Sony’s next Android Wear watch could be a better fitness tracker and much more
Sony SmartWatch 4: what we want to see
Time is running out in 2016 for Sony to release its follow-up to the Smartwatch 3. But that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. IFA 2016 is coming up in early September and would make for a near-perfect setting to introduce its new wearable.
Even over a year after launch, the Sony SmartWatch 3 remains one of the more competent Android Wear smartwatches available.
That’s because it’s stuffed with useful, future-proof features that, even today, can be tough to find bundled into any one device, like built-in GPS, waterproofing, NFC and Wi-Fi capabilities.
But, as the world of wearable keeps advancing and, in doing so, producing some truly innovative and gorgeous timepieces, there’s never been a better time for the Sony SmartWatch 4 to share the same stage.
A gym and office-friendly design
The Sony SmartWatch 3 is a slick looking wearable, but most would agree that it was crafted more with the sporty type in mind. The rubbery strap that comes included is minimalistic and offers an understated fashion statement, if that’s what you’re going for. But, it can’t compete with much today’s classier competitors, like the Huawei Watch , the new Moto 360 , and Apple Watch .
Sure, owners with a little more cash can splurge on the stainless steel strap and frame to elevate it to Pebble Time-levels of style. But then, you’ve just spent upwards of about $320 (£229, about AU$463).
For the Sony SmartWatch 4, we’d like to see a more attractive blend of both sporty and regal looks. And if that means that we need to shell out an extra US$50 (£34, AU$70) on a more refined, universally-appealing design, that’s fine by us.
More accurate and efficient GPS
During our testing of the SmartWatch 3, we loved leaving our phones behind and taking advantage of its built-in GPS. But, on the flipside of this cool feature are a few serious downsides: the sensor’s accuracy and its impact on the wearable’s battery.
We found that the distance tracked via GPS tended to differ quite a bit with what our phones would report, sometimes to the point that we didn’t know which one to believe. Hopefully, the SmartWatch 4 receives the hardware improvements necessary to ensure a more accurate tracking experience. Additionally, here’s to hoping that Android Wear continues to improve along with it.
The other downside of built-in GPS, in this case, is the big hit it makes on battery life. Our tests showed that the battery dropped as much as 10% in 24 minutes of GPS use. If exercise is a big part of your life, we’re alongside you in hoping that the minds behind Sony’s next iteration have improved the battery efficiency of the built-in GPS feature to bring us more like a 20% drop in three hours’ use – like ‘proper’ running watches.