Sony has some history with smartwatches, but the company’s new SmartWatch 3 is a little different, since it’s the first from the firm to run Android Wear. Design-wise, it’s an improvement on the blocky Sony wearables that came before it, with a more streamlined rubber strap, though it’s not going to be confused for a regular watch unlike, say, ASUS’ ZenWatch might.
The 1.63-inch, 320 x 320 screen is clear enough, though we’ll have to see how it holds up in direct sunlight. The whole thing is IP68 sealed and waterproof, too, which means you can take it into the pool just as you might the Xperia Z3 it’s paired to.
Since it’s Android Wear you get voice control and Google Now cards, though more unusually Sony has added in a GPS chip along with the accelerometer, digital compass, and gyroscope. That’s because, as the rubber look might telegraph, the SmartWatch 3 has a fitness slant to it, tracking your runs and feeding into Sony’s existing Lifelog app.
On the wrist, it’s comfortable if chunky. The interchangeable bands are easy to remove, but they’re also pretty large, and this is definitely a fitness tracker you’ll notice on your arm.
In short, it’s a solid wearable but it may struggle to raise its head among the growing crowd of Android Wear devices, particularly as round-screen models like the Moto 360 and LG G Watch R begin to show up.
Sony tells us it expects the SmartWatch 3 to hit stores this fall, priced at €229 ($300), though US pricing has not been confirmed yet.