Top new fitness and wellness gadgets for 2014

Among the many gadgets unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show 2014, these 12 headbands, wristbands, earbuds and watches should help you track your exercise goals.

Top New Fitness and Wellness Gadgets for 2014

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 coach potato).

James A. Martin writes the CIO.com Martin on Mobile Apps blog. Follow him on Twitter @james_a_martin and on Google+.

Garmin vivofit
Garmin vivofit

Available: Spring
Price: $130 ($170 with heart 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.

LG Lifeband Touch and Heart Rate Earphones
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).

Spree Headband
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.

Sony Core and SmartBand
Sony Core and SmartBand

Available: Spring
Price: U.S. 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.

Polar V800
Polar V800

Available: April
Price: $450 ($500 with 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.

TAO WellShell
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.

Basis Band Carbon Steel Edition
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.

Razer Nabu
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.

Epson Pulsense
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.

Wellograph
Wellograph

Available: Spring
Price: About $300

The Wellograph looks to be among the most stylish new fitness tracker/smartwatch devices. It features a 1.26-inch sapphire crystal LCD with an integrated front light, which is unusual for this product category. The display is supported by a stainless steel and aluminum back, while the strap is "all-weather genuine leather." Wellograph combines activity tracking and heart rate monitoring and syncs data with the Wellograph iOS and Android apps. You can view your data in graph form on the watch itself, unlike most other activity trackers. The watch comes with a charging dock; a charge should last about two weeks, the company says.

JayBird Reign
JayBird Reign

Available: Spring
Price: $199

JayBird Reign is a wireless activity-tracking wristband that the company claims uses soft "premium" materials that shape to your wrist. The band includes a small LED notification light as opposed to a full display. Instead of simply tracking what you've done, JayBird Reign and its accompany iOS and Android apps will track your sleep and suggest how much sleep you should get tonight to be fully refreshed tomorrow. It gets to know your body and suggests when it's time for you to get active. Finally, the app displays your activities by type, so you can see how you've been exercising.

Archos Activity Tracker
Archos Activity Tracker

Available: TBA
Price: TBA

French electronics company Archos, which makes tablets and upcoming smartwatches, announced the Archos Activity Tracker just before CES. The wristband measures steps, displays your activity history and enables you to compete for fitness bragging rights with up to eight buddies. The company says the wristband battery should last one week per charge and is recharged via USB. The device pairs with the free Archos Connected Self app for Android and iOS. Archos also announced a blood pressure monitor and scale as part of its new fitness ecosystem.