Smartwatch 3

Sony's newest smartwatch ditches its own software in favor of Google's wearable platform

IFA 2014 Sony took us by surprise a little today by announcing the Smartwatch 3 with Android Wear. Previous reports had Sony execs claiming the company was committed to doing its own thing, and yet, here we are. The Smartwatch 3 changes up other things too from its predecessors, most noticeably the design of the band. It still looks like a Sony Smartwatch of old a little, but it's quite different when you get beyond that.

All the units on display at the launch event at IFA 2014 were stuck in demo mode for Android Wear, so what we saw on the software front is very little. Sony is promising that you'll be able to use this without a phone, though, for navigation using the built in GPS and for and music playback with Bluetooth earbuds.

Smartwatch 3

The display is the par for the course 320x320 resolution panel at 1.6-inches and while it's not horrible, it doesn't stand above any of the other Android Wear watches we've already seen. Charging is via microUSB and the port is covered with a flap as it's also IP68 rated for water resistance. It's actually a pretty solid, sturdy watch.

That's in no small part down to the relatively chunky silicone band that surrounds it. The Smartwatch part pops in and out of the center of the band, so while you can change it out, you can only change it out for another Sony band. But it's comfortable enough to wear if pretty uninspiring to look at.

And that would be our biggest criticism of the Smartwatch 3. While the likes of LG, Asus and Motorola are now putting some serious work into creating stylish wearables, Sony has almost taken a step back here from the Smartwatch 2. Pricing will be everything, and while Sony didn't disclose any specifics during the event, if it doesn't undercut rivals it could be a tough sell.


Reader comments

Hands-on with the Sony Smartwatch 3 with Android Wear


You did read the article, didn't you?

"Charging is via microUSB and the port is covered with a flap as it's also IP68 rated for water resistance"

6 Totally dust tight.
8 Protected against prolonged effects of immersion under pressure.

Looks good to go regarding water.

And if you believe that flap is actually going to remain watertight after daily charging I have some stock in Palm to sell you.

I've had my Xperia Tablet Z for a year, charging it every night, and the flap on it is still golden. I use a magnetic charger adapter for my Z2 tablet because I don't like flaps much (they are an annoyance), but I'm not worried about the durability. Sony has done waterproofing right.

I agree with your comment about mag charge connector, I use the one on my Xperia Z Ultra all the time in the car.
So why didn't Sony use the same system on the watch???

My Z1 stays water tight after using the charging flap a lot, and the chassis even has some damage in the area... No basis for this comment.

+1. Sony seems almost phobic of wireless charging. I assume this is to be able to sell more accessories (cradles and the like), but that doesn't make them much different from most other companies. Still, the magnetic charging connectors on the Z1C and subsequent phones and tablets is pretty nice, and very usable.

I am hoping one of these smart watches becomes my running watch. I hope that the moto 360 pairs will with a running app and I can use it for those proposes.

Exactly, I can't wait to get mine, my wife is getting me one for Christmas :) Also it can play music stored on it, really awsome to have bluetooth headphones paired with it.

I agree. Both this and the new Samsung watch look like they're trying too hard to simulate something Apple might do. It just comes off as ugly. The Asus watch and the 360 are the only ones to have really gotten watch styling.

I don't mind the LG GWatchR. The younger me wore a watch like that, but older me prefers the more stylish Moto 360. My true fear is that the iWatch nails it all, circle design, full screen, elegant looks and good battery life.

but I just don't think the tech is there for that so fearing it is like a rocking horse, it wont get me anywhere but it gives me something to do.

My hunch is that Apple doesn't release an actual watch. For all the hype around smart watches, what little I've seen about sales numbers hasn't been impressive. I see a lot more fitness bands than I've seen smart watches in the wild. I think Apple comes out of left field with a fitness band and all but declares the smart watch DOA and over the next year the smart watch slides into niche obscurity.
That's just my pet theory though. Smart watches have been out for about a year and a half and really haven't gained much, if any, real functionality.

a few years ago there was a lot of hype about an iTV, and not one shred of evidence came out of even a lab prototype.. and now it's all repeated about an iWatch.

there's real evidence for of specific design details around the iphone6, but nothing for an iwatch.

so I will be surprised if Apple do anything more than a fitness band.

Odd, it was the look of this watch that won me over. I like the plain, sleek black. It's classier to me than the other more gawdy offerings, and looks like it will look great with suit. More modern looking. When I'm dressed down it won't look that bad either, but you can wear almost anything with jeans and a tshirt. No one is going to much notice. Being a plain black T kind of guy, anyway, this is still a good choice.

that wasn't my point, my point is I worry Apple might release the best standalone watch. and as I said I dint think the tech is there to do a substantially better job then moto

Apple doesn't have to release a product yet to simulate imagined Apple styling. Apple has a fairly distinctive style. This and the Samsung watch both look like knockoff Apple products.

They look like imagined/simulated Apple styling? Are the skies purple in your world? That is how I imagine/style it....

They fit Apple's design aesthetic. Extremely simplified, white, rounded corners, unibody-ish design. If you don't get it, I can't make you see it.

So if something is white and simplified then it has to be Apple style ? Damn! I tell you what, this watch is desinged mainly for SPORT/FITNESS. Apple watch has totally different design and style, it is at first place elegant like something expensive. Beside daily usage, you can wear it at business meeting, at official dinner, etc. not this watch though.

This one you can take for surfing, swimming, running, rowing, etc. This watch has totally different design principles than apple watch. It is mainly rubber and it waterproof. I can't make you see it.

Samsung develops and pioneers curved screen technology, and they are " simulate something Apple might do?" Give me a break.

I'm not going to bother to explain to you the differences between Samsung and Asus' screen, nor all the work and innovation that Samsung has done in the area. It's all available on the internet. You can look it up.

I think it's ugly as sin, but built-in GPS is a great feature. If it can store my location and transfer my running route/time to Runkeeper or whatever, I might be interested.

Totally agree. I want it to be able to track my cycling, so for me GPS is a must, now it just needs to be priced nicely and I may have myself a new watch.

For me it looks great, plain and simple, I see it as a fitness gadget more than something I would wear on daily basis. And I think this is better because I don't want to really wear something I will have to charge every two days, just another device to charge ? No thanks. But as a tracking device, hell yeah.

Im an outsider it seems. I've always been content with the design of the sony smartwatches. If they can undercut on this, it will definately be on my shopping list

Where was this stated? This is probably the best feature of the Smartwatch 2 and one nobody else has been smart enough to do. SW2 works perfectly in the sun and has fantastic battery life right up there with Pebble because of the trans reflective display.

You guys need to open up a bit. This watch looks good for those us physically active. I don't feel comfortable wearing a 360 or a LG G Watch biking or playing ball. It will irritate my wrist.

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Agreed. I'm always working around the house doing home improvement projects, working on the car, climbing in the attic, etc. and the last thing I want while doing all that is an expensive watch on my wrist. I have the original Pebble now and it's perfect for me. It looks good enough and can stand up to being worn during physical labor. So if this new Sony watch is cheap, it might finally push me into Android Wear, simply because I'll be able to wear it all the time without worry.

I'm in the exact same boat, rocking the original Pebble but looking into Android Wear. If this is cheap and usable in sunlight then I'm all over it.

I agree. But on the flip side, I don't think this one is attractive enough to wear when I'm not exercising. So it'd have to be much cheaper than other AW devices to convince me to give it a shot, since I'd probably only be wearing it... ugh, not nearly as often as I should, these days.

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The USB plug is what the others should use to recharge the android wear watches unless you have wireless charging the Cradle on my Gear live is a JOKE!! That's a awesome feature Sony!!! no need to carry any special cables or cradles...

Or, y'know, the worst. A watch isn't a smartphone. A watch should be able to be worn in the rain, the shower or a pool. It needs to be sealed. MicroUSB is the worst possible option for charging a watch... Which explains why Sony are the only ones dumb enough to use it.

Did you even read the article before posting? It's ip68 dust & water resistant to a point.. In fact if I'm right that gives it 30 mins in 1 meter of water, now unless your wanting to go diving with it I would say that's decent enough for day to day use.

It uses a flap to seal. One you'll have to remove daily. One that will break off and wear down and suddenly you find out you no longer have a waterproof watch because you no longer have a functioning watch.

We discussed this earlier, but ok. The flaps on the Sony devices are plenty durable, so long as you don't actually grab/yank/snap them off. I have an Xperia Tablet Z that I've had over a year, charged every night via the microUSB, and the flap is absolutely fine and still just as water resistant as it was on day one. I use the magnetic connector on my Z2 tablet to charge only because I find opening/closing the flap to be a minor annoyance. I have absolutely no worries as to durability.

BS! Flap means:

IF waterdamage THEN no warranty (because manufacturer will say "flap was not closed")
IF no flap and waterdamage THEN warranty.

Where is the problem with a Cradle? No flaps - and they are small and super cheap (i think the one for my Neo costs 7 bucks).

Buy 5 of them - and have one at home, one in your car and one in you jacket. And 2 just for spare.

Flaps need to GO AWAY!

I disagree on Qi. When I travel, I don't want to drag along a charger that's the size of a Galaxy Mega just for my watch.

Has a GPS sensor, so that tics a box for me. I don't mind the sport look. If President Clinton could rick a Timex Ironman under his custom suit, I might rock this. Of course, without Kit Kat on my LG G1, I can't buy anything yet.

As a professional campaign/political consultant, I've always lived by the belief that one should closely study what Clinton does............and do the opposite.

Constitutionally, the House is responsible for all bills of revenue and expenditure (i.e. the budget). Take a look at Clinton's pre-95 budget submissions and tell me how concerned he was about balanced budgets and deficit reduction. Of course, I do give him a tremendous amount of credit for his attempts to balance the budget, welfare reform, etc; however, those policies owe as much to the Republican Congress and the Contract with America as anything.

They are due to a lot of factors, Clinton was one of them. He was a better president than most. So what if he diddled around?

And was one of the elite group of d-bags that was actually impeached.

Besides, Congress is responsible for all budget bills. And Clinton's fiscal policies (unless you count the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" policy he used for the first 6 years of his term) didn't balance the budget. He continued what his predecessor (Reagan, I'm skipping Bush 1) put into place, that was already beginning to work long before he was in office. When Clinton started actually started tinkering with budgetary policy in the last 2 years of his term, the economy went to sh**.

He was definitely charismatic, which is kind of why he seemed coated with teflon, but a "good" President? Meh. Not really. He just projected a likable persona.

It looks interesting. What's the release date on all these new watches? Sometime in October?

Oh and new comments interface looks cool, but I wish their was a tutorial? I saw a new shinney button with an "!" and pressed it. So I accidentally reported someone for no reasons :S

Agreed this is going to be a great sports watch, especially at ip68, that's like 5m isn't it?

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I actually like the look of this, I guess it will be this or asus for me. Depending on which is under $200

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I'm not a fan of these plastic straps, on any watch. That makes Asus the winner today, I did not expect that.

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This doesn't excite me. Moto, LG, Asus and Samsung have sparked my interest I wonder what HTC will come up with too. For the third time around from Sony this isn't impressive at all but may/should be cheaper than the others.

Why do most of these companies take a piece of ostensibly cutting edge technology and strap it to a ridiculous piece of cheap plastic or rubber? I'm of the mind that a watch can be a little piece of art as well as being a functional timekeeping device. All I see in most of these smartwatches is ugly, ugly, ugly. If they want to market this as a sport watch for athletes, fine but other than that I would not strap this one on. Until I see the final Moto 360 it is ASUS Zenwatch for the win. And I don't mind spending a few hundred dollars for an attractive, quality timepiece; smartwatch or regular watch.

Hey Richard, get me one on your way back :). If there has been one feature I have cribbed about, it is the lack of standalone capability. Having a GPS is great. Music streaming to a headset is great. I hope Google brings in an "offline" mode that has the capability save meetings et al would be very welcome too.

Great, just bought a Sony smartwatch 2. But I won't be getting it, If I don't have a metal band option.

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220€ for the rubber version and 250€ for the metal one seems to expensive for me =(

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Could not see much in the article but the GPS thing sounds good. Lots of comments on a possible Apple watch. I think what Apple has shown was so much like a toy watch they are delaying the launch well into 2015 so they can re-design.

Looks like something that could be worn as a (customized case) necklace which would be a nice option.