Sony SmartWatch 3 hands-on review

Sony was early to the wearable market and is now on its third-generation of smartwatch. So here's our Sony SmartWatch 3 hands-on review.

Wearables continue to be one of the hottest sectors in technology and as such Sony has announced two new 'SmartWear' devices at IFA 2014: the SmartWatch 3 (SRW50) and SmartBand Talk. Both will arrive this autumn (in the next month or so) and the SmartWatch 3 will be priced at €229. We'll update this when we have a UK price which we predict will be at least £199 if not £229.

Sony SmartWatch 3 review

We can assume that it will be more expensive than the LG G Watch and Samsung Gear Live, though - the first two Android Wear smartwatches which have price tags of £159 and £169 respectively. We're still waiting for pricing on the Motorola Moto 360 and LG G Watch R which both have round designs.

That's right, despite some rumours, the SmartWatch 3 does come with Android Wear. If you don't know what that means, it's Google's version of Android specifically built and designed for smartwatches. It may not be perfect but it's the best platform for wearable tech if you ask us.

Sony SmartWatch 3 review strap

Like Sony's SmartBand, the SmartWatch 3 uses a design where the main unit (or core) can be easily removed from the strap. This means you can change colour depending on what you're doing or where you are. The device will launch in 'classic black' or 'sport lime' with white and pink straps to launch later at €24. The strap itself is silicon rubber and has a similar clip to Samsung's Gear range and is adjustable in size.  

An important note on the design is the device's IP68 rating matching Sony's new Xperia Z3 range of smartphones and tablets. This means it's fully dust- and waterproof so you could jump in a swimming pool with the SmartWatch 3 on.

Sony SmartWatch 3 review IFA 2014

Like its predecessor, the SmartWatch 3 has a 1.6in Transflective LCD screen but the resolution has been improved to 320 x 320 matching the Gear Live. Matching rivals, there's a 1.2 GHz quad-core ARM A7 processor and 512 MB RAM.

Storage remains the same as the Sony SmartWatch 2 and rival Android Wear devices at 4GB eMMC flash memory. This can be used to store music which can be played without a companion smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth.

Sony SmartWatch 3 review screen

Sony loves NFC (it now has more than 160 NFC-enabled devices) so it's no surprise to see it in the SmartWatch 3 for easier pairing with devices. It's also packed with sensors and the like including an ambient light sensor, accelerometer, vibrator, compass, gyro, microphone and GPS. Sony wants you to use it in conjunction with its LifeLog app.

Inside is a 420 mAh battery which Sony says will last for four days on standby. In typical usage, the SmartWatch 3 will last two days. The SmartWatch 3 charges via microUSB and thankfully doesn't require a charging cradle or clip on accessory.

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OUR VERDICT

It was almost inevitable that Sony would launch an Android Wear wearable and we like the SmartWatch 3. It has decent specs, interchangeable straps and is completely waterproof. We can't help feel it's a little overpriced compared to rivals, though.