Sony’s Smartband aims to make its mark on wearable tech

But can it stand out from the crowd?

Thu, Jun 19, 2014, 03:00

At CES back in January, Sony revealed it was planning on joining the race to the fitness tech market, with the Smartband. Designed to log your entire life, it was shown as part fitness tracker, part social tracker, and the tech firm was certain it was something we’d all want. Fast forward a few months and the band is now available on the market. But does it live up to Sony’s promise?

At its heart is what Sony calls the Core: a water-resistant, dust-resistant sensor with a trio of LED lights to give you some limited information.

What exactly makes the Smartband stand out from its peers? Sony is betting on the Lifelog app, which will log absolutely everything you do on your smartphone throughout the day, and take in data from the band too. That means it tracks your browsing time, music and the photographs you’ve taken. As usual it also tracks how many steps you’ve taken, your sleep, and the calories burned. You can also add “bookmarks” to mark important events or places you might want to come back to at a later date.

You can disable all this data logging of course, but then if you do so there is little else to make the band stand out from the rest of the fitness bands already on the market. Also, it can add in location information into bookmarks, so if someone did find your phone they could have access to a mine of information on you. Just be aware. Log your life with this or look elsewhere if you wish to log off.

 

The good . . .

One of the best things about the Smartband is that it’s flexible. The brains of the device – the Core – can be removed and transferred from band to band, like the fitbit flex. That means that in future there could be nicer bands etc, different devices, and as long as you have the sensor, you can simply swap it into whatever you like.

 

Pairing the phone with your device – Android 4.4 only – is easy if you have NFC enabled on your handset: simply tap and things happen automatically.

It charges off micro USB too, which is a nice touch, and the face of it is touch-sensitive, which record taps for different modes and activities. That controls everything from your media to what mode it’s in – sleep or activity. And it’s lightweight, which means that you’ll forget it’s there half the time.

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