Sony SmartWatch 2 review

User Interface

Apart from the single physical button, the SW2’s interface is entirely touch-driven. That proved problematic with the previous model, which expected you to make two-finger gestures on a tiny watch screen.

The SW2 only uses simple tap and drag gestures, which all require a single fingertip. Once again, a massive improvement over the original.

The first thing you see is the watchface, so let’s start there.

Watchfaces: WYSIWYG

There are two basic faces available – one digital and one analogue. The analogue version is available in four varieties – white-on-black and black-on-white, with or without the day of the month displayed. That gives a total of five unique watchfaces though again, the analogue ones are all essentially the same at heart.

White-on-black analogue watch face, showing date, with backlight on maximum.White-on-black analogue watch face, showing date, with backlight on maximum.

I’d really like to have seen a much larger selection of watchfaces available. Personally, I’d have loved a digital display including the day and month. The simulated-analogue displays are nice, and a greater range of decorative analogue faces wouldn’t go amiss. However, the largest gap is digital faces – this is, after all, a digital watch. People are used to digital clocks, from their computers and smartphones. So why, I have to ask, is there only a single digital face?

In the app store (which we’ll look at later on), there are a number of replacement watchfaces available. However, there’s a nasty trick here: it’s not possible for third-party developers to actually replace the built-in watch functionality.

Aftermarket watchfaces are smartwatch apps that run actively on the backlit screen, not passively with the backlight off as the default watchfaces do. This means they consume the battery at a much greater rate, and generally rely on the same push-to-view setup that I panned the original Sony smartwatch for.