LAS VEGAS -- Just add steel.
Thedebuted last fall, one of many smartwatches running Google's Android Wear software. Our CNET review wasn't that enthusiastic. Its plastic design and pop-out body, unfortunately, gave it a bit of a clunky look. But at Sony's CES Las Vegas press conference, a new steel version of the Smartwatch 3 emerged. And now, it's one of the best-looking Android Wear watches around.
The flush face and square display combined with the watchband's rounded edges works for me. It's clean, it's Star Trek-futuristic, and I'd totally wear it around, too. And its super-digital square look is a nice change of pace from every other watch manufacturer suddenly leaping into round-faced analog-imitations. The watch is still IP68 water resistant like the original, and it charges via Micro-USB instead of using a dongle.
Sony's Smartwatch 3 stands out a bit from the Android Wear pack with some unique features, including standalone GPS for sports apps and Sony's Lifelog fitness software, but also notably lacks a heart-rate monitor (and uses a 320x320 TFT display instead of OLED). But, the GPS features might get a tiny bit more useful: a few new Android Wear GPS-optimized apps, iFit and Golfshot, will now come pre-installed. The all-steel Smartwatch 3 is hitting globally next month, price to be determined. Stay tuned for hands-on impressions from CES.