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​LifeTrak Gem does continuous heart-rate tracking, but not what you expect

The LifeTrak Gem isn't your average activity tracker. There's no screen, no sleep tracking and the battery will only last you 10 hours.

Dan Graziano/CNET

LAS VEGAS -- Salutron has slowly been making strides in the wearable market with its LifeTrak devices. Its first tracker offered automatic sleep tracking and a heart-rate monitor for an affordable price. The second included notifications from smartphones and an ambient light tracker. The company's latest tracker now includes continuous heart-rate tracking, but the LifeTrak Gem is a tough sell.

There's no screen, no sleep tracking and the battery lasts only 10 hours. Of course hearing these features could be an immediate turn-off, but the device isn't intended for the average consumer -- that one will come next year.

LifeTrakGemApp.jpg
Dan Graziano/CNET

This model of the Gem is designed for those people who are interested in their heart rate when working out at the gym or going for a run. It reminded me of the Mio Alpha . In addition to heart rate, the Gem can track your steps, distance and calories burned. The tracker can be worn on your wrist and your arm.

Since there's no screen, you're required to view your heart-rate data on the company's Android and iOS app. You can, however, tap the top of the device to illuminate LED lights that will show how close you are to reaching your activity goal.

The workout model of the LifeTrak gym is slated to arrive in the fourth quarter of 2015 and will cost $90. UK and Australian pricing wasn't released, but the US price converts to around £60 or AU$110.

A more consumer-friendly model that will include continuous heart rate, one week of battery life and be able to chart your daily activities -- steps, distance, calories burned and sleep -- is slated to arrive in the spring of 2016. This model will cost $110 (roughly £70 or AU$135), but with how fast the landscape of wearables is changing, it may be too late.

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