Part one – what’s on my wrist?

I do love my gadgets, and one type of gadet I’m especially excited about at the moment is wearables.

I’ve tried a few different wearables and use a couple every day – I thought it might be interesting to talk about what I use, what else is available and what’s just around the corner in the world of wearable technology.

My devices

Fitbit Flex

I’ve had my fitbit flex for nearly two years – it’s a fitness tracker, primarily used for tracking how many steps you take in a day but it can also track your sleep. Initially, I just tracked my steps & occasionally sleep purely for my own curiosity, much the same way that I scrobble all my plays from Spotify to last.fm or track all my movement on Moves. Not because I had any particular use for the data, but simply for the sheer geeky thrill of knowing the data was there.

Last year I bought a Fitbit Aria WI-FI Smart scale which I’ve been using to track my weight. I won’t bang on about it to too much now, but think that this is the device that’s had the biggest impact on my life recently. Because the scale uses the same app as the fitness tracker the tracker’s stats have come to play a far more important role in my life.

Pebble

The Pebble is probably the first true smart watch. I backed the initial kickstarter campaign and have worn my pebble practically every day since it arrived. I love the fact that I can just glance at my wrist to see notifications from my phone, accept or reject calls and control music on spotify. Pebble’s sport app works nicely with Runkeeper, so when I go out for a run I can see my elapsed time and pace at a glance which is great. Battery life on the pebble is incredible, after two years of use I still get nearly a week’s worth of use out of a charge, imagine getting that from a phone!

Pebble enabled a feature several months ago which allows app developers to write pedometer apps using the watch’s internal gyroscope. Theoretically I could stop wearing my Fitbit flex and use the Jawbone or Missfit app instead. The only thing stopping me is how well the Fitbit Flex & Aria work together.

Barclaycard bPay band

Frustrated that my business bank debit card was not contactless, I decided to order a bPay band from Barclaycard. Essentially it’s a rubber strap you wear on your wrist which contains a miniature pre-paid Barclaycard. I was quite excited about the prospect of using it instead of a debit card to pay for my lunch and to replace my Oyster card on the underground. Unfortunately there is a bit of a drawback to the bPay, it’s huuuuge. I’m not kidding.
I have quite large wrists, but the band was too big for me, it was uncomfortable to wear. I never even bothered registering it. imagine the pain problem for the designers of the bPay is that it actually contains a miniature debit card, about the size of a Tesco club card keyring. Why they couldn’t just embed the chip & NFC antenna in the rubber without the need for the card I don’t know, but they would have been able to reduce the dimensions of the band considerably if they had.

I had high hopes for this dumb wearable, but it fell at the first hurdle. It’s just not wearable.