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Sony SmartWatch 3 review

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Sony SmartWatch 3
Sony SmartWatch 3
Sony

Sleek. That's the first thing you notice when you un-box the new SmartWatch 3 from Sony. It's sleek, and stylish, and near stealth-looking, especially when compared to a lot of traditional GPS running devices. The slimline production is still noticeable when you put on the watch, too -- sturdy without being too heavy.

The recently-launched Sony SmartWatch 3, in conjunction with the iFit Outside app, is designed to "help elevate the wearable technology experience for runners and give them the tools they need to bring their performance to the next level." And it does just that.

But does it do more? In short: yes. But I can't elaborate much more than that because the navigation and menu organization was not immediately straightforward (granted, I recognize this is possibly in large part to me being an Apple user and not overly familiar with Android). The pedometer is a nice touch, and surely a great motivational tool to increase a user's fitness. (But if you're buying a GPS smartwatch, you're probably already taking the stairs instead of the elevator.)

I'd be remiss if I didn't point out that the weather nerd in me loved be able to say, "OK, Google, what's the forecast for tomorrow?" Yes, you can talk to your watch. The Dick Tracy future is finally here.

So how does it function as a running watch, since that was my main use (and, ya know, this is a running site). Really well. The display is crisp, bright and easy-to-read (and in color!).

With iFit Outside, the first Android Wear fitness app to support standalone GPS tracking, runs and workouts (including bike rides) are automatically tracked on the SmartWatch 3 -- all without the need to lug around your phone with you. Post-run, the stats are automatically saved to an iFit.com account.

The SmartWatch 3 can even play music, map a route and live-track details of a workout, including distance, pace and elevation. (The options for what stats are tracked are limited compared to other smart watches, though.)

For the more data-obsessed runner, the SmartWatch 3 also has the ability to record heart rate with Bluetooth.

After the run, iFit.com allows a full debrief of your workout, with maps and graphs (no judgment of these paces nor distances, please -- I'm only just beginning to run again after an injury):

The Sony SmartWatch 3 feels like a GPS running watch with a lot of bells and whistles, which, while not a necessity for a workout, are fun, and well-appreciated for an Android-loving runner. Combined with its simple and clean display, and the iFit app, it's a great choice for the tech-geek keen on starting a running program.

Full ­disclosure, I'm working as part of the #SonyFit Challenge Blogger Program. Sony Electronics gave me the watch, but not money, and the words here are my own.