Built-in Heart Rate Monitor
- iOS and Android Compatible
- Battery Life could be better
- Some Tracker Wobbles
- Couldn’t detect running accurately