Updated on 01-06-2015 by Andy Boxall: Added in hands-on impressions and new pictures of the metal strap
It’s sticking with the same modular design, so the core unit can be popped out of the strap, ready to be inserted into the sports strap. This gives wearers the best of both worlds. A sweat-resistant version for exercise, and a flashy metal one for other times. The metal strap is boldly styled with thick links, but in muted, matte stainless steel. This is a Sony product, and anything too shiny would be out of place.
The subtlety suits it though, as does the strap’s shape, and accentuates the slight curve of the SmartWatch 3’s screen. It’s heavier than the sports version, but not awkwardly so. Removing the core takes a little more effort, even though the frame itself isn’t made from metal, and there is a knack to doing it. Once it’s out, we can see the core hasn’t changed, and the annoying micro USB charging port remains in place.
The specs are also the same, which means it has a 1.6-inch transflective screen with a 320×320 pixel resolution, and power coming from a 1.2GHz quad-core chip. The SmartWatch 3 stands out thanks to its IP68 water resistance, and built-in GPS for use without a connection to your smartphone.
Flicking around the Android Wear operating system, we stumbled upon a new Sony-only feature. As Android Wear gains more apps, finding them on the watch will become more awkward. Sony’s solution is an easily accessed menu listing those which are installed. An accompanying app on your phone lets you customize the list. It’ll only become more useful as Android Wear grows.
New holder accessory and exclusive apps
Sony also announced an accessory for the SmartWatch 3 that enables further customization of the device. It’s a holder for the watch’s body, allowing you to fit any 24mm strap to it. The SmartWatch 3 isn’t the most exciting looking wearable, so this is a welcome introduction, and Sony intends the holder to be used by us as consumers, and by third-party companies too.
On the software side, there’s news on some new SmartWatch 3 apps, plus an update to Lifelog. SmartWatch 3 owners get exclusive access to the premium versions of Golfshot and iFit starting at the end of January 2015.
Previewed in 2014, a web-based version of Lifelog can now be accessed at lifelog.sonymobile.com, and is designed to work on all screens, from your phone to your TV. Sony also announced it’s partnering with IFTTT, Withings, and Habit Monster on Lifelog, plus with Virgin Atlantic on software for its Android SmartWear products.
The stainless steel SmartWatch 3 will be released around the world in February 2015, while the holder will go on sale in the next few months. Neither have been given a price yet.
Article originally published on 01-05-2015