Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Watch Out Again! A Sony SmartWatch 2 Review (SW2)

I had gotten the original SmartWatch when it first came out, it was fun. And I really liked it. It was a nice toy to have, and I actually ended up using it more often than I thought I would. But there was still a lot to be desired. Battery life was only a day if you wanted the display on all the time, and the watch itself wasn't finished as nicely as I would've wanted.

Of course, I upgraded to the SW2 (SmartWatch2) when it came out and it's a significant improvement over the previous version. A note, it is nearly twice the price. But at about P7,900 (about US$175) for the metal strap one (get the metal strap, looks way better than the silicone one) it's not ridiculously expensive.

Remote camera, Walkman, Calendar, Phone (You can answer/reject by remote. The watch itself doesn't take the call), SMS (I'm finding this more useful now that you can have several preset replies.) Facebook and Twitter are some of the default apps provided by Sony. The other apps I find useful are WatchIt which allows all notifications from your phone to be displayed on your SmartWatch (with limited capabilities) and a small note app.

This isn't a game changer. Nor is it a revolutionary device. Ericsson > Sony Ericsson > and now Sony have had about 5 generations of smart watches already. This is an evolution of an accessory, much like the Bluetooth headset. A nice extension of your mobile device.

Some details:
  • The watch is waterproof, even though Sony only claims "splashproof" maybe to keep people from swimming or diving with it.
  • It works as a standalone watch, unlike its predecessor which only worked when connected to a mobile device.
  • It works with almost any Android device.
  • It works with all previous Sony SmartWatch apps
  • The screen isn't as high-res as Samsung's Gear, but it's decent. The trans-reflective screen was a good choice for battery life and over-all practicality.
  • Under normal to heavy use, you can easily get 2 days on a single charge. One week for light users.
  • The watch display is on all the time, but the backlight only stays on for a few seconds. Currently, there is no way to change this setting to increase or keep the backlight on all the time.
  • Currently there are 10 watch faces available, 3 digital, 5 black analog, and 2 white analog.
  • It only works with ONE device. Bummer, I was hoping to pair both my phone and tablet with it.
  • At the moment, you cannot change the wallpaper. I just want a plain black one, not the Xperia color swirls
  • It has a few built-in apps that work without the phone connected to it, an alarm, timer, and flashlight.
  • You can use any 24mm watch strap as a replacement. It's more difficult to change the strap of this one vs. the previous one which just used a clip (but made the watch body quick thick). This may be better or worse, depending on how often you change straps.

This isn't meant to replace your Rolex, Tag, Omega, Bulgari, or the like. It's a decent, everyday watch that acts as an extension of your Android device. Nothing flashy or geeky looking. Most people don't even realize that it's not a regular watch until I get a notification.

I'm quite happy with this updated accessory. I liked the previous one too, and it's still a good option at almost half the price. This is NOT a must-have gadget. But I'm glad I upgraded. :)

Tech Tip of the Day: GMail Image Settings

Google recently incorporated a new security measure for embedded images in the email you receive. Their system automatically caches the image and displays the cached version. This is an added safety feature for GMail users but may still pose limited exposure for spammers and marketers.

This may not eliminate spam all together but it does make it slightly less convenient for spam or marketing firms to gain your info via embedded images.

Because of this new system, Google has made the default setting of Gmail to display all images. This isn't good, but easily remedied.

Simply go to your Settings in Gmail

Then make sure you select "Ask before displaying external images". And while you're at it, enable "Always use HTTPS" in the browser setting. Save your settings.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Sony SmartWatch2 update available!

Great news to Sony SmartWatch2 owners, a new update is available today!

Accessory Version: 1.0.B.3.46
Host Application Version: 1.3.17

New watch faces available, along with a Stopwatch and other improvements!

All-day Calendar bug still present however. :(

**New bug, the official Sony Camera Smart Extension no longer works with my Xperia P or Tablet Z after this update. :( Boo!**

***December 6 update of Camera Smart Extension app fixes bug mentioned above... YAY!!!***

Past Tech Gospels

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