Sony is no stranger to the smart watch, they have produced a few generations of their signature Sony SmartWatch over the last couple of years. I personally owned the original Sony Smartwatch when it first came out 4 years ago. Whilst it might not be a conventional SmartWatch as we know it is perhaps better described as more of an iPod Shuffle with a screen on a wrist strap. This really was one of the first smartwatch devices and was a pretty big trendsetter.
The second Sony Smartwatch made a lot of big changes and sorted out many of the problems of the original, notably becoming a pure Smartwatch, no clips, just a small screen with a processor on a strap. Of the smartwatches available at the time, the Sony smartwatch 2 was probably the most impressive, that is until the Samsung Galaxy Gear appeared shortly after.
My current smartwatch is the LG G Watch, a simple approach to Android Wear and a cheaper option for anyone wanting to test the water. Moving to the SmartWatch 3 from the LG G watch isn’t as exciting as as one might think. Android Wear is the same from device to device with very little in the way of modification. What we really have to look at is mainly just the physical differences between the two devices and how they operate from your wrist. The Sony SmartWatch and the LG G Watch are practically identical when it comes to many are the physical aspects of these devices.
The big bonus of the Sony SmartWatch 3 over the LG G watch is comfort, I really noticed a big difference with the Smart Watch on my wrist. I seem to remember adjusting the LG G watch quite frequently as it became somewhat uncomfortable over the course of the day, I was always reminded that I had it on. The SmartWatch 3 has a much more snug fit around your wrist and is ultimately more comfortable. That’s not to say it’s like a second skin, it just has a better fit when it comes to the watch face.
Another major difference is the button on the side, the LG G Watch uses a couple of taps to the watch screen to wake it up whereas the SmartWatch relies on an old fashioned button, some may prefer this however.
The screen itself occupies a strange portion of the front facing panel. It isn’t quite centralised on the y axis leaving a bar at the bottom that looks almost like an Android phone where capacitive controls may have once resided. The screen feels smaller than the LG G watch and appear to be roughly the same size to the eye. The resolution of the screen works, if not as pretty as some of the other competitors from Motorola, Huawei and Samsung.
There is a price difference between the LG G Watch and the Sony SmartWatch 3 and this price difference certainly feels like it made it’s way into the stock straps provided. LG of gone for a very basic approach to keep the price down whereas the Sony SmartWatch 3 has an infinitely superior strap with a good solid clip to keep it from falling off the wrist. Additionally, being interchangeable with other ones that Sony sell the watch can be equipped for various different life challenges whether it be a marathon, a day in the office or a holiday.
The biggest annoyance of the Sony SmartWatch 3 is the charging port, a single micro USB connector is pushed into the back of the device. This can be a little annoying especially late at night when you just want to get the thing on charge and get into bed. The typical micro USB “is this the right way round?” syndrome happens whilst you attempt to keep a small rubber flap out of the way. On a number of occasions I have picked up the watch in the morning to find that it is dead, I had not put the charger in fully and the battery does not last more than the day. The little LG G Watch sits beside it in it’s cosy cradle enjoying a flow of constant power.
The Sony SmartWatch 3 is a decent entry into the Android wear catalogue at a cheaper price than some of the high-end watches making it one to consider or perhaps a backup. There will be the odd moment it infuriates you however these are hopefully going to be few and far between. I have a feeling that if Sony provide a Smartwatch 4 it really will be a contender.