Review: Sony SmartBand Talk
3.3Overall Score

Price (RRP): $199
Manufacturer: Sony

Not everyone needs a smartwatch, and if you want the time, maybe some phone calls, but don’t like the look or feel of a watch, there’s always a smart band. Sony is updating its take on that category with the SmartBand Talk, a model that brings a touchscreen e-ink display and a battery life that’ll keep you going.

Features and performance

People who want to shed a few kilograms or go the full hog and lose a ton of weight have a good assortment of gadgets to help them accomplish this, and the past few years have been instrumental in bringing more of these out. So many of these come from smaller players, the Jawbone and Fitbit and Misfit of the world, but the big guys are here too, and Sony is one of them.

The brand you probably know for Bravia, the Walkman, and even the PlayStation started combining fitness and wireless tech last year with its first SmartBand, and it’s now ready again with a slightly different take from that first model the company showcased.

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It’s worth noting, however, that this new one — the SWR30 — is a little different from the model Sony first showed us, the SWR10, which was basically a small plastic brick that could jump from silicone band to silicone band and would track steps, vibrate wildly when you had a notification, and show your life on an animated daily walk from dawn to dusk.

This time, Sony has taken the same concept but brought a screen to the package, flattening the entire thing and reviving the electronic ink division of its consumer electronics division that used to make eBook readers.

You get two buttons on the side — a volume rocker up top and a menu button to let you jump between the few menus that exist, technically features, with a degree of touch applied to the screen for all other aspects.

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A degree of water resistance has also been applied, with IP68 protection present, meaning it should survive an encounter with freshwater up to 1.5 metres for up to 30 minutes, with the rest of it being dust proof provided you keep that the one port it has for charging sealed.

And the strap is even removable, thanks to two plastic clips that can be pulled up, detaching each side of the band from the black curved plastic brick that is the SmartBand Talk’s main section, with the screen, the sensors (accelerometer, altimeter), a microphone, and the Bluetooth connection to talk to your phone.

But that’s pretty much all there is to the unit, with the 1.4 inch electronic ink display and the two buttons essentially being the SmartBand Talk.

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And Sony has nailed a few things with this particular product, an activity bracelet that again shows us what our daily activities look like by, again, animating our progress through the course of a day to night. It’s not iron clad or perfect, and just like before, it’s an experience only Android users get to partake in, with no application support extended to either iOS (Apple) or Windows Phone.

Sorry people interested on it on those platforms, but this is an Android only affair.

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