We reveal the winner of the Recombu Award for best wearable device of 2016, as well as the full shortlist of celebrated nominees.
Whether you’re in it for the fitness trackers or you’re more of a smartwatch kind of guy/girl, there has been a host of top notch offerings over the last year pushing the envelope when it comes to what a wrist-worn* computer is really capable of.
Here’s our pick for the best wearable of 2016, as well as all of the excellent nominees that also come highly recommended.
To see the rest of the Recombu Awards 2016 nominees and winners, in categories such as Best Mobile Phone and Best On-Demand TV Service, check out our Recombu Awards hub.
Best wearable of the year – winner: Apple Watch Series 2
The Apple Watch Series 2 better realises the all-encompassing functionality intended with the company’s debut smartwatch. Alongside boasting better hardware and as a result, faster performance than its predecessor, the Series 2 throws integrated GPS and water resistance into the mix, making it a threat to both rival smartwatches and dedicated fitness trackers alike.
Best wearable of the year: Fitbit Charge 2
Following one of the best selling activity trackers of all time is no mean feat, but Fitbit attempted it this year with the Charge 2. Integrating the heart rate sensor from the previous generation’s HR variant, the Charge 2 offers a more cohesive design and a larger display than the original as well as interchangeable straps and better battery life. The new companion app also allows for new and more accurate means of tracking.
Best wearable of the year: Google Daydream View*
It may currently only work exclusively with Google’s latest Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones, but the Daydream View is some seriously compelling new virtual reality hardware. The phone, headset and controller work together seamlessly and as it’s Google building the VR infrastructure behind the scenes it already offers a polished experience despite being so new to the market. What’s more, having hand presence by way of the View’s motion controller changes the way you interact in the virtual space – a relative rarity when it comes to mobile-based VR experiences.
Best wearable of the year: Pebble 2
As a company, Pebble is the underdog that won over the tech fans when its original smartwatch made crowdfunding history. The second-generation Pebble 2 then is more refined and more capable in a number of ways; with a more compact design, a richer app store, water-resistance and heart rate tracking. What’s more, it supports voice input, an always-on display and yet still lasts a full seven days on a single charge, all for under £100.
Best wearable of the year: Samsung Gear S3
Samsung’s answer to the Apple Watch Series 2 is a timely update on last year’s Gear S2 in the Gear S3; boasting two distinct designs (the Frontier and the Classic), integrated GPS across both models, stunning displays and faster overall performance. Add to that its unique rotating bezel interface and support for the majority of the Android contingent and you’ve got a serious competitor on your hands.
Best wearable of the year: Sony Xperia Ear*
Sony chose to take the path less trodden with this year’s wearable offering, unveiling the Sony Xperia Ear alongside its X family smartphones. It covers much of the same ground as your conventional smartwatch – relaying notifications, letting you respond to messages and answering your queries via the Ear’s own assistant or an alternative of your choice, but all via voice in place of a display.
Best wearable of the year: Withings Go
As fitness trackers go, Withings’ Go strikes an excellent balance by being an unobtrusive tracker that moonlights as a conventional watch. Not only is it affordable, but even with an always-on E Ink display and 24/7 activity and sleep tracking, the Go also lasts a staggering eight months on its standard coin cell battery.