2014 will no doubt be remembered as the year that wearable technology came out of the closet. With big releases from Pebble, LG, Samsung, and Motorola—as well as the establishment of the Android Wear platform—wearables are here and they are here to stay. Even beyond smartwatches, 2014 also had its fair share of interesting wearable projects that extended even the definition of the word.
Despite all the interest in the field, smartwatches and wearables in general still have a ton of convincing to do. Not everyone is comfortable with the idea of wearing connected technology, nor are people sure what they’d even do with it.
But these are five wearables devices of 2014 that answer those address those issues best—and do it in style:
Assuming you can get good placement of the device on your person, you’ll have to come to grips with wearing it out in public—there might also be considerable time spent trying to conceal cables. [But] after feeling the rumbling Woojer provided on the first song, I was hooked. The added feeling makes the music come alive, just like a live concert can do.—Tyler Hayes
Read our full review of Woojer.
4. Moto Hint
Everything about the Hint, from its size to the clever details feels like it’s a device from the future—it’s awesome. It might even be able to convince a few more people to use a hands-free solution in the car and keep everyone a little safer. The $150 price is a little steep, but out of all the Bluetooth headset choices, it’s definitely the coolest and worth the extra money for anyone concerned about how it looks. Motorola has somehow made the Hint small enough to make Bluetooth headsets cool again—and that’s no easy accomplishment.—Tyler Hayes
Read our full review of the Moto Hint.
3. LG G Watch R
LG released two Android Wear watches in 2014, if you can believe it: the G Watch and the G Watch R. They are mostly identical in terms of specs and software, but lets not forget that smartwatches are devices that you wear, not just things you put in your pocket.
In that case, round watches like the G Watch R and Moto 360 are much more attractive buys than their squared-off competitors. Whereas Motorola chose to stuff the technology needed to power the device into a cut off of the screen, LG chose to stuff it into a thicker bezel. While we felt the Moto 360 was ultimately the better device, there’s no question that the LG G Watch R is one of the best smartwatches of 2014 and a great alternative to Motorola’s offering.—Luke Larsen
2. Pebble Steel
The Pebble Steel is the perfect upgrade to Pebble’s original smartwatch, with just a dash of class for good measure. If strapping a giant screen made by LG or Samsung to your wrist doesn’t sound like your cup of tea, the Pebble Steel just might still be the most reliable, consistent, and practical smartwatch on the market. —Luke Larsen
1. Moto 360
Battery issues aside, as of now one thing is for sure: the Moto 360 is the most beautiful smartwatch ever made and that may remain the case for quite some time. It was clear from the beginning that Motorola knew exactly what it want to do with its smartwatches when it entered the market: to make beautiful, fashionable, wearable devices.
Somehow it has managed to pull that off really elegantly on its first try with the Moto 360. As a first generation product, it almost feels like something of a miracle.—Luke Larsen