75
10
final rating

reviewed on
purchased on
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Criteria Comments Rating
  • Durability The band is strong and flexible. great!
  • Portability It's a wristband, it easily goes anywhere. great!
  • Ease of use Easy to connect and use, but use of media application is inconsistent. good
  • Design and form factor The band has a great design, it's hardly noticeable when worn. great!
Detailed review
The pairing of the Sony SmartBand and LifeLog application makes for a unique experience. The Lifelog alone monitors communication and entertainment activities performed on your smartphone. For example, if you spend 10 minutes reading your Facebook News Feed, it is logged under communication. Using the Walkman app logs time listening to music. The only flawed part I found in this was with Music Unlimited. Lifelog was inconsistent with tracking Music Unlimited usage. I did discover that logging in to Music Unlimited through your Walkman app resolves the issue.

The addition of the SmartBand brings tracking to physical movements and sleep. The accelerometer in the Core tracks the amount of steps taken in a day as well as how much time one walks or runs. The accuracy is fairly good for steps taken and time moving, but stride length will need to be calibrated for each user to better measure distance traveled. The sleep monitoring could be a little more dynamic. While it does display deep and light sleeping, the app should know that I’m awake if I’m browsing the web at 2:00 a.m.

The band also vibrates for different notification purposes. These include alerts for being too far from your smartphone or incoming phone calls. One cool, but glitchy, feature is the Smartband’s ability to control certain apps, one at a time, on the phone. The most useful being a music player or camera. The band can be used to pause, play, or skip forward and backward on music tracks or snap a photo and record a video. The downfall is that it is difficult to know if and when the band is actually in media player mode. Though, when working, it is an awesome feature.

Lastly, both the app and band have bookmarking. Bookmarking takes a ‘snapshot’ of your life at the precise moment you ask it to. The bookmark lists the activities you are currently participating in such as walking and listening to music. Users are also able to add notes which make your bookmarks a neat way of journaling.

I imagine the band and app will develop over time and here is my wish list for improvements. There needs to be input capabilities for calorie intake and other various physical activities. While the app can track calories burned, both passively and through exercise, it is not beneficial if I can’t compare it to calorie intake. Walking and running are not the only way people exercise, so additional activity inputs will be helpful.

The overall usefulness of the band and app is high. Whether you want to know how active you are or how much time you are wasting playing Candy Crush, it keeps you thinking of how you function throughout your day.
review history
2014-05-04
Updated detailed review
Edited comment on Design and form factor
Edited comment on Ease of use
Edited comment on Portability
Edited comment on Durability

Comments (3) subscribe to this review's comments

hnafiem

Hey there. I just got my smartband for free with my purchase of the Z2. So far you are right. It's pretty darn cool that we can actually track our lifestyle with this and the app. But have you tried using it without it paired to the phone. Like for example you leave your phone in the locker n go for a run? Would it still track our runs? Then so called sync-ed back to the phone when we're done?
ren907

Thanks for the question HaZiq, I can't believe I left that out. Yes, it does track while you are away from your device and resyncs when back in range. From my understanding, the Core can hold weeks of data, but don't think I'll ever test that claim. Going out for runs has not posed any issues. In reference to one of my 'wishes', I played an hour of basketball yesterday and none of it was considered running. It would be nice if we could manually log that.
RiotSloth

I plan to get the band sometime soon, but I also want the stereo mic and bluetooth headphones (SBH80) so not sure which to get first! What would be really neat is if it had a microSD slot so you could put a few playlists on it and listen to via bluetooth when you go running! Probably a little too much to ask though. It's a neat little device, I will be interested in seeing some long-term usage reviews of it.