When we received the Sony Smartband along with an Xperia Z2, it left us in a bit of a quandry.
The Xperia Z2 is a very nicely designed big screen handset, with lovely stereo sound and expansive bright screen. In fact all of the features that make you want to pick it up and play with it.
So, why was I drawn to a black rubber strap with a little white cartridge inserted into it? What made this quite uninteresting object which didn’t immediately have a purpose so… Interesting?
The Sony Smartband is just that, a rubber strap (in fact 2 rubber straps in different sizes), a little circular clasp with the Sony logo on it and the white cartridge, again with the Sony logo on it, slightly curved to fit against your wrist and with a micro USB socket. Other than a very short USB to Micro USB adapter, that is all you receive.
As with the Smartwatch and Smartwatch 2, the Smartband communicates with your Smartphone using lower power Bluetooth 4.0 with the initial pairing of devices via NFC. If your phone doesn’t support NFC, I believe you pair using Bluetooth which just requires a little more button pressing.
Once paired, you are directed to download a couple of apps from Google Play. The first Smart Connect, then directs you to download SmartBand and Lifelog. Smart Connect and SmartBand are simply used to set up the communication between the two devices (Smartband and Phone). Lifelog is the software that takes all the information from both your Smartband and Phone and pulls it all together to show you how your time is
wasted taken up during your day.
Lifelog will also ask permission to use your geographic position. You don’t have to give this permission if you don’t want to, but I found it quite interesting, as it plots a map of your movements during the day.
Now you have your Smartband set up and the necessary apps installed, that’s kind of it for the time being. You might want to take the opportunity to fully charge the Smartband. You can also spend a little time setting up Auto night mode, Notifications, Smart wake up (alarm), Out of range alerts etc. You can also install additional apps for controlling media players and camera shutter.
I found at this point that the Lifelog app didn’t really give any useful feedback. I was mistaken as I was being too hasty and needed to be more patient. The Smartband is a bit of a slow burner in many ways. Firstly, you start noticing the band vibrating, it will generally do this when you have an incoming call, text, email etc. It’s quite useful in this respect, although it also can notify you of Facebook and Twitter updates which can start to become distracting (much like the Smartwatch 2). When you do a variety of actions on your phone, these are logged in Lifelog, incoming calls, Facebook usage, music, videos, basically everything. It’s quite revealing. After about of days usage you can start to see information from the Smartband feeding back to Lifelog. It will show you how many calories you arm burning, steps taken, miles run, but without the most interesting is the sleep log as it shows how many hours sleep you are getting and then breaking down the light sleep and deep sleep.
What you should bear in mind is that you are not wearing certified medical monitoring equipment, it’s really (in my opinion) something of a guide to your lifestyle. But a very very useful one.
At a RRP of £79.99, the Smartband is priced competitively with other products of the same type and you could find it useful for fitness and health monitoring. The real question is “Are you ready to log your life?”.
Big shout out to Rebecca Newton at Citizen Relations for loaning us the Smartband and Xperia Z2.
The Sony Smartband is one of many niche fitness products available. Other than vibrate to wake you and let you know you have an alert on your phone, there is little else to do with the device. The power comes with the software suite which takes the data collected by the Smartband and displays a detailed log of your life. I think it’s amazing!