Sony Core Smartband Review, We Take A Look At This Latest Wristband

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You might have seen a lot of fitness bands going around these days.  And for a good reason too.  Most manufacturers of wearable tech are targeting people who want to live a healthy lifestyle.  Jawbone’s UP, Fitbit, Nabu Razer, Nike’s Fuelband and LG Lifeband are just some bands that are now out in the market or are getting ready to launch.  This is by no means a complete list, but rather a very slim one mentioning only the most well-known, either because they are known in the wearable tech space or because they have a well-known company behind them.

Now we have Sony Core.  It is from Sony Corp., one of the leading consumer electronics product manufacturers in the world.  But if you already have a fitness band, do you really need two of them?

Of course not.  While there is no law against wearing two fitness bands, it certainly looks silly.  Plus, with the high prices of these bands, it is also impractical.

And this is what Sony seems to be addressing with its Sony Core.  For now, Sony Core is being marketed as a fitness band with a twist.  It will be able to log your activities, such as how many steps you have taken, how many calories you have burned and how much time you have spent running, driving, sitting, sleeping, walking, cycling and jogging, among others.  You can even set your goals and see how close you are to achieving these goals.

Sony Core is also waterproof, so there is no need to take it off when you shower and even when you are stuck in the rain.

Most wearable technologies right now have a mobile app and the Sony Core is no exception.  Core does not have a read-out display, so it relies on the Lifelog mobile application to inform you of everything you need to keep track of.  Aside from the fitness data that you can get from your Core, the Lifelog app also records other aspects of your life.  It keeps a log of all the songs you have listened to and the photos you have taken, among others.

True to its name, Lifelog also has what it calls your Life Bookmark.  You can press a button on your Core and it will tag a time or location.  So, for example, you try out a new restaurant for lunch and you like the food there, you can tag it later so that you would remember about it.

In essence, Sony Core and the Lifelog app not only allow you to keep track of your fitness activities, but basically everything about your day.

Another thing that sets it apart from other fitness trackers is that it also allows you to get a visual rundown of your day by presenting to you an animation of everything that you did for the day.  The Lifelog app is, in fact, highly visual.  It gives a look into the activities you have done in the previous days using a timeline that is side-scrolling.  It does not only keep track of the amount of time you have spent jogging, it will show you the route you have taken as well, and even logs the songs you’ve listened to.

The app also keeps track of the weather.  If it is forecasted to rain the next day, the app will tell you so that you could be prepared.

The components

The Sony Core fitness band is actually two things:  the removable Core and the band.  The wristband comes in a variety of colors so you could mix and match the gadget with what you are wearing.  It also has the iconic Sony button on the outside, which serves to fasten your band and providing the bling factor for your gadget.

Technically, however, the tech here is the Core and it is not really wearable.  The Sony Core is amazingly light and small.  It has only three LED lights and a vibration motor to power it.  But do not underestimate it because a single charge can last for five days.

It serves as a smartwatch too?

Even if it is currently marketed as a fitness band, the Sony Core also takes on some of the most basic functions of a smartwatch.  You could pair your Sony Core with your smartphone.  You can then control and monitor your smartphone with Sony Core.  For instance, when you receive a call, your Sony Core will vibrate so that you would know that you have a call.  Very handy if you are one of those people who always keep their phones inside their bags and always forget to keep them out of silent mode. However, there is no display on the Core to show you who is calling, so you actually need to fish the phone out of your pocket or bag in order to know.

You can control the playback of your videos and audios on your smartphone using the Core, though.

Pricing

So far, Sony Core has only been demonstrated at the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show.  Not much information is available right now and the world still does not know how much it would cost to own one, or even when you could get and own one.

Drawbacks

Maybe because it is still in the pre-launch stage, but there are some design flaws in the wrist band itself.

Michelle Fitzsimmons at TechRadar complains that wearing the Sony Core “feels unbalanced.”  The wrist band is very soft to touch, and is very thin, until you come to the part where the Core is placed.  Then it becomes very bulky.  Fitzsimmons also notes that you have to clasp the band on, as opposed to being able to just slide it into your hands and wrist.  That would have been no problem if clasping with two pegs is easy to do, but it is not.  Fitzsimmons describes the whole process of putting on the Sony Core and then taking it off as “very frustrating”.

The bottom line

Design problems aside, however, it is easy to see that the Sony Core holds a lot of promise.  It provides you with more functionalities and features than the typical fitness bands that are now available in the market.  What’s more, the Lifelog companion app is out to impress.

What really makes Sony Core more exciting, though, is the fact that it will be able to power other devices in the future, such as a smartwatch or even one of Sony Mobile’s flagship phones.

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