We just took a peek at the best wearables out of CES two years ago. Trust us, just don't. It wasn't a vintage year.
Happily, CES 2017 is already smashing it on the wearable tech front with some exciting launches, both expected and lovely surprises, as well as a bunch of software, VR and smart - cough, Alexa - home announcements.
There has been a lot of tech news this week, so much so that we've had to ask ourselves the question 'IS this really news?' a whole bunch. If you just want us to play the hits, and you don't care about the filler, here's the best wearable tech from CES 2017 in short and sweet list form.
Bear in mind that we haven't tested any of these devices yet so this is just based on spec sheets, previous form and first impression hands ons from the showfloor.
And remember, a handful more devices may sneak into our exclusive list by the end of the week.
A terrific trio from Garmin this year: the 47mm Fenix 5 which goes for 24 hours in GPS mode and is more compact than the Fenix 3 HR; the 42mm Fenix 5S which is aimed at female adventurers and the daddy of the lot, the big 51mm Fenix 5X which comes with pre-loaded maps and a sapphire lens, Wi-Fi model. All three will go on sale in early 2017.
We waited a year and... the New Balance RunIQ looks pretty sharp. It's a $299 GPS-packing, Android Wear 2.0 watch which plays nice with Strava sharing. Plus it's joined by PaceIQ smart earbuds from Jabra, optimised to work with the watch and with in-ear coaching. Expect more wearables and smart clothing from New Balance's new-ish tech division.
We've seen some pretty serious health wearables at the tech show, a sign of things to come. Like Bloomlife's stick-on tracker for pregnant women. The sensor times contractions and measures changes in expecting mothers' patterns over the third trimester. Landing from late January, you can pick one up from $149.
We think it's fair to say our US editor Hugh Langley was impressed by HTC's new Tracker module. This 10cm wide accessory attaches to anything from gloves to real baseball bats to turn it into a VR controller compatible with the Vive VR headset. Awesome & coming in Q2 of this year, no price yet.
A chic and understated sporty-but-not-too-sporty smartwatch from Misfit, we like the look of the Vapor's proprietary OS, built-in GPS and touch bezel surrounding the screen. As you'd expect from Misfit, it's waterproof and comes with a range of stylish interchangeable straps. It's $199, no release date yet. (Also from Fossil at the show, the Armani Exchange Connected hybrid).
HP, Dell, Acer and Lenovo are only showing off dummy devices at CES but just the fact that we're seeing the designs already is impressive. This is a new wave of sub-$500 VR headsets for Windows PC users - some will be as low as $300 - with depth-sensing cameras and some sort of mixed reality features. They're due to land in the second half of 2017. (See also: Intel's Project Alloy which got some fresh demos at the show and will also launch with partners by the end of 2017).
This is precisely what Casio's first smartwatch should have been. The new WSD-F20 brings GPS, colour maps, snow sports tracking and Android Wear 2.0 to the party. It still has a nifty monochrome mode, as its predecessor did, and it's due to arrive in April for $500 with some new apps thrown in for good measure too.
One for athletes but still hella interesting, Polar's Team Pro smart shirt monitors heart rate and tracks GPS via capture points embedded into the fabric and a small sensor pod on the back collar. Talk about ditching the chest strap - the connected sports clothing will land in March.
Suunto made a splash at CES with its first sports watch to feature an optical HR tracker. It has partnered with Valancell on the tech and the new €599 device will offer all the same features as the Spartan Sport in three colours - black, blue and pink. Expect more spec and release date details coming soon.
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