CES 2017 is the biggest technology show in the world. So, if you’re a gadget manufacturer, it can be make or break for your latest products.
There are televisions as big as your house, fridges that will restock themselves and what seems to be more drones than there are people in attendance.
But it’s wearable tech that’s taking over the show floor again this year, proving that gadgets you strap to your body are no mere fad - they’re here to stay.
Whether you want to get fitter, make yourself more beautiful, or just keep tabs on what it is you spend your days doing, there’s a piece of wearable tech that’ll help you do it. Heck, there are probably tens of devices that will help you do it - which is why we’re here to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Here’s our list of the best wearable tech of CES 2017 - the 10 wearable products you should keep an eye out for this year.
Misfit Vapor (US$199)
While part of Misfit’s charm was that it made really simple, cheap activity trackers, we have to admit we’ve fallen in love with its new touchscreen smartwatch.
The full AMOLED touchscreen display, optical heart-rate monitor, 4GB music storage and built-in GPS are impressive enough - but it’s the two-day battery life that’s most impressive. While we’ll have to wait and see how that shakes out in the real world, there are other novel elements to the Vapor - such as the touch bezel around the edge of the watch, which acts like a touch wheel.
We’re not sure what software the latest Misfit is running at this stage but, from what we’ve seen so far, we assume it’s a version of Android Wear. The Vapor gets its name from the notifications which appear on screen and then dissolve - for example, when you’ve hit the day’s activity goal. Overall, it’s a nice looking watch, and one that can be customised using new straps. We hope to see it later this year for the very reasonable price of US$199.
Motiv ring (US$199)
Want all the benefits of a smart wearable, but can't face wearing a watch? Check out the Motiv Ring, which packs a heart-rate sensor, step tracker and sleep monitor into something you wear on your finger.
The Motiv Ring is a titanium-shelled ring that’s available in rose gold and grey. Pop it on your chosen digit and then sync it to the mobile app, which monitors when you’re active by reading your heart rate. Rather than aiming to get you to 10,000 steps per day, the Ring pushes you towards 150 active minutes a week, which encourages more active movement rather than just getting off the bus one stop earlier.
We liked some of the neat little extras featured on the Ring: you get two USB magnetic chargers in the box, which are small enough to keep on your keyring, while Motiv has also designed its own battery tech to fit into the curved design. That’s the one thing we’d like to test on a finished model - battery tech is notoriously difficult to get right, especially in new form factors.
You can pre-order the Motiv Ring today for expected delivery in Spring.
Jagger and Lewis Smart Dog Collar (US$200)
It wouldn't be a wearable revolution without a smart strap for your pooch, too. Thankfully, Jagger and Lewis agrees, which is why it's created the Smart Dog Collar, a clever neck-strap that'll detect changes in your dog's mood.
How? The collar carries an accelerometer and gyroscope to detect movements - including when your best friend is munching kibble or lapping at the fish bowl again. Data is cogitated to detect if your dog is perturbed, ill or otherwise.
Worried about Fido's fitness? It'll even measure activity like a human tracker, delivering data to the app - so no more of your pet's excuses about "funny smelling leaves".
New Balance RunIQ (US$300)
Good things come to those who wait - and nowhere is that more true than with the New Balance RunIQ. Originally announced at last year’s CES as a partnership between running brand New Balance and chip maker Intel, it’s finally now available to pre-order for delivery from the beginning of February.
The headlines? Well, with a heart-rate monitor, built-in GPS, a 4GB music player and Bluetooth functionality, it’s pretty much all the running watch you’d ever need. The fact that you can also take it in the pool is an added bonus.
The delay appears to have been to incorporate Android Wear 2.0, which offers Google Now, notifications and the ability to download music from Google Play straight to the device. There’ll be more Android Wear apps coming down the pipe, but for now you can also sync your activities up with Strava, which is a boon for serious athletes.
New Balance has also wisely paired up with Jabra, whose new PaceIQ wireless sports headphones will offer real-time coaching. The only drawback is battery life - 24 hours on a single charge, and around five hours for activities with heart-rate reading enabled.
Casio WSD-F20 (£TBC)
Casio is no stranger to smartwatches - in fact, its WSF-F10 was a Wearable Award winner this time last year. This new version adds Android Wear 2.0 to the mix (although it's worth noting the original will also get this as an update), as well as GPS tracking and offline maps.
Those latter features mean you could be lost in the wilderness with an empty cell and your watch will still guide you home. In fact, battery life is a major consideration on this watch: turn off the dual display when it's not needed and you'll save precious juice.
Thankfully, the WSD-F20 also keeps what we loved about the original, including that reassuringly chunky styling - this is a watch that can take some knocks. There’s no price or release date yet for the UK, but we reckon you should keep an eye out for it in the first half of this year.