The best smartwatches from CES 2014

There were plenty of smartwatches at CES this year, but here are the ones that stood out as our favorites

By Adam Zeis on 13 Jan 2014 02:37 pm
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This year CES was a huge year for smartwatches and wearables. There were tons of watches and fitness bands everywhere you looked and there was even a dedicated "Wrist Revolution" section which housed the likes of Neptune Pine, Sonostar, the Qualcomm Toq and MetaWatch. We definitely had a busy week scouring the floor for the latest and greatest devices, and also for stealing some hands-on time with a few devices we hadn't been able to play with before.

There were almost too many smartwatches to count this year but there were certainly a few that stood out as the best for us. So if you are curious as to just what smartwatches were the hit of the show for us, we'll give you a quick rundown of the best smartwatches from CES 2014.

Pebble Steel

Pebble wasn't actually at a booth during CES, but we did get a chance to meet up with them ahead of time to get some hands-on action with the upcoming Pebble Steel. The second generation Pebble doesn't change much at all on the inside, yet it steps up the fashion with new Black Matte and Brushed Stainless versions. Both with come with a matching metal band as well as a black leather strap and sport Gorilla Glass, an anti-fingerprint coating, a new charge status LED as well as a new charging connector.

The Pebble Steel is available now for pre-order for $249 and will begin shipping on January 28th.

Pre-order a Pebble Steel

 

Kreyos Meteor

​The Kreyos Meteor had a successful run on Indiegogo, raising over $1.5 million. Now just weeks away from shipping, the Kreyos Meteor was shown off in full force at CES. The booth seemed to be packed constantly, everyone wanting to sneak a peak at the Meteor and all of the accessories. The Meteor is geared towards fitness with apps to analyze your golf swing and track your run, but it also can receive notifications from your phone and allows you to use gestures and voice control to get around. The cool think about the Kreyos Meteor is that the watch unit itself is removable from the band, allowing you to use other accessories like a belt clip or lanyard in its place.

If you're interested in picking one up for yourself, you can pre-order now for $169.

Pre-order a Kreyos Metor

 

Neptune Pine

Everyone was clamoring to get their hands on the Neptune Pine smartwatch. While it's essentially a super small Android-powered phone on your wrist, the Pine looks to be an awesome offering thanks to the $800k of funding on Kickstarter. It has the same concept as that of the Omate TrueSmart, but we did find the Pine a bit more appealing.

The Neptune Pine will hold a SIM card, allow for voice calls, emails and SMS. It will also let you two-way video chat and take photos with either of the front or rear camera (it easily removes from the strap). It runs Android so there will be a whole slew of applications available to play around with. It's way more than just a notifier watch so if you really want to geek out, this may be the way to go. 

You can pre-order a Neptine Pine now for a base prices of $335 with shipping starting in March.

Pre-order a Neptune Pine

 

Omate TrueSmart

​Another Android-powered device, the Omate TrueSmart is already a hit despite not many people actually owning one. The TrueSmart holds a SIM card thus allowing for separate use from your phone. You can make calls, send emails & SMS, run apps and more. Getting to play around with one I have to say that I'm super excited to get my hands on one and check it out in-depth. I'm not totally sold on the phone-on-your-wrist concept yet, but I'm hopeful that the TrueSmart will change my mind. 

This one too is available for pre-order now in various models, shipments starting over the next few months.

Pre-order the Omate TrueSmart

 

Archos

Archos will be dropping not just one, but three entries into the smartwatch game before the end of the summer. If only for throwing more than one into the mix right off the bat, they make our list of best smarwatches from CES. Archos plans to run out a sub $50 Pebble competitor with a B&W memory LCD screen, a capacitive touchscreen color model at around $100 and a top-tier, E-ink model with a curved screen for around $120 (which looks very similar to the Sonostar). All of the devices should be releasing right around the same time and will definitely give Archos a good smartwatch jump. We'll have to put them through the paces to see how they stand up overall, but if they work as we're told, Archos could be off to a great start.

Follow Archos for updates

 

Honorable Mentions

Of course there were way more smartwatches as CES this year — these are just the ones that were the best for us. Then again, you can't actually own any of them yet (you can pre-order though). MetaWatch, Qualcomm, Sonostar, ConnecteDevices (Cogito & Cogito Pop) and others all showed off new (or somewhat new) devices as well, they just didn't top our list.

You can catch up with all of our #CESlive coverage here in case you missed anything.

Reader comments

The best smartwatches from CES 2014

30 Comments

Ahhh so much choice.. though I do still really want the Pebble Steel, it's the Pebble I wanted to exist when I got my first one.

I'm just waiting for another Pebble sale to get the price to about $119. and I'll pull the trigger. The Pebble Steel looks nice, but for now, I'd just going simple/basic.

Waiting the Win the SWF contest for the Pebble Steel. Already have a Kreyos waiting to be shipped whenever it is. Definitely skipping the Android Powered devices and the Pine. The Android Powered ones are available in full glory (From Chinese Companies) on Amazon.

hmmm, can't really agree with that list.,,

you really want to call the neptune pine a watch?
it's more like a mini-phone-strapped-to-the-wrist, the fact it can show the time as well doesn't make it a watch

i backed the Kreyos, but i can't say i'm really excited about it, i AM looking forward to the HOT Watch however, weird you don't even mention that one in this list, might not be the best looking of them all, but at least it's small enough to qualify as a watch and the private calling function is a lot more innovative compared to the rest

imho the Martian Notifier is the best looking watch of them all, followed by the Metawatch META, i would love a Martian Notifier with the private calling function of the HOT Watch

the Omate, well, there's a dozen versions of those watches. and the archos? really?

So what you're saying is that HP could get into the smartwatch game by releasing any unsold Veers with a wrist strap? WebOS lives!

Sadly, there is less irony there than I would like. The Gear & Toq both use gestures, except that they don't work that well while that was a big strength on WebOS. The battery life on a Veer was Gear-esque with cellular, turn off the radio and you'd get ~2 days of life. The app catalog is pretty barren for a phone but is spectacular for a watch. All it would take is adding a strap. (Heavy sigh)

If HP actually rebuilt the veer without the slider keyboard, curated the app store to those that were only touchscreen capable and/or used the on-screen keyboard patch, it would be pretty svelte.

Sigh. I miss WebOs.

Funny analogy!

I look at almost all of these smartwatches and compare them to the first Motorola 'portable' cell phone back in '83. It was 2 lbs, 13 inches long, and about on par with what today's watches are design-wise. They all look bulky and clunky. There is a clear direction for this niche, but there are a few generations to go before I'll look at one and say, "Damn! That is COOL!!". <sigh> Maybe it's just me.

So many to choose from. I'm quite happy with my Pebble right now but the geek in me would like to try them all out. I had considered Neptune Pine at one point but I think it's way too big. The Archos E-Ink one looks nice. And perhaps the Kreyos.

Why do you prefer the Pine over TrueSmart? I like the Pine features but it seems too large to wear as a watch. I might as well put my phone in an armband.

Pebble everyday. Not liking what I saw with some of the watches at CES, like the Truesmart. Just slapping full Android on there doesn't work in a watch IMO. That's why the Pebble works; it's simple. And the Steel looks pretty sweet!

I hear you. I haven't received my Pebble yet. Waiting on FedEx. But after much research I really think I made the right choice. A perfect simple and easy to use companion for my smartphone.

Well, As a BlackBerry user I am pretty limited in this arena. The NeptunePIne is ridiculous. In my opinion. I am not a fashion guy and I'm not a slob, I love my tech, but will not be wearing something that obvious.
Love the Pebble Steel. However I will wait on tech to develop around these and watch the forums...&...Let John Chen do his magic and then, then, ill have choices.
Peace!

Geesh, I already tick my friends and family off with my BlackBerry chatter.....lol
.

I agree. Coolest wearable I saw coverage on! Simple and fairly discrete. Not full functioned, but that's ok. It's not huge!
Not high fashion, but that's ok, it's sporty... Did I mention it's discrete?!?!

I can't decide between kreyos or HOT. I want one for cycling and walking. Which the kreyos looks good for but the private calling is tempting. AAAAAARGH.

I'm guessing Adam didn't make it by the Burg booth. I looked at a lot of smartwatches at the show and liked Burg the most by far. Their line is functional, SUPER fashionable and priced right. They too have SIM based watches. Their line is broad enough that my kid would love it and there's also something for a 40-something like me. check them out at burgsmartwatch.com

1. The Sonostar watch had a killer resolution and an innovative curved screen. If they can get the level of app support that Pebble does (or rather will have soon), they have the potential to be one of the best out there.
2. Kreyos is (supposedly) one month from shipping but they did not demo all their claimed features, nor is an SDK available. Alas, I think my wrist is too skinny for it.
3.Any pebble owners want to comment on whether the new steel has a "good enough screen" in terms of brightness and resolution since it is almost the same as the current version? Its a very attractive looking design upgrade but is too expensive. I think a watch needs to have a good screen and good viewing angles since you want to be able to glance at it from the side at times.
I think a hybrid of the Kreyos features with Sonostar's display in a Pebble Steel frame with Pebble's app store would be perfect for me! :)
4. Casio's watch had killer battery life but I did not love the design or the limited display features. It may appeal to old school Casio fans though who like the G Shock line.

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