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Sony Smartband Talk adds eInk display to life logging fitness tracker

Tom Morgan
3 Sep 2014
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Sony has improved on its fitness-focused wearable, adding an eInk display for direct visual feedback

Sony has expanded its line of wearables with the SmartBand Talk, a fitness tracker that goes one better than the existing SmartBand by adding an always-on eInk display for direct feedback - saving you from constantly having to glance at your phone.

Part of Sony's growing SmartWear Experience range, the company's plan for wearable technology focusing on lifelogging, notifications and style, the SmartBand Talk is compatible with all Android smartphones, not just Sony's Xperia lineup. The 1.4in eInk display shows notifications from a paired handset, your daily exercise total and, of course, the time.

Physical buttons on the side of the device let you answer calls, speaking directly into your wrist thanks to the built-in microphone and HD Voice support. You can use the microphone to carry out actions on your smartphone, making different sounds to lauch specific features - it's a novel idea, but not one we could resist using without making "go go gadget smartphone" our key phrase.

Designed to partner with Sony's Lifelogging app, which tracks more than just your fitness, the SmartBand Talk will record what music you listen to, where and what pictures you take and important moments in your life. You'll be able to set goals, bookmark your favourite moments and look back at previous achievements on any Android device, using the free LifeLog app from the Google Play Store. Pairing should be simple too, thanks to Bluetooth LE and NFC.

Just like Sony's Xperia smartphones, the SmartBand Talk is IP68 dust- and waterproof, so you won't have to worry about being caught in the rain, and Sony promises that improved accelerometer and altimeter sensors will provide greater log detail than previous wearables. The 70mAh battery should last for up to three days on a single, one-hour charge, too.

Soon to be available in a choice of black, white, red, blue, pink and lime colours, the SmartBand Talk is expected to go on sale in the UK later this year. There's currently no word on a UK price, with Europeans asked to spend €159.99 (roughly £126) - suggesting that eInk screen has pumped the cost up significantly higher than the £45 SmartBand.

We'll be taking a look later this week at IFA in Berlin, so be sure to check back soon for some hands-on impressions.

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