Samsung & Sony Unveil their Respective Smartwatches at IFA

Posted on September 4, 2013 2:25 PM by Rob Williams

Smartwatches might not be in major demand at the moment, but companies like Samsung and Sony are not planning on being unprepared when that bubble pops. At IFA, both companies showed-off their respective models, although Sony’s wasn’t actually “new”, having originally unveiled its model back in June. Still, both are interesting in their own right.

Engadget has taken a hands-on look at the models from both companies, and arguably, Samsung’s offering looks to be superior. But, let’s take a quick look at what Sony offers.

Sony’s SmartWatch 2┬áis a 1.6-inch device that sports a resolution of 220×176 – paltry by most standards, but we’re talking about a watch here. At any given time, the screen can only display up to 6 icons at once, and the folks at Engadget note that while the screen itself is responsive, the menu buttons at the bottom are less so.

Sony SmartWatch 2
Sony’s SmartWatch 2

On the side of the device is a dial that switches the device from clock to apps mode quickly, and on the opposite side, a microUSB port for charging – fully-charged, the SmartWatch 2 should offer about 4 day’s worth of battery-life.

So far, the app selection on the Sony side is minimal at best, but the company is ardently working to remedy that, with a call being shot out to developers to come bring their genius to the platform.

While Sony’s watch is fairly attractive, I think that Samsung has proven to top its design. Samsung forgoes the idea that a smartwatch should share smartphone aesthetics and tries to make something rather stylish – and I think the company has succeeded.

Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch
Samsung’s Galaxy Gear Smartwatch

Samsung’s watch has a similar screen size of the Sony, at 1.63-inch, but beefs the resolution up to 320×320. Under the hood is an 800MHz processor (seriously – 800MHz on your freaking wrist) and a 315mAh battery. Further, it even includes a 1.9 megapixel camera, capable of taking quick but simple photos (perfect to capture an image of a crime scene, perhaps?). Like Sony, Samsung hopes to have a lot of apps at the ready when the Galaxy Gear launches next month, at $299.

Engadget notes that while these initial smartwatches are interesting and potentially useful, both have their shortcomings – which is definitely to be expected of first-gen products. If Apple ever gets its own smartwatch out the door, it’ll be interesting to see how it compares to these.

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