Trend Watch: It’s Still Early for Smart Watches

What does it say that so many people are fascinated by smart watches even as they're disappointed that the high-tech timepieces aren't as smart as they'd like them to be? That encapsulates my own view of a product category that has garnered attention as part of the burgeoning wearable computing trend.

Most smart watches function as pricey second-screen devices for smartphones. That's so with two of the three devices that I checked out for this column, the Sony SmartWatch 2 and the Qualcomm Toq.

The third, called FiLIP, works with an app on your phone, too. But it's a wearable locator designed for kids that lets him or her make calls from the wrist -- to Mom, Dad or other designated grownups.

A closer look:

--Sony SmartWatch 2. I was down on the last Sony SmartWatch I reviewed. Among other flaws, it didn't constantly display the time -- most of us still glance at our wrists to find out what time it is, after all. That's been fixed, and its successor represents a big step forward. There are more apps now, too -- more than 200, Sony says, though not all are free or worthwhile. Apps range from a Blackjack game to a fitness tracker.

The battery life that had been short-lived on the last Sony watch seems to live up to Sony's promise of 3 to 4 days of "normal usage" on the new model. Normal use for me was peeking at the watch to view incoming Facebook, Twitter, Gmail and missed-call notifications. You can reject incoming calls from the watch but cannot accept them.

The squarish 1.6-inch touch display is viewable outdoors. Below the screen are navigational touch icons similar to icons on Android phones.

You can pair SmartWatch 2 with most Android smartphones (4.0 or later), not just Sony's Xperias. If your phone is...

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