Wearables

Sony SmartBand 2 Moves Beyond Fitness

Sony hopes to discreetly, stylishly improve stress levels.

The New Sony SmartBand 2 Credit: Sony

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As the battle for your wrist heats up, electronics makers are constantly refining the blend of utility, design, and battery life that makes for the perfect smart device. Sony's new SmartBand 2, released late last week, stakes its claim as a "lifelogger" that can discreetly and fashionably improve your overall well-being.

The biggest addition to the second-generation SmartBand is a heart rate monitor. In conjunction with the step-logger, Sony claims it can gather "insights about your fitness, well-being, and stress levels." Its collective wisdom is shared via the Lifelog app (now available for Android). There, users can compare personal performance data over time, as well as enjoy (or endure, as the case may be) "inspiring motivational prompts."



The SmartBand 2 features a straightforward silicone rubber design. The outer surface is totally smooth, a change from the cross-hatched pattern that defined the first-gen version. There's no display of any kind. If it's a screen you're after, try the Sony SmartBand Talk, which has a curved e-ink display.

Instead, the SmartBand gets your attention through vibration and RGB lights, notifying you of incoming calls, messages, and emails. There's an alarm clock function, of course, along with automatic sleep detection. The SmartBand also harnesses your phone with a virtual leash, alerting you if you've moved more than 10 meters away.

Sony reports a battery life of 10 hours with continuous stress and heart rate monitoring. "Normal" mode extends it to two days, and "Stamina" mode stretches it all the way out to five days. A full recharge only takes an hour, plugging into through a microUSB port.

The SmartBand 2 hits stores worldwide in September 2015, with an expected retail price of $135.

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