Sony SmartBand tracker goes way beyond fitness to measure all you do (hands-on)

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February 24, 2014 1:50 AM PST / Updated: February 26, 2014 3:02 AM PST

BARCELONA, Spain -- Sony is showcasing its new SmartBand wearable technology product in the flesh here at MWC 2014. The wrist-worn device acts as part pedometer and part lifestyle tracker. In fact Sony envisions the gadget to go way beyond typical activity measurement, serving as a digital log for your life.

Designwise, the Sony SmartBand looks very similar to other fitness trackers on the market, such as the Fitbit Flex, Jawbone Up24, and Nike Fuelband SE. I'd even say the SmartBand could be a snazzier cousin to the Flex since it uses a similar modular construction. Like the Flex, Sony's new product consists of two sections, a rubbery wristband and a tiny plastic pebble-shapped tracker. Called the Core, the gizmo slides into a small pocket on the strap.

To attach the band to your wrist you must snap a pair of metal pegs on one side into a matching holes on the straps other end. I do like the SmartBand's circular metal buckle. Its flashy, polished surface adds a touch of class to an otherwise nondescript product.

Totally track yourself
So what does the Sony SmartBand actually do? Aside from simple step and activity recording, the device syncs to a corresponding Like Log mobile application to deeply monitor your behavior. For example, the band talks to phone-based software and sensors such as Facebook, your camera app, GPS radio, and so on, to paint a detailed picture of what you're doing, when, and with whom you're doing it.

Say you're enjoying a particularly memorable meal during a night on the town. Tap your Smartband to create what Sony calls a "life bookmark" which commands the device and app to remember what restaurant you're in, friends present, along with any photos you may have snapped. Life Log will also monitor any social media activity in the moment. Trust me, you're not alone in thinking this is more than a little creepy.

Sony isn't deterred though, imagining scenarios like capturing a virtual snapshot of good times in your life like hanging out in the park with friends, birthday parties, and such then having a record to share with friends or just for personal safe keeping. Other tricks Sony says the Smartband will do are vibrate when important smartphone alerts occur, flash a series of LED nights to also catch your eye, and function as a silent alarm.

Will the Sony SmartBand catch on? Perhaps, but we'll have to wait until March when the product will ship. Sony has said the SmartBand will likely cost about 99 Euros ($135, £80).

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About The Author

Brian Bennett is senior editor for mobile phones at CNET and reviews a wide range of mobile communication products. These include smartphones and their myriad accessories. He has more than 12 years of experience in technology journalism and has put practically anything fun with a micro chip through its paces at some point.