Key Features

  • 1.6in screen (320 x 320)
  • NFC, Bluetooth
  • Android Wear
  • Walkman App
  • 4GB storage
  • Two-day battery life
  • Price: €229

Sony SmartWatch 3

Sony has among the first to market with a smartwatch but its first two efforts - the inventively titled SmartWatch and SmartWatch 2 - left a lot to be desired, particularly on the software front.

Now however Sony is back with SmartWatch 3 but this time around it has Google's wearable-specific Android Wear on board, and ahead of its unveiling at IFA, we got a chance to have a look at it up close.

SmartWatch 3: Design

Sony's first two attempts at smartwatches were of the "big and bold" school of design. Chunky and angular, they looked like something from a 1980s science fiction TV series.

The SmartWatch 3 is slightly more refined, but no where near as good-looking as the Moto 360 or LG G Watch R. While looks in consumer tech products like smartphones and tablets are often over-played, for wearables and watches in particular, looks are as important as features.

The watch band comes in four colours (black, pink, green and white) with the band being interchangeable if you get tired of one colour.

The straps are made of soft touch rubber which isn't exactly premium, while the clasp is made of metal. The overall impression you get is of a device that doesn't know if it wants to be one thing or the other - waterproof fitness tracker or a fashionable wristwatch.

On my dainty wrists the SmartWatch 3 felt huge, though it is smaller than the previous models.

SmartWatch 3: Screen

The SmartWatch 3 has a 1.6in square screen with a resolution of 320 x 320 pixels. This is the same size screen as the SmartWatch 2 but a significant boost in resolution - up from 220 x 176.

Sony calls the screen a "transflective display" which I assume means it should be better in outdoor situations but as my time with the new watch was entirely indoors this was hard to judge.

On first impressions the screen looks as bright, sharp and responsive as any of the other Android Wear devices on the market, though it will need further testing.

SmartWatch 3: Software

Sony has gotten on the Android Wear bandwagon which should go a long way to address many of the issues we had with the SmartWatch 2.

As well as the basic Android Wear software, Sony has also bundled a standalone Walkman app with the watch, which will allow you to listen to music without having to have your phone nearby - which will be appealing for runners.

You will need Bluetooth headphones and there is only 4GB of space on the watch, but still, it's a nice idea.

The phone will also be able to act as a TV remote, a remote trigger for the camera on your smartphone/tablet and will integrate with Sony's LifeLog fitness tracking software.

SmartWatch 3: Price and Release Date

The SmartWatch 3 will be launched in October and will cost €229 (£180).

SmartWatch 3: First Impressions

An improvement over the SmartWatch 2 but with 2-day battery life and rather pedestrian design Sony will be relying on its bundled software to be enough to attract customers.

The SmartWatch 3 looks and feels like it falls between two stools. It is neither fashionable enough to replace a wrist watch, nor is it sleek enough to be a fitness tracker you wear all the time.