The best wearables of IFA 2016

What you'll be wearing on your wrist soon

IFA sometimes throws up a few half-decent wearables, but it seems that 2016 is the year when things have been kicked up a notch.

Suddenly we've got brilliant smartwatches, great VR headsets and sublime fitness trackers, all building on a strong heritage in the wearable world.

It's been a tough job, but we've whittled it down to the most impressive things we've seen at the Berlin show so far - we reckon some of these will be adorning a letter to Santa or two in the near future.

Fitbit Charge 2

Fitbit Charge 2

The Fitbit Charge HR is one of the best fitness trackers you can buy today, so an upgrade to that was always going to be welcomed.

With guided breathing, phone notifications and a heart rate monitor that can now tell your VO2 Max level (which is a good guide to overall fitness), along with a larger screen and more activities to track as well, this seems to be just the update we were looking for from Fitbit.

In terms of pricing, the Fitbit Charge 2 costs $150 (£130, AU$250), which is just a touch more than a Charge HR today.

Asus ZenWatch 3

Zenwatch 3

The ZenWatch 3 is all about the design - sure, it's got a longer-lasting battery thanks to the use of the new Snapdragon Wear 2100 and has all the normal functions you'd expect from an Android Wear smartwatch.

But this has customisable buttons, super fast charging and man, it's a looker - this is the sort of watch we'd expect from a much higher-end brand, although it may be a little too shiny for some.

n terms of the Asus ZenWatch 3 price you're looking at €229 (around £190, $250, AU$340) if you opt for a rubber strap, while the leather strap variant will set you back €249 (around £210, $280, AU$370).

Samsung Gear S3 Frontier

Gear S3

This is the watch that really could take the fight to the Apple Watch, with all the smarts you could think of in a smartwatch.

That means GPS to watch you run, a barometric altimeter for hiking, an LTE connection so you can stream music or take calls on the go - and a smooth design as well.

Samsung's Tizen OS is soft touch too, meaning it'll munch minimal battery and offer multiple days between charges. Excellent.

Withings Steel HR

Withings Steel HR

When is a smartwatch not a smartwatch? Well, when it's the Withings Steel HR, which will track your heart rate but not do all the other fancy bits like poking you whenever someone you're following tweets.

It looks only slightly chunkier than a normal watch but still has a lot of fitness tracker smarts, with the ability to even track you when you're sleeping (if you can handle wearing such a thing in bed).

The 36mm Steel HR costs $179.95/£169.95 (about AU$300), while the 40mm model is a little more at $199.95/£179.95 (about AU$315).

TomTom Touch

TomTom Touch

This is a clear attempt from TomTom to take on the likes of Fitbit, making its own fitness tracker but with some surprisingly smart features.

It's smooth, well-designed and comes with all the kinds of tech you'd expect from a fitness tracker, from multi-sport monitoring to heart rate and sleep monitoring. On top of that there's the ability to monitor 'body composition' so you'll be able to get a more holistic look at your flabbiness.

It costs $129.99 or £129.99 (about AU$227), so it's not cheap but it does sound fancy.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Phones and Tablets Editor

Gareth (Twitter, Google+) has been part of the mobile phone industry from the era of the brick to the tiny device in the pocket... and now watching them grow back up to behemothic proportions once more. He's spent five years dissecting all the top phones in the world as TechRadar's Phones and Tablets Editor, and still can't resist answering the dreaded question - "which new phone should I get?" - with 15 choices.