At CES week, the news is all about what’s coming out of Las Vegas, and there’s been a bucket load. There were five times the number of wearable companies peddling their wares in the halls of CES than in 2014, and that meant a host of new products to get to grips with.
Make sure you check out our round ups of the best wearables of CES, the best fitness tech of the show, the wackiest wearables and the five things we learned from about wearables in 2015 – but first, here are the essential stories from the week.
Misfit and Withings lead the way
The show started strongly with top devices from Withings and Misfit, both of which started 2014 as tech minnows and have now cemented their status as wearable royalty just one year on.
Misfit launched the Swarovski Shine, a reworked version of the Misfit Shine with, you guessed it, a gorgeous looking Swarovski crystal that makes up its surface. The line-up is also set to be the first solar powered fitness tracker, and is designed to use the crystal to allow light through to hidden solar cells.
Withings answered the prayers of wearable fans by launching a cheaper version of its Withings Activité analogue watch/fitness tracker hybrid. The Withings Activité Pop will be available for a wallet-friendly $150, half the price of its bigger brother.
If that wasn’t enough, Guess also launched its own smartwatch, in partnership with Martian, to complete an opening day hat-trick of fashionable wearable tech.
Garmin and Polar update but no optical heart rate
Garmin and Polar both updated their lines of running watches at CES, though it was more of the same from the two companies.
Polar launched its A300 watch, an entry-level device that offers smartphone notifications on the wrist, although like the Basis Peak, we’ll have to wait indefinitely for the full range.
Garmin was a little more adventurous, offering a challenger to Android Wear in the shape of the Garmin Vivoactive. The square watch style device offers support for a huge range of activities – including golf – and offers notifications, too. It also updated its all-action Fenix range with the Garmin Fenix 3, but although the multi-sport tracking got a big drop in size and weight, it still requires a chest strap for heart rate reading.
There was VR everywhere
While wearables were certainly one of the stories of the show, VR tech was definitely in the running for ‘best supporting act.’
As the show kicked off Avegant Glyph VR headset got an official release date, making official one of our favourite concepts. Strangely, on arrival in Las Vegas, the company’s stand was left empty, perhaps hinting that delays could beset the device.
Elsewhere at the stand, the Samsung Gear VR was also on show – and the good news is that it’s on its way to Europe. There was also a demo of Milk VR – the content store for the VR headset – which Wareable got its hands on. The 360 video demos were fabulous, if crying out for higher resolutions.
Finally, Razer also unveiled its headset, the Razer OSVR. The company was keen to point out that its VR system isn’t being to be getting a proper release anytime soon. It’s all about enabling developers, universities and tinkerers to get started with VR.
You can check out our round up of the best VR headsets as well as the best VR games for Google Cardboard and Samsung Gear VR.
Lenovo goes E Ink
With AAA launches in short supply from the likes of Motorola, Sony, Samsung and LG, Lenovo was the biggest tech company to launch a new wearable device at CES. With seven days of battery, the Lenovo Vibe Band is waterproof up to 1m for 30 minutes and works with both iPhone and any Android phones.
The Lenovo Vibe Band bears an uncanny resemblance to the Sony SmartBand Talk, which we reviewed back in 2014, and certainly ups the design stakes while slashing power use for maximum battery life.
Razer Nabu X lands
While it took a year between CES 2014 and the original Razer Nabu to be released, the Razer Nabu X is destined for a much quicker release.
The Razer Nabu X will go on sale for just $49.99 when it gets a global launch this spring, and while it loses the OLED screen, it still offers fitness tracking and smartwatch-style notification.