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20 Best Wearable Tech Trends for 2021

20 Best Wearable Tech Trends for 2022

Tom Gerencer
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From watches to rings, we’re in the midst of an electronic wearables revolution. The best wearable tech on the shelf makes our lives easier while it ramps up the fun. Watches, rings, clothing, and head-mounted displays can track your fitness, send messages, make calls, and immerse you in a virtual world.
There’s even smart thread on the horizon that’ll integrate your future wardrobe. In this article, you’ll get a bird's-eye view of the best wearable tech trends and gear in 2021. For early adopters, we’ve included 4 new wearables you can buy now that don’t have widespread popularity yet.

What is wearable technology?

Wearable technology is a category of tech gadgets like smart watches, rings, smart clothing, head-mounted displays, and medical tech that makes your life easier by plugging in fitness, convenience, and your lifestyle to the world.

Wearable types

Here are the most common current types of wearable technology.
  • Smart watches: Connected watches like the Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch that let the wearer answer phone calls, track fitness, track sleep, and more.
  • Smart rings: Tech jewelry that crams the functions of a smart watch into a ring. Rings haven’t yet come into their own, but there are some decent options out there.
  • Smart clothing: Clothing made from tech-infused fabric that can track your biometric data or let you shuffle your playlist.
  • Advanced medical tech: Wearable electrocardiograms (ECGs) that send your heart rhythm to your cardiologist and other lifesaving on-body technology.
  • Head-mounted displays (HMDs): VR headsets and other displays that create a more immersive gaming or web-surfing experience.
Let’s dive into our list of the best smart wearable devices on the market. If you like to skate along the leading edge of tech, there are exciting wearable gadgets on the horizon to consider. Take a gander at a few smart glasses, medical wearable devices, headsets, and even a connected jacket below.

Smart watches and fitness trackers

1. Apple Watch Series 6

With 41,000 5-star reviews on Amazon and high marks on professional review sites, the Apple Watch Series 6 is the gorilla in the wearable tech room. Track your blood O2, ECG, and health and fitness with its always-on display. Listen to music, share fitness data with friends, and customize the watch face how you like it.

2. Samsung Galaxy Watch 3

At a lower price-point than the Apple Watch Series 6 (and a slightly lower customer rating score), the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is a solid wearable tech option for Android fans. Like the Apple Watch, it’ll take an ECG, read your blood O2, and track your fitness. The 4-day battery life is a nice perk, too.

3. Garmin Descent Mk2 Smart Dive Watch

If you’re a diver who’s tired of playing catch between a dive watch and a dive computer, the Garmin Descent Mk2 Smart Dive Watch may be your new best friend. It’s also an expensive friend at over $1,000, but the six dive modes, multi-GNSS support, underwater compass, and ABC sensors justify the cost. It also lets you store dive data right on your wrist and even supports contactless payment and music storage.

4. Polar Vantage V2 Smartwatch

The lightweight Polar Vantage V2 Smartwatch is a fan favorite among top wearable gadgets for its full aluminum body, heart rate tracking, GPS, cycling and running performance tests, and ultra-long battery life. Like other wearable smart devices, it’ll track your sleep, but its load-recovery and training tools take it up a notch to optimize your fitness. You can also control your music and receive phone notifications.

5. Apple Watch SE

Back to Apple for yet another great wearable, the Apple Watch SE is as beloved as its more robust cousin for about $100 less. You’ll settle for an older processor (Apple’s S5 chip) and fewer smartwatch features (no always-on display, no blood O2 sensor). But you’ll still get heart rate monitoring, an ECG, plenty of storage, and a fitness tracker that plays nice with your iPhone.

6. Fitbit Versa 3

A more budget-friendly option in the wearable tech game, the Fitbit Versa 3 will cost you less than $200 (it’s older version, the Versa 2, is even more affordable) but it delivers plenty of functionality. Track your heart rate, fitness, sleep, and blood O2 with an astounding 6+ days of battery life. You’ll also enjoy music, phone notifications and control, and lots of other goodies.

7. Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

In the same affordable price group as the Versa 3, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 gets rave reviews and tracks your heart rate, exercise, sleep, and other biorhythms. With a 5-day battery life and a light, crowd-pleasing design, it even monitors your stress levels. And yes, you can use it to jump to the next song in your playlist.

8. Apple Watch Series 3

Apple didn’t leave the budget-minded out of their equation, which is why we have the Apple Watch Series 3. You can pick one up for just over $160, and it has the same heart rate tracking, music, and fitness tracking in real time as its more expensive competition. However, you’ll give up fall detection, ECG capability, and an always-on display.

9. Fitbit Charge 4

The Fitbit Charge 4 is a rock-bottom budget entry in the list of the best wearable gadgets, at a price point comparable to a non-connected watch. Yet, it boasts up to 7 days of battery life, an O2 sensor that even the Apple Watch 3 won’t give you, stress-management, phone controls, health and hands-free fitness tracking, and even tap-to-pay.

10. Fitbit Luxe

Some people want a smartwatch to look like a smartwatch, and others just don’t. The Fitbit Luxe’s lozenge design appeals to the style-conscious, with all the health and fitness tracking as well as phone control (and even menstrual tracking) of an ordinary wearable device. Even better, it’s at the lower end of the price range.

Smart rings

11. NFC Opn

When it comes to the best smart ring on the market, the NFC Opn is straight out of a science fiction movie. It’s not as useful yet as a smart watch, but it’s also not as costly, with variants for as low as $20. Available with shipping from the U.K., this ring controls apps, locks and unlocks your door, transfers data, and never, ever needs a charge.

12. Oura Ring

You may just find yourself calling the Oura Ring “my precious” because it looks so beautiful and is basically a magic ring. It won’t make you invisible (sorry, Gollum), but it provides valuable health insights including sleep and daily activity. The Oura also tracks several biometrics that many other wearable tech devices don’t, and alerts you to deviations from the norm.

Advanced medical wearable devices

13. Core Body Temperature Sensor

Heat training can kick your fitness up a step, or get you ready for enduro-runs, marathons, and Iron Man competitions. A Core Body Temperature Sensor can guide you down the path to heat training success. In fact, it was as recently as 2020 that extreme athletes could only monitor that metric with invasive methods like electronic pills or probes.

14. Airofit Pro Breathing Trainer

For asthmatics, athletes serious about improving their lung capacity, and those recovering from COVID-19, breathing training is a vital technique. The Airofit Pro Breathing Trainer and accompanying app can improve your lung function, helping you breathe faster and more efficiently.

Smart earphones

15. Bose Sleepbuds II Earphones

Sleep is taking center stage for more of us, as science reveals slumber as one leg of the health tripod (along with diet and exercise). The Bose Sleepbuds II Earphones are clinically proven to help you fall asleep faster. You can’t use them for podcasts or music, though; they only play sounds from the Bose Sleep App.

Smart glasses

Man Wearing Smart Glasses

16. TCL NXTWear G glasses

Early adopter alert: A lightweight, portable pair of sunglasses hides a full field-of-vision Micro-OLED dual-1080p display. Unlike the Google Glass, however, it won’t tell you what you’re looking at.

17. Bose Frames Audio AR sunglasses

Early adopter alert: Delivers lifelike sound directly to your ears with a pair of attractive, polarized sunglasses.

Smart clothing

18. Levi's Commuter x Jacquard

Early adopter alert: Control your phone with taps and gestures, thanks to connected thread woven into a stylish jacket.

19. CharisMic magnetic lapel microphone

Early adopter alert: Still in Kickstarter-land, the CharisMic looks like a lapel pin, but don’t be fooled. It actually hides your vlogging lav-mic beneath your clothes.

Head-mounted displays

20. HP Reverb G2

Developed through a collaboration with Microsoft and Valve, this is an immersive experience for training, gaming, and design.
Woman Using HP Reverb G2

Summary

There are dozens of exciting new wearable electronic devices on the market that measure blood pressure, offer sleep tracking, and let you control your phone and apps without actually using your phone.
To date, the most useful options are watches, but rings, clothing, and especially head-mounted options make good showings. Whatever the future holds, we can depend on wearables and smart tech to help us interact with it.
About the Author: Tom Gerencer is a contributing writer for HP Tech Takes. Tom is an ASJA journalist, career expert at Zety.com, and a regular contributor to Boys' Life and Scouting magazines. His work is featured in Costco Connection, FastCompany, and many more.
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