BERLIN — Sony's original Smartband was a respectable entry into the fitness band market, and its sequel brings it one step closer to being a true smartwatch. Announced at IFA 2014 today (Sept. 3), the Sony Smartband Talk introduces the ability to make HD voice calls while adding a nifty E Ink display. We got our hands on the updated wearable, which will hit shelves along the Sony SmartWatch 3 this fall.
Sporting a slim, textured rubber wristband, the Smartband Talk clamped around my wrist comfortably and felt unobtrusively lightweight, a key feature for fitness bands. The wearable's 1.4-inch E Ink screen neatly displays the time above a pedometer icon, and tapping away allows you to view steps taken and altitude, glance at the weather and pull up a music player.
Per its namesake, the Smartband Talk supports voice commands and adds the ability to make HD voice calls when connected to your phone. I didn't get to test this myself at Sony's crowded IFA presser, but the functionality marks a big step forward from its predecessor.
Aside from its speaker and microphone, the Smartband touts an accelerometer, altimeter and vibrator. The watch meets IP68 dustproof and waterproof standards, and its 70-mAh battery is built to last through 3 days of typical use on a charge.
Like the original Smartband and the upcoming Sony SmartWatch 3, the Smartband Talk will allow you to track your fitness goals, daily activities and overall life accomplishments on Sony's unique Lifelog mobile app. Unfortunately, like its predecessor, the Smartband Talk only works with Android 4.4 devices and up, so you'll need a newer phone to take advantage of the app.
There's no word on pricing yet for the Smartband Talk, but we're guessing it'll fall near or above the Smartband's $100 launch price. We look forward to testing the Talk against our deluge of fitness bands when it arrives this autumn.