Sony Smartwatch 4 – Features, Release Date, Price, Review
Previous Sony Smartwatch models have kept things simple. That may be about to change with the new Sony Smartwatch 4 release.
Sony pretty much started the smartwatches crave that is in high gear at the moment. It has been a while since the Sony Smartwatch 3 launched, and the competition has been nothing short of cutthroat, but does the upcoming 4th iteration of Sony Smartwatch anything worth the rumour mill press-playing around?
Sony Smartwatch 3 price when reviewed: $163.99
Thanks to the debutante ball for the Sony Ericsson LiveView, which featured among others Bluetooth Radio and a 128×128 OLED display, there was little doubt that Sony was on to something.
Come CES 2016, which is set to run from Wednesday, 6 January to Saturday on the 9th, 2016, and Sony will pull the veil off its 4th generation of smartwatch brilliance. This is a change from the IFA releases we had for both the Sony Smartwatch 2 (2013) and Sony Smartwatch 3 in 2014.
The Sony Smartwatch 4 specs sheet we have on here seems brilliant – a bevy of highly sensitive sensors and standalone 4G LTE capabilities may be coming to your Sony SmartWear wrist. We hope to see those incorporated into the mass production units very early in 2016.
Sony Smartwatch 4 Features
Sony Smartwatch 4 Display
One thing we liked about the Sony Smartwatch 3 is that transflective display, an improved carry-over from the 220 x 176 pixels Sony Smartwatch 2 display. You can pick up and read notifications off of the smartwatch’s 1.6-inch TFT LCD screen without having to wake it for backlighting. It also means users can read it in direct sunlight – at least decently – which is not what you’ll find with most other Android Wear smartwatches (and phones).
The next-generation Sony Smartwatch 4 is rumoured to feature a crisp-clear LCD. However, there is no information forthcoming as to whether the 4th generation Sony Smartwatch will sport a more vibrant AMOLED display to rival the much (much) better looking LG G Watch and the 1.6-inch AMOLED screens on the Samsung Galaxy Gear brigade. However, we expect it to both transmit light and reflect ambient light, maybe in a refreshing and Iess-washout-colours way than its 2014 predecessor.
We saw the SW3 feature IP68 Certification for waterproofing ability, the best on an Android Wear smartwatch, which allows users to take Sony’s last wearable offering for a deep in the beach or pool for up to 30 minutes under 5 feet (1.5 metres). For comparison sake, the Moto 360 can only handle the deep blue for up to 3 feet. With more swimming apps developers beaming hope of an impressive offering, the Sony Smartwatch 4 will certainly sport dustproof and waterproof features.
Additional Reading: The Best Waterproof Fitness Tracker 2016
Sony SW 4 Design
At this time, we also cannot qualify any rumours about the smart wearable’s sleekness in design, but we doubt it’ll cause the likes of the LG G Watch, Moto 360 and Asus ZenWatch any bouts of Insomnia. That is judging from Sony’s preferences for practicality over fashionista statements, and you will concur the SW3 is rather more useful than the fancy Galaxy Gear garage.
If the rumours are true, SW4 will feature a slim bezel and Corning’s Gorilla Glass 3 protection. Also, if you thought that a sizable section of the “big” size of the previous SW3 bezel of metal, glass and high-tech innuendo was not particularly attractive on the wrist, then the Sony SmartWatch Team might respond in kind at this year’s CES event in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA.
Hopefully, with category leaders’ Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Gear, Peak by Basis and FitBit’s sleek, stylish and out-of-the-box design cues being embraced left, right and centre, the peer pressure might finally get to Sony and probably bend its stern take on esthetically compelling smartwatches.
Sony SmartWatch 4 Tech Specs – Under the Hood
The new Sony Smartwatch 4 will feature a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 series CPU clocked at 1.2GHz and 768 MB of RAM, says our internal source. Because the Sony Smartwatch 3 ran on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 1.2GHz Quad-Core, ARM Cortex A7 chip based on Broadcom’s System-on-chip (SoC) – the first Android Wear smartwatch to do so – we expect the SW4 to feature nothing less and take over from there.
Furthermore, there are more and better Android Wear apps to make use of powerful smartwatch chips including iFit, RunKeeper and Google’s MyTracks, as well as better integration with fitness social network Endomondo from March 2015.
Sony Smartwatch 4 Advanced Features
The upcoming Sony smartwatch will also run Android Wear OS from Google. This makes the connected timepiece feature a bevy of easy to use, useful apps, as well as smooth operation-something that was clearly a mess with the Sony Smartwatch 2. Almost every smartwatch on the market features the same vanilla user-experience, but the SW4 might up one the rest of the Android-based crowd thanks to new the Android Wear OS v1.4 update. The most current update includes native support for various wrist gestures.
For example, quickly moving your smartwatch away from your frame, and then slowly moving it back makes the on-screen cards to scroll over. Move the wrist away slowly and then quickly bring it back towards your body and you’ll be able to go back one card. We are learning that the Sony Smartwatch 4 will feature a load more sensors than in the previous models, and we think it would be far better primed to take on Android Wear 1.4 than the rest of the Android brethren. But that is if Sony Watch 4 does, indeed, roll out with support for the updates.
Among the current bunch of Android smartwatches, maybe only the Asus ZenWatch 2 and LG R Urbane Watch will be able to handle the new Android Wear roll-out nearly as well.
Talking of sensors, Sony’s Smartwatch 4 is rumoured to be bringing with it a (long expected) optical heart rate sensor. We felt the Sony Smartwatch 3 was a good enough smartwatch for most people, but still the wearable missed one of the essential features of a wrist wearable-a heart rate monitor for the ones who take their health and fitness seriously while on the go.
With Sony rumoured to be slotting in 4GB of internal memory for the timepiece, it means more room for your favourite running playlists, and fitness coaching advice in audio streaming from your integrated music player-which we sure hope improves from the last set up.
Sony Smartwatch Connectivity
If the rumours do add up, the Sony Smartwatch 4 may finally allow you to ditch your smartphone while you run. It’ll include 46 LTE connectivity, as well as Bluetooth 4.0 LE, and speedy Wi-Fi 802.11n. That should sound like music to the outdoorsy and indoors alike, seeing that you can put on your compatible Bluetooth headphones and stream your favourite tunes, whether running, chilling out in the street or park, or just killing time during lunch break.
The stronger and better 46 connectivity means you can funnel updates from Twitter, Gmail alerts, Facebook notifications, and other Sony and non-Sony devices’ updates from your pocket to your wrist, more precisely and much quicker.
The Sony Smartwatch will also come equipped with smarter Near Field Communication (NFC) capabilities.
Contactless Payment with the Sony SW 4
We can only hope the wireless technology is integrated with Google Wallet, which would no doubt usher the Sony Smartwatch 4 to pole position (and ahead of most of the competition) and bring Apple Pay-like functionality of the Apple Watch to Android World. But then again, that is an Android Wear update-in-the-works and of which Sony can do virtually nothing. Well, that is as long as Sony sports Android Wear OS for the Sony Smartwatch 4.
Fitness and GPS
Like in the previous models, this fourth-generation timepiece is set to ship with inbuilt GPS, something that the likes of Moto 360 and LG G Watch can’t claim to comprehend. Thanks to the Broadcom SoC integration aforementioned above, we know for sure that the GPS 800 (was BCM 47531 on the Sony Smartwatch 3) we expect the Sony Smartwatch 4 to throw on will be capable of tracking five satellite systems at the same time.
Those include GLONASS, GPS, QZSS, BeiDou and SBAS. So if you’d like to track your fitness routes and comb your dynamic running landscape in distance covered, as well as profile your travel destination maps, the Sony Smartwatch 4 may become your wrist buddy if you do get one after its expected release date in Q1 2016.
With compatible apps (e.g. RunKeeper and MyTracks) starting to show up on Google Play, you can seamlessly reap the benefits of standalone GPS without carrying your phone around. Note that the Sony Smartwatch 3, as is with the Moto 360, required that you have an Android 4.3 and above smartphone for phone compatibility.
Sony Smartwatch 4 Battery
The other feature we praised in the last instalment of Sony’s smartwatch range was battery life. The Sony Smartwatch 2 could eek out a 48-hour uptime from its 225mAh battery, and the cool guys over at Sony Inc ramped up the SW3 battery capacity to 420mAh with a Lithium-Polymer battery. That was the largest battery on an Android Wear smartwatch then, as is still the case today.
For most people, that much battery life easily takes two days to run out. That may sound ridiculous compared to the Peak’s 7-day battery life from a single charge, but with Sony’s smartwatch capabilities you can successfully do so much more than with the Peak. The Sony Smartwatch 4 is also rumoured to feature a similar 420mAh power plant. Here is how it gets better, though.Thanks to the power management tweaks rolling out with Android Wear 1.4, Sony Smartwatch 4 users might enjoy the longest, most useful hours that an Android smartwatch can give at this point in history.
We like it also that the SW4 will sport a Micro-USB port for charging, which means you can charge it virtually anywhere that you can also charge your phone. The port is to be covered with a soft waterproof plug to complement further its IP68 waterproof design.
Sony Smartwatch 4 Price
Incoming information makes us believe that the Sony Smartwatch 4 price will start from $300-$350 (£203 – £237). Now that ties it to the LG G Watch, and makes it more expensive than the high-performing Moto 360, which is currently to be had brand new with stainless steel straps for £192 on Amazon UK (free delivery attached).
Hopefully, the Sony Smartwatch 4 specifications and real-life usability do justify that rather premium price tag. After all, we know just how much bloatware the Galaxy Gear brigade packs. We don’t need a brilliantly specced wearable on paper, but an annoying piece of overdone wristband tech that’s more outlandish and barely practical in day-to-day activity.
If you have a little more money to splash on the Sony Smartwatch 4 – you can swap out the straps for something you deem more appropriate, trendy, premium, or just comfy. So you will be able to strap on your all-metal, stainless steel strap, or sporty rubber bands, or black/grey leather strap, or those others straps you may have gathering dust in the cabinet. Expect to be able to fit different strap sizes: 42 mm and 43 mm.
Also, buyers can choose various colours to complement best their mood, special occasion, the day of the week, or weather. Rumours have it that you might be able to choose based on you sex too with both the Sony Smartwatch 4 for Men and Sony Smartwatch 4 for Women in the offing.
Sony invented the smartwatch category of wearable tech. The term “Smartwatch” is a Sony trademark, mind you. So it is only understandable that the whole world has waited years for a top-notch, all-encompassing smart watch from the electronics giant. Over the years, though, Sony has had the wrist wearable’s world eat out all of its nails in anticipation – and most people are still waiting. Granted the Sony Smartwatch 3 was a great improvement over the previous Sony Smartwatch 2, the next generation Sony Smartwatch 4 promises (and is expected to offer) more.
Hot on the heels of Sony, are LG, FitBit, Garmin, Apple, Basis, and many more smartwatch makers on the prowl for basically the same customers. With more end users looking for much more than just checking the time from their wrist-worn computers, Sony might need to find that tricky balance between aesthetic appeal, practicality, abundant battery life, and a comfortable fit in time for the Sony Smartwatch 4
launch at CES 2016.
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