Sony Smartwatch 3 review

Wait - is Android Wear getting good?

Sony Smartwatch 3

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While there aren't a huge number of smartwatches on the market there are enough quality ones that the Sony SmartWatch 3 faces some stiff competition, especially as some offer things that the Sony SmartWatch 3 doesn't.

So to make purchase decisions easier here's a roundup of its closest competitors and how they compare.

LG G Watch R

At around £220 / $250 / AU$280 the LG G Watch R is slightly more expensive than the Sony SmartWatch 3 and in some ways it's easy to see why. It's got a round display for one and as such it looks more like a traditional timepiece than any other smartwatch on the market.

And while it doesn't quite have as premium a build as the Moto 360 we'd say it edges the Sony SmartWatch 3, thanks to a leather strap rather than rubber.

Sony SmartWatch 3 review

It's also got a similarly sharp screen and delivers almost lag-free performance like the SmartWatch 3. The two watches also have similar battery life, stretching to two days at a push.

But the Sony SmartWatch 3 bests it in a few areas. It has a larger screen for example, coming in at 1.6 inches to the G Watch R's 1.3 inches and it supports microUSB charging, while the G Watch R requires a dock.

Then of course there's the thing that the SmartWatch 3 has over almost every smartwatch: built in GPS. It's a feature that may not play that heavily into everyone's purchasing decision but it will surely appeal to runners and cyclists.

Samsung Gear Live

In some ways the Samsung Gear Live is incredibly similar to the Sony SmartWatch 3. After all they both have square faces with a resolution of 320 x 320 and their screens are almost exactly the same size, though for better or worse the Gear Live is slightly bigger at 1.63 inches.

But other than the presence of Android Wear on both of them that, for the most part, is where the similarities end. There's a big difference in price for one thing, with the Gear Live appearing a relative bargain at £169 ($199, AU$250).

Sony SmartWatch 3 review

The Gear Live lacks GPS, but on the other hand it does have a heart rate monitor, which the Sony SmartWatch 3 doesn't. Both are fitness orientated so it would be nice to see both features in a single watch but of the two I'd argue that GPS is probably more useful to more people.

Where the Gear Live really fails is in its battery life, coming in at around a day max and for that reason, whatever your stance on GPS and heart rate monitors, I'd say that the Sony SmartWatch 3 is a better buy, even with its higher price tag.

Moto 360

The Moto 360 is a fairly expensive wearable like the Sony SmartWatch 3, coming in at around £200 / $250 / AU$275 and for that you get arguably the best looking smartwatch yet, with a metal body and a round face, though there's a cut-out at the bottom so it's not quite a perfect circle like the G Watch R.

But it's definitely a case of style over substance, essentially making it the opposite of the Sony SmartWatch 3, with a wireless charging cradle that looks nice but is less practical than microUSB charging, poor battery life and an underpowered processor. Even the screen disappoints, as at 320 x 290 it's a little lower resolution than the Sony SmartWatch 3.

Sony SmartWatch 3 review

I think when it comes to smartwatches the design and build is even more important than it is on a smartphone, since they're so visible and since traditional watches have long been fashion accessories as much as anything else.

As such I don't want to underestimate the importance of the Moto 360's premium design. I'd much rather be seen wearing it than the Sony SmartWatch 3, but with a worse screen, inferior battery life and less power it's still a tough sell.

Moto 360 review

James Rogerson

James is a freelance phones, tablets and wearables writer and sub-editor at TechRadar. He has a love for everything ‘smart’, from watches to lights, and can often be found arguing with AI assistants or drowning in the latest apps. James also contributes to, and and has written for T3, Digital Camera World, Clarity Media and others, with work on the web, in print and on TV.