Top fitness and wellness gadgets for 2014

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Big Brother is coming — to your wrist, forehead and ear. At least this Big Brother has your best interests at heart.

At this year's Consumer Electronics Show, vendors large and small introduced wearable tech designed to monitor your physical activities and biometrics and report the data to apps, websites and, if you like, your social media followers. Such devices already exist, of course — from Fitbit, Nike, Jawbone and others — but perhaps the wearable tech showcased here will proactively spur you to exercise. From wristbands to headbands to earbuds, there's something for everyone. (Except the couch potato).

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Garmin vivofit

Available: March Price: £99.99 (plus £49.99 forheart rate monitor) Garmin's GPS business has lost its way recently thanks to free or low-cost smartphone navigation apps. With vivofit, the company is wisely expanding its sports gadget line. Vivofit is a wrist-worn fitness tracker available in five colors. Batteries that last about a year are one differentiator. Also, the device learns your current activity level, then nudges you to up your game by assigning you ever-increasing (though realistic) daily goals. Meet a milestone, and vivofit increases the next day's goal. Sit too long at your desk, and the gadget displays a red bar that continues to grow until you get moving again. Walking for a few minutes will get you out of the red.

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LG Lifeband Touch and Heart Rate Earphones

Available: TBA Price: TBA LG jumped into the fitness-tracking market with Lifeband Touch, a wristband activity tracker with smartwatch features such as displaying incoming call notifications from a connected smartphone. Based on some hands-on time at CES, Business Insider called Lifeband "one of the most promising activity trackers we've seen so far." The band has an OLED touch screen, which sets it apart from most competitors. It will sync activity data with various third-party Android and iOS apps such as RunKeeper, MyFitnessPal and MapMyFitness. Finally, a cool twist: LG's upcoming HRM Earphone Heart Rate Monitor will play your tunes and measure your heart rate, which it communicates to the Lifeband or the free LG Fitness App (Android or iOS).

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Spree Headband

Available: Now Price: $299 Would you spend $300 on a high-tech headband? Spree hopes so. The Spree Fitness Monitor (in black or gray) is a headband that features a removable module, the Performance Optimization Device (POD), which connects via Bluetooth to an iOS app and charges over USB. The POD measures your body's biometric data (heart rate, body temperature and calories burned) from your forehead, which the company claims will provide a more accurate reading than your wrist. Spree says it's the only such device to offer body temperature monitoring, to help you work out without burning out. The headband will also catch sweat from trickling into your eyes, Spree says.

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Sony Core and SmartBand

Available: Spring Price: TBA At CES 2014, Sony announced a trio of fitness-related products: Core, a tiny tracking chip that slips into the company's SmartBand wristband and communicates data to Lifelog, a smartphone app. Initial details were sketchy, but this we know: Along with the usual fitness tracking, the Core will also keep tabs on "special moments" such as photos you've taken. The idea is to combine daily journaling with activity tracking. Sony also plans to work with partners to embed the Core into third-party products and build upon it as a lifestyle-tracking platform. Expect Sony's usual stylish design, too.

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Polar V800

Available: April Price: 400 Euro (450 Eurowith heart rate monitor) Polar, which makes a variety of sports tech gadgets, announced at CES what it claims is its most advanced product, the V800 GPS sports watch/activity tracker. The V800 is a bit different from competitors. GPS sport watches aren't typically designed to track 24/7 activities, and most activity trackers lack a GPS. The device (available in black or blue) supports a variety of sports and metrics, such as altitude readings and heart rate while swimming. You'll receive feedback to keep you motivated, while a fitness test assesses how you’re doing in your training. Polar says the watch will last for up to 14 hours per charge and up to 50 hours in low-power GPS mode.

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TAO WellShell

Available: TBA Price: TBA And now for something completely different: EZD Productions' TAO WellShell, a palm-sized device that "coaches you through a simple, effective isometric workout" wherever you go. You can follow any of about 50 exercises (via companion iOS and Android apps), pressing on the WellShell with your hands or knees to help you build strength. After your workout, pop the gadget into your pocket to record steps, miles and calories burned. The device will also record your heart rate. The WellShell could provide busy but not necessarily active people with the motivation, and the means, for quick workouts. The company is said to be talking to partners to develop games and other applications that will incorporate WellShell.

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Basis Band Carbon Steel Edition With Advanced Sleep Analysis

Available: Now Price: $199 The Basis Band heart rate monitor/activity tracker isn't technically new — but at CES, Basis Science announced "Advanced Sleep Analysis," which the company claims provides "the most in-depth sleep assessment in the health tracker market." The Basis Body IQ technology captures multiple aspects of your sleep, including REM sleep, deep and light sleep, tossing and turning, interruptions and sleep duration. You get a sleep dashboard that summarizes the sleep metrics tracked, as well as a Sleep Score. Basis Science also announced a new Carbon Steel Edition Basis Band at CES. Advanced Sleep Analysis will work with the older Basis B1 band as well as the new model, the company says.

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Razer Nabu

Available: TBA Price: TBA The Razer Nabu fitness tracking wristband includes some smart watch functionality (see also: LG Lifeband, Fitbit Force, et al), but the Nabu has a few unusual tricks up its digital sleeve. First, the device includes two LEDs: a small one on top for basic info (such as steps taken) and a larger one on the bottom for more extensive info such as incoming calls and messages. Another cool feature: Shaking hands with another Nabu user initiates a social interaction, allowing you to easily, say, follow the other Nabu user on Twitter. You can also be notified when another Nabu wearer is close by. Through APIs, the Nabu could connect with other social networks in addition to LinkedIn and Twitter.

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Epson Pulsense PS-100 Band, PS-500 Watch

Available: Summer Price: $129 (band), $199 (watch) Epson, best-known for printers, is jumping into the wearable tech game. Among other things, the technology in Epson's upcoming Pulsense PS-100 wristband and PS-500 watch will monitor continuous heart rate (no chest strap required). This will enable the devices to calculate calories burned based on "personal biometrics" in addition to activity levels, age, gender and other factors, Epson claims. Epson is open-sourcing its Pulsense technology in hopes of spreading the platform via partners. The wristband features an LED and connects wirelessly to smartphone apps for reading and storing biometric data, while the watch's LCD will display heart rate and other stats. The devices can store up to 480 hours of heart-rate data, Epson says.




Latest UK Updated 12:58pm

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