My favorite product from CES 2014 [Mark]

There has been a lot of talk about 2014 being the year of wearable tech. I'm yet to try out Google glass, but I can see its appeal -- providing the price drops a little! -- yet what interests me are smart versions of existing things we already wear. (I will grant you that Glass kind of falls into this category, but not everyone wears glasses) There have been quite a lot of smart watches over the last year, but they have a tendency to be rather ugly, bulky, or require an additional, specific device in order to function correctly. Yes, Galaxy Gear, I'm pointing at you.

But things are starting to evolve quite nicely. The new Pebble Steel is a spectacular smart watch that overcomes the looks issue that has blighted other models. The three models -- black leather, stainless steel and black matte -- all look great, and don’t stand out for the wrong reasons. This is a smart watch that looks like a watch rather than a smart watch, and this is where wearable technology stands or falls. An incredible piece of technology should be capable of just blending in and getting on with its job rather than jumping up, grabbing your eyeballs and demanding LOOK AT ME!

At $249, the Pebble Steel may not be exactly cheap, but it's also not extortionately expensive. The ability to use it in conjunction with just about any modern phone is a serious boon, and the range of apps and notifications that's available is impressive. I'm known for my pessimism, skepticism, nay, occasional nihilism, but Pebble works for me. It outpaces other smart phones in many areas, starting off with the fact that it is genuinely useful in so many ways.

It's not just a pedometer. It's not just about music. It's not just about notifications. It does all of this and more. It works with Android and iOS, and it is also fantastically customizable. Looks are important, but not necessarily in the way you might think. I want my tech to blend seamlessly into my life -- and ideally not attract the attention of potential muggers! -- but I also want massive functionality. Pebble Steel has all of this and more, including an impressive multi-day battery thanks to the e-ink display. Fantastic stuff, and I'm looking forward to seeing even more great things from this fabulous device.

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