The core of the team currently working at Kronaby cut their teeth at Sony Mobile. They helped design and develop accessories for the Japanese tech giant's smartphones including the Sony SmartWatch and Smartband activity tracker.
While Sony has seemingly decided to back away from wearables, Kronaby set up in 2015 believing there was life in smartwatches and began working on an entire collection of hybrid smartwatches, which aimed to marry traditional watch design with some familiar connected features and a few new ones we've not seen before.
In total, there are four different lines and 24 variants. The Apex packs a 43mm body with a secondary dial that mirrors the Withings approach to hybrid smartwatches. There's also the 43mm Sekel and down from that is the 38mm Carat and the similarly sized Nord. Kronaby like to think of its watches as unisex and apart from a few of the rose gold numbers in the Carat collection, we'd be inclined to agree with that. The smaller watches are better fit for slimmer wrists, but the 43mm models are by no means bulky.
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Bottom line, these are beautiful watches, every single one of them. Whether you want something more vintage, flashy or minimalistic, the bases are well covered here. There are leather straps, stainless steel watch cases and sapphire crystal glass protecting the watch face. Kronaby talks a lot about nailing the watch design first and it's definitely delivered on that front. They look like normal watches and up there with the best that Fossil currently has to offer to the hybrid world.
While the majority of hybrids we've had our hands on merge fitness tracking and notification features, Kronaby tries to smarten up elements of the watch without overdoing it or making things too complicated.
Down the side of each watch are three physical buttons, which can be assigned to different features including controlling your smartphone camera, music playback, a handy 'find my phone' feature and even the ability to GeoTag a location to find your way back to a favourite spot. One of the nicest features is the Walk Me Home mode that lets users assign one of the buttons that when pressed can alert contacts of your location and they can follow you from their phones to ensure you make it home.
It's not a fully fledged fitness tracker in the same way that the Withings Steel HR is but it can count steps and send vibrating buzzes to the watch when you've been inactive too long. It's also compatible with Google Fit and Apple Health. However Kronaby is more concerned with those who have a more casual approach to fitness and admit that there are better alternatives out there for really getting into shape.
But it's not done there. There's a timer mode, the ability to display additional time zones, reject calls and set up silent alarms. This is all set up from the companion app that uses a simple drag and drop method letting you move small widgets to assign features to the watch. This is also where you can set up the filtered notifications for the people and the apps you really want to be alerted about.
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The crowning glory is the battery life. All of the watches can run for two years, so you won't have to worry about charging here. Pricing starts £315 and goes up to £545, so these are by no means cheap hybrid smartwatches. But they are a collection of beautiful watches that cram in a lot of features and ones that would genuinely be useful and keep you away from your smartphone. While many hybrids right now are ticking the same boxes, Kronaby is trying to think outside of the box and it's come up with something that makes a really great first impression.
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