Fitbit just sold 5.3 million fitness trackers in three months, and according to Tim Cook, Apple Watch sales are off the charts. Add in Xiaomi’s success, Garmin’s fanbase, Samsung’s Gear S3 and Gear VR double whammyand Sony’s PlayStation VR and that’s a lot of wearables on a lot of wrists, in a lot of ears and on a lot of faces around the world.
That means tens of millions more people are making the leap from never wearing a piece of wearable tech before to, in many cases, wearing one everyday or every week.
One of Wareable’s aims is to stay one step ahead of you, warning you of potential awkwardness ahead and helping you to get the best out of this new wave of devices and apps.
That’s why we created our Beginners hub which is where you can find explainers, how to features, buying guides and best of’s/reviews that we think are useful for wearable tech newbies. Have a look around, it’s all super friendly and if you can’t find what you’re looking for, try starting a thread the Wareable Forum or let us know in the comments.
If you ever get stuck, bookmark our wearable tech dictionary to look up all the most common jargon from accelerometers and Bluetooth to heart rate training zones.
If you really don’t know where to start, our excellent explainer looking at that important question ‘what is wearable tech?’ is the best place to get going. It also guides you gently through the different categories – fitness tracker, smartwatch, sports watches, smart jewellery and VR headsets – and why you might be interested in each of them.
It’s worth quickly noting that Wareable’s definition of wearable tech is anything that you wear that connects to you in some way whether it’s vibrating on your wrist, sensing your movement or transporting you to a new world with VR. And it almost goes without saying that all these devices connect either to Wi-Fi directly or to your smartphone, usually via Bluetooth.
If you’ve just bought your first wearable and you’re not that into tech, you might want to know how it works to get the most out of it.
Click on for how your fitness tracker tracks daily steps, how GPS actually works and, for that matter, how VR works. Let us know any guides that you’d like to read in the comments below, we’re very obedient.
Don’t miss our reading, watching and listening list for anyone interested in the connected self, either. It’s our list of books, movies and websites that have inspired wearable tech, VR and smart home tech or else will help you learn more about what it can do.
And part 1 of our ad hoc course in wearables wouldn’t be complete without our debunking of the most common wearable tech myths from whether or not you can track runs with a fitness tracker to how safe wearable payments are.
Which wearable should you buy?
You’ll talk about your first wearable the way you talk about your first mobile phone, with fondness, nostalgia and a dash of irritation. So it’s important to get it right.
First stop should be our best fitness tracker list, best smartwatch list (both with handy ‘best for’ and tags on each device) and round-ups of the best smart jewellery and VR headsets. Look out for the Wareable Tech Awards badges which easily show you which tech won big – in each category we had one winner and one Highly Commended.
Once you’ve had a glance through your options, read our advice on how to choose a smartwatch and how to pick a fitness tracker. Because our no.1 pick might not be no.1 for what you want to do with it, when and for how long you want to wear it or your personal style. Also worth a look is our discussion of how much you should pay for different types of wearables these days.
Some wearables are more popular than others so we have also taken the time to help you decide which Fitbit tracker you should buy, which Samsung Gear smartwatch is right for you and which Garmin sports watch you should choose.
Make the tech work for you
There are a couple of big reasons you might buy wearable tech or smart home devices. Here’s a few of the most commons one.
To make your life easier/stay connected
Try our Apple Watch missing manual and Android Wear super guide, for starters here. If you buy one of these smartwatches, these hubs are chock full of how to’s and guides from setting up Apple Pay to downloading custom Android Wear watch faces.
It’s not a smartwatch or nothing if you want to save time, manage your life and not hunch over your smartphone screen so much. Instead, maybe you need a wearable payment device or a smart ring which means you can get on with your work without checking your phone for texts or WhatsApps.
To get fit, lose weight or sleep better
If you really are starting from scratch, you might want to run along with Sophie’s Couch to 10K diary for some inspiration. Here’s our comprehensive running hub, full of tips and guides, if you’re more of an enthusiast.
Plus take our advice on how to set your fitness goals and actually stick to them. Easier said than done, hey? Power through our 25 fitness tips. And join us as we ask the question – do sleep trackers actually work?
Looking for something more specific? Here’s a list of guides we have done for some of the most popular wearable tech this year.
- 30 Apple Watch tips and tricks
- Amazon Echo guide: Everything you need to know
- Fitbit Charge 2 tips and tricks
- Samsung Gear VR tips and tricks to get started
- Samsung Gear S3 tips and tricks
- Fitbit Flex 2 tips and tricks
- Sony PlayStation VR tips and tricks
To connect your home
This can be seriously daunting. Start with our guide to the best smart home systems, which takes you through the categories of products available from security cameras to smart thermostats and smart bulbs.
Once you know what you want, head over to our smart home hub to find our edits of connected bulbs, smart heating systems, smart security cameras and connected garden kit. We also take a look at the smart home kit which will save you money.
And once your home is hooked up with two or more devices, head to our pick of the best IFTTT recipes to use to connect up wearables and bulbs and smart thermostats. If This Then That is a very easy to use web based service which lets apps or gadgets trigger actions in other Wi-Fi connected gadgets. In other words, your whole home can talk amongst itself.
Those are the most obvious reasons to buy a wearable. Here’s a few more that you might not have considered:
- 8 tips for using wearable tech to streamline your holiday
- Organise your life with wearable tech
- The best pet wearables
- Trackers for keeping your kids safe
- Baby monitors and digital parenting wearables
- Wearable action cameras for extreme sports
- The best lifelogging cameras
- Personal protection and crime fighting wearables