Sony SmartBand 2 first look: Attempting to track the bigger picture

It's about the same size as the Charge HR, so on the chunky side for a fitness band but feeling light on the wrist and with a clever clasp to keep everything flush and tidy. Ladies, take note, it's a wider band than the likes of a Jawbone UP3/4.

We got a look at the (two tone) white and black models but Sony will also be launching pink and indigo bands later this year plus the module can be swapped out and used with other bands.

What's nice about the SmartBand 2's optical heart rate tracking is that there's lots of choice over how you want to use it. Double tapping the tiny power button on the right hand side of the tracking module puts the band into continuous HRM mode, the battery life for which you'll get ten hours. The idea is that you hit this at the start of a run and stop it once you're done.

Otherwise, the SmartBand's stated two day battery life is based on heart rate tracking 5 - 6 times per hour, including when you are asleep. Stamina mode which gets you five days turns the heart rate sensor off entirely.

It's a nice solution to cater to different levels of user though Fitbit does manage 3 - 5 days with its Charge HR. We took a quick on the spot reading of our heart rate during the briefing - 77 bpm, hey we were rushing around - but it's too soon to comment on the SmartBand's accuracy.

The SmartBand 2, which is both iOS and Android compatible, syncs with both a dedicated app and Sony's Lifelog app. This might sound confusing but the two actually work together - for changing settings and on the spot heart rate readings, it's the SmartBand 2 app. For everything else - graphs, milestones, sharing data with others, seeing which activities affected your stress levels, it's the Lifelog app.

It's worth noting that Sony claims to be able to track your stress levels through a combination of three sets of data - first, your pulse, second, your sleep and third, your heart rate variability. As Lifelog isn't just for fitness, in theory you will be able to see what is affecting your stress and energy levels - a scary film, a workout, whatever. It's a clever approach and we can't wait to dig into how it works in practice.

We've kept this hands on short and sweet as our review sample is on its way so expect a full, in-depth Sony SmartBand 2 review very soon.

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