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Sony SmartWatch 2 review

Andrew Williams



Our Score


User Score


  • Lots of apps available
  • It does work


  • Limited battery life
  • Awkward to setup

Review Price £149.00

Key Features: 1.6-inch display; Bluetooth and NFC; 200MHz Qualcomm M3 CPU

Manufacturer: Sony

What is the Sony SmartWatch 2?

The Sony SmartWatch 2 is among the latest wave of wearable tech, arriving alongside the Samsung Galaxy Gear. It’s a Bluetooth-enabled watch, and it costs around £150.

It’s a little more accessible than the Samsung Galaxy Gear, being much cheaper and offering much wider phone support (most phones Android 4.0 or newer). However, it does show why the smartwatch is one of the most maligned areas in tech. They claim to be devices of the future, but in-use too many elements feel like retrograde steps into the past.

Sony SmartWatch 2 – Design and Setup

Conscious, perhaps, that smartwatches are at risk of being dismissed as gimmicky toys, Sony has made the SmartWatch 2 feel very sturdy. The front panel remains very gadgety-looking like the first-gen SmartWatch, with a chunky square fascia, but the strap we got to test is a chain of black metal links. It’s the sort of watch strap worm by men who like manly pursuits and dream of owning sports cars.

The Sony SmartWatch 2 is also quite large and heavy. Not only is everyone around you going to notice it on your wrist – you’re not going to forget it’s there either. We also had some trouble altering the size of the strap. It’s not a standard, easily-adjustable plastic strap, you need to manually remove links with a tool.

However, you can buy other straps, including less chunky, non-metal ones. And the look isn’t all bad. The SmartWatch 2 looks more upmarket than the first Sony SmartWatch, and the bevelled silvery edge of the watch face is a nice touch. Still, it has won few fans among our team.

The watch is rated to IP57 weather resistance, meaning it can be submerged in water and is dust-proof. However, you’re not meant to take the watch swimming.

The one potential fail point that could let water in is the microUSB charge socket on the side, which is covered by rubber-sealed flap. Any water resistance disappears along with its integrity, and as the watch needs to be charged regularly, there’s a decent chance you’ll end up causing minor damage to the seal after time.

Sony says the SmartWatch 2 battery lasts for up to four days, but we found the battery stamina less than this. It generally lasts two days once you’re tooled up with notification-producing apps. Sport watches like the TomTom Multisport may die quickly if used for their main GPS-tracking role, but use them as a watch and they’ll last for ages. In comparison, the SmartWatch 2 is not the most reliable of watches.

Setup is also a little awkward.

The SmartWatch 2 has NFC for quick pairing, but as most Androids out there still don’t have the feature we tested the watch with the NFC-less Motorola Moto G. Pairing is easy enough – done so within the Bluetooth monu of a phone, but the succession of extra software that has to be installed following this is laborious.

You need to install two separate apps to even get your phone to recognise the watch properly – Smart Connect and a special provisioning tool for the SmartWatch 2. Even with these installed, the watch isn’t ready to do much of anything. Almost no features are actually built into the SmartWatch 2 beyond the clock and torch (which is hilariously – but predictably - nothing more than a white screen).

When not in use, a non-backlit clock face is shown (you can pick between 10). This uses some power, but nowhere near as much as a fully lit screen. It's not quite as clear as a 'normal' watch, though. Now, onto the apps.

Next page


September 4, 2013, 10:06 am

With such a small screen I'm very surprised Sony has bothered to put the battery life, page denotation and time all on the home screen. Looks to me they've just shrunk a phone, I can't imagine Apple doing this. Watches are meant to be cool, slick and look good, this isn't the smartwatch we've been waiting for.


September 4, 2013, 4:30 pm

they missed the chance to match the lovely smooth edge/side design of Z1 and Z Ultra on the watch! Would have looked much better than the painted(!!!) flat sides

Simon Butcher

September 4, 2013, 11:48 pm

This could do with wireless charging - put a pad on the nightstand and then take the watch off and leave it on it overnight. Four day battery doesn't become an issue then as it's regularly topped up and if you miss a day or two no worries.


September 5, 2013, 4:39 pm

As I have pre-ordered a Z1 with EE I am going to get one of these. Bit too geeky to wear I expect but if it isn't then the "vibrate" on phonecall/message will be useful if the Z1 is as miss-able as the S is in a pocket.


September 5, 2013, 9:28 pm

It's 24mm width straps that are compatible, I'm trying to find out the strap length as the one that came with the previous (current) model was a fraction too short for my wrist.


September 7, 2013, 6:27 am

Of course they've just shrunk a phone. It's a remote control for your phone--what did you honestly expect?


September 14, 2013, 10:33 pm

The always-on display and standalone functionality are very welcome improvements over the SmartWatch 1, but if it still needs a Sony-branded phone for the email app to work that's going to kill it for me sadly.

Size-wise it's 1.7 x 1.6 x 0.35 inches, which makes it slightly bigger than the SW1, but half as thick. A decent size, unlike a Motoactiv which must be like having a brick tied to your wrist.


October 8, 2013, 8:05 am

why no slot for earphone with speaker so that no need to up your hand to your mouth to answers phone calls or listening to musicl


October 11, 2013, 2:35 pm

I've had this watch for about two weeks now and I must say that it is FAR SUPERIOR to the previous Sony models. The screen is bright and clear and very sensitive to the touch and the watch software is arranged so that the layout is immediately familiar to Android users. It's also made of much better quality materials than previous models + the battery lasts ages! There are also some really cool apps starting to appear on Google Play too...for example the 'Watcher' app allows you to remotely view your phones camera video feed from up to 30 meters away and includes a motion detection facility which vibrates the watch when someone walks in front of the camera (real James Bond stuff!).

flo irimescu

January 5, 2014, 8:30 am

What's name for 2nd.app.who tell you? About motion detection I speak.

Daniel Bryant

January 8, 2014, 7:15 pm

is it possible to make the clockface illuminated all of the time? i would only consider getting one if it was lit all of the time... otherwise there's not much point.

Lee White

March 13, 2014, 12:43 am

It definitely didn't need the face lite on 24,7 I've had it a month now& the screen really helped me out in the sun,,were I couldn't Se the phone I can always make calls and texts from it,,good job Sony

D A P Sharma

March 27, 2014, 4:18 pm

I came to know that smartwatch 2 has no calling-receiving facilities.
Is Sony working to improve this device with these facilities? Would like to buy it only with these facilities.

your help

March 29, 2014, 2:24 pm

you actually can answer calls from the sw2 but you must have your headphones plugged in to your phone the only smart watch that does it without headphones is the galaxy gear


April 23, 2014, 3:09 pm

Is there GPS on this thing?


April 26, 2014, 9:31 pm

"Gmail client can’t cope with any HTML formatting, and so refuses to display half your emails." You should try eNotify it does a good job of displaying emails on the sw2 and lets you reply with canned messages.

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