Sony's first-generation Smartband was too simple to make noise in the crowded wearable segment. However owing to mixed reviews online, Sony had to release the reincarnated version, the SmartBand Talk, at IFA 2014.
Sony SmartBand Talk, which recently made its debut in India, has the capability to make HD voice calls, in addition to fairly standard fitness tracking abilities, such as running, walking and sleeping.
We got our hands on the Sony-made wearable at CES 2015, where it was showcased alongside the SmartWatch 3 Steel Edition. Here are our first impressions.
Sony SmartBand Talk: Form Factor, Design and Display
Sony has done a decent job when it comes to the design of the SmartBand Talk. It isn't charismatic, though the design is simple and neat. It comes in two colours: white and Black. The activity tracker has a replacable wrist bands, so you have an option to change according to your mood and prefrence.
Weighing at just 24grams, it felt comfortable to wear, like any other fitness tracking device. On the right-hand side of the main body are two buttons: one controls volume and the other lets you operate from screen to screen. There's a Micro USB charging port on the opposite edge.
Talking about the display, the 1.4-inch E-ink screen has a resolution of 296 x 128 pixels. Well, it wasn't tough to read notifications indoors, but lacks a backlight. All in all, the display seemed innovate, but we were hoping for real innovation.
Sony SmartBand Talk: Software, Apps and Features
Surprisingly, the SmartBand Talk is compatible with devices running Android 4.4 and above. At the same time, you need to download Sony's native SmartBand Talk app and the Lifelog app in order to get the band work with your handset. Once you complete the initial setup, the SmartBand Talk will be able to display notifications, alters, calls and emails.
You would be terrified to know that there aren't many third-party apps that's compatible with Sony's SmartBand Talk. Yes indeed, the choice is limited. However, Sony has provided some basic apps, such as Smart Camera and Smart Control, among others.
The Life Bookmark app, meanwhile, lets you capture special moments and save them directly into the app. The Music app, on the other hand, gives you basis access to control music on the companion smartphone.
The biggest highlight of the SmartBand Talk is its ability to work as a hands-free for your companion device. As expected, you can directly answer calls or dial numbers. It appears to be a useful feature while driving a car. Call quality, meanwhile, seemed to be above average when tested during a demo session at CES 2015.
Sony SmartBand Talk: Battery Life and Verdict
The device features a 70mAh battery fitted inside that should last up to 3 days on a single charge. Although we need to measure accurate battery life, the initial feedback seemed to be in favour of Sony. Another good thing about the SmartBand Talk is that it doesn't require a dedicated charging cradle; instead it uses a Micro USB charging port, which should be useful to implement in daily life.
The question remains, however, how accurate this all-round fitness cum wearable wristband in day-to-day life. Sony's SmartBand Talk will face similar issues as the Samsung Gear Fit. Both smartbands have neither tried to measure fitness data accurately nor managed to rise above the rest. At a price of Rs. 12,990, it's even hard to imagine that an average use would even think of buying the SmartBand Talk.
Stay tuned to GizBot for more updates!