Sony’s latest smartwatch is a square-faced Android Wear device. I found it a simple little device with nothing that knocked my socks off.
The SmartWatch 3 I tried has a basic rubber clasp-style band and was the most comfortable smartwatch I’ve worn, even despite its wide face.
However, the rest of the watch’s features were underwhelming.
The screen was less vibrant and crisp than I expected – especially in comparison to other smartwatches. The single button on the right edge of the screen meant, as someone who wears a watch on their right arm, I had to reach across the screen to use it. For charging, you need to open a small flap on the back and plug in a micro-USB cable. While this means you can use any generic micro-USB cables, it’s fiddlier than the wireless contact pads other watches use.
The SmartWatch 3 runs Android Wear, this smartwatch operating system (OS) works on both Android and Apple. You download the app and it connects the watch to your phone. It’s a standard software package run by many different smartwatches. The OS works a lot like the Google Now app. Notifications are shown as “cards”, which can be dismissed with a swipe. Annoyingly, these cards occasionally pop up and obscure the watch face.
It had a small selection of pre-loaded watch faces and its square face made it appear less like a “normal” watch. None of the faces were particularly tailored to the square screen. The screen is quite big (1.6” diagonally), so if you have thin wrists it’s going to look large.
The SmartWatch 3 is water resistant (IP68), which means you can technically swim with it, but it might not be a good idea. Sony warns “you can’t take the smartwatch deeper than 1.5m of water and for longer than 30 minutes; and the water should be fresh water. Casual use in chlorinated pools is permitted provided it’s rinsed in fresh water afterwards. No seawater and no saltwater pools”.
Overall, the SmartWatch 3 is a comparatively inexpensive basic smartwatch. While it has all the notifications you want (fitness, phone calls, social media etc), there’s no other features that will wow you.
Our writer received a Sony SmartWatch 3 on loan for this First Look. First Looks are trials of new or interesting products from the perspective of our product experts. Our lab-based tests offer truly objective product comparisons.
By Hadyn Green.