Sony $149 Xperia Smartwatch Misses The Mark — Hands-On, Video

The first time I walked through Sony’s massive CES booth I almost missed the Xperia Smartwatch. Shoved in between the new Xperia Ion smartphones this little gadget is a hidden gem.

When I first played with it I fell a bit in love. But after spending more hands-on time with it I’m ready to declare it a typical Sony product: great idea, good build quality, and functionality that misses the mark by an inch.

The Xperia Smartwatch is the descendant of the Sony Ericsson LiveView, a proto-smartwatch that delivered information from an Android phone to a tiny display. This model is similar, though it offers a lot more functionality and information. It’s a bit bigger as well, measuring around 1.75 inches square.

Sony Xperia SmartwatchIt’s still dependent on connection to an Android phone via Bluetooth for all of its functionality, and that’s where the missing the mark bit comes in. Unlike the MotoACTV or even the iPod nano, the Xperia Smartwatch has no memory of its own. It can’t play music by itself, it simply controls music streamed from your phone. Though it runs some flavor of Android, it’s little more than a dumb terminal.

The watchface doesn’t stay on, so each time you want to check the time you have to press the button on the side. That could get old quick.

The news isn’t all bad. I like that the Xperia can pull in information from over a dozen apps including email, SMS, Twitter, Facebook, weather and more. Swiping between apps is smooth and there are some easy to remember gestures for switching between the list of apps widgets, and messages.

I particularly like that users can pre-program a standard SMS response to send to people who call or text so you don’t have to pull out your phone to respond. Users can also initiate calls from the Xperia.

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See what I mean about missing the mark by an inch? Sony often does this — deliver products that are 80% awesome and 20% blah.

The Xperia Smartwatch will cost $149 when it hits store shelves at the end of March.

Comments

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  1. Esmithstubbs says

    I completely disagree with this review. This device sounds awesome. Why would you want a watch to store information on when you are carrying your phone aroiund already which stores all this? If you stored music on it for example, thats just 2 lists of music your have to manage. This device is simply a remote control for your phone which is brilliant. I can;t wait for these to come out so I can get one.

  2. Jeremy says

    I can understand tht the watch doesn’t have everything you could want. But, why don’t you just go ahead and make it a watch phone. For what it does, it looks like it will do it perfectly, although I can’t be sure until I buy it when it is released. It seems to be rather functional (and although you need, apparently, to press a button to wake it and see the time doesn’t bother me because that’s what you would do with your phone anyway. At least I would, plus taking the phone out of my pocket. So it’s one step easier).

    The only thing that would make it cooler is if it had a loudspeaker and microphone in the watch so you could answer the phone AND talk into your watch. A spy can dream.

  3. Alfredo says

    Boy, does this reviewer like to whine or what? :-) Why should a watch that is used to be paired to a phone which already has storage built in need to provide additional storage. That point would only be valid if the watch was to be used as a standalone device, but if it is used as a window to access your phone functions, I do see it as a truly awesome device. In my mind, this watch fits my needs perfectly. I work in a noisy environment and carry my phone in the pocket of my cargo pants. 99% of the times I miss calls, text messages and e-mails that would matter to me when they arrive because I just don’t realize that my phone is notifying me about them. With a watch like this I would be able to know this far easier. In my opinion, for my needs, this watch hits the mark at 100% of 100% required.

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