Sony Smartwatch – Review

Sony Smartwatch   Review

It’s here, it’s really here!

I was so excited to see the ‘missed delivery’ card from the postman, knowing what was in the packet. I had been anxiously waiting for the delivery from Clove since I first read about the new version of the SmartWatch, hoping Sony had improved on their first attempt into the wearable android accessory.

The packaging is nice, presented in a diamond shaped box, there isn’t too much inside. Just the watch strap and clip for using your own strap, the USB charge cable, the watch and instructions.

The instructions are easy to follow, and being a bloke I skim read them, scanned the QR code to install the LiveWare app on my phone from the Android ‘Play Store’ Market, this then prompts you to install the SmartWatch app.

After allowing the SmartWatch to charge for the recommended 2 hours (well almost 2 hours..), it was time to fire it up!

Switching the SmartWatch on sends it into pairing mode, so you need to add a new device on your Android phone (a Samsung Galaxy S2 in my case). Once that is completed, the apps you download from the market that support the SmartWatch appear on the watch unit itself.

Sony Smartwatch   Review

The Apps you can install range from the obvious Twitter and Facebook , to ‘Find Phone’ and GMail notifier. My favourite so far is the ‘Music Player’ App. This allows you to Play/Pause, Fwd/Rwd music using your default media player on your phone. You can even adjust the volume by swiping the screen. This should come in useful at the gym. It would be perfect if it would show the album art too.

Find Phone is also pretty cool, tap the link on the SmartWatch , and even if your phone is on silent, it will play your default ringtone. The only downside to this is that you need to be within the bluetooth range of your phone.

You can even answer and reject calls, and send a pre-defined text message from the SmartWatch. Handy if you are in a meeting.

Controlling the SmartWatch is fairly easy to get used to. Press the only ‘hard’ button on the right hand side of the device to bring the unit out of sleep mode, you are then greeted with the digital clock screen. A single tap on the screen takes you to your short cuts, such as weather, new items, phonebook etc. A single tap launches that app. You can also slide the screen down to see your widgets, such as Twitter, Music, Weather, Facebook and SMS messages. Sliding left or right on the screen moves you between the widgets. To go back a level, just tap the screen with two fingers.

I had a little trouble deciding which wrist to wear the watch on. I am left handed, so normally operate my phone with my left hand, but I would normally wear my watch on the left wrist. It feels weird on the right wrist, but easier to operate.

Sony Smartwatch   Review

I have what could be called ‘girly wrists’ as they are fairly weedy. I was worried the SmartWatch would be too big for my wrist, as I have found with a lot of  ‘dumb’ watches. Fortunately this isn’t the case, it actually fits quite well using the included black rubber wrist band.


More colours will be available soon, and you can even use your own strap thanks to the included adapter.

Sony Smartwatch   Review

So far, battery life seems on a par with the stated 3 – 4 days of typical usage. It does, however, appear to impact my phone battery a little more, but not enough to worry about.

I showed the SmartWatch to a few colleagues for some feedback. A couple of them thought it was an iPod (ouch!), one of them thought it was too big. All of them were impressed with what it could do, but saddened that it wouldn’t work with their iPhones.

Would I wear it every day? Maybe. Would I wear it on a night out? Probably not. For me, it is just a bit too bulky, and I wouldn’t want to risk losing it.

Post any questions you have about the SmartWatch below, and I will be happy to answer them.

Sony Smartwatch   Review Sony Smartwatch   Review Sony Smartwatch   Review

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  • Anonymous

    Looks good. And as you managed to pair it to a device for more than 30 seconds, already better than the LiveView.

  • Stephen Murray

    Hi Phil, It has been rock solid connection wise. Coverage is good for about 10 – 15 meters, and always reconnects when you move back within range.

    • Anonymous

      Cool. I was thinking of getting one, but now my beta i’m Watch has arrived, I’m playing with that instead :-)

  • Could you describe the impact on phone battery in more detail? All coverage seems dominated by talk of the improved watch battery, but for someone whose Desire S can struggle to make a full day under heavy usage, my main concern is the impact on phone battery from the always-on Bluetooth connection. Thanks…

  • John H

    Nice review, i’m getting mine at the end of next week, it will do fine with my Nexus :-)

  • Stephen Murray

    Hi Tom, Certainly the watch battery life isn’t an issue, I still have more than 50% after a couple of days.
    I would say that battery life has decreased by about 5% on my phone.It’s a tricky one, because the watch has it’s own schedule to check for twitter/facebook/weather updates, the phone is effectively doing the job twice.I haven’t tried switching off twitter and facebook sync on the phone, and just let the watch do it. Then when the watch gets an update, you can select ‘view on phone’ from the watch if needed.I can try that today, and post the results later…phone is charging at the moment.

    Thanks for the comment John. Hope you are pleased with it!

  • Tony Deslandes

    tell me about how it shows the time pls? after all, it’s main use is as a watch – does it have a choice of time faces? analogue?

  • Coolsmartphone

    It would be good to hear more about usability with other apps.  Specifically, I’m interested in one of these to use with Endomondo, the GPS sports tracker.  Any chance of some comment / images of this?

  • Simon

    Has the connection really been that good?. I had to repair my old Liveview device quite often to my SGS2. Have you upgraded to ICS yet….I’m just wondering if that would make a difference to how reliable the connection is?

  • Anonymous

    I instantly dismissed this as I thought it was £150.  Turns out I was very very wrong.

    I have pre-ordered a pebble but would love to try one of these out and compare.  I would also like to see if it works with Endomondo.

  • Stephen Murray

    Hi Tony, I am in the process of uploading a picture of the clock display to the main story. There is an analogue widget in the Play store, but they are just widgets, and don’t seem to replace the default digital clock.

    I have tried to get it to work with endomondo, I have ‘pro’ installed, and it doesn’t seem to pick up the smartwatch, and there is no add on for it in the market. If someone can point me in the right direction, I am happy to try it (though I don’t think i’ll be going for a run!) There is a Google MyTracks plugin, which I could install if you are interested?

    @ Simon, I have had no problems at all with re-pairing. I have moved out of range a number of times, the watch vibrates when that happens. Then moved back in to range, and it vibrates twice to confirm connection. I have not had to manually re-pair…it just works! I am running AOKP ICS on my Galaxy S2.

    @ Tom, I have had auto sync switched off on my phone all day, and just used the watch to collect updates…it made little, if any, difference to the phones battery life. I can only conclude the battery is being used mainly by having bluetooth switched on all day, which is something I don’y usually do.

    • Tony Deslandes

      thanks for uploading watch shots! Pity it looks so poor, but then I wear an Omega as my daily diver…

  • Stephen Murray

    well, I got endomondo working. just needed to un-install and re-install for the smartwatch to pick it up. The widget allows you to start the app on your phone, and start/pause a workout. very handy if you keep your phone in a rucksack or bike bag whilst training. I have uploaded a couple of shots to the main story…there isn’t much more to the app than that really.

  • Coolsmartphone

    Thanks Stephen for setting it up with Endo’.  I use this all the time to record my mountain biking.  Can you confirm there’s no way to configure what the SmartWatch displays for the app – I was hoping you could choose a couple of parameters to scroll through etc.

    Thanks again,

  • Stephen Murray

    Hi Al,

    There are 3 screens for the endo app, they show: Time/Dist (the image posted in the story) Min/Mile, and BPM (I guess you need the approved endo accessory for that.) I cant see any other way to configure the screens though.

  • Simon


    Presumably it is not Gorilla Glass. Also, if the watch is in standby mode…i.e. screen OFF, and you get an incoming SMS, email or call, is there a screen alert and well as vibrate? I think in the old LiveView device you only got a vibrate alert?


  • Neal White

    I just got my Smart Watch – and I am underwhelmed. First and foremost – a watch that has to be “turned on” in order to see the time is useless as a timepiece. What is this? the 70’s?
    The counting app that lets you swipe down for counting down and swipe up for counting up can’t keep up with a one swipe per second count – so it misses several swipes.
     The watch will stop responding to finger taps and disconnect from the phone (moto Droid Bionic) sometimes AFTER it has accidentally started a call and I have to quickly fish for my phone and find kill the call.
    The facebook app WILL let you swipe through notifications (the first few lines), and even select “view on phone” or “like” when the watch is connected to the phone, of course, which it often is not due to some unknown reason.
    It seems a perfect match for Twitter.
    The screen isn’t too large but it’s not hard to read (I’m 50 so the eyes are suspect)
    Last thing – a return to the watch as a timepiece : In order to actually SEE the time you have to either press the “on” button on the side, or quickly double-tap the face. this make the watch function nearly useless – if I had the freedom to use both hands all the time I wouldn’t need a watch since I’ve been using my cell phone for a time-telling unit for over 10 years and haven’t worn a watch in all that time.
    THere is an app that allows you to have one of several watch faces: the Analog watch with android robots on the end of the skinny watch hands, Digital, or Analog with normal watch hands. In order to SEE this clock you ahve to double-tap the Smart Watch, Swipe down onece and left twice. Read the time and ten seconds later the screen goes dark – at which time if you wanted to check the time again you have to double-tap, swipe, swipe, swipe and swipe again.

    This Smart WAtch was supposed to be my capable assistant. Instead it is my unsympathetic boss.

    • Kev

       Hi Neal,
      hopefully you’ve persevered with the watch and found it more useful.
      In case it is sitting in a drawer somewhere I want to point out that as of beginning of June an update was released for the watch to enable the watch face to be ‘always-on’.
      Hope this helps!

      • Whiteneal

        Glad to hear this. I’ll get this update and give the eatch another try.
        I’ll let you know if I start wearing it all the time or give up and put it on eBay.

  • Stephen Murray

    Hi Neal,

    It is strange you have had a bad experience with the SmartWatch, where mine was quite positive.
    I take your point on board about having to switch the screen on to see the time. You can double tap the screen to see the time, rather than reaching for the power button.

    Is the bionic on the approved list of phones? I can honestly say my SGS2 had no such bluetooth issues, and connected first time, every time…even after going out of range and returning.

    I dismissed the ‘watch app’ from the market, as, like you say, it takes longer to find that widget than it does to get your phone out and have a look. The default clock is the easiest/best option IMO.

  • Kev

    Thanks for the review Stephen. I’m just about to get one and like you I consider myself to have ‘weedy’ wrists, which can make some watches look ridiculous. It’s good to hear that that isn’t necessarily the case.
    I’m also left-handed but always wear a watch on my right wrist so I’m hoping I won’t find the hard button to difficult to press.

  • catalina

    can i open the door??? u know when people buzz in and is hooked to your phone???? can u get a pad and press 9????

  • Dipendra Gautam

    Can we use the sony smartwatch gen 1 with iphoine 4s?

  • harry angra

    Do it have gorilla glass?

  • Seuth

    just bought a new Sony smart-watch but could not pair it with my Samsung galaxy s2 phone. anybody could help. Thanks