CNET First Look
Sony's new and improved SmartWatch 2Pushing phone alerts to your wrist, the splash-proof $199 Sony SmartWatch 2 is more capable than its predecessor.
Hi. I'm Brian Bennett for CNET. And right now, we're taking a first look at the new Sony SmartWatch 2. As with any mobile gadget worthy of the coveted SmartWatch title, the SmartWatch 2 is designed to function as a second screen for your phone. The idea here is to view alerts and other phone notifications right on your wrist when your handset isn't well handy or is otherwise out of reach. In theory, you'll be able to use a product like the Sony SmartWatch 2 to perform a sort of digital triage ignoring low priority communication so you won't miss what's really important. Design wise, the Sony SmartWatch 2 is actually pretty classy looking, at least as SmartWatches go. A glossy black slab of glass metal and plastic, to me the device's square shape has strong, minimalist charm. I honestly feel the SmartWatch 2 is more attractive than for instance the Samsung Galaxy Gear. The Gear in my opinion has a very wild super sci-fi appearance, which clashes with more conservative business attire. Of course, both the ear and SmartWatch 2 feel luxurious next to the all plastic Pebble Watch. To up the SmartWatch 2 style, you can replace its standard silicone band with metal or leather ones from Sony, or swap in your own from other watches. The SmartWatch 2 is anything but small though. Its flat screen is big and hard to ignore. Measuring 1.6 inches, the watch's color display does use transflective LCD technology. So, it's easy to read both indoors and outside. That's a huge improvement over the first Sony SmartWatch which washed out completely in sunlight. Also slick is that the SmartWatch 2 is water resistant. Enough so, to stand splashes, showers and submerging at a depth of 3 feet for up to 30 minutes. Just remember to close the soft flap to seal its USB port. So, what can you actually do with the SmartWatch 2 strapped to your arm? Actually, more than you might think. The gadget links to Android smartphones via a companion mobile app. Sorry, iPhone users, you're not invited to this party. You then download and install additional mini applications to enhance the SmartWatch 2's abilities. For instance, a call handling app lets you see who's dialing your mobile number. You can then choose to reply with a pre-configured text message or reject the call entirely. If you install the messaging app, the SmartWatch 2 buzzes when you receive texts. Facebook and Twitter apps allow you to see their associated news feeds with the watch vibrating when updates hit. If that's too much social media action, you can have the watch alert you when messages hit your personal inbox or if you mentioned in someone else's post. There's a Gmail app too, which not only tells you when e-mails roll in but also allows you to read partial contents of the message. Unfortunately, you can't tweet the app to provide heads up for specific people or groups. Another letdown is that the generic e-mail app for SmartWatch 2 only supports Sony phones. Want to find out about the Sony SmartWatch 2, be sure to check out our full review. I'm Brian Bennett for CNET and this has been a first look at the Sony SmartWatch 2.