Sony SmartWatch 2 Australian Hands On: Free From The Walled Garden

The Sony Smart Watch 2 is coming. Sony promises. While we wait, we've been hands-on, and found that its best feature so far is something that the Samsung Galaxy Gear competitor can never have.

The Sony SmartWatch 2 is the third official smart watch from Sony, and they've promised to make this one suck as little as possible.

The SmartWatch 2 has a bigger screen and higher resolution (1.6 inch, 220 x 176 pixels) and claims to have greater brightness than the previous version, so you can more easily read it in sunlight.

It has a longer-lasting battery and it’s water-resistant (IP56). We found last year’s model to be a pain to pair with your phone, but this year’s model has NFC, which generally makes linking your gadgets as simple as tapping them together.

The UI has been reworked to make it more similar to Android, which will hopefully be more intuitive, and, unlike last year’s, it can actually continue to do things (like read downloaded emails) even when disconnected with your phone.


The SmartWatch 2 is now splashproof, like many Sony gadgets, however it only achieves the IP56 standard of water resistance, meaning the unit is "protected against access to hazardous parts" from "water projected in powerful jets against the enclosure from any direction". So, a tap or a hose won't hurt it, but don't go underwater with it any time.

The SmartWatch 2 has improved touch sensitivity over the last one, which it was desperately in need of, and it also has support for over 300 different applications now.

The interesting thing about the Sony SmartWatch 2 is how long it has taken to get to market. It was announced way back in June, which in gadget terms might as well have been five years ago.

Since then, we've gone hands on with and reviewed the Pebble Smart Watch and we've seen the announcement of and gone hands on with the Samsung Galaxy Gear. The latter of which being far more advanced than the SmartWatch 2 could hope to be.

You can take calls on the Galaxy Gear, snap photos and videos, use voice commands, control notifications back on your phone intelligently and much more. The screen isn't as bright or as high-res as the one on the Galaxy Gear, nor is it as stylish, just coming in the one colour. The SmartWatch 2 is the kid at the back of the class wishing he could be like the smarter kid.

The SmartWatch 2 has one feature over its Samsung rival that the Gear will never be able to replicate: it's a watch that will work with more than just Sony phones.

The Galaxy Gear is built specifically to work with (right now) the Galaxy Note 3. Samsung can't tell us when other handsets will get the Gear Manager app, but the point is that it will likely only ever be available (officially) on Samsung Galaxy devices. The Sony SmartWatch 2 is the smart watch for the rest of us.

Even if the SmartWatch 2 is intended for receiving email notifications, changing music tracks, using apps and checking the time (how quaint!), we know some folks would prefer a vendor-agnostic experience than a locked-down one.

We'll let you know when we have pricing and specific launch information on the Sony SmartWatch 2.

Brent Rose also contributed to this report.

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