8 wearable tech fails to avoid when you buy your first wearable

We've made prats of ourselves so you don't have to
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A fail is always funnier than a win and wearable tech is no exception.

We've had some wins with wearables - leaving the house without our wallets and Apple Pay saving the day, getting to 10K thanks - in part - to fitness trackers and running watches.

But you're not here for that. You're here for the good stuff. The did-I-just-do-that, sweaty, cringing, crying totally awks stuff. That moment you're the David Brent of smartwatch wearers. The Mr.Bean of VR. A pioneer of wearable tech awkwardness.

Here's a few things to avoid if you want your life to be less like our lives.

Don't forget everyone can see your Tinder/Grindr alerts

8 wearable tech fails to avoid when you buy your first wearable

One of Wareable's good buddies - who shall remain nameless - is a fan of Android Wear and well, must be a big hit on Grindr. Stand too close to a Wear wearer and you'll get a good idea of how likely they are to be a dirty stop out that night.

Buzz, flash, buzz, flash, buzz, flash, your smartwatch becomes a beacon of your frenzied, nerdy flirting that's hard to ignore. If you have to be that guy/gal at least perfect your smug face.

Read this: Balance public and personal plus more design principles

If the HTC Vive's grid appears, that's a wall - a real one

8 wearable tech fails to avoid when you buy your first wearable

The HTC Vive is so attentive in making sure you don't walk into walls, it's an act of sheer idiotic rebellion to ignore its entreaties to stop moving and allow yourself to smack straight into one. As part of the tutorial, you're taught that when you reach the confines of the room you're in, a grid will appear in VR.

Wareable's editor-in-chief Paul Lamkin was just trying to pick up a magic dagger from a shelf in the Secret Shop demo at Gamescom, while wearing a Vive. The warning grid appeared but, you know, he really wanted that magic dagger. So he walked into a wall.

Maybe avoid your wiping wrist


It's party time - Wareable's first birthday party, in fact - and our lovely PR manager Chloe plumped for the Misfit Swarovski Shine for the occasion. It's sparkly, hard to come by and she'd used the Misfit app before with the regular Shine.

Only trouble was, our device wasn't fully finished in terms of the casing holding the device in place on the bracelet. Still reviewable but with a tendency to fall out more than the final device. Long story short, the crystal Shine ended up in the toilet bowl. A pissable, if you will, but a pretty one at that.

There's a time and a place for cock doodles

And that time and place is not when you're showing your mum how the Apple Watch works. I mean, yes, it could function to show off just how intimate Digital Touch can be and yes, maybe she will find it cute but when you're a grown man like Paul - or at least appear to be - and your journalist friends at respected publications are sending you line drawn dicks it's just not on.

Read this: "What has it got? Cock doodles" - how we scored Apple Watch

Not all Maps are equal

​Apple's poor services are the Watch's biggest hindrance

As he explained in his rant about Apple's poor services letting the Apple Watch down, senior editor James Stables was being lead on a wild goose chase round Shoreditch by Apple Maps on the Watch. In the directions screen, it treated him as a car when he was walking so he was literally walking round in circles round the block because his wanky, hipster gadget was telling him to. A long hard look at his life choices followed.

Watch that ambient light sensor

You're in a dark pub garden, taking mechanical swigs of your pint with your smartwatch arm in the manner of James Stables. The Moto 360, with its light sensor enabled, is trying to keep up with you turning the display on every time you raise your wrist. What it's actually doing is blinding the person sat next to you with about 1,000 lumens* once every twenty seconds.

*not at all accurate

Watch that auto backlight

8 wearable tech fails to avoid when you buy your first wearable

You're dancing in a Soho club at 1am, with the trusty Pebble Time on your wrist, in the manner of me, contributing editor, Sophie Charara. But you forgot to turn the backlight off and now it keeps glowing and your elderflower and berry collins-addled brain slowly notices that you've become a moving lightshow attraction and you've sort of gathered all sorts of weirdos to the 1m radius around your left wrist. You're used to Android Wear so you cover the watch with your hand. Nope. Panic. Think, Sophie, think. So you raise the Pebble to your face, squint and press the buttons till you get to settings safety.

No-one knows what to do when you want to bPay

8 wearable tech fails to avoid when you buy your first wearable

In his story of wearable awkwardness, James warns against thinking that any cashier will know you want to pay with the big white bracelet on your wrist or indeed your Apple Watch. James got there in the end but here's how could will go down almost every time until things get off the ground a little over the next few months:

Cashier: What can I get you?

You: Just an orange juice please.

Cashier: OK, that will be be please.

[A beat]

[Another beat]

[You slowly push up your left hand sleeve and grin in what you hope suggests you are at the cutting edge of gadgets, orange juice and sleeves but just comes across looking creepy and a bit sad]

Cashier: Do you want to pay by card?

You: Can I pay contactless with my new Barclaycard bPay contactless payment band?

Cashier: We don't do contactless here yet. Wait, hey guy, you gotta pay for that.

Because yes, you legged it out the cafe because it all got too much. But you grabbed the OJ in a panic and the cashier tackled you to the ground because it's much more fun than refilling the sandwiches and now you're having a heart to heart over complimentary croissants about the very real problems of being an early adopter.

Let us know your wearable tech fails over at the Wareable Forum. The struggle is real.

Main image credit: Still from animation by Zachary Eng, visual designer at Fjord.

How we test


Sophie was Wareable's associate editor. She joined the team from Stuff magazine where she was an in-house reviewer. For three and a half years, she tested every smartphone, tablet, and robot vacuum that mattered. 

A fan of thoughtful design, innovative apps, and that Spike Jonze film, she is currently wondering how many fitness tracker reviews it will take to get her fit. Current bet: 19.

Sophie has also written for a host of sites, including Metro, the Evening Standard, the Times, the Telegraph, Little White Lies, the Press Association and the Debrief.

She now works for Wired.

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