You look marvelous
Most wearable tech looks like it was designed for Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory. We’re talking smartwatches, smartglasses and activity trackers that only an inveterate nerd could love.
But most men (and women) don’t share Sheldon’s nerd-first fashion sense. Unlike Dr. Cooper, most of us want to experience coitus. So we’re looking for wearable tech that oozes panache and blends in well with fine natural fabrics instead of the double-knit synthetics of a Star Trek costume.
I haven’t personally tested all the following wearables, but I think they represent the best-looking examples of the wearables explosion. Tastes vary, but I trust there’s not a coitus deal-breaker among them.
If you want an activity-tracking wristband that blends in well next to a traditional wristwatch, you can’t do better than Jawbone’s UP24. It may lack an onboard display of all the steps you’ve walked and calories you’ve burned, but its thin, streamlined design evokes a sporty rubber bracelet instead of a big, honkin’ piece of nerd-tech.
At $150, the UP24 comes in three sizes and two colors (onyx shown here, as well as persimmon), and wirelessly syncs with both iOS and Android apps to reveal daytime and nighttime activity stats.
Look at it. Take it all in. Unless you knew better, you’d think the $250 Pebble Steel is a traditional wristwatch. But the watch face you see in the photo is a black-and-white e-paper display, and the Steel can reveal smartphone notifications, as well as a variety of apps, directly on your wrist. The Pebble’s marine-grade steel case comes in either matte black (shown here) or a brushed stainless steel look, and you can choose between a leather or metal band.
In total, the Pebble Steel—barrel-shaped chassis and all—doesn’t look like a smartwatch. And that’s what many would-be smartwatch buyers prefer.
Google Glass Titanium
If we’re going to evaluate a wearable by whether it deal-breaks a coitus opportunity, then we have to move the Google Glass Titanium edition to the “acceptable fashion” column. Look at the woman here. Check out the men and women in this YouTube video. Now let’s be honest: Very few of us wouldn’t forgive the face technology.
There’s something a bit repellent about the lensless nose-pincher design of the original Glass, but the seven traditional-looking frames of the upcoming Titanium collection draw Google’s tech closer to normative style. And when Glass is married to Oakley’s high-tech aesthetic, Google’s little lucite crystal will probably become less offensive—though probably not to the point of appeasing Marc Newsom.
With a circular display, handsome exchangeable straps, and a single button that looks like the crown of a traditional wristwatch, Motorola’s upcoming Moto 360 lets you have smarty-pants wrist-tech without sacrificing any of your dignity. Add in Google’s Android Wear OS—whose time- and location-aware Google Now alerts look fan-bloody-tastic—and you have one of most anticipated wearables releases of 2014.
But we have to keep returning to the round display. Along with the display of the Samsung Gear Fit (see next slide), Motorola’s display is going to draw a lot of attention—in a good way, from nerds and non-nerds alike.
Samsung Gear Fit
The Gear Fit activity tracker is this round-up’s anomaly: It’s unapologetically high-tech, but it won’t hurt your chances in the romance department—unless your dating pool is confined to the more orthodox stretches of Lancaster County. It all comes back to Samsung’s curvy Super AMOLED touchscreen display. It’s bright, colorful and loaded with ultra-modern wow factor.
Besides doing the obligatory step counts, the Gear Fit can also measure your heart rate, and display alerts for email, phone calls and text messages. We love how the Gear Fit gently follows the contours of human anatomy, and aims to bridge the divide between activity trackers and smartwatches. Expect an April 11 release for $200.
The Sony SmartBand is a rubber-clad activity tracker that’s quiet and demure—and all our hands-on time suggests it will pair nicely with a watch strapped to the same wrist. The SmartBand’s key hardware is a small module called Core that can be inserted into different-colored wristbands for a variety of looks. But the most colorful element of the SmartBand system looks to be Sony’s Lifelog app, which shows you a richly illustrated timeline of all your lifestyle activities, along with step and sleep data from the wristband itself.
Because who needs just another step tracker? It’s nice to see Sony adding a clever twist to the wearables space. You can buy the SmartBand now at Amazon for $100.
Cuff Smart Jewelry
“I’d wear that!” I heard this comment from a number of female co-workers when Deepa Sood showed off her line of Cuff smart jewelry at our office. The Cuff necklaces and bracelets integrate a simple flat-black module called CuffLinc, which receives smartphone notifications, and can be touched during an emergency to send alerts to loved ones.
The bracelet in our photo exposes the CuffLinc, but other Cuff designs hide the module behind a metal silhouette, or keep it from view entirely. Destined for a fall release, Cuff is by far the most feminine line of wearables you’ll see this year. And that’s good news for a tech category that’s plummeting down the gender gap.
The Citizen Proximity is a traditional luxury chronograph that just so happens to integrate a few smartwatch features. The $500 watch exudes a techy aesthetic, but unless you’re looking for its smart features, you’ll never know they’re there.
The Proximity syncs over Bluetooth with an iOS app to send you vibration alerts for phone calls, emails and calendar events. Once you feel the buzz, you note the location of the second hand: If it sweeps to 10 o’clock, you have an email or calendar alert; 11 o’clock signifies a phone call. And here’s the high-tech bonus: Like all Citizen watches, Eco-Drive technology powers the watch with solar energy, saving you the hassle of battery replacement.
Voyce wellness monitor
No, the Voyce wellness monitor won’t make you look like a high-tech dork. It’s actually a bit clunky-chunky in terms of aesthetics, but it’s made for dogs, and newsflash: Dogs don’t care what they look like. Don’t let anyone’s teacup yorkie tell you differently.
Scheduled to ship in late spring for $300, the Voyce includes an accelerometer to track doggie’s steps, as well as a sensor that uses radio frequencies to measure heart and respiratory rates. Data is funneled to a mobile app, which also provides a host of other services to complete a robust canine wellness platform.
Extra special bonus: Being seen around town with any type of pooch, high-tech or low-tech, boosts the likelihood of coitus immensely.