Operation ‘do CES 2018’ completed. We’ve covered all the big announcements and been jumping from booth to booth (and the odd hotel room) in Vegas to get a much closer look at the new smartwatches, fitness trackers, VR headsets and clever wearable tech projects that are hoping to lure money away from your bank account this year.
Fortunately, there’s been plenty of talk about at this year’s show with a mix of exciting launches and some surprising reveals that prove there still plenty of cutting edge, innovative stuff happening on the wearable tech front.
Now the dust has settled, we’ve picked out our team favourites from the show that made good first impressions when we got our hands on them alongside the stories that have left us wanting to find out more.
Let us know what impressed you from CES 2018 in the comments below. You can also give our CES edition of the Wareable podcast a listen to find out why these wearables made the cut.
HTC Vive Pro
Definitely tag this one under, ‘surprise CES announcement’. HTC decided to kick things off in 2018 off with a brand new headset as it looks to fend off the Oculus Rift-shaped competition.
The Vive Pro builds on the first Vive with a new 3k resolution display, which is a 78% increase on the current Vive headset. It also features a new fetching blue shell, with headphones, dual mics and an amplifier to add 3D spatial audio to the mix.
Alongside the Pro, HTC also announced its Vive Wireless Adapter to help cut the cables while its Viveport app store will now offer VR previews to give you a taster of games and experiences.
This was US editor’s Hugh fave thing from CES and you can check out exactly what he made of it in his HTC Vive Pro hands on.
L’Oréal UV Sense patch
Now for something completely different. Beauty giant L’Oréal unveiled its next generation wearable UV sensor that’s all about keeping you safe in the sun.
This time it’s managed to pack the tech into a patch that’s small enough to fit on your thumbnail. But you can stick it on a variety of places including on top of your watch and on your sunglasses, it’ll measure your individual UV data and store it all on a smartphone app.
We got the chance to see up close how L’Oréal’s tiny UV sensor works and it’s even more impressive than we initially thought. Definitely keep a look out for this one.
Garmin Forerunner 645 Music
A Garmin watch with music support. It’s finally happened. We know there’s been a lot of people waiting for this one and the Forerunner 645 Music will hopefully be the first of many to feature it.
The 645 Music, which is also available in a model without music storage, frees up enough room to pile on 500 songs, while also supporting the ability to download playlists from select music streaming services.
As you’d expect, the same sports tracking and smartwatch features as the Vivoactive 3 are on board. And that includes Garmin Pay support, making it the second wearable in the Garmin family to let you pay for stuff from the wrist. Check out our hands on with the Forerunner 645 Music for more details on the company’s first music-packing smartwatch.
Garmin also showed off its new budget fitness tracker at CES too and so you might want to have a read of our Vivofit 4 hands on too.
Samsung Relúmĭno smartglasses
These potentially life-changing specs have been cooked up in the same Samsung’s C-Lab program that also provided us with futuristic projects like the Sgnl smart strap and a belt that tells you if you’re eating too much.
The Relúmĭno glasses build on the concept that previously relied on the Samsung Gear VR headset and uses power from your smartphone and processors packed into the eyewear to see images clearer when you’re reading a book or viewing an object.
Designed for people who are partially sighted, we managed to get a sense of how they work when we tried out the Samsung Relúmĭno glasses out at CES.
Mars translation earbuds
Hearables were out in full force at CES with the likes of Bragi, Jabra and Nuheara among the companies with new devices to talk about.
But the set of buds that really impressed us were these ones that promise to deliver the real-time translation tech we’d hoped Google’s Pixel Buds had managed to deliver.
Brought to life by the Line Corporation and Naver Corporation, the Mars translation earbuds will make it easier for you to have a conversation in English, Korean, Chinese and Japanese. The killer feature here is that you’ll be able to pass one of the earbuds to someone else and start having a conversation across two different languages.
The buds are launching in summer 2018 with Siri and Google Assistant support also being considered to make the buds even smarter.
Black Box VR
We’ve talked a lot in the past about the idea of bringing VR and fitness worlds closer together and in Black Box VR, we may have found our best example of making that a reality.
The setup is made up of a HTC Vive, exercise equipment that uses artificial intelligence to increase and decrease resistance levels and motion tracking forearm bands aims to turn games into sweaty workouts.
The startup is already planning to open its first boutique Black Box VR room in San Francisco if you fancy an alternative (and more fun) way to get in better shape.
Kate Spade and Skagen Android Wear watches
As we noted pre-CES, it simply wouldn’t be a trade show without Fossil Group’s fashion brands releasing an army of new watches. And boy did they deliver once again.
New to the Android Wear ship is the Skagen Falster and Kate Spade New York Scallop (shown above), while we were also treated to a countless number of new hybrid styles from (*takes deep breath*) Armani Exchange, Emporio Armani, Michael Kors, Kate Spade, Diesel, DKNY, Tory Burch and Fossil itself. As far as new hybrid models go, we saw the unveiling of the Misfit Path, which offers a slight tweak from last year’s Phase.
We’ve rounded up Fossil’s Spring 2018 collections in their entirety, and we expect there’ll be even more to come in March at Baselworld.
Bragi Project Ears
Hearables boomed in 2017, but the ear will continue to receive further smarts later this year, courtesy of Bragi. The company has announced it has partnered with Mimi Hearing Technologies in order to develop solutions for those with hearing impairments.
Project Ears hope to create an FDA-approved solution for hearing issues such as tinnitus that may manifest itself as a software update as opposed to some new hardware. We’ve had a demo of the Project Ears tech to find out how impressive it really is.
Spire and Swim.com smart swimsuits
Spire has teamed up with Swim.com to launch smart swimsuits for men and women that will automatically track your pool time as soon as you whip the suits on.
The smarts are delivered courtesy of Spire’s new Health Tags, which are fitted into the suit around the beltline and will automatically sync and data to your phone and crunch the swim tracking data inside of Swim.com’s app.
The suits are launching in late March and will be available in a wide variety of suits with an additional fee to get the extra Spire smarts included.
Vuzix Blade AR smartglasses
We tipped 2018 to be a big year for AR and Vuzix is taking the lead with its Blade smartglasses.
The smart specs run on Vuzix’s Blade OS and will pair to your smartphone to display notifications, turn-by-turn directions and other information. They’re also feature a built-in 8 megapixel camera and come with Alexa support so you can make use of the smart assistant on the move.
With thoughts of Google Glass still lingering when anyone mentions the prospect of wearing AR smartglasses in public, the Blades have all the makings of specs you’d actually want to wear. Have a read of our Vuzix Blade smartglasses hands-onfrom CES.
Lenovo Mirage Solo
The Lenovo Mirage Solo, not to be confused with the Mirage AR headset, is our very first standalone Daydream VR headset.
With its display built in so you don’t have to squeeze in your smartphone, the Solo has a 2560 x 1440 resolution and uses Google’s positional tracking WorldSense technology to track head movement without additional sensors.
The Solo is priced at $400 and will go on sale in Q2 2018. You can see what our US editor Hugh made of it in his Lenovo Mirage Solo hands on.
Nuheara IQbuds Boost
After Australian startup Nuheara built and launched its pair ofIQbuds last year, it’s now unleashed two new models.
The first new hearable is the IQbuds Boost, which brings more personalisation, customisation and amplification than the original IQbuds. It also debuts a feature Nuheara is calling Ear ID, which evaluates a user’s hearing profile to create a more personalised hearing experience.
And joining the IQbuds Boost is the LiveIQ, which brings a slimmer profile and active noise cancellation to the equation. Meanwhile, the existing IQbuds will be receiving a performance boost which brings battery life up to 20 hours for Bluetooth streaming and 40 hours of hearing processing.