For my first time attending the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) I endeavored to find the absolute best smartwatches and fitness trackers available. I scoured the Sands Expo hall and Las Vegas Convention Center and after seeing and testing out multiple devices, I concluded the below devices are the best of the best.
One61Studio Smartwatches (one61.com)
These photos alone should show you why the One 61 Studio Smartwatch was my favorite thing I saw at CES 2019. Not only do these have all the trappings of a smartwatch-activity tracking, integration with 3rd party apps, reading messages, etc-but they are stylish and have the best use of a license I’ve ever seen with an electronic device (and yes, this includes the R2-D2 Xbox 360). While the licensing alone is worth the price of admission, these smartwatches are light but still feel durable. These are some slick looking devices and the customizable watchfaces are any fanboy or fangirl’s dream. (Editor’s note: I’ll get that Fallout watch…one day!)
The gamification aspect of these are truly what sets them apart from the competition. While Fitbit and Apple watches show you a small fireworks or ring animation when completing your move goals, these will show you customized animations based off the property the watch is associated with. So you may see recognizable scenes from a game, comic book style-esque animations featuring The Dark Knight or a memorable scene from your favorite cartoon. With a heavy dose of nerd swag, the One 61 Studio smartwatch is made by nerds and for nerds, and as the Gainz of Twitch and YouTube who is all about playing games and making gainz, I vehemently believe this is the coolest device on the smartwatch market.
The TicWatch is easily the most durable feeling smartwatch I’ve ever tried on. This thing feels like it could take a beating and comes in a variety of aesthetics-I’m partial to the classic, “outdoorsy” look. Even though this thing feels like it’s manufactured like a tank, the device is still incredibly light and exceptionally comfortable. This watch has a simple look and is designed to be used and abused-if you’re serious about getting outdoors and making some gainz, the TicWatch looks as if it’d be the perfect companion. It’s comfortable, the most durable smartwatch I’ve ever encountered, has built in activity tracking for multiple sports, comes with Wear OS by Google out of the box…if it seems like I’m running out of things to say about the TicWatch, it’s because I am. This bad boy just looks and feels like it delivers, and I was sold after just a few seconds with the device. I don’t have much to say because it’s straight to the point and that’s a beautiful thing.
It’s not appropriate to say the TicWatch has no bells and whistles-while it looks bare bones, that’d because it’s designed to be rugged and go with anything-which in my estimation, it absolutely does. That being said, the ease of use of the Wear OS can’t be understated. If you’ve only used an Apple Watch and are worried about transitioning to another platform, just watch a quick video of Wear OS in action-it’s as intuitive as the rest of the G-Suite of apps. The TicWatch may look tactical-and it most definitely is-but it’s light, has a killer OS and can take a beating unlike any smartwatch I’ve ever encountered. If you’re serious about tracking fitness, this needs to be on your radar.
ZeTime, ZeRound, ZeSport (mykronoz.com)
Smartwatches always look like smartwatches. For people like myself, it’s no big deal; for others, it’s a dealbreaker. The Ze series by MyKronoz comes in a variety of styles, some of which have mechanical hands which provide a very distinct signature look. Regardless of the specific model you go with, the MyKronoz devices look as close to a traditional watch as you can get. Everything under the hood is solid-activity tracking, multiple app integration, built in GPS, etc-but what truly drew me to the these watches is the look. In my opinion, these devices are perfect for someone who doesn’t necessarily “get” the need for a smartwatch.
Once you see the convenience of checking the weather, messages, having your sleep and activity tracked-all that good stuff that comes with a smartwatch, packaged within the “shell” of a traditional watch frame, you’re bound to be as hooked on these devices as I am. These come in a variety of styles, all of which are as good looking as the next. The MyKronoz devices have an undeniably unique aesthetic and the light weight coupled with plethora of embedded features make them a solid choice.
For an in-depth look and some additional info about each of the aforementioned (as well as some cool items not featured in the post!) check out the video below!