The world of wearable tech is moving fast – from rings that make contactless payments, to watches that monitors your fertility – here’s our favourites:
Want to monitor your activity, sleep or fertility but don’t want to wear a bulky fitness tracker? Or do you like the idea of being able to pay for lunch or your train ticket without having to get your purse out? The world of wearable tech is moving fast, and that means there’s an ever-growing range of smart jewellery crammed with of all sorts of clever gadgets – from stylish rings and pendants through to leather bracelets and watches – to choose from.
Lauren Armes, founder of Welltodo Global, says: “Over the last couple of years there has been a significant shift in the wearable tech category from fitness to wellness. From sleep and hormone trackers to stress and mental health monitors, the desire for a more holistic approach to wellbeing has driven innovation in tech, and this new breed of wearables have risen to the forefront.”
But if you’ve never bought a piece of smart jewellery before, where should you start? Firstly, what do you want your gadget to do? Do you want a simple step counter or a contactless payment device, or do you want your wearable to give you reams of data about your health, wellbeing and stress levels?
You also need to think about when you want to wear it. For example, you probably don’t want to wear a sports-style fitness bracelet if you’re all dressed up for a night out. Armes adds that you could “take time to evaluate how seamlessly it can fit into your everyday life” when choosig your accessory.
With this mind, we tested a variety of smart jewellery for women and scored them on appearance, battery life and functionality. Here’s our verdict.
Bellabeat leaf chakra
This is a really practical – and attractive – piece of wearable tech that does everything from tracking your activity through to calculating your most fertile days. You’ll need to download the Bellabeat app and then link your Leaf Chakra. From there, you can track your steps, calories burned and even the quality of your sleep.
If you want even more info from your smart jewellery then the leaf has it, analysing all your data and flagging up anything in your lifestyle that might cause you stress. It’s also the only piece of smart jewellery we tested that has a holistic approach to wellness. The app has guided meditation exercises while the rose quartz stone in the pendant is said to promote a “positive outlook” towards yourself and others.
There’s no screen on the leaf chakra, which you can either wear on a necklace or pin to your clothes or pyjamas, so you’ll need to sync your phone to get your daily stats. It has an amazing six month battery life so you don’t need to worry about charging it. And it’s waterproof, so you can even wear it in the shower.
Withings HR sport watch
If you want to wear your smart jewellery as a watch, we think the Withings HR sport watch is a great option. You can monitor your heart rate, steps, distance and calories burned along with tracking your individual workouts and setting yourself fitness goals.
What we liked most however was the sleep tracking function which not only told us how long it took to fall asleep (too long!), it also had data on our sleep cycles. The watch is waterproof, meaning you can also wear it in the swimming pool to track your lengths. With a battery life of 25 days, we only had to charge it once in the month we tested it.
Another bonus is you can choose how connected you are – sync with your phone to get email, WhatsApp and social media notifications. (Or mute them if you don’t want your wrist buzzing constantly). This is a really attractive watch that’s easy to use and has great functionality and battery life.
Snapchat veronica sunglasses
Okay, so sunglasses aren’t *technically* jewellery. But we really liked these Snapchat glasses that can take videos and photos as you wear them. They come in three styles – our favourite is the veronica – and all have polarised lenses. We think they’d be brilliant for your summer holidays: take photos round the pool without having to risk your phone getting wet. Your photos and video are automatically uploaded to Snapchat, but you can also then export them and save on your phone. Definitely worth a try, although you’ll need a Snapchat account to use.
Don’t want to wear a fitness tracker on your wrist? This clever piece of smart jewellery tracks your activity, sleep and heart rate, all from a simple wedding-band style ring. We really liked how easy it was to use: just download the Motiv app and sync the ring. It then automatically detects when you’re doing a workout or sleeping and stores the data on your phone.
It’s waterproof and it has a fairly decent three-day battery life. You can wear the Motiv ring on any finger – but this is then knocked off the price of your ring. It’s a really solid piece of wearable tech that looks nice and gives you accurate stats.
Tovi Sorga contactless bracelet
This leather bracelet was one of the most stylish pieces of smart jewellery we tested and means you can leave your purse at home. You can use bracelet for payments up to £30, so it’s ideal if you’re popping out to grab lunch or going out for a quick drink with friends. It’s really easy to use: a little heart on the outside of the bracelet shows you where the chip is, so just put your wrist on the chip and pin machine and voila, you’re good to go.
It works with any UK registered Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card – all you need to do is download the bPay app. You can also set your account to automatically add more money when your balance is zero, meaning you won’t be left in the lurch if you overspend. Made from leather, the bracelet comes in a variety of designs from leopard print to two-tone.
Samsung galaxy rose gold 4G watch
This smart watch is a great all-rounder: from tracking your fitness to making calls, receiving texts and even making contactless payments. Not only that, it looks super stylish and not at all what you’d expect from a fitness watch. We really liked the choice of three watch faces and the rotating bezel which makes it super easy to flick through screens.
You can monitor your sleep patterns, track almost any exercise – from running to skiing – and even wear it swimming. You can also listen to your Spotify playlists on the phone. Perhaps not surprisingly, with so much functionality the battery life for the 42mm watch is around four days. This was the priciest piece of kit we tested, but we think it’s totally worth it.
Ava fertility monitoring bracelet
If you’re trying to get pregnant or want to know more about your monthly cycle, this Ava bracelet is a really interesting piece of smart jewellery. Download the Ava app and add in all the details about your height, weight, when you came off birth control and the date of your last period.
You only wear the bracelet when you sleep and it tracks everything from your pulse and breathing rate through to your sleep quality, how much you move and your skin temperature. This data is then synced on your phone so when you wake up, you can see if you’re in your five-day fertile window.
If you’ve had enough of using ovulation strips or checking your temperature every day, this is a really useful science-based piece of kit that does the tracking for you. The more cycles you wear it for, the more accurate the data is. And even if you’re not trying to get pregnant, it’s really useful for charting and understanding your monthly cycle.
Kerv contactless payment ring
If you’re fed up of rooting around in your bag for your purse, then you might like the contactless Kerv Ring. It’s fairly easy to set up: log on to the website and you’ll create a “virtual” Mastercard account. Just load it with money from your bank account and then use the ring to pay up to £30 anywhere that accepts contactless payments.
A word of warning: you might feel a bit self-conscious the first time you use it (you have to make a fist and then hold it over the chip and pin machine) but it’s such a fuss-free way to pay, you’ll quickly get over it. The ring is waterproof and you don’t need to charge it – just pop it on and pay as you go. Simple.