The annual CES show has traditionally been a treasure trove of new wearables, and despite the shift to an online format this year, CES 2021 has lived up to expectations. Interestingly, in addition to several smartwatches, there have been further advancements in the world of smart glasses — an emerging, and very exciting wearable trend — and even a smart face mask too.
We’ve collected the best wearable products seen so far at the show for you here, including the new LTE connected Fossil smartwatch, Vuzix’s smart glasses which are coming later this year, and Amazfit’s low-cost smartwatches too. If you want to see some other cool mobile tech from the show, we’ve got the best foldable (and rollable) smartphones from CES 2021 here.
Fossil’s first LTE smartwatch is based on the existing Gen 5 platform. The design stays the same, but two new colors have been added to differentiate the Gen 5 LTE from the non-cellular models — a stealthy black and an eye-catching gold and pink blush. The Fossil Gen 5 LTE is exclusive to Verizon at the moment, and operates on the network’s Number Share plan.
With everything connected up, you’ll be able to make and receive phone calls, receive and reply to SMS, and use your smartwatch in mostly the same way as you would your phone, just without the need to have your phone with you. On the tech side, the Gen 5 LTE has a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, 1GB of RAM, a 1.3-inch touchscreen, a heart rate sensor, and Google’s Wear OS software. It will be released in the spring, and is set to cost $349.
Skagen brings its minimalist style to Fossil’s latest hybrid smartwatch platform with the Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR smartwatch. There was a time a hybrid watch meant not having a screen, but the Jorn Hybrid HR uses a clever E Ink screen under the mechanical hands to show complications and notifications, while not drastically impacting the battery life. While the battery won’t last for six months like hybrid watches without a screen, it’ll still go for two weeks without a recharge.
Available in either 42mm or 38mm sizes, and with a choice of five different case and strap combinations, it should be easy to find a Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR which fits in with your style. As the name suggests, the watch also has a heart rate sensor on the back for more in-depth, data-rich workout and health monitoring. It’ll be available soon, and will cost $195.
Designer brand Michael Kors announced two new smartwatch models at CES 2021, but the Access Gen 5E Darci is the model that will gather the most attention due to all the sparkles. The Darci is adapted from Fossil’s Gen 5E smartwatch platform, with the design given the complete Micheal Kors treatment. This means a dazzling bezel, a choice of different gold hues, a stainless steel case, and some very dainty bracelets.
The 43mm case has a 1.19-inch touchscreen, there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor inside, a heart rate sensor on the back, NFC for Google Pay, and all the usual fitness tracking and notification support expected from Google’s Wear OS software. Michael Kors’ second smartwatch is the Gen 5E MKGO, which is less flashy, made from aluminum, and comes with simpler rubber straps.
There’s no release date for either watch yet, but when they do arrive the Gen 5E Darci will cost $349, and the Gen 5E MKGO will be $249.
The Amazfit GTR 2e and GTS 2e come soon after the release of the more expensive Amazfit GTR 2 and GTS 2 smartwatches. This time, the company has stripped out some features and slightly changed the design to lower the price, with each model costing just $140. The main features you’ll do without are Wi-Fi, no internal storage space, and a lack of a speaker.
Available with a round 1.65-inch AMOLED screen, or a square 1.39-inch screen, the watches are made from aluminum and have a quick release strap, plus a heart rate sensor on the back, 90 different workout-tracking modes, and a battery that should last for 14 days. Both are available to buy from January 12.
Don’t try to find these on sale just yet, because Vuzix says they won’t be released until later this year, and hasn’t said how much they will cost either. However, they’re very interesting. Vuzix promises the clumsily named Next Generation Smart Glasses will combine smartphone and smartwatch features into the one, and will use a see-through 3D, microLED display. They will work using voice and gesture controls, and allow you to keep your phone in your pocket while remaining connected at all times.
Vuzix has worked on smart glasses for some time, and these are shaping up to be the most exciting, consumer-friendly pair we’ve seen from the manufacturer yet.
The latest iteration of TCL’s long-running project to put its screen technology into a pair of glasses has arrived at CES 2021 with a name — TCL Wearable Display. While it’s not the most imaginative name, the product is one of the most exciting TCL highlights.
The glasses don’t have a battery inside, so they are lightweight, and the built-in 1080p OLED screen with a 140-degree field of view promises impressive visuals. The Wearable Display links to your phone or computer from which it pulls power and acts as a personal movie screen, or gateway to a virtual world.
There’s no release date for the Wearable Display yet, but it’s definitely getting closer, and when it does finally launch expect it to do so as part of a streaming service package with a content provider.
An alternative to carrying around multiple pairs of spectacles, the Voy Glasses are tunable, allowing you to adjust the focus strength on the move. A simple focus wheel is mounted at the corner of the frame, which you turn to bring things close up or far away into focus, just like you would with a camera. The glasses started life on Kickstarter, and are now available more widely starting at $59.
Face coverings have become part of everyday life for many, so it’s no surprise to see masks getting a tech twist at CES 2021. AirPop is an established player in the high-performance mask space, and the Active+ Smart Mask adds a sensor called the Halo to monitor air quality, track breathing rates, and ensure the filter doesn’t go out of date.
A coin-cell battery powers the sensor and the Bluetooth connection for up to six months, an app is available for iOS and Android phones, and the replaceable filters inside the mask will remove 99.3% of particles and 99.9% of bacteria. The AirPop Active+ Smart Mask will be available in January, and cost $150.
Technically not a piece of wearable tech on its own, the JLab Frames turn your ordinary spectacles into wearable tech. An unusual entry into the growing world of audio-enabled spectacles — think Bose Frames — the Jlab Frames clip onto the arms of your own glasses, adding a pair of 16.2mm drivers to them, ready to deliver music and calls.
The JLab Frames are much cheaper than a pair of audio smart glasses, costing just $50, so if you’re interested in trying this emerging trend out, this is a cheap way of doing so. They’ll be available to buy in the spring.
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