Wareable CES 2016 awards: The best wearable tech on show

Here's our pick of the standout wearables at this year's Vegas tech show
Best wearables of CES 2016

The CES 2016 Wareable awards allow us to cast a spotlight on what we feel are the very best wearable devices unveiled at the biggest tech show of the year.

Almost every company has released something but not all of them have been made equally. For some, it's been a case of bandwagonism or one-upmanship but, for a select few, we've seen a brighter future; a future that lends significance to our corner of consumer tech.

These are the wearables that stood out for the right reasons. Ladies and gents, here are our CES 2016 winners.

Smartwatches

Best in show: Casio WSD-F10

Casio's first take on Android Wear isn't so much a smartwatch as a watch that just so happens to be smart. It's the rugged, outdoorsy type that's waterproof up to 50m and shockproof to US military standards.

It's got pre-installed apps for all your huntin', shootin', fishin'-type needs plus cycling and trekking too. It also looks like something that'd be a pleasure to wear.

What we like most of all, though, is that you can switch off the colour touchscreen display to leave a basic watch face, which extends the battery life up to a very practical one month.

Commended for innovation: TipTalk

Spun out of Samsung's C-Lab in-house innovation scheme, TipTalk is showing so much promise that it's become a startup in its own right under the name of Innomdle. The idea is that it's an in-strap technology to help improve the quality of your smartwatch life. By pressing your finger to your ear, it enhances the clarity of any calls you make while your phone is still in your pocket, plus it will speak your messages out to you too.

Fitness trackers

Best in show: Under Armour HealthBox

It's not so much that Under Armour has done anything that no one has ever thought of. What's significant about its full package HealthBox line is the size of the footprint it's going to make on the fitness tracking world.

The main hardware is the UA Band - a fitness tracker that measures steps, sleep, heart rate and running metrics including interval training - plus there's a chest strap with it for accuracy and some connected scales too.

The money shot, though, is the UA Record platform behind it all which already has 150 million users after Under Armour's acquisition of MapMyFitness, MyFitnessPal and Endomondo. Expect this company to be the face of your connected fitness in the years to come.

Commended for innovation: Bragi Dash


With heart rate, steps, running - and soon swimming and cycling to come - all measured at your ears, the Bragi Dash has caused excitement ever since it popped up on Kickstarter. Now refined and ready to go for $299, it's an excellent model for what we want out of our wearables (or hearables).

These connected earbuds are wireless, can store and playback up to 1,000 songs and include bone conduction tech for making phone calls. You might just never bother taking them out.

Smart clothing

Best in show: Hexoskin smart shirt

The Hexoskin Smart is this Canadian company's second crack at the smart shirt. Now with the inclusion of Bluetooth, it can link up with all the third party platforms and fitness wearables you need. That means accurate recordings of your heart rate and respiration get beamed up and collated with all your steps, routes and other running and cycling metrics.

That makes it a lot more convenient than a dedicated chest strap. What's more, it can also measure aspects of exercise such as intensity, recovery rates, calories and fatigue levels which will doubtless become available to those third party external systems in time too.

Ideas like this from Hexoskin are how sports tracking is going to get to the next level.

Commended for innovation: OMSignal OMbra

Another Canadian company, OMSignal was the group that supplied the tech behind the Ralph Lauren smart shirts at the US Open. Now with the female of the species firmly in its sights, its mission has been to finally fix the sports bra once and for all - and make it totally smart in the process.

The OMbra records distances run, breathing rates, heart rate and even tells you when you're recovered enough to head back to the gym. And it links it all up with the fitness platforms you'd expect just in case you're not that into OMSignal Omrun.

Maybe more innovative, though, is that the bra is adjustable at almost every thread with straps, padding and cups all designed to fit your needs. Discrete and customisable; two of the most important watchwords of wearables in 2016.

Headgear

Best in Show - HTC Vive Pre (2nd gen)

Lighter and more comfortable, the Steam-powered HTC Vive Pre is already now on its second generation. What's new and impressive this time around is the front-facing camera, which captures and streams your view of the real world while your eyes are all covered up and buried deep in the virtual.

The advantage there is that it can then blend the actual and the computer-generated reality nicely meaning that your experiences of the two can be merged. Whether that's for information augmentation of the world around you or playing games in a live environment is up to the developers to imagine.

Throw in the revamped gesture controllers and haptic feedback and the possibilities of immersion just got a whole lot deeper.

Commended for innovation: Daqri Smart Helmet

With Intel's 6th Generation M7 processor power behind it, the Daqri Smart Helmet is the most powerful augmented reality headgear around and, unlike the HoloLens and pals, it's available to buy later this year.

It's designed for industrial use and the idea is that this hard hat and goggles combo gives the worker sporting it a kind of X-ray vision allowing them to see what's going on inside pipes and machines without actually having to open them up.

While you'll probably never actually get to wear one, the point is it's a superb testing ground for tech coming to a headset near you in the years to come.

Smart Jewellery

Best in show: Misfit Ray

There's nothing that special about the Misfit Ray in terms of its activity tracking powers. It's all the steps and sleep accuracy you'd expect from a Misfit device. What's innovative is that, yet again, the company has managed to create something that's head and shoulders more attractive and feminine than any other wrist-based fitness bands.

This is the first device launched since Fossil snapped up Misfit last year and it shows. It might not be a pendant or broach, but people will be hard pressed to spot it as the wearable it is. You can even pop out the sleek tubular tracker and pair it with a host of equally stylish accessories.

If you're into beautifully-machined aluminium and always fancied a wearable, then, my friends, you're in luck.

Commended for innovation: Gemio

It's always a worry that it'll never look as good as it does in the pictures when you get up close, but thankfully as our little video shows, that's not the case with this smart take on a friendship bracelet.

Described as a "social wearable for teens", Gemio uses Bluetooth Low Energy and a mesh network to communicate with other Gemio pals using integrated LEDs to create patterns and colours representing different messages.

It's customisable with detachable gems and is available in a host of different colours and styles. This is smart jewellery done right.

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1 Comment

  • paintballer says:

    Where's that EVS paintball Mask?

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