Smartwatches. Smartbands. Wrist-worn fitness sensors. There are several things we can say about these trendy gadgets, and “too many” is one of them. They are all over CES 2014! Both major and fledgling companies have announced various upcoming projects, which are mostly centered around some kind of wearable tech.
Many claim that 2014 will be the "year of the wearable smart gadget". However, a small part of the recently announced wrist-worn gizmos were only reference designs, which means that they will probably never see the light of day. Yet, one can't argue that some of them have a lot of potential. Almost every wearable, announced at CES, has some feature that sets it apart from the crowd, but most of them have a lot of common. Some of them count how many steps you've made, measure the overall distance you have walked and calculate the amount of calories you've burned, while others monitor your sleep patterns, use sophisticated technologies to keep a close watch on your cardiac functions and some wearables even show notifications form your smartphone. Almost all wearables are dependent on your smartphone in order to reveal their full functionalities, but some are completely standalone.
Yes, it's quite easy to lose yourself among so many similar gadgets. For your convenience, we have systematized some of the more curios wearable gadgets from this year's CES at the table below.
|LG Lifeband Touch||Sony Core||Neptun Pine||Razer Nabu||Garmin Vivofit||Pebble Steel||Jaybird Reign||Mio Link||Movea G-Series||Meta|
|Availability||Q1 2014||Q1 2014||Q1 2014||Q1 2014||Q1 2014||Q1 2014||Q1 2014|
|Sleep pattern monitor||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Burnt calories tracker||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Heart rate monitor||Yes*||Yes*||Yes|
|3rd party apps||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Display type||OLED||Dual OLED|
* - available on selected models
Disclaimer: These devices have not yet been released. Therefore, by the time of their release, some of their specifications might be subject to change.
Top 10 wearables from CES 2014
Top 10 wearables from CES 2014
1. LG Lifeband Touch
What truly sets this smartband from the competition is the capacitive OLED display on board. It can show time, biometric data and various notifications from your smartphone. Users will also be able to get incoming call notifications and control music playing on the phone from the Life Touch Band.
The on-board sensors measure distance, speed, number of steps taken, calories burned, etc. The screen automatically turns on and off when you rotate your wrist, thanks to an inbuilt motion sensing algorithm.
The Meta smartwatch is created with one thing in mind - beautiful aesthetics. The wearable gadget is the product of a collaboration between Metawatch and Frank Nuovo, former lead designer of Nokia's Vertu line of luxurious mobile phones. The watch will not only look fancy on your wrist, but will also show the most vital information (calls, texts, emails) from your smartphone within a glance.
The Meta smartwatch is expected to hit the shelves at Best Buy sometime this spring. However, there is no official information about the pricing of the exquisite gadget.
3. Pebble Steel
People can say that the Pebble smartwatch is the most succesful smartwatch in the world and most probably they'll be right. And soon it will have a successor.
The Pebble Steel is bringing you all the features that we've come to enjoy from the original Pebble, but replaces the bland design with a fashionable stainless steel body. It is expected that the smartwatch will arrive along with the new, centralized Pebble appstore, by the end of January. The expected price of the smartwatch is $249.
4. Sony Core
The Sony Core is a tiny sensor that you can carry around with you and attach to other wearable devices. Its sole purpose is to keep track on various bits of information about your lifestyle, monitor your physical activities and record some "life events". By syncing to a cool, new Android application called Lifelog, Core users can slide back and forth across their personal history on a a side-scrolling timeline.
5. Razer Nabu
Unlike other smartwatches that flash your data for all to see, Razer's wearable comes with dual OLED displays, one on top and one on the back of your wrist. The upper one is called Public Icon Screen and shows the nature of the notification by displaying a subtle icon. The Private Message Screen on the back, however, shows more detailed info, such as a text message or caller ID. A built-in accelerometer detects if you have tilted your wrist and only then the Private Message Screen gets activated.
Of course, just like almost any other smart wearable out there, the Nabu will keep track on the calories you've burnt, steps you've taken, floors you've climbed, the overall distance you've traveled.
6. Neptune Pine
The standalone Neptune Pine wearable is not exactly a smartwatch. Or a smartband. Simply put, Neptune Pine is a wearable smartphone, which houses a microSIM card slot, a Snapdragon S4 Pro processor, clocked at 1.2GHz, 512MB of RAM, either 16GB or 32GB of storage, a 5MP rear and a VGA front cameras (both with LED flash), as well as a 2.4-inch 320 x 240 capacitive display. The whole shebang is running Android 4.1.2 Jelly Bean.
Sounds impressive, right?
7. Movea G-Series
The conceptual Movea G-Series is touted as the most accurate wristband in the world.
It will count every step you take, and it will count it good. Movea touts that the smartband made the least mistakes while counting the amount of steps taken in comparison with similar wristbands. What's more, the G-Series will monitor your sleep patterns. The Movea conceptual wearable is said to closely mimic results taken by a polysomnography tool, which are generally used in hospitals.
Furthermore, the fitness band will be able to detect your current posture. According to the company, the gadget achieved a 95% success rate at the detection of the current standind position.
8. Jaybird Reign
Jaybird Reign monitors your health stats and tracks your daily activities and rest. One of the nice features of the gizmo is the Go-Zone feature, which shows when you need to get more active. However, if you are on the right path to a healthier lifestyle, the wearable notifies you that you are in the Go-Zone and can take a rest. Jaybird claims that the wristband will help you greatly improve your overall health.
9. Garmin Vivofit
Garmin's first wearable, Vivofit, is a step and sleep monitor. It informs you how many steps you've made, the overall distance you have walked and the amount of calories you have burned. Just like a real fitness trainer, the Garmin Vivofit will frequently urge you to get up from the couch and move by displaying a red bar on its display if you've been inactive for an hour and will stay there until you get up and walk for at least a couple of minutes.
Vivofit is water resistant and comes with a battery, which is said to last more than a year. The fitness band will be priced at $129.99. A version with a heart rate monitor, which will cost $169.99, will be available as well. Both are expected to hit the shelves sometime in Q1 2014.
10. Mio Link
Mio Link is a straightforward wearable wristband. It does only one thing – it monitors your heart rate. The wrist-worn cardiometer uses electro-optical technology to continuously keep tabs on the functions of your heart. In order to accurately track the heart rate, the device uses data from both a pulse sensor and an optical sensor, which monitors the volume of blood under the skin.
The Mio Link wristband comes with a soft, silicone strap and will be available in three colors. On top of the gadget one can find a single button, which controls data transmission. A tri-color LED notification light will flash and indicate when the user's heart rate goes into different zones. The wearable will be released in March and will be priced at $99.