Smartphones and tablets skew too big-ticket to find their way onto most holiday shopping lists, but wearables are a much more budget-friendly way to put tech under the tree. Wireless Week rounded up a handful of wearable devices that could help make the season bright and a few to keep in mind for next year.
Cogito Classic ($180)
The number one gripe with most smartwatches is charging—mainly that it’s a hassle and has to happen almost every day. The Cogito Classic veers around the issue by running solely on a watch battery. Just connect the watch via Bluetooth to your smartphone and that’s it. Of course, in foregoing a rechargeable lithium ion core, the Cogito also had to forego a lot of features. It can handle basic alerts—incoming calls display contact name on the heads-up display—and it operates as an analog watch should you decide to turn off the smart features. Plus, it looks pretty good.
Microsoft Band ($200)
Amid a lot less hype than Apple and its Watch, old competitor Microsoft dropped its first wearable in a good long while. The Band works with Windows as well as Android and iOS devices. It offers up GPS, 24-hour heart rate monitoring, sleep tracking, Cortana support, UV tracking, and notifications via its touch-enabled display. The Band comes along at the same time as Microsoft Health, the company’s new cloud-based health tracking platform.
Filip 2 ($100)
It’s tempting to call Filip 2 a kids’ gift but really it’s for the parents. The second-generation is $100 right now with a $50 launch discount, making it more financially sensible to send a child this kind of technology. The Filip 2 makes and receives calls, tracks location, sets up geo-location alerts, and receives messages from parents. Throw in $10 a month for unlimited voice and data on AT&T and you get peace of mind for anxious parents wrapped in a kid-friendly candy-colored shell.
Pinto will essentially amount to a storage cloud on your wrist if and when it sees the light of day. The waterproof bracelet features 32GB or 64GB of storage and transfers data via Bluetooth. Pinto also charges wirelessly so it has no cords. The device has yet to enter its Indiegogo funding campaign but right now the company is offering 10 percent off to those who pre-register.
Intel and Luxottica Connected Eyewear
Intel and eyewear company Luxottica announced a five-year R&D collaboration with the intention of launching their first joint effort in 2015. The idea is to “fuse premium, luxury and sports eyewear with smart technology.” That could result in a pair of smartglasses that are more about melding function and fashion and less about identifying you as a social pariah.
Ditto is a wearable the size of a quarter and it just successfully cleared its Kickstarter campaign. Like Cogito, it runs on a watch battery which means no charging and minimal features. After pairing, the clip-on Ditto buzzes you to send notifications, alert you if you left behind your phone, and wake you up. That’s a decent amount of features for such a tiny device and at $30, it could be suitable as a stocking stuffer. Simple Matters is promising delivery of Ditto by February 2015 or sooner.