Traditional watchmakers are gradually dragging their watch brands into the 21st century.
An analogue or hybrid smartwatch is a classic looking timepiece that combine the look and functionality of a traditional watch with abilities that are evident in today’s smartwatches. Discreetly housed in the casing of these devices is technology that keeps tabs on your daily activity and sleep metrics. Some even display smartphone notifications.
A large proportion of future wearables growth will be driven by a rise in smart analogue watches. Existing manufacturers are expected to broaden their product offering, while traditional watchmakers will enter this space as they try to cling on to their share of the global market.
If you are in the market for a wearable right now but prefer the classic look of an analog timepiece, a hybrid smartwatch may be for you. This is our pick of the best hybrid watches 2019.
Hybrid watches to look forward to
The Withings Scanwatch is the one to look forward to. The device has secured CE certification and is expected to hit the European market in September. Those in the US will probably need to wait for this fall.
Unveiled at CES 2020, the hybrid is some two year in the making. Its headline feature is the ability to spot AFib. This is a serious form of irregular heart rhythm that can lead to heart failure and is a major risk for stroke.
Scanwatch’s other big feature is sleep apnea detection. The disorder is characterized by pauses in breathing or periods of shallow breathing during sleep. The device has a pulse oxygen sensor onboard which allows it to do this.
Other than that you get the ability to take ECG, along with the usual crop of fitness tracking sensors and Connected GPS. If you’re looking for a stylish health and fitness hybrid, the Scanwatch will soon be one of the best options out there.
The best hybrid watches you can buy right now
Apart from being beautiful, this is a one of the most feature packed and best hybrids out there. Such devices typically try and keep things simple, but Vivomove 3 is different.
The timepiece that comes in a number of different variants. This includes the Vívomove 3/3S (to denote two case sizes – 44mm and 39mm), Vívomove Style and Vívomove Luxe.
When the display is off, there is no way of telling that this is anything but a sleek looking traditional watch. Tap firmly on the thing or quickly turn your wrist and the display magically appears.
Notifications are shown on the beautiful 8.9 mm x 18.3 mm OLED display on 3/3s (24.1 mm x 18.7 mm on Style/Luxe). You can even send quick replies. The watch hands move out of the way when you swipe through your messages, heart rate and more for unobstructed reading.
In terms of fitness tracking, you’ll get info on steps, sleep, distance, calories, floors climbed, heart rate, intensity minutes and even oxygen levels in the blood. The heart rate sensor will keep tabs on your resting heart rate, and you can use it to monitor which zone you are in when you heart rate zone train. There is also Garmin Move IQ which can recognize and log movements for certain activities.
In addition to this, you’ll find Connected GPS and some more advanced features such as VO2 max and fitness age. In case you are aspiring towards a more tranquil existence, Vivomove 3 lets you know whether you are having a calm, balanced or hectic day. You can then use the relaxation timer to work through deep breathing exercises, and lower your stress.
Battery life is up to 5 days in smartwatch mode and a further 7 days in with limited functionality.
If you want smart tracking along with self-expression, look no further than the Withings Steel HR Sport.
This is the second generation of the device. The upgraded version comes with the addition of Connected GPS, a Fitness Level assessment via VO2 Max estimation and better watch straps. You still get basic fitness stats and heart rate monitoring.
Real-time heart rate info is displayed on the watch during exercise, and more detailed info including time spent in heart rate zones can be seen in the app afterwards. The device also tracks resting heart rate, one of the most important metrics to assess overall health over time. Its swim-proof, too.
The rechargeable battery will keep Steel HR Sport going for up to 25 days, the best battery life for a heart monitoring activity tracker available. After that, it will keep plodding along for another 20 days with limited functionality in power save mode.
If you are looking for a classy smart device with discreet activity tracking features, the Withings Steel HR Sport is another great hybrid smartwatch.
Command, is Misfit’s second stab at something that promises to track your fitness while looking appropriate at a formal dinner. It has a clean, modern and unobtrusive look on the outside, and latest high tech smarts on the inside.
With a built-in accelerometer, you’ll just get info on your steps, distance, calories and sleep. But don’t look for a heart rate monitor, its not there.
There is also some smartwatch functionality. This includes notifications for messages, reminders, calendar appointments, a smart button function which can be set up through the Link App and more. Command has a small sub-dial with little icons letting you know what you are looking at.
The hybrid comes with a non-charging battery that lasts up to one year, the longest battery life on a Misfit device to date. Its swim-proof up to 50 meters, too, so you don’t have to worry about taking it off in the water.
The watch comes with a stainless steel case with matte finishing. To customize it to your taste, there is a wide range of 20mm strap options to choose from.
Created in collaboration with Google, these watches offer a power-efficient, always-on e-ink display. This sits behind mechanical hands to show heart rate, steps, weather, notifications and more. All of this runs on a proprietary operating system linked with Fossil’s smartwatch app.
There are five iterations in total, three for men’s Collider range and two for women’s Charter range. The only difference between them is in design.
Under the hood the watches have all the basic fitness sensors including a heart rate monitor. They’ll count steps, distance and calories burned, along with keeping tabs on sleep.
Battery life is excellent thanks to the low power e-ink technology. The watches are able to run over two weeks on a single charge. You won’t have to take your hybrid off for long seeing as you can get it up to 80% in one hour with rapid charging.
You are going to struggle to find a hybrid smartwatch more beautiful than one of the devices in the Skagen Connected range. This includes the Signature, Hald, Jorn and Haggen Connected. Coupled with a price which comes below much of its direct competition, this is a very good option if you are looking for a classic looking timepiece which elegantly adds in the smarts.
Features include automatic time and date adjustment, basic activity and goal tracking, sleep tracking, filtered email and text notifications, dual-time function and alarm. You can also snap a photo remotely, control music and more.
This smart analogue timepiece is compatible with both Android phones and iPhone and runs on a standard coin-cell battery with a four to six-month battery life. The quick-release-pin construction makes it easy to interchange the leather band with other 20mm leather, steel-mesh, silicone or nylon straps.
Lets face it. It was only a matter of time before your favourite activity tracker got a major fashionista-friendly makeover. We are talking about fashion here, so don’t get overly excited about functionality. But you will get the basics.
Essential reading: Activity trackers for women
The Kate Spade Metro Grand tracks your steps, calories, distance and sleep and will spit out smartphone notifications. It also sports controls that allow you turn up your workout playlist and take a post-run selfie right from the tracker. You can set personal goals and this is one less device you will need to charge as it operates on replaceable a coin cell battery.
The hybrid smartwatch comes in black and rose gold, grey and silver tone, vachetta and gold tone, and as a gift set with two tone bracelet and a black-quilted leather strap.
First hybrid that monitors ECG, tracks all other important activity metrics including heart rate and VO2Max, supports notifications, Connected-GPS, sub-dial monitors progress towards goal
Focuses more on functions than style
Apple kicked off the trend and the French outfit is continuing it. Introduced at CES 2019 in January, Move ECG is the first hybrid smartwatch capable of producing an electro diagram.
The device comes with three electrodes discreetly integrated inside the main body and stainless steel bezel. To take a reading, users will need to touch and hold both sides of the bezel for around 30 seconds.
Furthermore you’ll get all the other important fitness tracking info including heart rate and floors climbed. The step count progress is shown on the watch’s sub-dial.
Withings says the watch can keep going up to a year on a single coin-cell battery. Water resistance is up to 50 meters and the thing has auto-recognition for swimming, walking, and running. There’s no built-in GPS but there is connected-GPS.
Move ECG is scheduled for release sometime in Q2 this year. There may be a delay, though, as the company recently revealed it is yet to secure FDA approval to release the device.
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