Accessory review: Sony LiveView
Reviewed on: Sony Experia X10
Sony’s LiveView is billed as a wearable wireless Bluetooth accessory for Android phones and is claimed to offer a quick and easy way to keep updated with what’s happening on your mobile without actually taking it out of your pocket.
The LiveView connects to your mobile – any handset running Android 2.0 or above – via Bluetooth and alerts you to new phone calls, texts, Facebook updates, Tweets, RSS updates and calendar events. It can also act a remote control for your phone’s Android music player. Oh, and there’s also a handy “Find my phone” function. We tested the LiveView with Sony Ericsson’s Xperia X10.
The LiveView is a small watch-sized device with a 1.3-inch OLED screen, a couple of buttons and a flashing alert LED. Theres’a micro-USB socket to charge the internal battery, with a claimed battery life of around 4 days of normal usage.
First up, you’ll need to install two Sony Ericsson LiveView apps which your phone needs to connect. Then pair the LiveView with your mobile by holding down the power button.
On the simple yet clear low-res screen there’s a simple scrollable graphical menu system, which you scroll through by touching the touch-sensitive black borders of the screen. It’s not as intuitive as swiping the screen itself, as on an iPod nano, but it works OK once you get used to it. On the LiveView, you can scroll through alerts, whether that’s tweets, Facebook updates, emails or missed calls, and then click through so that the relevant update is loaded on the screen of your phone.
The LiveView only updates you when the LiveView app is running on the phone – you can change update frequency between 15minutes and 3 hours. We found the LiveView generally did what it claimed, but we did have a few issues with it, even in the first 24 hours. On relatively regular occasions it lost the connection to the phone and we had to wait while it tried to reconnect.
Worse still, it sometime became unresponsive and we had to reboot it – quite a lot of hassle for something that is supposed to make life easier! Add in the battery life hit your phone will take through having Bluetooth turned on constantly, and the necessity to keep the LiveView app running, and the whole package becomes less appealing.
The LiveView comes with both a shirt/belt clip and a functional velcro watch-like strap offering flexibility in how you choose to wear it. While the concept of the LiveView is good, we don’t feel Sony Ericsson has delivered enough of a polished product – either hardware or software – for the initial novelty aspect of the LiveView to wear off quite quickly.
Pros: Nice idea, clear screen, occasionally useful.
Cons: Flakey performance, price.
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