A tracker for every part of your body
Fitness trackers now come in all shapes and sizes, and strap on almost every part of your body, literally from head to toe. Here are some of the newest health and fitness wearables, announced at CES, that could be making their way into your workouts this year.
There are plenty of wireless headphones, but Bodytrak stands out for an obvious reason. While users listen to music, the “hearables” can track a variety of vital signs, including temperature, heart rate, cadence, and VO2. (The ear is close to major blood vessels that connect to the brain, so it’s a good place to get accurate readings of vital signs.)
The earbuds sync with an analytics app that will help users monitor their performance with an eye toward preventing injuries. London-based Bodytrak is being tested by English Premier League teams and rugby clubs -- and the company says the earbuds could be useful for workers in the defense, energy, and healthcare industries who need both hands free while on the job.
Bodytrak will be available to consumers and sports teams this summer. Pricing has not been announced, but the company says it will be comparable to devices that range from $249 to $299.
Casio unveiled its first smartwatch at CES 2016, and what the device lacked in style it made up for in substance—it was the only Android Wear watch to come with a built-in GPS, barometer, altimeter, and compass. It was a niche watch, made specifically to withstand the rigors of outdoor use.
This year’s watch, the WSD-F20 ($500), is even more rugged, complete with button guards and a protective bezel surrounding the entire display. Mapping features have been updated as well; through a partnership with Mapbox, users can download full-color maps and view them while offline in the wilderness. Users can also write notes and place markers on a map. In another upgrade, the WSD-F20 also adds a low-power GPS mode.
Built on the new Android Wear 2.0 platform, the WSD-F20 will be available April 21. Casio also announced that the WSD-F10 will be upgraded to Android Wear 2.0 at the same time.
This maker of heated, connected, and activity-tracking shoe inserts has taken the next step and unveiled a prototype of a “smart shoe.” The Active Cushioning Run Profiler promises shock detection and can shift support (making the insole softer or harder) over the course of a run based on data collected from sensors at five pressure points along the foot. The shoe also tracks activity and connects to a mobile app using Bluetooth; the company says the app can help runners figure out if they are fatigued. The app also comes with an audio coaching feature that provides workout tips, much like fitness headphones. A hiking version of the shoes is heated, too.
Digitsole’s shoe will be available later this year. Pricing has not been announced, but a company spokesperson estimated that they would cost around $250.
Garmin fenix 5
Garmin skipped v4 of its fenix watch line and went straight to the fenix 5. The watches come with many of the same features of the fenix 3 line, and the features you now come to expect from rugged GPS watches—activity tracking, water resistance to 100m, optical heart rate monitor, barometric altimeter, compass, and so on. The biggest difference is the size. The fenix 5S ($599) has a diameter of 42mm, and the fenix 5 ($599) is 47mm. Both are more compact that the watches in the fenix 3 line, which are about 51mm. This mean the fenix 5 watches should appeal to users with smaller wrists, as well as anyone looking for a watch to wear continuously. The smaller size does impact the 5S’s battery life, though 13 hours in continuous GPS mode is still pretty good.
Both the 5S and 5 are available in stainless steel, WiFi-enabled Sapphire models for $100 more. The third watch in the fenix 5 line, the 51mm 5X, also checks in at $699. This watch also includes preloaded topographic maps and an Around Me feature that shows nearby points of interest. All fenix 5 watches will be available this spring.
The new InBody WATCH aims to be more than just an activity tracker. Using embedded PPG and ECG sensors, the watch can track heart rate as well as Pulse Wave Velocity, which measures how well blood pumps through the body’s arteries and is a potential predictor of cardiovascular disease. Data from the watch can also be used to perform InBody’s body composition analysis, which calculates metrics such as water weight, muscle mass, and BMI. The watch includes the same fitness-tracking features available in the company’s InBody BAND -- step counting, distance traveled, calories burned, sleep tracking, and activity tracking. An updated version of the band will be available this summer; the watch will be available this fall.
LINX Smart Helmet
The LINX Smart Helmet ($200) from Coros appears at CES2017 after a Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $300,000. The helmet lets riders listen to music, as well as hear mid-ride data or turn-by-turn directions, using bone-conduction technology. Two speakers are positioned over the cheekbone so that a rider’s ear canals remain open to listen for pedestrians, cars, or other hazards. A built-in microphone also allows for ear-free phone calls.
In addition, the helmet comes with a remote that attaches to the handlebars and sync with an Android or iOS app. The app syncs to Strava and MapMyRide and also lets users create, save, and share routes. The routes support waypoint, which can be helpful when mountain biking or riding in remote areas.
Nearly all fitness trackers measure steps taken, calories burned, and minutes of exercise. The Mio Slice ($129), a wristband from Mio Global, focuses on a different metric: Personal Activity Intelligence (PAI). The device uses a series of optical heart rate sensors to measure and display a user’s PAI. The higher the number, the better. Mio says the algorithms that calculate PAI are based on the results of a 25-year study that showed a correlation among low PAI, high resting heart rate, and increased risk of dying from cardiovascular disease—which is the leading cause of death in the world but is highly preventable. Along with PAI, the face of the Mio Slice displays the user’s heart rate, activity, and sleep data. The device can also receive phone call and text message notifications.
With the Vapor ($199), Misfit has branched out from activity trackers to smartwatches. The Vapor comes with the usual fitness-tracking features -- accelerometer, altimeter, gyroscope, an optical heart rate monitor and built-in GPS. The watch also offers 4GB of storage, so users who work out with music will be able to leave their smartphones at home.
The Vapor is the first Misfit watch with a touchscreen. The 44mm display encased in stainless steel, and there are interchangeable wristbands, so the Vapor may appeal to athletes who want a watch that doesn’t look out of place with dress clothes. However, the battery only lasts 2 days on a single charge, and Misfit is developing its own operating system, which may limit the number of third-party apps made for the Vapor.
Misfit hasn’t announced a release date for the Vapor, so interested buyers will have to wait a while. In the meantime, check out our hands-on with the Misfit Vapor.
In an increasingly crowded market for fitness trackers that are worn on the wrist, the Motiv “smart ring” ($199) stands out by fitting on a single finger. Motiv can track steps, distance traveled, calories burned, and sleep. It also includes an optical heart rate monitor to track active and resting heart rate. There’s obviously no display on the ring, but users can view activity and heart rate data in an iOS app. The limited features won’t appeal to hardcore athletes, but Motiv might interest anyone who wants to track activity but doesn’t want a wristband or clip-on device.
The Motiv's lithium ion battery will last up to five days on a single charge, depending on use, and recharges using a USB stick. Available this spring, the ring comes in two colors (slate gray or rose gold) and seven sizes.
New Balance RunIQ
At last year’s CES, New Balance and chipmaker Intel announced that they were collaborating on an Android Wear smartwatch. This year, the RunIQ ($299) made its debut. Available Feb. 1, RunIQ delivers the functionality runners have come to expect: GPS tracker, heart rate monitor, smartphone notifications, and a lap button. The battery will last 5 hours in GPS mode, which is only has as long as comparably priced watches such as the Garmin Forerunner 235 and TomTom Spark 3.
The RunIQ features on their own aren’t all that impressive, especially when compared to other Android Wear devices. However, two things do set the watch apart. One, it integrates with Strava for tracking run data instead of sending users to yet another proprietary app. Two, it connects to the New Balance Run Club, which offers virtual training runs and in-person events at New Balance stores.
PIQ Robot Blue Everlast
Pugilists finally have their own wearable with PIQ’s Robot Blue, which takes the company’s sensor for tracking tennis, golf, and skiing activity and puts it into a wrist strap that slides over hand wraps or boxing gloves. Accelerometers and a gyroscope within the PIQ device measure a boxer’s punch speed, impact, intensity and total time. The device syncs with an artificial intelligence system known as GAIA, which compares a user’s stats against professionals. (The company has partnered with Everlast to get this data.) Based on the data, the system can recommend which punches would work best for a particular boxer. The sensor-wrist strap combination is $99—you’ll need one for each hand—and will be available in March.
PKVitality K’Track Sensors
The K’Track sensors from PKVitality also strive to provide more than the usual activity data. Two devices—K’Track Athlete ($200) and K’Track Glucose ($150)—gather readings from a from a biosensor, known as a K’Apsul, which uses needles 0.5mm long to analyze the interstitial fluid just below the surface of the skin that absorbs chemicals such as glucose and lactic acid.
Worn on the arm, K’Track Athlete measures lactic acid, heart rate, and VO2 levels in real-time during exercise. This eliminates the need for post-workout blood draws to calculate an athlete’s lactate threshold. Worn on the wrist, K’Track Glucose can provide glucose readings in one minute and displays the rest of the day’s measurements as well. Users can also set reminders for their next glucose reading, and the device tracks steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned. Both devices sync with an Android or iOS app.
Capsules last 30 days and cost $99 for Glusose and $149 for Athlete. The devices are due for release in 2018 following regulatory approval from the Food and Drug Administration.
Polar Team Pro Shirt
The industry leader in chest-strap heart rate monitor technology has entered the “smart fabric” market. The sleeveless Polar Team Pro Shirt (available in March) uses two fabric sensors to measure a user’s heart rate. This eliminates the need to wear a chest strap, which can get uncomfortable during long workouts. There’s also a pouch on the back of the shirt collar where users can tuck in a small device that measures speed, distance, and acceleration.
As the name implies, the Polar Team Pro Shirt is designed for the company’s Team Pro coaching software, which is used by major professional and college teams. For weekend warriors, the company says the shirt will also integrate with the Polar Flow app and other Polar Pro brand wearables, including the M600.
Sensoria Sock 2.0
Version 2.0 of Sensoria's “smart sock” ($199, available later this year) are not only lighter than before, but are better protected from sweat and water, which improves accuracy. Three pressure sensors, embedded under the planar area of the foot, connect to the Sensoria Core, a half-ounce, square-inch component that measures the typical running stats (pace, speed, GPS tracking) as well as cadence and foot landing technique. Core will also connect to the company’s new Vivobarefoot shoe, which will be launched later this year. The socks stream data to an iOS app, Sensoria Run 2.0, and also store data for a month, so users can run smartphone-free. The new app also offers advice from a virtual running coach called Mara and can let users know when it’s time to get a new pair of running shoes.
Sensoria also announced a monthly subscription service; Users can receive a delivery of fresh smart socks as well as access custom training plans through Sensoria Run 2.0.
Under Armour Record Equipped Sneakers
Introduced in 2015, Under Armour is doubling down on its lineup of shoes that can track how far and how fast you run. This year, UA is adding a new feature, called Jump Around, that measures how high you can jump to determine your overall muscle fatigue, and then tailors a workout to your ability. The Record Equipped line now boasts three models: The Gemini 3 RE ($159) is the original, neutral running shoe; the Europa 3 RE ($159) is a stability shoe; and the Velociti 3 RE ($139) is a minimalist shoe. All are available for preorder now, and ship in February. While we were a bit tepid in our review of the Speedform Gemini 2, the embedded technology in the Record Equipped shoes is intriguing.
Humans aren’t the only ones who can benefit from activity tracking. Beyond location tracking, the Link AKC ($149) dog collar uses an accelerometer to measure moderate and intense activity. The connected app then analyzes the data to provide activity recommendations depending on a dog’s age, breed, behavior, and size. Link AKC will also measure the air temperature and alert an owner if it’s too hot or cold for a dog to be outside. (This data transmission requires a monthly or yearly service plan, which also includes access to a pet poison hotline.)
Along with activity and data tracking, the collar comes with a small speaker, which owners can use for sound training, and an LED light for nighttime visibility. The app tracks activities in a scrapbook that displays the date, distance, and any photos of Fido taking along the way.