Basis intros 'Carbon Steel Edition' fitness band with improved design; old model drops to $179

By all accounts, the Basis B1 is one of the smartest fitness trackers on the market: It monitors sweat output, heat dissipation, blood flow and heart rate. And, as of a recent update, it can automatically detect when you've started walking or running. Still, smart doesn't mean much when the watch isn't comfortable to wear or -- worse -- when it resembles a Casio watch from the '80s. Accordingly, then, Basis just announced a new model, the Carbon Steel Edition, which comes in direct response to early user feedback, according to company reps. For starters, the new band has a sleeker look, complete with chrome accents. It also features a stretchable silicone strap that's more flexible and breathable. That's available today for $199, while the original B1 band is getting a price cut to $179.

Meanwhile, even if you've already splurged on the B1, you'll be happy to know that Basis is rolling out some new sleep-tracking features for both the B1 and the new Carbon Steel Edition. In short, the two bands will be able to differentiate between REM, deep and light sleep. And, just like with the activity tracking, this will all happen automatically, so that you won't have to press a button to put the device into sleep-tracking mode. Also, you'll be able to see a "personal sleep score" inside the app itself, though you'll have to wait for an update first -- that should hit the Android, iOS and web applications later this month, on January 21st.