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Published Aug 11, 2022 11:00 AM

Smartwatches are one of the most useful pieces of wearable tech out there. However, the chunky bodies and digital faces of the sensor-packed Apple Watches and Fitbits of the world don’t appeal to everyone’s sensibilities. So while the biggest tech companies build watches that emphasize the tech, many brands have integrated some of the simplest, most useful smartwatch features into conventional timepieces. The average “hybrid” smartwatch features analog hour and minute arms, with a small screen or screens underneath to show stats like heart rate and tracked steps. For many people, the best hybrid smartwatches provide a good balance between a watch that will give you the fitness tracking and heart rate monitor you desire without looking out of place in a professional workplace.

How we picked the best hybrid smartwatches

I’ve been writing about tech for nearly a decade for publications such as PC Gamer and Input, among others, so I know how to discern between the next big thing and the next big bust. I’m also a watch enthusiast who has owned more than my fair share of smart and traditional timepieces over the years. To determine these recommendations, I consulted technical specs and tests conducted by experts, as well as consumer reviews to find the best hybrid smartwatches for all kinds of people.

Things to consider before buying a hybrid smartwatch

Picking a hybrid smartwatch over a conventional smartwatch or fitness tracker is, more often than not, rooted in taste. You want some smart features, but not at the expense of how a classic wristwatch looks and feels on your wrist. In keeping with that, most hybrid smartwatches have a relatively standardized set of smart features, including step tracking, sleep tracking, and more. Some features, like surfacing notifications from your phone, aren’t on every model, though, so it does pay to think about how “smart” you want your watch to be.

It’s all about the features

Though hybrid smartwatches don’t vary as much in feature set and price range as other tech, you should keep in mind that they aren’t all identical. Most hybrid smartwatches offer some degree of fitness tracking, sleep tracking, and water resistance. Certain features—like GPS integration, altimeters, blood oxygen (SpO2) tracking, and 100-meter water resistance—tend to be reserved for more expensive models. 

High-end hybrids also tend to have better battery life, though even the least expensive of the bunch last longer than more tech-forward smartwatches like the Apple Watch Series 7 and Samsung Galaxy Watch4. The average battery life of a hybrid smartwatch is around two weeks, though some go as high as 25 to 30 days without a charge.

Aesthetics are everything

There are two main reasons to buy a hybrid smartwatch: less frequent charging and sheer aesthetics. As a watch enthusiast, I strongly prefer the round face and analog movement of a hybrid over the blocky silhouette of a Fitbit. As such, you should really consider the look and feel of the hybrid you want before you buy it. 

You should also measure your wrist before making any purchase. Most hybrid watches have a case diameter of 42mm, which is quite large on those of us with smaller wrists. If you have a wrist size of 6.5 inches or less, you will probably want to invest in a smaller 38mm model instead.

The best hybrid smartwatches: Reviews & Recommendations

Now that you know what to look for in a hybrid smartwatch, you’re ready to pick one for yourself. If you’d like a little help jumpstarting your search, we’ve selected the best hybrid smartwatches for all kinds of users. Whether you want to shell out a bundle for a high-end watch with all the bells and whistles or buy a cheaper model with just the essentials, we have you covered.

Best overall: Withings ScanWatch

Withings

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Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The Withings ScanWatch offers everything you can hope for in a hybrid smartwatch.

Specs

  • Size: 38mm or 42mm
  • Heart monitor: Yes, with oxygen levels
  • Sleep tracking: Yes
  • Activity tracking: Yes, with altimeter
  • Water resistance: 50m
  • Battery life: 30 days
  • Other features: Sapphire glass

Pros

  • Great feature set
  • Water resistance
  • Comes in multiple sizes

Cons

  • A little expensive

French health tech manufacturer Withings specializes in devices that monitor your body, including smart scales, thermometers, and blood pressure monitors. Their flagship watch, the ScanWatch, integrates deep health tracking functionality into a simple, elegant hybrid timepiece. Going beyond basic step and heart rate tracking, it features an altimeter to track vertical movements, such as climbing stairs, and a pulse oximeter for blood oxygen (SpO2) tracking. Its 30-day battery life makes it one of the longest-lasting watches. It’s also waterproof and certified for up to 50 meters (or 5 atmospheres) of water pressure. 

It also provides lots of room for you to pick a watch that fits your style. It comes in two sizes and Withings offers more colors and styles than many of its competitors. In plain black with metal hardware, it’s a simple and elegant everyday accessory.

All of that function pushes the ScanWatch’s price up higher than many of our other picks, but it offers a strong blend of style and tech substance.

Best for iPhone: Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR

Skagen Connected

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Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The Skagen Jorn is an elegant hybrid smartwatch with a unique e-ink display, and it has great app integration for your phone.

Specs

  • Size: 38mm or 42mm
  • Heart monitor: Yes
  • Sleep tracking: Yes
  • Activity tracking: Yes
  • Water resistance: “Water Resistant”
  • Battery life: 14 days+
  • Other features: E-ink display

Pros

  • Multiple size options
  • Stylish design
  • Decent features

Cons

  • E-ink display may not appeal to everyone
  • Interface can be confusing

Skagen is known for their fashion watches, and the Jorn brings a very appealing “Bauhaus”-like sensibility—a cleanly geometric German retro-modern aesthetic—to the hybrid smartwatch market. Its signature feature is a sharp e-ink display, akin to what you’d find in an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite or the classic Pebble Watch. It shows your steps, heart rate, and other stats with chronograph-like icons that perfectly match the watch’s look. The unique design and controls aren’t as intuitive as other watches, but it’s a small price to pay for such attention to detail.

If you’re a fan of buttons, the Jorn has three for you to play with rather than the traditional “hold/tap” design of the Apple Watch, and its app integration and customizability have received high marks from reviewers. 

As a whole, the Skagen Jorn is a strong hybrid smartwatch for those who care more about the watch and its aesthetics than smart features. However, it works very well for what it is.

Best heart rate monitor: Garmin Vivomove HR

Garmin

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Buy it used or refurbished: Amazon, eBay

Why it made the cut: The Garmin Vivomove HR offers excellent fitness tracking and an appealing design.

Specs

  • Size: 40mm, 43mm
  • Heart monitor: Yes, with oxygen levels
  • Sleep tracking: Yes
  • Activity tracking: Yes
  • Water resistance: 50m
  • Battery life: 5 days (smart mode), 14+ days (watch only)
  • Other features: Stress tracking

Pros

  • Good fitness features
  • Many color options
  • Easy to read

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Short battery life for smart mode

Though it is not specifically a “fitness watch,” the Garmin Vivomove HR delivers more fitness-driven features than most hybrid smartwatches, making it a notable choice for people who specifically want one to discreetly monitor their heart. It has dedicated stress tracking and relaxation timers so you can track your vitals in any situation, as well as SpO2 tracking. It falters a bit on battery life compared to other hybrids, especially when you use the smart features, though.

The design of its face is a bit simple compared to our other picks, and it’s less customizable than most, but it does have that true “Bauhaus” look. While it comes in multiple sizes and many colors, we found that many styles and colors are much harder to come by in the 40mm “small/medium” size.

If you’re a fitness enthusiast, the Vivomove has the edge over competitors thanks to its stress monitor and relaxation timers. But its high price limits its appeal compared to other watches in the space.

Best for small wrists: Fossil Women’s Monroe Hybrid

Fossil

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Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The Fossil Women’s Monroe packs a lot of punch into a watch that looks good on any wrist.

Specs

  • Size: 38mm
  • Heart monitor: Yes
  • Sleep tracking: Yes
  • Activity tracking: Yes
  • Water resistance: 30m
  • Battery life: 14+ days
  • Other features: None

Pros

  • Fits any wrist
  • The feminine silhouette isn’t common among smartwatches
  • Competitive feature-set

Cons

  • No signature feature

Look, there’s no delicate way to put this: The overwhelming majority of smartwatches out there feature masculine (or at least masculine-leaning) designs. Hybrid watches, in particular, are often based on larger “men’s” watches. If you’re looking for something feminine, rather than simply picking a smaller case size, Fossil’s Monroe is definitely the way to go. The mid-sized 38mm case will fit almost any wrist, unlike the 42mm (or even bigger) smartwatches out there.

It doesn’t skimp on the features either, with notification support, activity tracking, a heart rate monitor, and more. The only real downside to this hybrid smartwatch is that it lacks a unique tech-driven feature. The Monroe is purely a style play but, since feminine hybrid watches are fairly rare, that is a signature feature unto itself.

Best waterproof: Withings Steel HR

Withings

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Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The Withings Steel HR is a fully featured hybrid smartwatch that offers 50m of water resistance for a cheap price tag.

Specs

  • Size: 36mm, 40mm
  • Heart monitor: Yes
  • Sleep tracking: Yes
  • Activity tracking: Yes, with multi-sport support
  • Water resistance: 50m
  • Battery life: 25 days
  • Other features: None

Pros

  • Competitive price
  • Visually appealing
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Some may prefer a larger case size
  • Older model

The Withings Steel HR is an older, simpler hybrid smartwatch, but one that still holds up. For less than $200, the Steel HR offers only slightly less functionality than our top pick for $100 less. More importantly, the Steel is rated for 50m of water resistance, which means you can take it in the pool or the ocean without worrying about it. It offers great battery life—25 days—and features multi-sport tracking to record more accurate activity-specific health data.

Though many of the watches on this list feature a minimalist style, the Steel features what may be the simplest look. I quite like its two-dial configuration. However, with a 40mm case, it’s smaller than most of the picks on our list and may not be a great fit for people with very large wrists.

Best budget: Fossil Men’s Collider Hybrid HR

Fossil

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Buy it used or refurbished: eBay

Why it made the cut: The Fossil Men’s Collider HR delivers all the features you want from a hybrid smartwatch for $50 to $100 less than the competition.

Specs

  • Size: 42mm
  • Heart monitor: Yes
  • Sleep tracking: Yes
  • Activity tracking: Yes
  • Water resistance: “Water Resistant”
  • Battery life: 14 days
  • Other features: None

Pros

  • Cheap
  • Good battery life
  • Visually appealing

Cons

  • Lacks rated water resistance
  • Only one size

Frequently on sale, the Men’s Fossil Collider HR often costs half as much as many of our other picks. Despite that price gap, it is just as smart, with activity tracking, sleep tracking, and a heart monitor. Its 14-day battery life, while far from best-in-class, is very solid for a less expensive option. Plus, it comes in a number of appealing colors and strap combinations.

Like Fossil’s Monroe, the Collider lacks a hook beyond its very reasonable price tag. That said, its core features are solid and it’s a great bargain if you’re looking for the basics.

FAQs

Q: Can you buy refurbished smartwatches?

Absolutely, many of our recommended hybrid smartwatches can be purchased refurbished from Amazon, eBay, or other resellers for a reduced price. For example, you can buy a refurbished Garmin Vivomove for $100 right now. We’ve added a link to at least one used purchasing option for each watch on this list.

Q: Can you use a hybrid smartwatch without a phone?

Hybrid smartwatches can tell time perfectly fine without syncing to a smartphone, as they are watches first and foremost. Their smart features—heart rate monitoring, step tracking, and so on—require one, though.

Q: How do you charge a hybrid watch?

Most hybrid smartwatches charge via magnetic USB cables that you plug into a wall, similar to traditional smartwatch chargers.

Q: Can you text on a hybrid smartwatch?

Many hybrid smartwatches either display your texts or at least show you a notification when you receive one on your phone. Most, however, do not allow you to respond. If texting via your watch is a priority, you should consider buying an Apple or Android Wear watch.

Final thoughts on the best hybrid smartwatches

As with many products out there, these hybrid smartwatches ultimately have quite a lot in common with each other. Still, the devil is in the details. If you’re looking for top-of-the-line features, you may decide to go for a more traditional smartwatch instead. However, if aesthetics are what you’re looking for, all of these watches will have you well-covered. Besides, who wants to charge their watch every day, anyway?