It was announced a few months back, but the SmartBand was finally available in the last two weeks. I picked this up on a whim, and it’s been on my wrist since then. How has it performed? Not so bad, especially if you have an Xperia phone.
The SmartBand is basically an activity tracker. It’s not as precise as some of the dedicated fitness trackers for athletes, but it’s still going to give you an interesting metric on what you do with your life. To start off with, the pedometer and running tracker aren’t anything new, and to be honest, it’s not the best feature of this device. The good thing is that it’s always on, doesn’t always need to be connected to the Internet, and can function without your smartphone for up to a whole day.
The best features in my opinion are the Sleep Monitor app, the Smart Wake Up, the notification system, and the application launcher. The Sleep Monitor will let you know if you are getting enough sleep, and the quality of your sleep. Just by having this simple metric, I was able to get 30% more sleep, simply because I was exactly aware of how much sleep I got every night.
The Smart Wake Up lets you program in a desired wake up interval. The SmartBand will wake you up within this interval when you are in a light sleep. This makes waking up fairly easy, and I have felt less grumpy and jarred by using this. This is definitely one of the standout features, because I have been looking for something discrete like this to function as a daily alarm. Also, you can stop your phone’s alarm by pressing the main button on the SmartBand.
I tend to keep my phone silent, since I find the vibration distracting, but I like how the SmartBand will vibrate whenever you receive a notification. You can customize which apps will alert you. Now I never need to keep my phone on vibrate. I just keep it on full silent.
The application launcher took me a bit of time to figure out, but it works very well on my Xperia Z2. Press the main button once, wait for the LEDs to light up, and then tap the face of the SmartBand, once, twice or thrice for predetermined actions. For now, I use it for the media launcher. When I’m running, it allows me to change tracks without even looking at my phone.
It’s not a perfect device. There are some faults. To start off with, you expect this thing to have a way to tell the time, because it looks like a watch, feels like a watch… I have stopped counting the number of times that I have glanced at it trying to look at the time. The next generation should definitely have an LED or OLED display for the time.
You also have to switch the device between day and night mode. While you can program this in, it is a bit annoying to switch it between settings. Lastly, the price. This thing retails for $149.99(USD), which is way too expensive for what it is. Though you can find it on Amazon for as low as $94.99, which is a bit more palatable. Honestly, I’d think that a tracker without a screen of any kind should retail for even less.
The upside of the SmartBand is that it works, and it works well. It does everything that it’s been advertised to do, and while I have no use for the Life Bookmarks, and some of its other features, I do like having it on my wrist, tracking my sleep and fitness level. When you couple it with an Android phone, you get the full experience. I have an Xperia Z2, and I can’t say how well it performs with other makes and models, but Sony states that it is compatible with Android devices.