From Fitbits to the Apple Watch, millions of people are running around with data-tracking wearables on their wrist. They track our steps, calories burned, stairs climbed and display our notifications — all handy features.
But not everyone wants a computer screen on their wrist. For those people, one of these seven understated wearables may be a better fit.
Dressing smart while wearing a smart device used to be an oxymoron — at least until the Mira Bracelet came along. Starting at $169, this piece of smart jewelry is a head-turner, pairing fashion and technology together in a way that gets attention without screaming for it.
The actual fitness tracker is called the Mira Opal. Able to keep track of things like steps, calories, and distance, it's a simple, iOS and Android-compatible device with a subtle LED display embedded under the glass. The Opal tracker can be removed from the bracelet and popped into another one to better match your outfit, or it can be clipped onto your clothing to let you track your stats sans accessory.
Fossil Q Dreamer
If you think watch company Fossil doesn't have wearable smarts, you missed out on its late 2015 acquisition of tech company Misfit. Wasting no time, the two have teamed up to put out the Fossil Q Dreamer. It's a $125 bracelet that works like an activity tracker, but looks like something off the accessory rack at Banana Republic.
And that's not a slight on the iOS and Android compatible device. With an array of straps and finishes, the bangle can match just about every outfit. That's good, because whether you're going for a run in the morning or out for the night, every step ought to count. The Dreamer can also receive filtered notifications from a list of your favorite contacts, so you can let the telemarketers go to voicemail while taking that call from your personal trainer.
Hexoskin Smart Shirt
Sometimes the worst thing about working out is simply wearing something to track your workouts. The Apple Watch Sport, for instance, boasts "fluoroelastomer" bands, which is code for "sticky when sweaty."
The Hexoskin Smart Shirt uncuffs you from your workout by tucking its sensors into your jersey. Able to capture all sorts of information about how you train, sleep, and live — such as heart rate, breathing rate, breathing volume, activity intensity, and even sleep positions — it’s a comprehensive monitoring system. The lightweight, quick dry material is machine washable, and the sensors pop out easily for insertion into a fresh one. With cuts for both men and women, the full kits cost $399 (including one shirt), while extra shirts run $169.
Is it a pendant, or is it a bracelet? As long as it grabs your data (and looks good while doing it), what does it matter? A high-style, activity tracker, the Misfit Ray may be a must-have once it launches this spring, and not just for its comparatively low $99 price tag.
Able to perform the typical fitness-monitoring tasks like counting steps and distance, this water resistant, Bluetooth-connected device is made of anodized aluminum and is powered by button batteries, which means you never charge it. And because of that, it's also water resistant to 50 meters. But the best trick up the Ray's sleve is that it will let you take selfies, control lights, and music.
Omsignal Om Bra
Heart rate straps are great, but if you're already wearing a sports bra, it can be annoying to have another thing pulled across your midsection. The $149 Om Bra does away with that redundancy, tucking all sorts of sensors into the clothing instead. With the sensors stitched into the bra, the wearable pairs a "barely there" feel with a sports bra that continually adapts to its wearer through high performance, stretchable fabric.
But the Om's underlying technology is even better. With burn rate recaps that match you against other athletes in your age group, the Om Bra can provide data that actually matters to you. And able to connect with Apple Health, Strava, Nike+ and other apps, it's not looking to change your routine, just add to it.
When it comes to wearable tech, nothing matches up with your personal style better than… well, nothing. Ditto, a little sensor small enough to slip into that impossibly tiny pocket on your jeans, isn't going to turn any heads except your own, and that's the point.
With no buttons, lights, or cables (it does have a clip), this Bluetooth-connected device is great for gently reminding wearers of all sorts of things. By simply vibrating like your phone does, Ditto can be worn discretely, on a bra strap, inside a pocket, even inside the wasteband of a pair of pants. The point is, it's not buried in the bottom of your purse, which means calls, texts, and emails won't get missed.
The $39 Android and iOS Ditto also can relay notifications from third party apps like Facebook. And with the ability to customize vibration patterns, you can tell which alerts to ignore.
Can't stop, won't stop — that should be the motto for the Withings Go. Wherever you go, whatever you do, this silver dollar-sized disc can keep track your progress, even if it's under water.
With no switches, buttons, or lights, the device shows your stuff on an always-on e-ink display, which makes Go water resistant up to 50 meters and able to hum along for eight months. And forget whether the other fitness trackers can keep up (costing just $69.95 when it launches in the next few months, that will be a challenge) with that kind of battery life, it may outlast you.