Sony have just announced their new Sony SmartBand 2. It has everything you would expect a good fitness tracker to have: a flexible band, a step tracker, and a sensitive pulse monitor that will track your stress and activity levels. However, the Sony SmartBand 2 isn’t just a standard fitness tracker, it’s a kind of basic smartwatch that will alert you via vibrations and LEDs when you receive a call, a message, a tweet, or an email. It’s also completely waterproof, meaning you don’t have to miss a thing even when you head to the pool.
Sony have called this hybrid device a ‘lifelogger’, taking them slightly away from the categorical niche of fitness tracking into a more general field. They’re no doubt intending the band to be paired with their Lifelog app, which seems intended to appeal to someone who wants all their basic lifestyle data covered by a single affordable device.
The Lifelog app, only for Android, isn’t anything particularly radical in terms of tracking your fitness data, giving the usual progress information such as steps taken and stairs climbed. But the way that it logs this alongside your daily activities such as pictures, games played, or the music you listened to on your registered devices is interesting, if not a little bit too detailed. I know I was scared during that film, I don’t need to use the Lifelog app to see the moment my pulse rate had a sonic moment.
The band allows you to pause and change music tracks by a simple tap. As well as this it features a notification-silencing night mode and a smart alarm clock feature that monitors users’ sleep and wakes them with vibrations at the best point in their sleep cycle. The device has a battery life of 2 days from an hour of charging, which seems a relatively short amount of time considering Fitbit HR’s 5 days battery life, but it should be remembered that the SmartBand does have more functions to power than the average fitness tracker.
The SmartBand 2, compatible with Android 4.4 onwards and iOS 8.2 onwards, will launch in 60 countries worldwide from September 2015. It will be released in white and black initially with pink and blue to come shortly after. Sony has not announced a UK price but it will cost €119 (£85) in the rest of Europe.
This is all very well and good, I like the SmartBand’s functional diversity and the way it will condense all aspects of my lifestyle into information manageable enough to perhaps learn something about balance and stress. The battery life is admittedly short, but one hour’s charging every two days will hardly kill me.
However, honestly Sony, I have to ask: what on earth were you thinking with the utterly cringy advert? You started strong and descended swiftly into the feminine advertising clichés that make me breathe the air out of my lungs so hard your own product would probably declare me dead.
‘Yes, I would like to use your product swimming, how useful. Oh I do sometimes forget my phone that’s quite handy. Er, you’re losing me a bit, why exactly does this band have to have to match my every outfit? Even if every one of my items of clothing were only white, black, blue or pink, what makes you think I would buy your entire line? I am not the Carrie Bradshaw of wearable tech. And now you’ve lost me; the day I monitor my attraction to someone via your pulse monitor is the day I put all my technology down, take a big step back, and try to regain an ounce of my clearly obliterated self-awareness.’
Main Image: © Sony