For the better part of a year now, technology has turned an eye toward the fashion world. A handful of cutting edge labels have embraced high-tech couture, taking it from a sort of nerdy outlier to the main runway.
Perhaps the best fit for this fusion is in Internet-connected jewelry and wristwear—or what’s largely become known as wearables. CES is absolutely brimming with the stuff this year, and an entire section of the many football fields-sized Sands Pavilion is dominated by connected jewelry and accessories. By how pretty are they? We did a thorough swoop of the floor today and determined if the brains matched the beauty, and vice versa.
Swarovski Misfit Shine: Bling bling
While we already told you about the Swarovski-encrusted Misfit Shine, we had a chance to actually go hands-on with it today. And it is indeed blinged-out beyond comprehension.
Now, personally, my own style cannot handle this amount of gaudy, but speaking objectively, it’s not a bad-looking piece of jewelry. The Misfit has also received relatively positive reviews—this is an impressive strike at high-tech fashion.
Mira: Simple and elegant
Now Mira is more my style. It’s a fairly quiet piece, simple and elegant, without embellishment or any obvious display of any sort.
It’s slim and unobtrusive, and in the limited demo, the fitness-tracker did everything you could want it to. Of course if you really wanted to put this thing through its paces, you need to workout with it on… which, I find strange. But hey, maybe you want something pretty to look at while you sweat.
Mota: ClunkyTron couture
I never really understood the aesthetic appeal of the Mota, and I can’t say that my opinion changed after seeing it in person. It’s chunky and plastic-looking, sort of like a ring you would get out of a gum ball machine.
That said, if you want high-tech jewelry that does something besides track your fitness, then Mota becomes more interesting. It vibrates to alert you to Facebook and Twitter notifications. Still, tech needs to be sleek—wearable tech even more so. And sleek the Mota is not. If you disagree, you can preorder now for $99.
Wellograph: Androgynous and sleek
This was a pleasant surprise. Wellograph’s smartwatches are clearly aiming for the female market but don’t have any cliche jewels or overly feminine touches about them. Instead they sport leather straps and (admittedly sort of bulky) square faces.
Even though the display errs on the larger side, they’re surprisingly sleek, and have a quality feel. Wellograph watches are also fitness trackers, but have a feature that lets you challenge your friends’ fitness levels as well, giving them something of a social element. And you can also share your activity with people, which is reminiscent of Apple Watch’s Heartbeat function. All that said, it’s a fairly simple piece of technology that’s rather expensive (around $300).
Guess Connect: A smartwatch that looks like a watch
Another surprise: Guess showed up with a smartwatch that looks… like a watch.
The watches use Bluetooth and pair with Android or iOS to delivery your standard notifications. You can also respond to a variety of information delivered, but looking at these things and their lack of touchscreen displays, you’re probably wondering how. The Connect smartwatch is entirely reliant on voice command, so yes, you have to dictate text responses to your watch, which is not a very cute look. Still for something that looks this good, maybe you’ll sacrifice your dignity. It’s not available until the summer, and it will likely cost around $300.
Looksee: Cute… in concept
It’s hard to say if Looksee is attractive or not, because… it never looks the same. It’s a cuff that you can program to display what you choose.
Zebra stripes one moment, polka dots the next! The device gets points for creativity; this isn’t just another fitness tracker that someone took a bedazzler to. But it’s also giant, and the built-in pattern objects are not to my liking. However, you can use your own images to change that. I’m not entirely sold on this thing, though the concept is certainly compelling.
BlueJewelz: Big and bulky
BlueJewelz is a pendant necklace that lets you customize notifications as well as the look.
There’s a disc inside that includes Bluetooth technology so that it syncs with your smartphone. Here’s the customization part: You can take that disc out and switch it into other jewelry pieces from BlueJewelz. Sounds fairly convenient, and I’m not above admitting that the idea of discreet, phone-less notifications interests me. However, I also have to say that this thing is hideous. I actually thought it was a little better-looking in person than on its site, but it’s still pretty big and bulky; and really, that’s because the necklace itself isn’t high-tech at all, it’s just working as a house for something that is.
Photos via Molly McHugh