There are those of us out there that crave a respite from the constant buzzing and dings from our various smartphone apps—to just completely unplug from the grid. Today’s List of the Day from Paste’s Tech section is not for those people.
Today’s list is for those of you who love all things automated, those who equate love with constant social media and messaging notifications and those who dream of having their smartphones somehow surgically attached to them.
While surgically-implanted smartphones aren’t on the market (yet), we’ve got a list of the next best thing: gadgets you can wear on your wrist, all day and in some cases, all night. Whether you’re in the market for an all-around smartwatch or a health-centric smart fitness wristband, we’ve got the scoop on the seven best gadgets designed to organize and monitor almost every aspect of your life.
1. Jawbone UP24
Don’t be fooled by its simple design. Sure it looks like something you’d find at the bottom of a cereal box, but the Jawbone UP24 wristband is filled with a ton of useful features that help you monitor your sleeping, eating, and exercise habits so that you can better figure out how optimize each of those aspects of your overall health. The band keeps track of your habits and then sends the data via Bluetooth to its own app in your mobile device. With the app you’re able to set goals for yourself and track patterns in your daily activities. This smart-wristband/app system goes beyond calorie-counting as it even includes a mood tracking function and an alarm clock. It’s even custom-set to wake you up precisely at the best moment in your sleep cycle!
Notable Features: Sleep, food and mood tracker functions, inactivity alert that goes off when you’ve been sedentary too long, personalized sleep cycle-based alarm clock.
Price: $129.99 (or about 32 cereal boxes)
A Pebble smartwatch is like a tiny receptionist for your smartphone that sits on your wrist. Mostly, the watch notifies when you get a phone call or a text message and allows you to access other important notifications and media on your phone without having to actually look at or touch your phone. And like Jawbone it helps you track your exercise habits. Unlike Jawbone, it doesn’t have a simple bracelet appearance. And though it looks like a watch and boasts customizable watchfaces, it is still admittedly bulky looking. But that’s to be expected considering that it also contains apps for music, games and sports.
Notable Features: E-paper display, backlight for use at night and access to wide variety of apps including notifications from social networks.
3. Galaxy Gear
The Galaxy Gear is the only one on this list that most resembles a smartphone. If you already own a smartphone from Samsung’s Galaxy series, then the Gear really is the perfect smartwatch for you as the Gear is only compatible with Galaxy phones. You can also answer phone calls from this smartwatch—you’re not just simply notified that you got a call. A function called Smart Relay keeps Gears and their Galaxies so connected that if you get a notification for a message on your Gear, the full(er) version of that same message will open up on your Galaxy automatically. The Gear even has a voice-activated personal assistant known as S Voice. S Voice allows you to access features like voice calling, a camera or a calendar app without having to interact directly with your phone.
Notable Features: Smart Relay, video recording and camera for still photos and S Voice (a voice-activated personal assistant feature).
Price: $279.99 – 299.99
4. Nike+ FuelBand SE
Nike+ FuelBand SE is an exercise smart wristband that motivates you to workout with short lit up messages on its own screen and with a social media component known as Nike+ Groups which allows your workout progress to be shared with your friends so they can encourage and/or compete with you. The FuelBand tracks your movement using a unit of measurement developed by Nike called NikeFuel. It is unclear how NikeFuel points are calculated, but it seems the FuelBand does not just measure the number of steps you take like other smart exercise wristbands. It is designed to measure “whole-body movement” regardless of “age, weight or gender.” Of course, like the other exercise-related gadgets on this list you’ll need to download the corresponding app to your mobile device in order to really track your progress and to use the social media features. This year’s version, the second generation FuelBand, includes support for Bluetooth LTE, a new “sessions” mode that tracks specific sports’ activity, and a more accurate accelerometer.
Notable Features: Keeps track of all movement, Nike+ Groups (social media aspect: can share progress with friends and compete with them) and Nike+ Sessions (keeps track of workout/training intensities and sleep).
5. Adidas MiCoach- Smart Run
If the Pebble is your mini-receptionist, then the Adidas MiCoach Smart Run watch is the tiniest personal trainer you’ll probably ever have. In addition to a heart rate monitor, the Adidas MiCoach also boasts training animations that show you how to perform your strength and flex training exercises correctly. It also gives you audio feedback on your performance via a Bluetooth headset (that’s not included with the price of a MiCoach). And if you don’t want to follow one of the pre-set training plans created by “elite coaches”, you can instead create your own custom workout as well.
Notable Features: Heart rate monitor, Strength and flex training how-to animations, music player, Cardio Coaching (the watch comes with training plans developed by “elite coaches” to improve your performance) and Integrated GPS which can track and record the routes you take on your runs.
6. FitBit – Force
While it is designed to be a no-fuss smart exercise wristband, it is (or will be) unique among the other fitness related wristbands on this list because FitBit Force will soon have the ability to display notifications for phone calls, provided that your iPhone is nearby. The water-resistant band also boasts a silent, vibrating alarm clock and the ability to sync your fitness data with a wide variety of fitness apps, such as the Walgreens’ Balance Rewards Steps app that allows you to earn points for your workouts that you can trade in for rewards like movie passes, gift cards or discounts on purchases made at Walgreens.
Notable Features: Activity and Sleep tracker and Silent Wake (vibrating wake-up alarm). Interesting upcoming feature: Voice calling notifications.
7. i’m Watch
The i’m Watch aims to be the “everything” smartwatch. Need to work out? i’m Watch has a way to optimize that for you with its heart rate monitor, Zephyr and the i’mSport app which helps you set up training programs for yourself. Like the Galaxy Gear, you can also do things like conduct phone calls from the i’m Watch. The i’m Watch also boasts the ability to connect via Bluetooth to almost any kind of app you’d need for fitness, social networking and productivity and simple gaming, like Tetris.
Notable Features: Voice calling (which includes a “shake to hang-up” which allows you to end a call with a shake of your wrist), native Mail app and access to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram updates.