Along with the Xperia Z1 and the lens type camera, Sony today also launched its second generation of smartwatch it simply calls the SmartWatch 2. Unlike Samsung’s Galaxy Gear that was launched in India yesterday, Sony sees the wearable category as a basic companion device. So you cannot make calls from it (we prefer it that way, for the moment) and it doesn’t have a camera either. The SmartWatch 2 is priced at Rs 14,990 unlike the Galaxy Gear that can do a lot more and is priced at Rs 22,990. We spent some time with it and here are our first impressions.
Let’s get one thing out of the way – the SmartWatch 2 is a vast improvement over the first generation one that was launched last year. It no longer is a blob of plastic and looks much sleeker. It is finally something we won’t mind wearing on our wrists. It now also uses a regular microUSB cable for charging unlike the previous version that required a proprietary cable, which meant one had to carry two cables – one for the smartphone and another for the watch. Then it is finally water resistant too.
Sony says there are a lot of apps for the device available on the Play Store and many more are on their way. Right out of the box, you can control the phone’s music player, get alerts and even control the phone’s camera. So your phone could be pointing at the subject and you can see the viewfinder on the watch and click the photo. However, we find it more of a gimmick as there’s very little visible on the tiny 1.6-inch 220×176 pixel display. This interface is also very slow and stutters.
The SmartWatch 2’s battery would typically last for three to four days according to Sony but that will vary according to usage. The rubber strap looks ok and something we might not mind wearing.
The real question, however, is whether there is really a market for a device like it for this price. It’s interesting to see both Samsung and Sony have taken different routes but at the moment they are just coming up with proofs of concepts trying to gauge what clicks with the users. While Sony’s watch provides spartan features and is compatible with most Android smartphones, Samsung has tried to cram it with features and made it a companion device for its premium Galaxy range of smartphones.
Also let’s not forget the two big elephants in the room. We would wait it out for Google and Apple to reveal their cards instead of sticking our necks out and taking sides at this moment.
Photos: Harshita Rastogi