Sony SmartWatch2

One of the best Android smart watch companions that nobody is talking about is getting better

The Sony SmartWatch 2 SW2 app is getting what looks to be a sizeable update from Sony, and it promises a decent boost in performance — especially scrolling — on the watch itself. A component of the Smart Connect for LiveWear suite, the SW2 app is the control center for other apps you install on your SmartWatch 2. It sounds a little complicated if you've never used it, but the Live Wear suite is a front door to all the smart Sony accessories and their companion applications for Android. You open it, and (in this case) choose the SmartWatch 2 section, and you can control all the other applications from Google Play that install on the watch itself. 

The new update should install like any Android application — including a timed release by market or carrier. Don't worry if you don't see it right at the moment. After installation, your SmartWatch 2 will reboot, and all the perks afforded by the new software will be in place. 

We're not seeing any drastic performance increase, but the SmartWatch 2 seemed snappy and responsive before the update — even when soaking wet. In any case, we're not ones to turn down any updates. If I run across anything new or exciting, I'll be sure to tell you all.

Wearables look to be the next big thing, and so far Sony is on the right track and hitting the right buttons with the SmartWatch 2. I'll be penning my thoughts on this one over the weekend, but a quick spoiler is a big thumbs up for Sony and their latest accessory offering. You can check for your update via the Google Play link above.

Source: Sony

 

Reader comments

Sony SmartWatch 2 app update is live and promises performance boost

25 Comments

they really need to add watch faces and male the screen timeout longer or selectable. bringing back the watch face that's displayed on the box would be a nice start.

Jerry is this the update that was live on the 21st or this another one? I don't see any update for the app in the play store other than the one I had on the 21st... Also can you guys post apks for the apps if you get the updates? It would be very helpful!

Remember a fee years ago when everyone said that netbooks where the next big thing and they never became the next big thing? That's how I feel about smartwatches and wearables.

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Netbooks became tablets with optional Bluetooth keyboard if you purchased the accessory.

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Difference is that people want to be connected with the least hassle. It could happen

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My S-Pen went through hell to deliver this important message to you

Yup, I still have my netbook and the problem with most netbooks is their horrible overall performance- Chromebooks are trying to keep that netbook trend alive.

And I think it's up there along with large oversized phones, people will go back to smaller phones in a year or two once they realize how inconvenient it is to carry it around. Back in the early 90's I had to live with a bag phone and a brick phone.

Agree.. I want to see an unbiased AC review.. The CNET UK one was so so anti- Sony!!

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Exactly.

Jerry says this: "One of the best Android smart watch companions that nobody is talking about"

Including Android Central, apparently!

I've been an owner since day one and can give you an honest opinion since I actually spent some money on the watch (rather than reviews who might've been given review samples).

The biggest complaint that owners are having, including myself, is the absence of a digital watch face with the date. Right now it only reads the time. I often refer to my watch multiple times a day to reference the date and not having it on the digital version was a killer. I have since adopted the white analog face with date and it actually has grown on me quite a bit.

The battery life was a major consideration for me. I've been shopping around for smart watches since before the Pebble and battery life has always been top on my list. The Sony Smartwatch 2 delievers on that front with a 3-4 day battery life. I haven't let mine get down too far to see how long it actually lasts but I've gone Friday-Monday without charging it (I only charge it at work).

I was also worried about the physical size of the watch - I have small wrists. Thankfully it doesn't look out of place on my wrists even though I'm using the smallest setting possible on the band. It's big enough to the point where it stands out more than your standard watch - but that could also be because it's unlike any other watch as well. I've gotten several comments on the watch asking if it was that "new watch" - they were often referring to the galaxy gear.

The watch's responsiveness is also fairly good. I say "fairly" good because I often find myself hitting an icon and then trying to hit it again to trigger the application. It's not a factor of me missing however, it just apparently takes some time for some apps to launch initially (the music app is the most noticeable one - the other ones are pretty much instant). The screen is very easy to navigate through and swiping left from right and tapping on an icon is extremely easy. You get 6 icons per screen but are only given two ways of organizing the icons (something a lot of reviews seem to miss) - by alphabetical order or by most used. I really wish there was a way to customize the app layout more but I found that the "most used" option satisfied my needs for the most part.

Coming down to apps themselves - the stock apps are great. They're responsive and all have the same design throughout, really tying the watch together. I'm able to easily glance at an incoming notification and act on it - which, most of the time, means leaving my phone in my pocket. There's about a one second delay from when the notification arrives on my phone so I just put my phone on silent and never have to deal with a ringtone again (or getting two sets of vibrations). To act on a notification when it shows up just tap on the screen and it'll open up. I often find myself glancing at the notification, tapping the screen (to signify I saw it and eliminate the notification count), hitting home and then the power button all within a single second.

The messaging app is great - able to read entire messages from the watch and even send a "quick reply" if necessary. The e-mail app on the other hand leaves a lot to be desired. It displays the subject line and then the pre-header text. It's enough most of the time but a lot of the time I wish I could see more of the message without having to open up my phone. There is an option from the watch however to open the message on your phone. For Gmail it seems to open up your inbox rather than the specific message. For SMS messages it seems to open up the specific message.

Another app on the phone I use regularly is the alarm clock - I am able to set a separate alarm from my phone and I'm pretty much guaranteed to notice the alarm. It's a nice extra added level of security and is easy to set from the watch itself.

The Music App works as advertised but is not very visually pleasing. I didn't get any album art and couldn't see any song information even though I was using Google Music.

The Facebook app can send you status updates from your friends or just private messages, however it will only do it based on an "update" schedule - so something like every 15 minutes (smallest option). I also had issues with it syncing up with my Facebook account - I've pretty much given up on that app.

Want other types of notifications (Hanghouts, BBM, etc.?) - you'll need to download a third-party smartwatch app to do it. There's several that do it and you'll just need to find the one that's right for you. There are several "all-in-one" notification apps that handle multiple apps but none of them quite match-up with the first-party apps from Sony.

I've had 0 issues with connectivity! My watch has never lost a connection on me (at least that I noticed).

The physical watch itself -

I'm using the silicon watch band and have had it come off in two instances (the pin fell out from the watch). This was mainly because I applied too much pressure on the watch while getting something in a tight area but nonetheless it came out and required me to reset the watch band.

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If you have any further questions about the watch itself or apps you can hit me up at @FrozenIpaq on Twitter since I probably won't be paying attention to this thread much. Hope my review was somewhat enlightening.

Is there an app to record audio? IOW, is there an easy way for me to record verbal memos/notes that I can play back later on the watch or at least on my phone?
Thanks

Unfortunately the smartwatch 2 does not have a microphone so this would not be possible. I'm also unaware of an application that can trigger your phones microphone and record notes with that.

That's probably the one major downside of the watch - no microphone, meaning no Google Now integration (i talk to my phone more often than I'd like to admit).

You can see your email you just need to use Samsung's email client instead but I do which gmail email client worked though.

Gimme a pebble with this kind of biuld quality and color screen, add in some mmmmooore battery life and am sild. Hook line and sinker

Sent from the heartland of Africa

I still think SW2 is better than the Gear, I played with the Gear and I like the curvy glass, but that's about it, it felt useless otherwise (and it was linked to a Note 3 next to it).

I'll give another review to add on to FrozenIpaq's review.

There IS a watch face with the date on it from day 1, both digital and analog. (Can't post links.. but google Smartwatch 2 watchface)

Display: I'm impressed with the display. I'm not impressed by the colors, I'm impressed with how EASILY I can read things in direct sunlight, with the backlight on or off. There are some angles that makes it hard to read the time when backlight is off, you just turn your wrist slightly and you're fine.

Battery life: 3-4 days, small battery so the charging time is about 20-40 minutes. If you're going out and your watch is dead, you can charge it while taking a shower and shaving and it will last you the rest of the night.

Phone misplacement security: I wanted the watch to notify me when I'm walking away from my phone through BT connection. This does just that. It vibrates when it loses BT connection. HOWEVER, it vibrates(notifcation of loss of BT connection) when the phone tries to connect/sync to the phone, NOT when you're at max range. Meaning if you lay down your phone and sprint 50 yards away before it tries to connect to the phone, it will NOT vibrate until it makes an attempt to connect/sync. I've gotten to about 20 yards walking normally away from my phone before it vibrated. I think the interval in between syncing is about 10 seconds. Walking back to your phone's range will also cause the watch to vibrate on connection.

Finding your phone: My room's a mess most of the time. There's no "find my phone" that's native on the SW2 that would make your phone ring. I have a Tasker app (more on this later) that allows me to choose tasks, one of which is to make the phone ring.
Biggest concern: It will only do Tasker tasks or communicate with the phone through BT! Some smartwatches I believe have WiFi.. if someone took your phone away from the watches' range, you can't make it beep. If it had WiFi (or 4G), even though the battery life would definitely take a hit, it could at least communicate with the phone.

Apps: Like the other reviewer said, Facebook is not that great. I gave up on it. Adding a friend on your facebook automatically puts that person on watch (pun intended). All of their posts show up. You have to take them out on the Smartconnect App on your phone.
It's got instagram and twitter, two of which I don't use but would imagine be very useful for some.
It's got runtastic, my S4 already has a pedometer I don't use, so the built-in pedometer on the SW2 isn't being used either.
Gmail and SMS: They cut off about 3-4 characters on every line on mine. I googled this issue and it didn't seem like a widespread problem. I asked Sony for help, all they said basically is "I can't figure out what's going on with your watch, send it to us. No we don't repair anything. We just send you new ones." I have a custom strap on mine so I didn't feel like putting the old band back on. They said it was fine, just send the face. 1 year warranty put to good use. Or so I thought. I got the replacement and the same thing was happening. I tested the watch on my friend's HTC phone and it was perfect. My S4 for some reason was the problem. I installed a $1 third party app that now reads my text messages fully.

Build quality: I've hit this thing on different surfaces so many times- grainy walls, plastic, metal, wood.. not a frickin' scratch. Not even lying. I get so concerned whenever I hit it on something but nothing happens. Waterproof? I'm gonna guess yes. I've taken this thing snowboarding (and wiped out.. if you're not wiping, you're not trying new things) and no issues. The pin has not fallen off, contrast to the other reviewer's experience.

Music control. Pause, play, previous, next, volume up, volume down works. BUT as the other reviewer said, it's definitely not aesthetically pleasing. It sometimes shows cover art, it sometimes doesn't, and even more often it shows a different cover art. Biggest issue: when controlling the music, you turn on the app and push play. The music starts playing (default player, atm that's Google Play Music). The watch goes back to lockscreen dimmed show the time mode after a few seconds. Now when you want to skip to the next song, waking up the watch (through a press of the power button) immediately shows the music app BUT it takes a second or two to connect, after which you can do all the commands I said above. Why is the 1-2 sec delay an issue? If you swipe (to skip) it TOO EARLY, you lose BT connection with the phone. You have to reset your watch. This may be an S4 issue, so maybe others have a better experience. Having a large library of songs probably is culprit.

Tasker: There's a 3rd party Tasker app you can download so it can lists all your Tasker tasks. It arranges tasks alphabetically, and no other way. LockMyPhone task that I set to enable screen lock works, so when I see someone trying to do more than looking at what I showed them, I can lock the phone and enable keyguard. Making it ring works, regardless if screenlock is on or not, or if the phone is awake or not (just not off). Tasker tasks that open apps won't work unless the phone is awake.. meaning you can't have a task that opens Google Voice Command when it's asleep.

Interface: It has 1 physical button (3 capacitives for navigation, back, home, settings, that aren't enabled when asleep). When navigating through the interface, you're still forced to look at the screen which is still dangerous while driving. I want a SW that has at least 3 physical buttons, prefferably customizable. I can just hit the power button and buttons in certain order to launch a specific app (like google voice command to call someone) while driving and keeping my eyes on the road. The physical buttons would also help in skip/previous/play music controlling.

Other uses: On the inside of one of my bands (Fossil used to make wide ones, not anymore) is an NFC sticker tag. It rests safely between the straps so it doesn't touch my skin or fall off if hit the wrong way. With the help of root and Xposed framework, I can use the chip to unlock my phone through tapping of my wrist which adds on to the "technological advancement magic" of my watch.

Final thoughts: It's awesome. I don't talk much so I don't need the speaker/mic that the Gear or Gear 2 provides. I doubt I'll upgrade to the Moto 360 or any other watches unless they have 3 customizable buttons. I've seen ads for the Moto 360, and all I can think of is that that watch will probably have a worse battery life than the first Gear