Best Wearable Tech In 2014

Features James Peckham 17:17, 24 Jan 2014

We run down some of the best gadgets coming up in the year of wearable technology

Behold the year of wearable technology! 2014 is going to bring big things to your wrist, eyeballs and pretty much every other part of your anatomy. Here we are going to run down some of the best wearable technology which should be available before the year is out. We can’t guarantee all the products will make it to release, but at the moment they're pretty damn tantalising! 

Google Glass

Here’s the big bad wolf. Google Glass has been in development for years and Explorers have been wandering the streets aimlessly looking into the top right hand corner for almost a year too. We think the headset could hit the UK before the year is out but what is it all about?

Google Glass – no need for headphones!

Google Glass is a headset with a small screen on the top right hand corner which has a display at 640 x 360 pixels. It sounds low but with the way it's right next to your eye that’s actually the equivalent of a 25-inch HD screen 8-foot away. There’s a 5MP camera on board which has managed to get cinema goers in trouble, as well as 16GB of onboard storage for all those films they didn't actually record. Other planned features include SMS texting, Google Hangouts and even GPS navigation through the headset.

Occulus Rift

Forget the next-generation consoles, wearing this headset for a 3D experience is the future of gaming. It all feels quite futuristic. It uses a head-mounted display, essentially a pair of goggles, which provides a 1080p HD experience. At CES 2014 the Crystal Cove version of the headset was unveiled which uses a low-persistence of vision OLED display and tracks your movements even more intensely.

It even detects when the user is leaning or crouching. Before, when users would lean or crouch and the system didn’t respond, people reported feeling ill. It still has loads of problems to iron out but this could actually be the future of gaming. Developer kits have been around for a while now but the commercial version is expected in late 2014 or maybe early 2015.

After that we just want to learn what games will be compatible with the hardware.

Sony HMZ T3 personal 3D viewer

The 3D viewers don’t stop here, this next one is Sony’s bid for the compelling bit of market space. It’s not cheap considering it comes in at £1,300 but it offers twin OLED HD screens, 7.1 channel surround sound and wireless HD technology. We had the chance to have a play around with the device at IFA 2013 and believed it to be “like having a 3D cinema screen all to yourself.” This isn’t a device for the living room when you have loads of people round, but if you like to watch your films or play games alone this is a fully immersive experience.

The headset works with smartphones, tablets, TV’s, computers and gaming consoles, and it’s all wireless meaning you can link up to your phone before starting a game through your personal face-cinema.

Sony SmartBand

We know a date to expect the Sony Smartband to appear in...well, a month. This piece of kit will arrive on UK shelves come April. It’s Sony’s competitor to the Nike Fuelband and takes a large amount of design cues from the health gadget. The SmartBand tracks your daily activity such as walking, running, cycling and travelling by train as well as tracking your sleep pattern.

Plus, in case you have a terrible memory, it will take note of the music you’ve listened to, the games you’ve played and how much you’ve socialised with your friends. It all allows you to set daily goals and see how far you are from achieving them. There are even notifications and alarms to set up from your smartphone. The gadget works via a smartphone app where you can keep track of your day. It’s called Lifelog and tells you all the information you need to know.

We can’t wait to get our hands on the Sony SmartBand, we’ll be sure to tell you what we think of it once we get our hands on one.

Qualcomm Toq Smartwatch

The first traditional smartwatch on this list packs a 1.5-inch touch screen display. There’s a bunch of apps included such as a Calendar, Music, Weather, Stocks and you can receive notifications from some Android apps straight to your wrist.

The battery life is meant to last for a number of days, up to five apparently, which is what you need from a smartwatch you use every day.  It is a truly wireless device and to charge it you can use a wireless charging station. As far as this list is concerned, this one is technically cheating as it was released on a limited basis in December, but the full-blown release will take place later in 2014. 

Neptune Pine Smartwatch

If the Qualcomm Toq is the equivalent of an average size smartphone, that would make the Neptune Pine the phablet of the smartwatch world. The Neptune Pine brings with it a 2.4-inch touch screen, almost a full inch bigger than the Toq. Announced at CES 2014 it will be released in UK in March and will cost between £200 and £295, there’s no word on the UK release date yet.

Unlike most smartwatches, this works independently from your smartphone. It will run on Android 4.3 and the screen can be detached from the watch and attached to a headband or other device to work as a portable, wearable camera. Neat. Plus it’s 5MP and we can’t sniff at that on such a tiny device.

There’s a QWERTY keyboard available which must be difficult to play with if you’ve got stubby fingers. Fitness Lab comes included on the device and works using the built-in GPS, Pedometer and compass to track all your exercise endeavours. There’s also 32GB of storage onboard meaning you can fill it full of music and it all works on a 1.2GHz dual-core processor. Sounds too good to be true and we can't wait to get hold of one.

LG Lifeband Touch

We aren’t particularly sure on when the Lifeband Touch will land in the UK but we do know it looks pretty cool. The design looks like a useable piece of kit and you can even get three different sizes depending on the size of your wrist. LG’s Lifeband Touch is primarily a fitness device aiming to take over the area controlled by FitBit and other competitiors. It connects to your smartphone and then notifies you of your progress.

It works for both Android and iOS and combines with apps such as RunKeeper and Wahoo fitness. You can also control your music, confirm or deny calls and see who exactly is ringing you through the wrist band. Although we don’t know the date of this device LG will release it before 2014 comes to an end.

Lumo Lift

Another device which was announced at CES 2014, this fitness gadget isn’t just a step-tracking wrist band. It’s a small sensor device you clip onto your shirt using a strong magnet and the sensors inside the Lift measures the amount of steps you’ve taken as well as the state of your posture.

It also uses your smartphone to tell you when you’ve slipped posture, it will gently vibrate until you sort it back out again. The app tracks behaviour over a long period of time so gives you notifications on your fitness and posture progress.

Lumo is doing something different with this device and it’s less annoying than having to keep a fitness band on your wrist at all times. On the other hand, it could be very easy to forget where it is before putting your clothes in the washing machine.

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