You can wear them on your wrist, on your neck, and even on your face. They can help you check your e-mail, check your pulse, and check directions. They're wearable technology, and they're gaining in popularity. Wearable tech is still very new, but Consumer Reports thinks it's going to take off. A lot of big companies are jumping in the game, such as Samsung, LG, Motorola, and maybe even Apple.
Smart watches are one of the fastest growing categories. Users can get e-mail, text, and phone call notifications all on their wrist, without having to pull out their cell phone. They allow you to tell at a glance whether something is important enough to stop and take care of now or forget until later, or not to pay attention to it at all.
Consumer Reports is developing tests for wearable devices, including smart watches and activity trackers that count steps and track and log calories. So far, the highest rated tracker is the $100 Fitbit One. It's very accurate and allows users see their progress in real time, without connecting to a computer.
Wearable tech continues to evolve. The first devices were kind of clunky, but that's changing. For example, you can wear the Misfit Shine activity tracker around your neck, your wrist, or even your ankle.
Popular fashion designers are starting to get in the mix, including Tory Burch, who makes accessories to hold a Fitbit. And Diane von Furstenberg has designed frames for Google Glass. Consumer Reports has been checking out Google Glass, which is still in beta testing, and says it is certainly an innovative product. But starting at $1,500, it's more of a novelty than a must-have.
You should expect to see a lot more wearable tech in the run up to the holidays. Already in the works are high-tech socks that track your steps, speed, and running technique, and a ring that can make a phone call or change TV channels with the wave of a hand.
Complete Ratings and recommendations on all kinds of products, including appliances, cars & trucks, and electronic gear, are available on Consumer Reports' website.