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LG Lifeband Touch

Sleek, black, wraparound, OLED display. Sounds like a lot of other wearable devices at CES 2014, but LG's first entry into wearable tech — the Lifeband Touch — seems okay with the familiar. Instead of going into the Samsung-style deep end of feature-studded wearables like the Galaxy Gear, the Lifeband feels practical…and very health-oriented. I got to play with it for a brief bit, and at least came away impressed at its build quality. But, what's also cool about the Lifeband Touch is its focus on working in phone notifications and even two-way phone controls, an idea that most fitness bands so far haven't explored.

The Lifeband Touch has one open end, and flexes around your wrist, like an open-ended Nike+ FuelBand. It works with both iOS and Android, and is an accelerometer-based fitness tracker with altimeter (which, incidentally, means the Lifeband is "water-resistant" but not shower-friendly). The Lifeband Touch lights up when you lift your hand to look at the display. The swipe-and-tap menu interface, and its icons, looks a lot like other fitness devices like the Withings Pulse and Fitbit Force, but the extra features it has are unique: music controls, call notifications, volume control, and call silencing.

LG's forthcoming app looks simple enough to use, and will work on incorporating popular fitness apps like RunKeeper and MyFitnessPal. That's the idea: be open, as opposed to creating a specialized fitness ecosystem. The band does not track sleep — although it technically could, since it has the same accelerometer as other fitness bands — but it does connect with external heart rate monitors, like Polar's.

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