There are certainly a ton of fitness bands out on the market already but that hasn’t stopped a company like Sony from getting in on the action. The Sony Smartband is the company’s first product to be powered by their new Core fitness tracker and in terms of design the band is comprised of two parts. There’s the actual band itself that’s made of a textured silicone and Sony includes two sizes in the box to accommodate various wrist sizes. The band is adjustable via a metal fastener that feels somewhat clumsy but it does a great job at keeping the band secure to your wrist.
By itself the band does absolutely nothing but this is where the Core or heart of the band comes into play. It’s a plastic white rectangle with a micro USB port on one end for charging, a power button on the side with 3 LED indicators, and a Sony logo on the bottom. The core slips into the underside of the band and is completely hidden when worn on your wrist that no one would ever be able to tell it was anything outside of a normal band.
The Smartband only comes in black out of the box but Sony is selling colored bands that can be purchased separately if black just isn’t your thing. The best thing about this band is how light it is. It’s so light that you’ll eventually forget you’re even wearing it and like many Sony products the Smartband is rated IP 58 making it both dust and water resistant so feel free to shower with it on.
Before you can use the Smartband you’ll have to pair it with your smartphone via NFC or Bluetooth. The only requirement is that you have a phone running Android 4.4 KitKat. The process takes about 5 minutes but it requires you to download three apps — Sony Smartband, Sony Connect, and Lifelog. It would have been nice to see Sony combine all of these apps into one for a more streamlined process but once you have it all set up it will automatically star tracking your activity. Since the band doesn’t have a display all the settings and activity tracking is viewed on your phone.
Within the Smartband app you can adjust a few setting like auto night mode which will automatically put the phone into night mode at the time that you specify and turn off all notifications and begin tracking your sleep. You can select virtually any app to have notifications sent directly to the band but there’s not much the band can do outside of letting you know a notification has been received through a small vibration so you’ll still have to check your phone regardless. Other features include smart wake up to wake you up when you’re lightly sleeping and out-of-range alert just in cause you accidentally leave your phone or tablet behind.
Sony also gives you the option to control a few other apps like your music player and camera directly through the band but the implementation is rather clunky involving double and triple tap gestures resulting in an exercise in frustration more than anything else.
What separates the Sony Smartband from other fitness trackers is that it can track more than just fitness activities. With Sony’s Lifelog app not only can you track walking, running, and calories burned but it will also keep track of other activities like social interaction, pictures you’ve taken, and media you’ve consumed from music, movies, games, and books provided you did it all on the phone that the band is paired with. The app is clean with great visuals making it easy to read and the animated timeline is a nice touch giving you an overall picture of your entire day. The bookmarking feature is also great just in case you want to keep track of any memorable moments that happen in your life.
When it comes to battery life Sony claims 5 days on a single charge and the Smartband lives up to that claim lasting exactly 5 days during my use. The best part about it is, it only takes 30 minutes to an hour to charge and you’re set for another 5 days.
The Sony Smartband is available now for a retail price of 100 dollars but you can already find it for cheaper through websites like Amazon. While I do think there’s room for improvement, it’s very competitively priced especially considering everything it’s capable of. It won’t satisfy people into hardcore fitness as it doesn’t track activities like biking or hiking but if you’re looking for a band that can track some general fitness and various other activities throughout your daily life it’s a great option to consider and with all of the information that it can track the Sony Smartband is more than just your average fitness tracker.