Sony SmartBand Talk Review
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Comfortable and light-weight
Very good in daylight because of the e-ink
Easy to use
Lacks fitness options
Few smart options
Pricey for what it offers
If you are in for a smart-watch that is simple to use, light and comfortable, Sony might have something for you with the SmartBand Talk SWR30.
Here’s the trick though, are you willing to pay $170 for a watch that doesn’t offer many smart capabilities, doesn’t even have a heart rate monitor.( Like if that’s even standard?)
Take a look at this review of the Sony SmartBand Talk, the little sister to the Sony SmartWatch 3 and find out for yourself.
The interface on this piece of Techwear is as minimal as it can get. The Smartband Talk is a bit of an outsider in a market where most companies tend to stuff their smart-watches with things you don’t really need such as games. Hey, if I wanted to play a game I’ll use my phone, PC or a gaming console, thank you very much.
Out of the box, the SmartBand Talk interface includes the time, your activity screen and nothing else.
The lack of interface features though may not be to its best advantage. For instance, the absence of GPS, heart rate monitor or an altimeter is quite noticeable and may make this wearable less appealing to people who intend to use it for exercise.
The Sony SmartBand Talk is designed to connect with the Lifelog application. What this does is that it keeps track of your activities such as workouts, or how many photos you take or how much music you listen to.
Unfortunately, the Talk doesn’t offer much in terms of tracking. All it can do is track your running and walking thanks to cadence detection and that’s it.
Unlike most other smart-watches the SmartBand Talk uses an e-link display of 1.4 inches. What this means is that the watch has a resolution of only 296 by 128. However, due to the nature of the e-link display, the screen will never look as jageddy or pixilated as it would on an amoled or LCD display.
During daytime or in a well-lit room, this smart-watch is just fine. The problem arises when it is dark. This is the downside of the e-link technology unfortunately.
The best thing about this kind of display is that it won’t drain your battery. The screen will only need power for refreshing what is already on the screen. The downside of this is that it may take a bit to change the numbers on the clock as they change.
The SmartBand Talk weighs only 24 grams (0.84 oz.) so there will probably be times that you’ll forget that you are even wearing it, especially if you are used to wearing something on your wrist like me.
The strap is made of rubber, but it is still comfortable (even though it looks a bit cheap). The main reason for this is how it is curved to match your wrist.
You can change the straps and you’ll probably want to do that, especially if it comes with a larger strap fitted first. Don’t think it will be easy to find out how to detach the strap though. Sony has really outdone itself in the way the strap fits with the plastic holding the screen.
If you’re not into regular watch straps, SmartBand Talk has a very simple mechanism to keep itself on your wrist. It uses these little metal mushrooms (for lack of better word) that you need to push through the holes on the straps in order to fasten it.
Water and dust will not cause problems with Talk, at least not that much. The watch is certified to the IP68 standard. This means it is completely dust-proof and you can even submerge it into water.
Now, before you take it for a swim in the local pool or the Pacific Ocean (whichever is your preference) you should know that the “waterproof” part applies only to fresh water. So, don’t subject it to any water containing either salt or chemicals. Don’t be disappointed with this, you can still wash your hands while wearing it, that counts for something, doesn’t it?
So how does this watch stay dry, at least on the inside? The key here is a small rubber cap covering the microUSB port. Get this wet and you won’t be able to charge your Sony SmartBand Talk. Don’t charge you’re SmartBand Talk and the battery will drain. See where this is going?
Design-wise the Talk isn’t overly showy and won’t win many prizes for its looks. However, it is light and comfortable and it certainly helps if you don’t have to worry about dust or water.
We already covered the apps a bit and the lack of some features such as GPS, heart rate sensor or altimeter. This doesn’t mean that the Sony SmartBand Talk smart-watch has nothing to offer though.
Fresh out of the box, the watch offers regular notifications like the ones you see on your tablet or smartphone. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you can read the things those notifications refer to. All that is available are who sent the email or message, so you’ll know if you want to pick up the phone.
One interesting option you get with the Talk are phone calls as the watch has a tiny speaker and a mic built-in. With this, you can look like one of the “Men in Black” or some other kind of secret agent or you may look like a doofus yelling into your watch since you’ll have a hard time hearing what the other person is saying. Don’t worry, that problem will be mutual, since the quality doesn’t get any better on the other side of the line either.
What I’m trying to say is, pick up the phone if you want to talk to someone.
The other apps available for this watch you will have to add yourself via the SmartBand Talk app. Fortunately, this is available for all Android 4.4 phones, so don’t worry if you don’t have a Sony.
With normal use the 70mAh battery will keep the SmartBand Talk running for about 3-4 days before it starts to beg you to charge it. That’s about mid-way when it comes to smart-watches as you’ll get about a day or two with LG G Watch R, while the Pebble Steel can go for an entire week, at least in an ideal world.
If it’s just about how comfortable and light it is, the SmartBand Talk is a good choice, but it takes more to make a smart-watch worth $170. Personally, I don’t think that it’s worth that much considering its lack of features. The watch is dust and water-proof, that’s for sure, but I would have preferred if it had a bit more in the tank.