CES 2016 Day 4 proved what we’ve been saying since the show started: wearables are conquering new grounds. While the day in general was a bit quieter in terms of the number of new tracking devices being shown, the one’s that were unveiled showed ow diverse the field has become. From Samsung’s tracking belt to Huawei’s independent operating system smartwach, it is clear that wearbles can be worn, well, anywhere. To get a sense of what we’re talking about check out our day 4 review and convention round-up, featuring the best and the brightest of the show.
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Fitbit Blaze – New Fitness Highlight in CES 2016
Fitbit, the leader in wearables, dazzled at CES with their new device: the Blaze. Built like a smartwatch but packed with fitness-oriented features, it had everyone talking. The first thing everyone noticed was the upgrade in design, with it’s color LED touchscreen (a first for Fitbit) and stylish bands.
The watch is sold with the company’s standard elastomer band, but for a few dollars more, you can upgrade to leather or stainless-steel. The new screen technology combined with the different straps lend it a more fashionable, expensive feel- all at under $200.
As nice as all that is, it is what’s inside that really matters and the Blaze has lots to offer, especially to those looking to focus on fitness thanks to a few key features. The first is the upgraded Pure Pulse technology, which now uses optical sensors for increased accuracy. Then there is the FitStar app, which isn’t really an app in my mind because you don’t need a phone, or any device, to use it.
Built directly into the unit, the FitStar app has 3 different coach modes with exercises and instructions, making this a tracker and a personal trainer of sorts. It can show you how to do new moves or old ones the right way, for more effective workouts.
The Blaze also has Smart Track, which recognizes and differentiates between various activities, like biking, hiking or basketball. Finally, they upgraded the idle feature, which now buzzes every hour until you get up and move- but you can’t just take a few steps. You have to walk at least 250 steps for it to not alert you again. Personally, I think that is the best feature of them all, because it helps you meet daily goals and conditions you to move more.
All in all, a great device, but a lack of a built-in GPS has me scratching my head. A 2016 model should have it no question. Since it doesn’t, it may not be appealing to runners, who rely on GPS. Plus, in this day and age it should also be waterproof, which it’s not. Still a solid buy and is now available for pre-orders. It will be on sale in stores starting in March.
Huawei Honor Band Z1
In the past, budget-friendly wearables have always lacked in some area, but not anymore thanks to Huawei’s Z1. This tracker is simple, yet stylish in design and has just about every feature you could want- all for $80. Oh, and it is also a bit unique because it runs on Huawei’s own operating system (but don’t worry, it is compatible with both iOS and Android devices).
The first thing you notice about the Z1 is its style. It comes in 3 colors, with a slim strap and large, round OLED screen that gives it a minimalist, yet versatile look. The screen is crisp and easy to read- not to mention much larger than many other trackers, yet it doesn’t overwhelm your wrist.
The entire unit is constructed from stainless-steel that is sealed and encased by a hypoallergenic, thermoplastic polyurethane, making it water-proof up to 1.5 ATM and amazingly durable. You can swim, but not dive or even drop it without damage.
As for its tracking abilities, they are just as impressive. It can track steps. calories and sleep, to give you a complete analysis of your overall health. All in a unit that costs under $100- now that’s reason enough to get up and get moving.
The name may sound silly, but this device is the exact opposite, as it showcases what a little ingenuity can create in the world of wearables. The Welt (wellness belt) is a surprisingly slim and stylish leather belt packed with sensors in the buckle to track weight, steps and diet.
It was created by Samsung’s Creative Labs, their in-house facility that allows employees to test and explore their own ideas. The way it works is simple: you sync the belt with a smartphone app and it then recognizes your waistline and counts your daily steps. The really cool part though, is a feature in the app that can tell if you’ve eaten too much by the change in tension in the belt.
Although the belt looks ready to go, it is technically still in development, so no word on a price or when it comes out, but Samsung says it will be this year.
Samsung Gear S2
Rose/Platinum Editions: Of course showing off the ingenious Welt wasn’t enough for Samsung, so they went and introduced 2 upscale versions of the popular Gear S2. Yes starting in March the S2 will now be available in Platinum and 18K rose-gold finishes. Samsung’s Pay mobile payment app will also be available for all of its Gear S2 watches come March as well.
It is a smart move (pun-intended) to use the metal finishes, as it takes what is already an elite device and elevates it to compete with the more trendy models. They also upgraded the leather straps and are offering a wide range of other strap choices to really complete the look.
No official word on pricing but expect them to run close to $300, with the straps going for somewhere around $40 according to CNET. this should appeal to those who want to wear their watch out to more glamorous events and ladies who are into fashion.
In addition to all these new offerings, let’s recap some of the more impressive wearables we’ve seen so far:
Misfit’s newest innovation, an ear-phone tracking device, takes monitoring weight loss to new heights.
The sensors are in the earbuds and work with an accelerometer in the wire to monitor your steps, distance traveled, calories and record your sleep if you wear them to bed (not sure how comfortable that would be).
The earphones themselves are great too, with features like deep bass and a nice treble range, so you can listen to music in style and keep track of your activities. You can also connect to the Misfit Link app via Bluetooth and use the headphones to control your music, ring a lost phone, or help take a selfie.Misfit isn’t saying when they will be out or at what price.
Even more affordable than the z1 from Huawei, the Go will get you going with its incredible $69 price tag- and when you see what it offers you’ll understand why I say incredible. This compact, colorful tracker has features sone of the big name devices don’t, making this device a steal at such a low price.
Although it is a clip-style tracker, it is quite polished and more importantly, water-proof, up to 50 meters. So you swim with it with no problem, making the hassle of clipping it on each day worth it. Plus, the device can even tell when your swimming, giving it high-end tracking abilities in an economical package.
I should also mention the “green” friendly e-ink display, which is what gives it a whopping 8 month battery life. The e-ink display uses up power only when it refreshes, so there is no maintenance and power lasts longer. Oh, and did I mention that it tracks and analyzes calories, distance and more, as well as syncs all the info to your device? It will be available by the spring.
Under Armour – All in One Package
Complete Fitness SystemUnder Armour’s wellness system- including an intriguing wearable, shoes, sneakers, scale, heart strap and headphones may be a sign of things to come as company’s look to expand and offer a full experience. . While the sneakers and headphones are a great value and quality,it is the fitness devices that really impressed us. Let’s take a look.
First and most important is the band. It is simple in design and style, but that in no way takes away from it’s quality, as it is designed to it fit all your needs and has some great high-end features others don’t.
The band is thin, but far from flimsy and reminds me of the Nike Fuelband, while the LED touchscreen accesses all your stats: heart rate, calories, distance and steps. The device also monitors sleep and records individual exercises.
If that’s not enough there is also the fact that it’s 2ATM water resistant, so you can shower with it (listen up Fitbit), not to mention easy to wear and use.
Paired with the strap and scale, it is a pretty sweet deal. The strap provides more accuracy for calories and heart rate- something the company is working on. The scale can connect to the band via Bluetooth to track weight, body fat and it will also recognize and store info for 8 different users.
As you can see CES 2016 gave us wearables that were affordable, fun and delivered in terms of quality. They also showed us that there is no one way to do wearables: from the genius Welt to the Misfit Specter, trackers can come in all shapes, sizes and objects, making the possibilities endless. It was another exciting floor show and an overall exciting time in the tracking world, and we’ll have even more for you, so check back with us for more information.