There were quite a few new wearables to try on at CES, but Android Wear didn’t have a strong presence. The closest thing we got to a new Android Wear announcement was Sony’s introduction of the SmartWatch 3 Steel. As the name implies, the device is an exact replica of last year’s SmartWatch 3 with a steel band that carries a $50 premium over the standard $250 SmartWatch 3.
Sony’s Android Wear device does have the distinction of being the only device with built-in GPS (great for runners who want to leave their phone behind), but the device was initially written off as bland and boring when compared to the Motorola Moto 360. The Sony SmartWatch 3 Steel will be more appealing for those who want an Android Wear device that doesn’t look like a cheap Timex. The powder coat finish on the steel band helps keep fingerprints, smudges and shallow scratches at bay, but the show floor unit we handles did have a few scratches on the clamp on the back. The Sony SmartWatch 3 Steel is actually quite light when compared to other watches with metal bands and the powder coat textured finish makes it feel slightly warmer than it should.
In the coming months, Sony will also release a universal mount for the Sony SmartWatch 3 that will allow users to pair the phone with any standard watch band. Sony went all out at its booth, displaying the SmartWatch 3 with enough watch bands to fill a Fossil or Swatch store. Pricing for the Sony SmartWatch 3 universal mount wasn’t make available at CES, but we’re sure we’ll be hearing more about it at Mobile World Congress in March,