The Sony Smart Watch 2 is a wrist-mounted notifications and app companion for any Android smartphone. (£149)

Key Features:

  • 3-7 days battery life
  • Bluetooth 3.0
  • Water resistant
  • Replaceable wrist-strap
  • Calls, emails, music, many other apps

The Pitch:

"App expandability is key to Sony SmartWatch 2. It can be personalised with more dedicated apps than any other smartwatch* to seamlessly suit your needs, whether you are on the go, keeping active, in business meetings or simply at home."

sony


Impressions:

The Sony SmartWatch 2 is the Japanese tech giant's latest attempt to get you to wear an Android thingy on your wrist, so you can stay in touch when you're phone is still in your pocket.

In some ways, however, it suffers in comparison to the more recently-announced Galaxy Gear from Samsung. Sony's watch doesn't have a camera, has a smaller (and to our eyes far inferior screen, with poor viewing angle problems) and looks just about as squat and square as you'd fear a smart watch might.

On the other hand, it's potentially a more useful product that Samsung's - and might be more attractive to a wider audience.

For one, its interface is - if not simpler - at least more familiar to Android users. Because it is Android. You jump into apps in the same way, with the same icons. There are three non-physical buttons on the front, including a back button, and while the screen can seem cramped with only a few messages or notifications visible, it is easy to read and deal with pop-ups as they arrive.

The battery life is also pretty decent - between 4 and 7 days, Sony claims, based on your usage - and the device is also lighter than the Samsung model. Plus, since it uses standard watch connectors to attach to a strap, you can fit a more attractive replacement easily.

The SmartWatch 2 also works with any Android device, costs less that the Gear and in the short term might prove more useful.

What it lacks right now is vision, or a sense of where Sony's wearable strategy is actually going. The Gear is an imperfect gesture to the future - the SmartWatch 2 feels like a more refined version of a model which has failed to set the world alight since its launch more than three years ago.

But as to which is more useful right now - and is more deserving of your money and energy - the jury is probably still out.

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  • A man shows the new Sony Xperia Z1 smartphone at a Sony event ahead of the IFA, one of the world's largest trade fairs for consumer electronics and electrical home appliances in Berlin, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. IFA will take place on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds from Sept 6 to 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

  • Kazuo Hirai

    Kazuo Hirai, President and CEO of Sony presents the new Sony Xperia Z1 smartphone and an attachable camera for smartphones at an event ahead of the IFA, one of the world's largest trade fairs for consumer electronics and electrical home appliances in Berlin, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. IFA will take place on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds from Sept. 6 to Sept. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

  • Kazuo Hirai

    Kazuo Hirai, President and CEO of Sony presents the new Sony Xperia Z1 smartphone and an attachable lens style camera for smartphones on an event ahead of the IFA, one of the world's largest trade fairs for consumer electronics and electrical home appliances in Berlin, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. IFA will take place on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds from Sept. 6 to Sept. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

  • The new Sony Xperia Z1 smartphone with an attachable camera for smartphones is displayed at an event ahead of the IFA, one of the world's largest trade fairs for consumer electronics and electrical home appliances in Berlin, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. IFA will take place on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds from Sept. 6 to Sept. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

  • The new Sony Xperia Z1 smartphone is on display at a Sony event ahead of the IFA, one of the world's largest trade fairs for consumer electronics and electrical home appliances in Berlin, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. IFA will take place on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds from Sept. 6 to Sept. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

  • The new Sony Xperia Z1 smartphone is on display at a Sony event ahead of the IFA, one of the world's largest trade fairs for consumer electronics and electrical home appliances in Berlin, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. IFA will take place on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds from Sept. 6 to Sept. 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

  • A man shows the new Sony Xperia Z1 smartphone at a Sony event ahead of the IFA, one of the world's largest trade fairs for consumer electronics and electrical home appliances in Berlin, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. IFA will take place on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds from Sept 6 to 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

  • The new Sony Xperia Z1 smartphone is on display at a Sony event ahead of the IFA, one of the world's largest trade fairs for consumer electronics and electrical home appliances in Berlin, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. IFA will take place on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds from Sept 6 to 11, 2013. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

  • Kazuo Hirai

    Kazuo Hirai, President and CEO of Sony walks in front of a Sony Smart Watch II during the presentation the new Sony Xperia Z1 smartphone at an event ahead of the IFA, one of the world's largest trade fairs for consumer electronics and electrical home appliances in Berlin, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. IFA will take place on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds from Sept 6 to Sept. 11, 2013 (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

  • Kazuo Hirai

    Kazuo Hirai, President and CEO of Sony presents the new Sony Xperia Z1 smartphone at an event ahead of the IFA, one of the world's largest trade fairs for consumer electronics and electrical home appliances in Berlin, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2013. IFA will take place on the Berlin Exhibition Grounds from Sept 6 to Sept. 11, 2013 . (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)