It was a bit of a surprise last year when Razer — the much-loved maker of gaming accessoires — announced a wearable that can show you notifications, track your fitness, and connect to a whole ecosystem of apps. That wearable, a smartband called the Nabu, still isn't entirely out on the market, but Razer is already announcing a second one: the Nabu X.
The Nabu X does just about everything the original Nabu does, with one major exception: it doesn't have a display. Where the Nabu had a small OLED display that would show notifications when they came in, the Nabu X has a set of three LEDs. The Nabu X will use those LEDs to inform wearers of what type of notification is coming in, using different colors to signify different apps.
That obviously makes the Nabu X a lot less useful than the original Nabu, as you're still going to have to check your smartphone to find out what your notification is. But, if you do find that you're more interested in notifications from one app over others, the Nabu could still help you keep your phone in your pocket a little more.
Razor still has big ambitions for the Nabu bands, though we've yet to see those pan out. The idea is that, with enough Nabu bands out in the world, wearers could bump bands together to swap information or learn about one another. Naturally, since it's from Razer, there are also visions of the Nabu coming into play in gaming, alerting wearers of in-game events while they're away. That'll be a bit more difficult without a screen — but Razer sees the Nabu X as being able to do pretty much everything the original band can nonetheless.
Choosing the Nabu X over the Nabu will save you a nice chunk of money: it's going to sell for $49.99, while the original Nabu goes for twice as much. Razer is also initially selling the Nabu X at a big discount — just $19.99 — to "Razer Insiders," who are basically just members of its forums and other services. They'll be able to buy it next Tuesday, and Razer plans to put the band on sale to the public this spring. The original Nabu began shipping to Insiders in December, with a general launch still to come.
Photos by Adi Robertson