The best wearable tech around currently resides in some excellent watches and fitness bands that are moving far beyond basic functionality and offering you real control, data access, and everyday sensor benefits. Interested in what products are making the best breakthroughs? Here’s a great sampling.
Best Wearable Tech For 2015: Moto 360
Running on the Android Wear platform, the Moto 360 deserves plenty of credit just because it looks like a typical watch instead of a strange screen strapped to your wrist. There are other designer wearables that manage this, but none with the functionality or affordability of the 360. It offers full compatibility with the increasingly voice-activated, automated Google Now, and can give your email alerts, text notifications, and other benefits. It may not offer all the latest features, but it’s a great starting place if you aren’t sure about wearables but are a Google fan. Prices start at $250.
Jawbone was one of the early creators of fitness bands, smart wearables designed specifically to help track specific fitness activities so you know how far you are running, how many calories, you are burning, etc. As wearables have grown more advanced, Jawbone has tried to keep up – and Up24 is a great example of how they have succeeded. This fitness band is great for those who don’t want a full watch or complicated screen. It straps easily onto your wrist and measures not only activity by also idle poses (complete with notifications to get up and move), sleep habits, and more. The best part, however, is the new Up24 software, which offers smart coach capabilities to help you create a schedule for sleeping, eating, working out and more to help get healthy. If you are looking for a fitness wearable, this $129.99 band may be it.
Withings Activite Pop
The Withings Activite Pop is getting a lot of attention for one of the best wearable tech combinations of old-school advantages and new digital features. It’s a normal watch at first glance, but it also has Bluetooth capabilities that allow it to wirelessly connect to iPhones. It uses internal sensors to measure stats like the steps you take, your sleep habits, and more. It’s waterproof for swimming exercise, and includes a vibrating alarm to silently wake you up in the mornings. If you have been looking for a fitness band that’s also a smart watch, you’ve finally found it, and you can get one for $149.95.
Pebble is another wearable company that has some experience in the market with its introductory plastic smart watch offering various fitness benefits and other advantages. However, the Steel takes the product line to a new level. This watch offers a stainless steel frame, a 1.26-inch LCD screen, and a 7-day battery charge that easily beats the other smart watches out on the market. It is waterproof, works with thousands of different apps, and can track multiple activities, including swimming. The retail price for this watch is $199.
All right, the Apple Watch is not widely available on the market quite yet, but it is coming. Make no mistake, this wearable focuses on the “smart” in smart watch, with its touchscreen, iOS features, and multiple apps designed by Apple for getting the most use out of a wearable. iHealth and fitness apps work with the phone to help you measure your physical activity and calories burned. For communication, it uses not only a touchscreen but also an interesting digital crown feature. It isn’t clear how well the Apple Watch will be received quite yet, in part because of its lofty price tag, but it is definitely a wearable for iOS fans and others who want a feature-rich wearable that no one will mistake for an old-fashioned watch.
At first glance, the Misfit Flash looks like a cheap smart watch designed for people who want a simple fitness watch but have no interest in paying the high prices associated with some of the more complex models. But the Flash has a lot more going for it than the $50 price tag: Misfit has created some of the best wearable tech for home automation. It can help adjust the Bolt smart bulb, for example, but dimming the bulb as you fall asleep, or turn a ceiling fan down so that it doesn’t waste energy spinning the whole night. Many other types of functionality are planning with the Nest thermostat, Spotify, and a lot more, making this the wristband to watch.