Sony just unveiled the second generation of its fitness-tracking wearable, which stands to be a solid compromise between a fitness tracker and full-blown smartwatch. The SmartBand 2, which will go on sale later this year, has a few new tricks compared with last year’s model, including a heart rate sensor and iPhone compatibility.
Like last year’s SmartBand, the SmartBand 2 offers an interesting mix of fitness tracking and smartwatch-like functionality. The wristband keeps track of your steps, sleep cycle and heart rate — with the help of the accompanying Lifelog app — while also providing notifications for phone calls, text messages and emails from your handset.
The device doesn’t have a display so you’ll need to rely on the Smartband’s colorful LEDs to interpret the notifications, but it’s a handy feature that many other fitness trackers lack. But the lack of display has likely allowed the company to squeeze more battery life out of the device, which boasts a charge of up to two days — much better than most smartwatches on the market but less than other fitness trackers like the FitBit.
One of the most intriguing additions to the SmartBand 2 is the heart rate sensor, which Sony says will help users keep track of changes in their heart rate while exercising and monitor their stress levels. The company is also opening its fitness tracker up to iPhone users for the first time so the mix of smartwatch and fitness-tracking features could be a good compromise for those not yet ready to commit to an Apple Watch.
The SmartBand 2 will go on sale in September for about $132. At launch, it will be available in black and white silicon covers, with pink and indigo varieties to be available soon after.