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Functional and affordable wearables


Smart watches. Health monitors. Pedometers. Activity trackers. Virtual reality headsets. They’re all part of the emerging landscape of wearable technology, which promises to change the way we exercise and communicate. These are affordable and worth trying on:

Withings Activite Pop

CNET rating: 4 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

An everyday watch with fitness smarts baked in. It has great battery life, is waterproof, and works just like a regular watch but syncs via Bluetooth like a smart fitness tracker. It’s affordable but only works with iPhones right now. There’s no backlighting, it doesn’t measure heart rate, and the vibrating alarm can’t be set for more than one time at once. $150

Jawbone Up24

CNET rating: 4 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

Easy-to-use fitness tracker that counts steps, sleep, and calories. Water-resistant, light and comfortable to wear, the device syncs with iPhones and Android phones over Bluetooth. Lacks a screen for quickly checking your progress. Otherwise, the superb app, clever advice, and comfy fit are hard to resist. $76 to $150

Pebble Steel

CNET rating: 4 stars out of 5 (Excellent)

Works with iPhones and Android phones. Screen is readable in bright daylight. Swim- and shower-friendly. Built-in pedometer for persistent fitness tracking with a variety of quirky apps. The technology is older compared to the competition. Onboard storage is limited to eight apps at a time. Lacks heart-rate monitor or more advanced fitness features, but the fashionable, functional, and more affordable Pebble Steel’s conservative approach puts it at the top of the smartwatch heap. $200 to $230

Fitbit Charge HR

CNET rating: 3.5 stars out of 5 (Very good)

Adds continuous heart-rate tracking to all of the other features already available in the stepdown Fitbit Charge. Resting heart-rate readings are reasonably accurate. Design and fit aren’t ideal for glancing at heart rate. Active exercise causes accuracy drop-offs. Not shower- or swim-friendly. OLED display turns off after a few seconds, which gets annoying. Heart-rate coaching and goal-setting aren’t intuitive. $150

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