Sony SmartBand Fitness Tracker

Key features

  • Waterproof
  • Not limited to Xperia smartphones
  • Companion Lifelog app tracks more than steps taken
  • Monitors sleep and silent alarm
  • Price as reviewed: £80

Sony's entrance to the fitness band market comes in the form of the simple and sleek Smartband SWR10.

While it is capable of tracking the movements and exercise habits of its wearer, Sony boasts that the Smartband's stand-out feature is its companion Lifelog app.

Lifelog sets the device apart from its closest competition by transforming the band's function into a life tracker as well as a health monitor, however this might not appeal to everyone.

Smartband: Lifelog app

The bright and colourful companion app is about more than "just the steps you take", according to Sony, who claim it is about "emotion as well as motion."

Beyond just being a digital pedometer that estimates calories burnt, any action you take with your smartphone is monitored and tracked by Lifelog. This includes the apps you use, the music you listen to and all of your social media interactions.

Lifelog app sony smartband review

Some might find this useful, others might find it raises questions about privacy, but most will probably just find it gimmicky. Even after my brief few days testing it, I lost interest in checking how long I spent reading news or checking social media.

This is because unless you only use your phone for all your digital demands, then it isn't representative of what you actually do online, let alone a comprehensive log of your life.

Smartband: Design

The simple design is appealing for those who want to track their activity without drawing attention to the fact. Both small and light, it is easy to forget you're even wearing it, which as it turns out, can prove to be problematic.

Sony Smartband

To allow for such a seamless design, Sony has used a plastic circular clasp that may overlook a vital function of the wearable device: staying on your wrist.

After only three days of wearing the Smartband it fell unnoticed from my wrist and I never saw it again. I was walking at the time, so I presume it unattached itself when I went to put my hand in my pocket.

When I contacted Sony I was assured that there were no security concerns in this eventuality.

"The data is linked into your own personal account," Sony said. "If anyone else was to connect the SmartBand on a different device, it would reset itself."

Smartband: Battery

Sony states that the Smartband is able to go five days without needing to recharge its battery, though due to my short stint with the device I wasn't able to verify such claims.

Assuming five days is how long the battery lasts, this puts it on a par with the LG Lifeband Touch and the Fitbit Flex but behind the seven day charge of the more expensive Jawbone Up24.

Smartband: Good vibrations

Sony Lifelog

The vibrate function is one of the best features of the Smartband, making it an extension of the phone itself.

Through the app you can set an alarm time and the band will wake you by vibrating. This silent alarm means you don't disturb whoever you're sleeping beside.

By tracking your sleeping patterns, it is even possible to set a wake-up window for the device to wake you, meaning it will wake you when you are in a lighter sleep rather than a deep one.

Also, if you receive a phone call, the Smartband vibrates, which proves useful when your phone is on silent.

Smartband: Performance and Core

Like most other fitness bands on the market, the only thing the Smartband's actual 'core' can really track is the steps you take.

Sony SmartBand Fitness Tracker

As digital pedometers go it's reasonable, although after over an hour of playing football it only recorded that I had spent three minutes running - though this may be more revealing of my footballing prowess than it is of the tracker's performance.

The single button on its side provides some useful functions beyond just switching between modes and turning off the alarm.

Various push combinations can control applications like the music player, allowing you to skip tracks, pause and play without having to fish through your pockets for your phone.

Smartband: Value and verdict

At £80 the Sony Smartband is at the lower end of the price-range of fitness bands, costing around the same price as the Fitbit Flex but cheaper than those on offer from Nike and Jawbone.

For your money you get a device that is waterproof and capable of tracking much more than just the steps you take with its companion app, making it easily the best device in its price bracket.

However, the lack of a display will be a major issue for those looking for something a bit more from a fitness band, and - if my experience is anything to go by - the build quality is questionable and might not stand up to the rigorous demands often expected of fitness bands.

Score: 7/10