Razer Nabu: It makes sense why it won the CES 2014 People’s Choice Award

Admittedly, wearable tech is something that is getting more and more crowded.  Each of the wearable techs we have seen is largely narrowly focused on one function.  For instance, Jawbone Up, Nike Fuel Band and Fitbit all gives you a fitness and activity tracker.  There really is no significant difference from one to the other.  Similarly, you have smart watches that offer another screen for your smartphone so that you keep your phone hidden while still staying in touch with your friends and contacts, and not miss a very important phone call in the process.

Wearable tech used to be ugly, but with the latest versions of these products, that has been taken care of.  Can you say Pebble Steel and MetaWatch Meta?

The thing is, you buy a fitness band if you want to track your activities.  Then you buy a smartwatch to help you wean away from your smartphone.  And oh, isn’t it that Google Glass just look cool and dandy?  In the end, having to buy a different device for different purposes can prove to be ridiculously expensive, or just plain ridiculous.  Do you really want to wear a smartwatch and a fitness band both at the same time? And this is why Razer’s Nabu makes sense.

The Razer Nabu gives you the chance to avoid gadget overload by taking what’s right in smartwatches and combining these with what’s right in fitness bands. A win-win solution!

It tracks the steps you have taken, the calories you have burned and even how many steps of stairs you have climbed.  Sounds pretty much like Fitbit Force, LG Lifeband Touch and Nike Fuelband, right?  Then it also gives you notifications that you have come to expect only from a smartwatch: text message, phone calls and other functions from your smartphones. The Razer Nabu also has the hardware sensors you normally would expect from other fitness bands: a cylindrical vibration motor, an altimeter and an accelerometer

Notifications

There are situations when you need to keep your phone away but you simply cannot miss an important call.  So why not let Razer Nabu notify you discreetly about anything important that you could check with just one glance.  Razer Nabu has two screens: the Public icon OLED screen measuring only 32 pixels all around, which displays an icon telling you what the notification is about, and the 128 x 32 pixel OLED private message screen on the underside that shows you more information about the notification.  You will only feel a subtle and soft vibration when being notified. And nobody but you can see what the notification is all about.

You can also program your Razer Nabu to recognize gestures.  You can shake your wrist to dismiss an incoming notification or clap your hands to enter sleep mode.

But the best thing is that you get to control the notifications you get.  For example, you can set Nabu so that it will not notify you of Facebook and Twitter updates when you are at the office, or to give you discount offers only when you are in restaurants and bars.

Lifestyle and fitness

Razer Nabu can work with a variety of apps that you already use to make sure that you get the most out of everything you do.  For example, you can make a game out of everything.  You will be rewarded for running an additional mile or two.  Or it can help you unlock achievements.

You can also use Nabu to analyze your exercise patterns and sleep behavior.  Again, it collects data that it sends to your favorite mobile fitness apps so that you could easily interpret the numbers.  Nabu can help you monitor:

  • Steps taken
  • Floors climbed
  • Distance traveled
  • Hours slept
  • Personal goals
  • Places you’ve visited
  • Calories burned

Want to know if there are discounts from establishments nearby?  Nabu can give you that too.  Using GPS apps, it will notify you of discounts, deals and exclusives nearby!

Social

Again, Nabu can work with the mobile apps that you already use so that you could interact more with the people around you.  For example, when you walk into a restaurant, Nabu will scan your friends’ lists to see if there are other Nabu users you know nearby.  Using this Pulse feature, you can also meet new people.  Strike up a conversation or flirt with another Nabu user wherever you go.

You could also share your social profiles using a gesture.  Looking to reconnect with a long lost college buddy?  Why not add him or her on Twitter just by shaking hands with each other? Cool isn’t it?

Comfort

Razer Nabu is not only discreet and sleek, it is very comfortable to wear too.  Made of rubber, it is waterproof and soft to touch.  You can wear it all day and all night.  You can sleep wearing the Nabu and even take a shower without taking it off.

Pricing

Perhaps what is surprising about the Razer Nabu is the price.  It is currently selling developer editions for less than £30.  That is a fraction of all other smart bands out there:  Nike sells its FuelBand for £90 while Fitbit Force has an £80 price tag and Jawbone is selling Up for a little under £90.  Granted that the consumer version of Razer Nabu will be a little more than that but not much more as Razer promised that the market price for consumers would be less than £60.

The bottom line

The downsides of Razer Nabu are not inherent in the product itself.  For one, Nabu is built by a company that is known for gaming peripherals, rather than this type of wearable tech.  Plus, it is plagued by the same problems that most new wearable tech devices have: the lack of apps that are made for it, as well as the absence of a robust developer community.

But it seems that it is all water under the bridge now.  Because what’s not to love with the Razer Nabu?  It helps you own a piece of wearable tech that is packed with the features you find in both smartwatches and smart fitness trackers, while also giving your wallet a welcome respite to all the insanely expensive wearable tech out there.  Is it any wonder why the Razer Nabu won the Engadget Best of CES 2014 People’s Choice Award?  Razer Nabu garnered more than 54,000 votes accounting to close to 50% of voters!

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