Wearable tech packs in more and better features

The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Classic model features a 1.3-inch circular watch face with a Super Amoled screen. It looks large but is surprisingly light. The TomTom Spark 3 features a new trail function that plots a user's most-used running routes as
The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Classic model features a 1.3-inch circular watch face with a Super Amoled screen. It looks large but is surprisingly light.ST PHOTO: LESTER HIO
The Samsung Gear S3 Frontier Classic model features a 1.3-inch circular watch face with a Super Amoled screen. It looks large but is surprisingly light. The TomTom Spark 3 features a new trail function that plots a user's most-used running routes as
The TomTom Spark 3 features a new trail function that plots a user's most-used running routes as well as a 3GB memory that can store music, which users can listen to wirelessly using Bluetooth earphones.ST PHOTO: LESTER HIO

Wearables are far from being dead tech, as evidenced by the host of wearable tech unveiled at IFA this year. These are split between smartwatches and fitness bands, but the two categories have become blurred, with both increasingly being integrated into a single device.

Samsung's latest wearable, the Gear S3, stands out as one of the more premium wearables in the market. Coming in two versions - a rugged, outdoorsy Frontier model and a traditional Classic model - it features a 1.3-inch circular watch face with a Super Amoled screen.

They are large watches, but are surprisingly light. I prefer the rugged look of the Frontier, as its heft goes better with the Gear S3's larger size, unlike with the Classic, which seems to clash.

Not to be outdone, French company Withings launched an analog watch with integrated sensors called the Steel HR, resulting in a smartwatch that looks like a regular, elegant analog watch.

The Steel HR is slimmer and sleeker than the Gear S3, and has two displays on top of the regular watch face - a digital one on top that displays tracking data, and a dial at the bottom that tracks the progress of your daily activity, such as steps taken.

TomTom launched its latest version of the Spark 3, which remains aesthetically similar to older models in looking like a digital watch. It features a new trail function that plots your most-used running routes as well as a 3GB memory that can store music, which you can listen to wirelessly using Bluetooth earphones.

The TomTom Touch, on the other hand, is a simple fitness band. It does offer a body composition feature that can calculate how much fat and muscle percentage your body has.

Fitbit continues to stick to what it does best, with two new upgrades to its fitness band line that are due for release next month. The Charge 2 features a larger, more noticeable screen and can automatically track different exercises, such as cycling or weightlifting.

The Flex 2 keeps things to a stark minimum, with five simple LED lights on its band that light up when you near your daily goal.

It is, however, the first Fitbit that you can wear for a swim, as it is now fully waterproof. It also now comes with a heart-rate sensor.

Lester Hio

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 07, 2016, with the headline 'Wearable tech packs in more and better features'. Print Edition | Subscribe