Friday, December 24, 2010

Sony Ericsson LiveView Bluetooth Watch Review

Sony Ericsson have made their fair share of these over the last decade with their MBW line enabling you to control music playback and see who's calling you without having to take your mobile device out of your pocket. However, what's so special about the Sony Ericsson LiveView then? The answer is, the product offers more, for less! At a lower price point than the MBW series, the Sony Ericsson LiveView is less a watch, and more an accessory to Android-powered devices running 2.1 or higher. Well, it also happens to double up as a watch. On top of this, you're also getting a platform that supports "plug-ins", opening up a host of potential uses. Therefore, is this neat little watch / clip-on accessory the James Bond gadget we've been waiting for? Is it even useful in day to day life or is the LiveView more fizzle than sizzle?

The LiveView is packaged as a clip on accessory with no watch strap attached (this can be found separately in the box). With a 1.2” OLED screen-display (128x128 pixels) that isn't the sharpest screen, but gets the job done, the Sony Ericsson LiveView itself is 11mm thick and the fascia is 35x35mm. It has two physical buttons, one on the top left, the other on the top right. In turn, the LiveView resembles a miniature stopwatch. There are also four touch sensitive points on the fascia, one on each side of the screen-display. At the base is a microUSB port for charging the gadget. Despite being larger than a standard watch fascia, the LiveView is still compact enough to have with you without much imposition. In the box is the DIY velcro watch strap. It needs to be assembled that is a bit fiddly, but once put together, acts as a mountable strap for the gadget.

While the Sony Ericsson LiveView does act as a watch, unlike the MBW series, its display is only visible when activated. Moreover, the less robust clip-on form factor leads to occasionally accidental un-clipping from the watch strap, meaning that in daily use, our Sony Ericsson LiveView unclipped and fell on the floor that is really bad. It is therefore safe to say that being a watch isn't as primary a function of the LiveView, or indeed as practical a function as the manufacturer's MBW range. The light, plastic finish and velcro strap also mean the LiveView is less James Bond 007 sophisticated and more 15+ gadget aficionado, though this is hardly surprising with an RRP of around $70.

Taking all this into account, the Sony Ericsson LiveView is designed and manufactured well for the most part, offering functional versatility, ingenious design, and affordability. It isn't as robust or as practical as we would like it to be. Therefore, don't expect a slick durable watch replacement, but with curbed expectations it could be just the ticket.

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