If you’re a fan of Sony’s Smartwatch 2 and you followed me on Android Dissected, you should have seen my full review of the Smartwatch 2. In that review, I didn’t pull any punches and although I liked the SW2, I was having a hard time using it on a daily basis mostly because of the battery life. Fortunately, a couple of weeks ago Sony started pushing an update that would change a lot about this watch and make me want to wear it again.
SW2 Update 1.0.B.4.152
It’s hard to find any official changelog from Sony for what all is included in the update but they did post a blog on April 22 with some of the new features that you can expect after the update:
- Customizable Watch Faces
- New Wallpapers
- Improved Gmail and Facebook Apps
- Improved Notifications
- Bluetooth Connect/Disconnect settings
You heard correctly, you can finally have more than just the cookie cutter watch that comes out of the box from Sony. The customizable watch faces are really nice. As you can see from my photo below, I was able to include the watch battery percentage, the weather, the time, the date, and the number of notifications I have all on my watch face, always available. If I had an alarm set, you could have seen that too, unfortunately it only seems to work with the alarm app built into the watch, not the alarm apps you might have on your phone (including stock).
The wallpapers are still a little limited but any change is a welcome one compared to the options before (there weren’t any). You now can choose from 7 different colors with Sony’s signature wave design that has graced all of their modern Xperia devices.
There’s a calculator app now. Not much more to say about that other than now you can finally realize your dream of turning your beautiful SW2 back into the Casio calculator watch that you wore in grade school, remember those days?
Facebook and Gmail are also sporting some improvements with the ability to sync between the phone and the watch in both directions. In other words, if you check an email on your watch, it will be marked as seen on your phone and therefore in the cloud as well. This was something that really caught me off guard because I was used to it not doing that in the past.
The system notifications are now improved in that you can now dismiss each notification individually, right from the notification shade. You can also now choose whether you want the watch to vibrate when it connects or disconnects from your phone in the vibration settings. The settings menu also now includes all of the apps that are currently installed and you can actually control some of the apps and whether you will receive notifications from them from within the watch (what a thought!).
In addition, though I have no proof and Sony doesn’t apparently want to reveal any such information, it seems as though the update may have also included Bluetooth LE or just a lot of system improvements that have led to an incredible increase in battery life. Before the update I was lucky to make it through the day and now I will only use 20-30% in one day, making my battery life 3-5 times what it used to be, quite a dramatic improvement. Plus, it doesn’t seem to wear down the battery on my Moto X nearly as much as it used to. In fact, I see no difference in battery life between when the watch is connected and when it’s not anymore.
All of this comes after the new software was teased by Sony at their booth at MWC back in February and was made popular by Xperia Blog around that time. Unfortunately, since Sony doesn’t seem to want to tell us much about their software updates it’s hard to know whether any other changes were made under the hood but perhaps we will just have to wait and see!