The Sony SmartBand 2 is a no-frills automatic fitness tracker that keeps tabs on not only your physical activities, but also your well-being and stress levels.
Consisting of a rubber wristband and a tracking module, it is as simple as it gets. The wristband comes in black and white, with pink and indigo coming soon.
The wristband is a plain-looking strap, unlike Jawbone Up trackers, which have pretty markings on them. But the wristband is lightweight, comfortable and has a small metal buckle that securely straps the fitness tracker around your wrist.
On the tracking module's rear is a heart rate monitor (HRM). The module can be removed from the wristband for charging via a micro-USB connection.
The HRM continuously reads your heart rate and, with it switched on, the battery lasted around two days on a full charge. You get another three days of use if you turn off the HRM.
Pairing with your phone can be done via the standard Bluetooth pairing procedure or the more convenient Near Field Communication method.
The fitness tracker works with Android and iOS devices. There are two apps to download, SmartBand 2 (available for Android and iOS) and Lifelog (Android only).
The SmartBand 2 app is used for pairing and connecting the tracker to your device. You also use it to view statistics, such as current heart rate, and change settings, like turning on notifications for incoming calls.
The optional Lifelog app compiles the data that SmartBand 2 has collected to give you insight about your physical and mental health over time. Lifelog will advise on what time is best for you to go to bed based on your sleep patterns.
By looking at your heart rates at different times of the day and studying your sleep patterns, it will map out how stressed you are - whether low, medium or high. It told me I had medium stress most of the time, but high stress when deadlines were drawing near. So I guess it works.
The automatic run and sleep tracking works well. My 5km runs were tracked accurately. Sleep tracking was also spot-on, but you can see only whether you are in light or deep sleep.
Tracking of daily steps taken and calories burnt do not differ much from my calibrated Jawbone Up3. But there are times when it recorded "phantom" steps when I left it on the table for a day.
Also, you receive notifications via vibrations on SmartBand 2. But there is no way of knowing whether it is an incoming call or e-mail.
CONNECTIVITY: Bluetooth, Near Field Communication
COMPATIBILITY: Android 4.4 and above; iOS 8.2 and above
BATTERY LIFE: 3/5
VALUE FOR MONEY: 3/5
Verdict: The Sony SmartBand 2 is a decent fitness tracker that can give you feedback on your stress levels, so you can maybe slow down your pace and smell the roses.
This article was first published on October 21, 2015.
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