Sony Smartband released in Canada

As was announced at CES, Sony has thrown their hat in the wearable fitness tracker ring, and to follow through on it, the Smartband is now available for purchase in Canada.

If you can recall, the Smartband is similar to the Fitbit, and other fitness trackers, in that it is a simple rubber band with sensors that can count number of steps. It also comes with vibration and LED notification, to alert you to notifications from your paired phone. It will also read your motions while you sleep in order to wake you up at the right point in your sleep cycle. Sony also says the Smartband acts as a sort of digital leash for your phone, vibrating if you get too far away from your device.

As in true Sony fashion, the device is waterproof, with an IP55/58 rating, so you can wear it in the shower or take it for a run in the rain.

Where the Smartband differs is that it has a removable "core" which houses all the tech. The core can be removed and placed into any number of other wearable holder, like necklaces, although nothing else has been released at this time.

Pairing is done via NFC and connects using Bluetooth. If you don't have an NFC phone (who doesn't?), you can still pair via normal Bluetooth methods.

One disadvantage to the Smartband is it is not nearly as fully featured as something like the Galaxy Gear Fit. It doesn't even try to match the Fitbit Force, which now has a small screen to give you time and number of steps. This puts Sony squarely in competition with the Fitbit Flex, and the price for the two devices are comparable. However it would have been good to see Sony try and compete with some of the more feature-rich solutions out there. We will have to see if the removability will add enough functionality to make it a compelling option.

For Sony's Keynote at CES, they outlined that the Smartband is not meant to be a fitness tracker alone, but will work with the already released Lifelog App. I have been playing around with the app for a while now, but definitely feel that it is lacking without a wearable like the Smartband to feed into it.

If you are interested, you can pick up the Smartband for $99.99 now at Brick and Mortar Sony Stores and online, in addition to other retailers like Rogers. As a bonus, if you purchase a new Android 4.4 phone on select Share Everything plans, Rogers will throw in a Smartband for $24.99.

The Smartband will come in Black, but there's also a limited Brazil edition, thanks to Sony's sponsorship of the World Cup this year. More colours of rubber bands will come on sale later in the year, and will not be $99.99.

If you are unsure, you can wait for our review of the device. With the device review, we will also look at the Lifelog app, which frankly is nothing right now without this wearable.


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