Sony Ericsson call this a “Phone Remote”. Wearable on your wrist or on your clothes with the help of a clip, it communicates with your mobile and displays information from your phone. It’ll also let you find your phone, control music and adjust volume settings. Any Android 2.x device is supported – it doesn’t necessarily have to be a Sony Ericsson Android phone.
As usual we’ve recorded an overview video to go through some of the features of the device and what you get in the box..
On the train, on the bus, walking or (when it’s safe to do so) driving – you can glance at your wrist to see whether you have any missed calls, texts, emails, tweets, Facebook updates etc. There’s also some third-party plugins hitting the Android Market to let you control your music on non-Sony Ericsson devices and Google Mail notification plugins too.
In the box is a charger which plugs into the bottom of the device. It’s a microUSB connection so you can use your phone charger too if you wish. An instruction book, watch-strap and clothing clip are also included plus some small pins for attaching the small outer frame to the watch strap which attaches with velcro.
The device itself is no wider than your average watch-face, although it is a little deeper. The exact measurements are 11mm x 35mm x 35mm and it only weighs 15grams. The LiveView unit can operate up to 10 metres from your phone too, so if you leave it in the kitchen you should still be able to see what’s going on while you sit in an adjoining room.
The display is a miniture 1.3 inch colour OLED type and is very clear. Around the frame of the screen there’s four sides (obviously) which are touch-sensitive. Press the top of the frame to go up, the right side to navigate right, you get the idea. Up top there’s two physical buttons – one for power and one for selecting items and hopping back out of tiles.
Working with all Android OS 2.x handsets (not just Sony Ericsson phones) you can use the outer edges of the LiveView to not only navigate around but also to turn the volume up on your phone, skip music tracks plus you get Play and Pause control. All very good so far. At the bottom is the charging point which is hidden by a small rubber gromit. You click the device into the supplied “frame” on the velcro strap, then attach it to your wrist.
Turn the device on and you’re met with the time and date. To begin with it’s wrong, so you need to pair the device with your phone. To do this we turn off the LiveView, crank up the Bluetooth on the phone and set visibility to “on”. Then it’s a matter of pressing and holding the power button on the LiveView to get it to connect to the Android handset. Once done you can then install the Sony Ericsson LiveView application on your phone to get the LiveView device setup.
Within the LiveView application you can choose to Connect or Disconnect to the device, change the vibrate settings, adjust notification settings and customise the tiles. Sony Ericsson call each app / notification window a “tile” and you can choose which of these to display. There’s a choice of text messages, incoming calls, missed calls, Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds, Calendar appointments and other plug-ins which are downloadable from the Android Market. We found a Google Mail plugin and another one for controlling music on HTC devices.
When something does happen, such as an incoming text, you’ll feel the device vibrate and a small LED will flash in the power button. Click and you’ll see the time and date (which is now accurate after pairing with the phone) with the text message symbol above it. Just to the right you’ll also see the battery meter. The battery tended to last around a day but it depends on how heavily you use the device. The text you’ve received will pop up and you can scroll up and down the message – all without touching your phone.
The phone also showed the latest Tweets – you follow a similar “scroll up and scroll down” system.
The idea behind this device is a good one. A quick flick of the wrist is definitely quicker – if only a little – than getting your phone out and checking what’s going on. There’s a definite interest on the Android Market for extra plug-ins to work with this device and that’s great. However, I found a few bugs whilst operating the device.
Sometimes it would disconnect itself, and I’d have to re-connect again. It’s only a minor thing but, if you glance at the LiveView and find it showing a time of “00:00” you know it’s lost connection and you’ll need to grab your phone and re-pair it, which kinda defeats the object.
We found the software a little buggy too. Sometimes it would tell us that there was no RSS feeds despite the fact that we’d set it up. It’d tell us that there was no Facebook updates when there was and there was sometimes a lag when trying to control the music on the phone.
I’m guessing that the software on this device is upgradeable or that the phone-based software can be tweaked to make the experience better. At the minute it’s a little buggy for me.
Update – A new update from Sony Ericsson is promised for January to fix the bugs mentioned in this review.