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Sony SmartBand Review: Hands-on
What is the Sony SmartBand?The Sony SmartBand is one of the biggest-name fitness trackers yet. Sony says it'll be available in 'Spring', and it lets you track your activity using an app on your mobile phone.
The Sony SmartBand shares its design with many other wrist-worn fitness trackers. It comes in two bits – the wristband and the 'core'. This is a little plastic brain that lives within a recess in the band, roughly where a watch face would be.
Sony SmartBand – Design and Features
At the launch, Sony teased that there would be other holders for the SmartBand in the future, including ones that will attach to your trainers. However, it appears that at its release you'll be able to get the standard wristband in a few different colours and finishes. The one we got our hands on was a simple rubbery band with a shiny plastic clasp on the rear, but others use different textures.
You charge the core using a microUSB port – the same socket used by Sony's phones -
Sony hasn't revealed how long the SmartBand core battery will last, but as it does not have a display and uses an accelerometer sensor rather than integrated GPS, we expect up to a week's stamina.
Aside from the tracking of the number of steps you take, most of the tracking processing will be done by your phone. The SmartBand core connects to an app on your phone over Bluetooth LE, also known as Bluetooth Smart. This is a low-power version of Bluetooth used to transmit small amounts of information. It's perfect for fitness trackers like this.
The mobile app is called Lifelog and it tracks how many steps you take, how much time you spend running, cycling and even sleeping. One slightly limitation of the water resistant Sony SmartBand is that we're not sure whether its waterproofing will be good enough to take the watch swimming – the exposed microUSB port on the core is not a good sign.
However, it's possible that Sony may produce a fully waterproof strap. There are several details Sony has left for the MWC 2014 conference in February, where the SmartBand will get a little more exposure.
The Lifelog app
One thing the SmartBand does have over the early Fitbit trackers is that its default app offers advance cadence sensing to tell exactly what kind of exercise you're doing. The plan seems to be that you'll wear the band at all times, except for when it needs a charge.
Next, read our best gadgets of 2013 round-up