CES 2015: all new wearables and accessories

The 2015 Consumer Electronics Show started with the proverbial bang yesterday, but while the number of announcements (new smartphones here, new tablets here) was not small, it's hard to be enthusiastic about all but a few devices. The CES showroom floor has shrunk down in size in the past few years, reaching a culmination in 2015 when neither Samsung, nor Sony, HTC, or LG were ready to unveil the important flagships. In fact, all of those companies prefer to keep their most important unveilings for later on in the year at dedicated events that would guarantee enough limelight and adequate coverage.

However, in the world of wearables and accessories, such worries have not really transcended, and we were happy to see a fairly large amount of new gadgets in those categories. With this next wave of wearables out, we'll finally be able to better judge whether the craze around the new category of wearables is real or marketing fluff.

But right now, let's just explore all the new accessories and wearable devices unveiled at CES 2015.

Sony SmartWatch 3

Price: N/A
Release date: February 2015

The Sony SmartWatch 3 is not a revolution in terms of functionality, but it seems that Sony has finally gotten one thing right about smartwatches: they ought to look impeccable on the wrist. The SmartWatch 3 with its replaceable bands and great style is exactly that. The stainless steel version of the timepiece is what caught our attention. Apart from that, we're looking at a 1.6-inch TFT LCD transflective display with a 320 x 320 pixel resolution (283 ppi), the same quad-core processor, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. Also on board is a 420 mAh cell that will give you up to 2 days of "normal" usage.

Withings Activité Pop

Price: $150
Release date: January 5th

Masked under the looks of a regular watch, the Withings Activite Pop quietly tracks your steps, runs, swims, and sleep, and gives you all that information in a non-obtrusive way on a dedicated app. It also comes with battery life of several months (yeah, months, not days), and it's already available on store shelves at Best Buy. That's what we call a smooth, fast launch!

Shure Motiv line of Apple MFi-certified microphones

Price: ($149 MV88 | $199 MV51 | $99 Motiv MVi Digital Audio Interface)
Release date: Summer 2015

Shure is a big name in audio equipment, and it has now recognized the importance of mobile devices that are often used to record interviews, music, and what not. The problem with that is the poor quality of the built-in microphones. Shure's new Motiv 2015 mobile lineup aims to fix that with several new gadgets: the MV88 plug-in condenser mic, MV51 a large-diaphragm mic, and Motiv MVi Digital Audio Interface allows you to connect any standard XLR microphone — including those requiring phantom power — or ¼-inch plug for guitar, bass or keyboard to any iOS device, Mac or PC for seamless, high-quality audio capture.

Fitbit Charge HR | Fitbit Surge

Price: $150 | $250
Release date: Available

The Fitbit Charge HR is a smart fitness-tracking wristband that has Fitbit's PurePulse proprietary optical heart rate recognition technology at its core. It motivates users to maintain workout intensity and monitors calorie burn. The bright OLED screen displays day-long stats and continuous heart rate tracking with steps, distance, floors climbed, calories burned and time spent exercising. The Exercise Mode mode records your workouts and gives out real-time exercise stats, detailed summaries, and heart rate insights. Then, there is he Fitbit Surge. This is the Fitness Super Watch, which has all the power of the Fitbit Charge HR, but also offers a built-in GPS, seamless mobile device sync, Multiple Sport Mode for classifying workouts and viewing detailed summaries of completed exercises, customizable watch faces, Caller ID, text alerts and mobile music control.

Sony SmartBand Talk

Price: N/A
Release date: N/A

Sony's SmartBand Talk is the follow-up of the company's SmartBand – a wearable that lacked any type of display and was only meant as a fitness / health tracker. Now, SmartBand Talk combines this with another tech Sony has been experimenting with – the e-paper watch – and brings us a water-resistant fitness band with an e-ink display. Additionally – the “Talk” in SmartBand Talk comes from the fact that the wristband accepts voice commands, so there's that mystery unveiled.

Alcatel OneTouch Watch

Price: $150
Release date: NA

A more affordable Moto 360 look-alike, the Alcatel OneTouch Watch ($150) brings the craved round smartwatch form factor sprinkled with some of its own user interface ideas. Keep in mind that it does not run on Android Wear, though, and this will translate in an inevitable lack of apps. The OneTouch Watch is running on a not very common STM, low-power STM 32F429 MCU running at 180MHz. The big advantage of the OneTouch Watch is its promised battery life of up to 5 days, nearly 5 times that of a common Android Wear watch.

Lenovo VIBE Band VB10 

Price: $90
Release date: April 2015

The main highlight of the Lenovo VIBE Band VB10 is the 1.43-inch 296 x 128 E Ink display, one that alleges to provide longer-than-normal battery life. Well, Lenovo has it rated to deliver up to 7 days of battery, which is fine and dandy, but we know of several other fitness trackers that have similar ratings. Pressing on the button on the side of the unit cycles through the various modes, where we can view relevant data such as steps taken, SMS notifications, calories burned, and the time & date. Since it relies on an E Ink display, it constantly refreshes before it’s able to display something else. One thoughtful thing to bear in mind is the standard microUSB port on its side to charge its internal battery, so there's no proprietary thing like other models.

Lenovo Vibe Xtension Selfie Flash

Price: $30
Release date: April 2015

Lenovo's Vibe Xtension Selfie Flash comes to solve the first-world problem of poorly-lit selfies: it plugs into your smartphone's headphone jack, and its power comes from eight white LED bulbs. The flash effect works best on a 3-foot (1 meter) distance. The little gizmo lasts to up to 100 flashes on a single charge.


Price: N/A
Release date: N/A

ZTE took the most desirable feature sets to a mobile projector idea, and came up with a connected solution that will certainly find appeal to the mobile businessperson, but also the consumer segment. ZTE decided to build on evolving what it had created with its LivePro hotspot projector which has been available with Sprint since July last year. The LivePro is launching nationwide as a Wi-Fi only model on January 6th, and has been rebranded the SPRO. At CES 2015, ZTE took the covers off the SPRO 2, a mobile hotspot running Android and supporting LTE-Advanced and data speeds up to 150Mbps.



1. Anshulonweb

Posts: 468; Member since: Feb 07, 2014

nothing interesting...

2. DanteTheGreat

Posts: 67; Member since: Jul 31, 2014

For the last time, the smartband talk is not new. What's up with you guys?!

3. dirtydirty00

Posts: 428; Member since: Jan 21, 2011

neither are smartwatches.... i can see myself whipping out my phone instead of using the watch anyway

5. DanteTheGreat

Posts: 67; Member since: Jul 31, 2014

No, you're missing my point. That particular device was launched last year at the IFA and is already on sale.

6. sgodsell

Posts: 7383; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

That's because you never used one. If you did then you would know that they actually save time. At times I can miss phone calls or messages because I cannot hear or feel the vibration from the phone. That will never happen with a smart watch. Plus if you own an Android Wear smart watch for instance its much easier to respond to text messages and emails using your voice. Its much faster. I can pay for Starbucks coffee with my watch. Also you can setup trusted devices so you don't even have to login to your smart phone. You can even install and play music directly on some smart watches. With more and more features being added all the time. Its only a matter of time when you will start to use a smart watch.

4. xtroid2k

Posts: 601; Member since: Jan 11, 2010

Honestly the only thing I think a smartwatch should do is health monitoring. All the other features are just gimicky. This is what happens when people try to re invent the wheel. You get garbage like in the list above. The microphone looked cool though. However the smart watches needs to stop. Make a watch with strong health monitoring features and and an app and your set.

7. sgodsell

Posts: 7383; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

How is opening your car door or house with a smart watch a gimmick. Or paying for coffee using a smart watch. Sure you can do those things with a smart phone or tablet, but its more convenient to use the smart watch. Plus you mention exercise. So what about playing music on a smart watch which all Android Wear smart watches can do. Do you want to carry another device as well to listen to music while you work out? I know the vast majority dont want to carry a number of devices when they exercise.

8. DaveElliott

Posts: 148; Member since: Sep 20, 2012

Agreed. "Gimmick" for those times when you need to be a hipster. Just because you can't use an item or feature, does not mean your pie hole needs to make noise. Separately, why do people have to say "honestly" in front of their statements that usually have no value? Is this meant to convey they mostly lie and now since they used the word we can believe them this time?

9. amjohnson2005

Posts: 8; Member since: May 16, 2012

i am new to a 'smartwatch' though i opted for the $99 push notifications of the Pebble. i'm not going to pay for an iwatch; unless i win one; but to a comment made above; i like knowing who is calling or texting me so my phone can stay in my purse or on the car seat next to me. i'm oncall via my job and get my 'pages' via text; so this allows me to relax each time i'm lucky enough to feel a buzz on the phone; or even in a theater catching a movie. for me that's the extent that i will use one...to each his own :) (oh...and yeah...i have kids who will use my phone in the backseat and they will yell out "so and so is calling/texting" ; now i can see if it's worth asking for the phone back.

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