It's the one you've been waiting for - the Wareable Tech Awards 2022.
With such a busy year of launches, surprises and innovations, the Wareable team has had their hands (and wrists) full trying to test all the latest connected companions in the business.
Now, it's time to reward the very best that have hit the market over the last year, covering a total of 11 categories and including the likes of 'Smartwatch of the Year' and 'Health Technology of the Year'.
Of course, we've also crowned our latest 'Wearable of the Year', with some excellent competition vying for the top gong, as ever.
For all the winners announced below, we'd like to extend our congratulations. We look forward to even more competition in 2023.
Wearable of the Year
Oura Ring 3
In a tough field in 2022, it was the Oura Ring 3 that stood out as our Wearable of the Year.
Encapsulating the idea that a wearable doesn’t have to live on the wrist, Oura has single-handedly brought the concept of a smart ring to the masses, and it's really no surprise that we've seen an explosion of startups looking to emulate its success.
Oura's Gen 3 model just missed out on the judging period for last year's awards, but, since then, the company has bolstered its case with both a Gucci collaboration and the beautifully crafted Gen 3 Ring Horizon, too.
It also delivered the workout heart rate and SpO2 features that were promised at launch, resulting in a more rounded health tracker - one that often proves to be an excellent benchmark of accuracy in terms of heart rate tracking and sleep analysis, despite its diminutive form.
All this, and its app continues to be one of the best in the business, leading many of the technology giants in terms of analysis and useful wearable data.
Smartwatch of the Year
Apple Watch Ultra
The year 2022 has seen a real trend toward 'Pro' edition smartwatches, but the Apple Watch Ultra proved to be the device that really redefined the category.
The doubling of battery life is probably the core feature that’s changed our lives the most, but best of all is the huge dose of personality Apple has injected into its smartwatch.
The case is kind of garish, reminiscent of G-SHOCK or Tag watches that loudly proclaim an element of your personality you want to express, rather than trying to disappear on the wrist. It’s not for everyone, and that’s why we like it.
It’s still very much a v1 product, leaning on the App Store to enable the features Apple itself hasn’t built in just yet, like mapping and dive features via Oceanic+.
However, the latter is a fantastic example of how powerful the Ultra can be. It’s a true maturation of the smartwatch – and a worthy Smartwatch of the Year.
Newcomer of the Year
We thought we had already seen it all from Garmin, but the reimagination of the Epix was one of the true wearable highlights of 2022.
It answered all the calls we had for a Garmin Fenix with a full AMOLED display, providing a device with staying power for proper adventures, and one that looks good during them.
The AMOLED screen makes it a true rival to the Apple Watch Ultra, and it also includes some of the best running, swimming, cycling and even golf tracking support of any watch out there. There's also room for 16 days of battery with 40+ hours of GPS tracking, which no device can currently come close to matching.
Of course, Garmin falls short when it comes to payments, third-party apps, a voice assistant and the general usability that makes a smartwatch great. However, as a sports watch, it’s one of the best around.
It could have won in three of our categories, and was easily our most-nominated device.
Its legacy will also be intriguing. Will we see AMOLED become a staple of the Garmin range in future years? Possibly. Either way, we now have a Garmin without compromises, and it's epic.
Fitness Tracker of the Year
Fitbit Inspire 3
We had a busy year for Fitbit, with both the Versa 4 and Sense 2 launching, but it was the Fitbit Inspire 3 that really wowed us. As a standard, lightweight activity tracker, it seems unspectacular on the surface.
However, in terms of improvements, Fitbit has finally put its weight behind the Inspire 3 – and it’s now a gateway to everything Fitbit has to offer.
A color screen, improved design, SpO2, and a temperature sensor all debut here, and the days of the Inspire being the runt of the Fitbit litter are gone. Add to that the continuous monitoring of heart rate rhythms, and there’s not a device under $100 that can touch the Inspire 3.
Affordable Fitness Tracker of the Year
Huawei Band 7
Huawei has had a strong year, and the Huawei Band 7 is an excellent affordable fitness tracker with an astounding price tag.
Available for around $50, the Band 7 is more of a smartwatch/band hybrid, offering a big luxurious screen and plenty of workout smarts.
For a budget device, the Band 7 harnesses so much of what’s great about Huawei wearables, including many of the performance analytics, heart rate monitoring and stress level readings found on much more expensive devices.
Affordable Smartwatch of the Year
Amazfit Bip 3 Pro
The Amazfit Bip 3 Pro was such a strong option in 2022, it’s hard to look past this budget option.
A good all-around feature set, with GPS and a host of strong workout features, the Bip 3 Pro is great at this sub-$100 price point.
And the maturity of the Zepp Health app as a home for workout and health data also makes for an experience that rivals found hard to match.
Sports Watch of the Year
Garmin Forerunner 255
So much attention is paid to the devices at the top of Garmin’s range, but the Forerunner 255 was the device that really surprised us in 2022.
The introduction of the additional case size (in the form of the Forerunner 255S) makes it far more unisex than most, and the extra features make it a superb upgrade over the last-gen Forerunner 245.
There are now much more advanced running analytics - as well as features like the excellent Race Day widget - joined by top heart rate tracking performance and dual-band GPS tracking.
Considering the blend of design, features and the relatively low asking price, this mid-range sports watch very quickly became our favorite from this category.
Health Technology of the Year
Apple Watch Series 8
The Apple Watch Series 8 was a relatively minor update this year, but its key feature actually represented a big leap forward, as the company added a temperature sensor and built the data around menstrual cycle tracking.
Generally, women have been under-represented in wearables, with most smartwatches designed in large case sizes for men, and all with men’s health at the forefront.
Apple, armed with the Series 8, has sought to correct some of that disparity.
It added a biometric element that retrospectively validates predicted cycles with temperature and heart rate data, as well as letting users know about cycle inconsistencies that could prove to be a sign of a health condition.
Finally, a mainstream brand has implemented a proper feature for the benefit of women – and, for that reason, it’s our pick for Health Technology of the Year.
Hearable of the Year
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)
The AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) is a slight rework of last year’s Hearable of the Year – and Apple has only improved this winning formula.
Improved noise-canceling and other audio improvements make the AirPods Pro fantastic everyday partners, and the addition of the tactile volume control onto the stalk addresses one of the key problems with the original model.
It makes for an all-round performance that’s incredibly hard to fault, whether you're commuting, exercising or simply listening in the comfort of your own home.
Innovation of the Year
Huawei Watch Buds
Wearables have hit something of a rut in terms of all-out innovation, so the new Huawei Watch Buds were a breath of fresh air as 2022 closed out.
The smartwatch houses a pair of TWS earbuds under the screen, so you’ll always have your headphones charged when you need them.
The Watch Buds also don’t shirk on features. Three days of battery life and ECG/SpO2 round out a decent health-tracking performance, and the earbuds themselves also boast ANC.
Smart Apparel of the Year
Smart clothing is still yet to be truly realized, but the Whoop Body range gave us a glimpse of how the segment could mature in 2023 and beyond.
As part of the arrival of its latest generation - the Whoop 4.0 - the company also launched a range of boxers, bras and other workout apparel that can be paired with the sensor.
Not only does this have interesting applications in terms of the accuracy of workout tracking, but it also doubles as a decent way to free up wrist space.
It’s a great take on smart apparel and a worthy winner of our smart clothing gong.
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