2015 was a big year for wearables. The Apple Watch was born, Google Glass died, and bands that track everything from your steps to mood changes have evolved and become 'not terrible'.
While wrist-bound devices have cemented themselves as the face of wearables, we started to see other forms of wearable technology grow in popularity, like textiles, smart scales, and jewellery. "Wearables" is a relatively loose term that covers a lot of different types of tech gadgets that are all, as the name implies, worn on your body.
If you haven’t jumped on the wearable band wagon then this quick guide gives you the lowdown on my top wearables right now.
Fitbit has been the king of fitness trackers since 2013, and it's continuing to develop its range to keep pace with the competition. One of the best value trackers on the market is the Fitbit Charge HR. It does everything you'd want a fitness tracker to do and has the right mix of extras to make it worth the money. It monitors steps, distance, calories, floors climbed, and sleep and has a continuous heart rate monitor to use throughout the day, whether during workouts or just sitting around. It also delivers call notifications to your wrist, league tables to compete in challenges against your friends and now with software updates, the SmartTrack feature will automatically know when you're doing some type of workout and record it to the Fitbit application. What I especially like about Fitbit is the fact it links to my Vitality which means because of the number of steps I achieve per week can be turned into a free Starbucks coffee or a cinema ticket for all my family.
It’s hard not to be impressed by the way Apple blends technology and tech. What does it do? Well that’s like defining the iPhone. Yes, the Apple Watch is a smartwatch, but with the addition of its app store, it can do anything developers decide. And that's really exciting as the watch has huge potential. As many of my colleagues have commented ‘there will be lots more apps that do lots we haven’t thought of yet’. As a wearable, the watch connects to your iPhone, and effectively can’t be used without it. Firstly, there's no GPS, which is a problem. You cannot accurately track runs without it. However, the Apple Watch can steal GPS data when running with an iPhone, so if you're willing to take both out, you're good to go. In summary the watch is work in progress and certainly could be a Fitbit killer, but at its current price tag needs to deliver more value for money.
The good thing about the Jawbone UP2 is that it nails the basics very well. It has an accurate tracker along with sleep monitoring and a smart alarm which means you have all the features you need. It does fall short the Fitbit Charge HR's advanced fitness skills but it’s a comfortable, good looking and good value tracker. There’s no screen, so it is not a substitute for a watch. On the upside it has no display to sap the battery so it lasts for a week between charges.
The Moov Now is the second-generation successor to the Moov. It's a fitness-focused wearable you put on only when you're working out. Using 3D motion sensor technology, it tracks and analyses activity via a built-in coach to ensure you work up a proper sweat. It's geared towards helping you be better at the sports you love, rather than reporting how you did. It does have some downsides the biggest being the need to carry your smartphone while exercising.
There's literally hundreds of models of Wearable device on the market right now, above is just a flavour, Fitbit alone have over 8 devices and smart scales too. So decide wisely, choose the right 'eco-system' for your needs - ensure your friends/peers have similar devices to benefit from a fitness community, and you're good to go.