Sony’s SmartWatch good, but not essential - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Money

default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
|
||
Logout|My Dashboard

Sony’s SmartWatch good, but not essential

Print
Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Related Stories

Posted: Saturday, November 23, 2013 5:45 am

Sony’s new SmartWatch 2 doesn’t get as much attention — and doesn’t do as much — as Samsung’s Galaxy Gear computerized wristwatch. But for the things it does, Sony’s version performs better.

The SmartWatch 2 is also 33 percent cheaper, at about $200, and works with a variety of Android phones, not just Sony’s. Samsung’s Galaxy Gear sells for $300 and is compatible only with a handful of high-end Samsung phones.

That said, neither company has made a compelling case of why people need a smartwatch this holiday season.

These wrist-bound gadgets are supposed to free you from constantly pulling out your phone to check for messages. But I found myself checking the watch more often than I would pull out a phone. That proved more distracting — and less private — over dinner, for instance.

The SmartWatch 2 is worth considering primarily if you want to be among the first with the latest technology.

What Sony’s Watch Does

Think of the watch as a companion to your phone. The phone needs to be within Bluetooth wireless range, or about 30 feet.

You install a free Smart Connect app on the phone to manage what gets sent to the watch, be it messages or call notifications. You give the watch functionality by adding watch apps to Smart Connect one by one. Smart Connect fetches the watch apps from Google’s online Play store.

For example, I installed Sony’s Messaging app to get texts on the watch. I get full texts and can reply with emoticons or pre-written responses such as “I’ll get back to you.” There’s no keyboard on the watch to type individual replies, given that its screen measures just 1.6 inches diagonally.

The Facebook watch app lets me check the latest posts and endorse some with “likes” right from the watch. With Twitter, I can read the latest updates, retweet them or mark some as favorites. But I’m limited to text on the watch. I can’t access photos and other links that are often embedded into tweets.

Getting too much? Through the phone, I can choose specific friends and accounts to get notifications for, though I can’t simply add “family” and other groups I had already created on Facebook.

The watch can act as a remote control for your phone, but calls themselves are made through the phone. For the watch to be useful, you need a Bluetooth wireless headset linked to the phone.

When calls come in, you can reject the call, with or without a canned text reply. If you have a Sony phone, you can answer calls from the watch as well. With any phone running at least Android 4.0, you can initiate calls from the watch using its dialpad or your Android contacts list. But again, the calls go through your phone. You can control volume, but it took me a while to figure out how.

There are nearly 250 other apps you can add, many coming from outside app developers.

I particularly like a 99-cent app called Fake Call. Tap on the watch to make your phone ring with a phantom call. Use that to get you out of whatever sketchy situation you might find yourself in.

A free app called GPS Maps sends a map to your watch with surrounding blocks. The map moves as you move, though I don’t get directions.

How It Compares With Samsung’s Device

Samsung’s Galaxy Gear wins on style: The watch has a metal frame and straps in six colors. It can work as a fashion accessory, at least for men. It’s on the larger side, with a 1.6-inch screen matching Sony’s. The SmartWatch 2 from Sony feels cheap, by comparison, though the straps are replaceable with other 24-millimeter watch straps if you’re really buying this for fashion.

The Gear also wins on features: Sony’s watch doesn’t have a speaker or a microphone. It doesn’t have a camera. The Gear has all that, which means you can make phone calls through the watch itself, without a Bluetooth headset. The camera produces low-resolution images, but it beats missing the shot because your phone is in the pocket.

But I don’t believe these features are worth an extra $100. The speakerphone doesn’t offer much privacy or work well in noisy environments. The speaker allows you to reply to text messages using voice dictation, but the transcriptions are slow and error-prone.

Where the SmartWatch 2 outperforms the Gear is in delivering messages.

The Gear gives you full texts, but that’s about it. Get a Facebook or Gmail notification? You have to return to the phone to read the message. The watch is supposed to reduce the need to pull out your phone, but not if you keep getting notifications urging you to check.

And while I got about 2.5 days on the SmartWatch 2 on a single charge, the Gear dies in a day. Sony’s SmartWatch 2 also has many more apps to choose from — more than three times as many.

Do You Need It?

Maybe one day, smartwatches will truly be smart. They need to be better at filtering the important notifications from the noise, and they need to do more than tell you to go back to the phone to complete a task.

For now, we’re in an era of experimentation. Sony’s SmartWatch 2 advances the field with a just-the-basics smartwatch, but I’ll wait at least a year or two for even more advances before buying one myself.

• Anick Jesdanun, deputy technology editor for The Associated Press, can be reached at njesdanun@ap.org.

© 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

More about

More about

  • Discuss

Gov. Brown Appoints New Public Utility Commissioners to Replace Florio and Sandoval

Martha Guzman Aceves and Clifford Rechtschaffen both come from the governor’s office with strong environmental protection backgrounds. Martha …

Published: December 31, 2016 - 10:14 am @ https://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/gov.-…

Obama preparing to penalize Russia for hacking

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is preparing to penalize Russia over the hacking of Democratic officials during this year's presidential…

Published: December 31, 2016 - 10:16 am @ http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2016/1…

Kerry’s Blunt Words for Israel Denounced by Lawmakers in Both Parties

A bipartisan chorus of lawmakers, upset with President Obama’s decision last week to allow the passage of a United Nations resolution condemni…

Published: December 31, 2016 - 10:14 am @ http://www.nytimes.com/2016/12/28/us/politics/john…

Mail truck tips on Mesa street

MESA, Ariz. - A mail truck ended up on its side in a crash Wednesday. Mesa police say a single-vehicle collision left the United States Postal…

Published: December 31, 2016 - 10:12 am @ http://www.12news.com/news/local/valley/mail-truck…

Reports of mall disturbances light up social media

A flurry of reports of mall melees and disturbances rippled across social media Monday on a day Americans swarmed shopping hubs for post-holid…

Published: December 31, 2016 - 9:51 am @ http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2016/12/…

Graham, McCain want Russia sanctions after election hacking

Top Republican senators said Wednesday that the incoming Congress and President-elect Donald Trump should impose new and tougher sanctions on …

Published: December 31, 2016 - 9:13 am @ http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2016/12/28/graham-…

Immigration Is the Only Hope for States That Helped Trump

The decline of manufacturing does not explain the decline of Wisconsin. Photographer: Daniel Acker/BloombergFacebook Twitter Email Print Share…

Published: December 31, 2016 - 7:17 am @ https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2016-12-28…

Creator of the Red Solo Cup dies at 84

FOX 32 NEWS - The creator of the Red Solo Cup died on Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at the age of 84. Robert Leo Hulseman lived in Northfield, …

Published: December 31, 2016 - 7:07 am @ http://www.fox4news.com/trending/225996868-story

12 Cars You Can Legally Import to the US in 2017

slide-4320347 There were plenty of great vehicles produced abroad that Americans (outside of Canada) haven't been able to import until they hi…

Published: December 31, 2016 - 7:06 am @ http://www.autoblog.com/photos/cars-you-can-legall…

Raw sewage bubbles out of ground, Mesa apartment residents fed up

MESA, AZ - People who live at one apartment complex in Mesa said they have a problem that stinks — raw sewage bubbling up out of the ground an…

Published: December 31, 2016 - 6:35 am @ http://www.abc15.com/news/region-southeast-valley/…

Facebook

ahwatukee.com on Facebook

Twitter

ahwatukee.com on Twitter

RSS

Subscribe to ahwatukee.com via RSS

RSS Feeds

Spacer4px

Most Popular

Online poll

Loading…