- Great Skagen watch look
- A largely reliable fitness tracker
- Nice music controls
- Comfortable, durable band
- Screen fogging
- On watch software feels clunky
- Heart rate not fit for exercise
- Tries to do too much
The Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR is the first of the Fossil Group Danish sub-brand to embrace its new approach to hybrid smartwatches.
It follows the blueprint of the Fossil Hybrid HR, which plants an E Ink screen inside of a traditional watch case, to offer more smarts than previous Skagen hybrids.
You can view notifications and messages from native and third party apps, track activity and monitor sleep, monitor heart rate and take control of your music.
One of the biggest draws over full display smartwatches is the promise of up to two weeks of battery life, with rapid charging if you do hit 0%.
The Jorn Hybrid HR comes in priced at , which is what you can pick up the cheapest Fossil Hybrid HR model up for. That's also around about what you'd pay for a non-hybrid Skagen watch.
So has the experience changed drastically enough from our time with the Fossil Hybrid HR to suggest this is one you should be wearing?
We've been putting in some testing time with the Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR. Here's our full verdict.
Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR: Design and screen
- E Ink display
- 38mm/2mm sizes
- Issue causes fog after workouts/exercise
Of the many watch brands that sit under that Fossil umbrella, Skagen is one we've definitely have a lot of time for from a looks point of view.
The Danish brand channels that same minimalist, Scandi-chic you get on its non-smart watches, and its Skagen Falster Wear OS smartwatches. The story doesn't change here.
There's five different looks with your option of 38mm or 42mm case sizes paired up with leather, silicone or steel mesh bands. The model we had to test was the larger 42mm version with a stainless steel case and a 22mm interchangeable brown leather band. There's no denying that it's attractive surroundings for that E Ink display, and it has the feel and stature of a normal watch.
Ultimately though, what breaks that illusion of being mistaken for a normal Skagen watch is the display.
With Fossil's hybrids we didn't love the combination of the traditional and smart elements but it feels like a better fit on the Skagen Hybrid.
The not-quite black E Ink screen blends much nicer with the Jorn's black watch bezel, though we'd like to have seen more screen and a little less bezel.
Screen visibility in general has been fine too and you can still give that screen a double tap to turn on the array of lights that illuminate the display.
One thing sadly that hasn't changed is the fogging issue inside of the display we encountered on Fossil's hybrid.
When we took it out for a run that screen started to steam up. After a while, it disappeared. We took it for a spin on an indoor rowing session and it came back and stuck around for much longer. It's taken a few days for it to disappear, but it's clear this watch display isn't built for even moderate exercise.
It's a watch that carries a 3 ATM water resistant rating, which means it's protected against splashes from rain or hand washing and not suitable for showering or swimming.
The closest interactions it had to water was when we washed our hands, yet the fogging problem remains. It's disappointing that this issue doesn't seem to have been addressed.
Though Skagen does seek to make this one you don't feel you have to take off when it's exercise time. The underside of the leather band has a more durable, workout friendly finish that we did wear for home workouts and runs and didn't find it at all uncomfortable to wear.
For navigating the software screens, it's the same setup as the Fossil Hybrid HR. You've got the main watch crown and the two pushers above and below to scroll through menus and things like reading notifications.
Overall, it's been a nice hybrid to live with. It looks great, that E Ink display doesn't stick out in an really unattractive way and it's one we've liked having on our wrist. That fogging issue is a problem though. Especially when you consider that this has packed on a lot of fitness tracking features.
Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR: Software and smartwatch features
- iOS and Android
- Customizable notifications
- Music controls
- Sluggish performance
Unlike the Skagen Falster 3, there's no Wear OS here. Instead, you're getting Fossil's in-house built operating system that's compatible with Android and iOS devices. Our testing time was focused mainly on using it with an Android phone.
The first thing to realise is that this doesn't use the same companion app as the Fossil Hybrid, which we eventually found out after failing to pair the watch to our phone. It uses the new dedicated Skagen Hybrid smartwatch app where you'll need to go through a pretty straightforward setup process before you can start seeing what this hybrid is capable of.
In the app, you can see your activity tracking stats, set up step count challenges for yourself or take on friends. In the customisation screen, you can choose which features are assigned to the pushers and crown.
These include your wellness dashboard, viewing past notifications, music controls, weather forecasts and commute time. This will let you choose destinations where you can get real-time traffic estimates from your current location.
In the Alerts tab you can set up notification and message support. There's a quick response option for calls that can be edited, you can select which apps you want to receive notifications from and this is also the place to set up inactivity alerts to motivate you to keep during the day.
Last up is your Profile tab where you can see your best fitness tracking stats, check battery life, set up auto workout detection and connect to third party apps. For Android users, that's Google Fit and Apple Health for iPhone users.
As far as how these features are executed on the watch, well, not a great deal has changed on that front compared to our experiences with the first Hybrid HR. Switching between screens still feels slow and clunky.
Viewing notifications in their entirety feels like a bit of a chore with the sluggish operation.
And features like music controls work well, but again, doing something as simply as changing tracks feels a bit slow.
The main home watch screen is well designed, housing widgets to show off additional data. It just feels like a lot of functionality in.a space that doesn't feel particularly well optimised.
It might not be Google's Wear OS, but it mirrors in the respect that some things work, others don't and collectively it feels a bit messy overall. Compare this to what Pebble offered on an E Ink screen smartwatch and this approach doesn't really feel on par as things stand.
Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR: Fitness tracking
- Accurate step tracking
- Sleep can be hit and miss
This hybrid promises to be your 24/7 fitness tracker and perform as a sports watch. Though based on our fogging screen issues, this feels like one better suited to counting steps and monitoring sleep.
On that front, you're able to get a glance at your daily step counts from the watch face and see more detail in the Skagen app. It's here where you'll be able to additionally view active minutes, calorie burn, resting heart rate and sleep data.
Step tracking compared: Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR (left) and Garmin fitness tracker (right)
For step tracking, we compared it to a Garmin fitness tracker and generally found it to be within 400-500 steps for daily counts where we were mainly just walking. When we added an activity into our day like running, the difference would grow to well over 1,000 steps difference.
Sleep tracking compared: Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR (left) and Fitbit Sense (right)
When it's time to go to bed, you'll be able to see a breakdown of awake, light and deep sleep stages along with resting heart rate. Compared to sleep data taken from the Fitbit Sense, it was a bit of a mix bag.
On some nights it matched the sleep duration recorded by the Sense. On other days, it was over an hour off and also labelled us waking up at very early times. It's certainly not the worst sleep monitor we've tried, but it's clearly not one of the best either.
Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR: Sports tracking and heart rate accuracy
- Accurate resting HR but missing data during exercise
- Connected GPS for outdoor workouts
- Display not suited to live exercise data
Run tracking compared: Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR (left) and Garmin Enduro sports watch (right)
The HR in the name means you can monitor heart rate continuously and during exercise. There's also a dedicated screen to take on the spot measurements. Those resting heart rate and on the spot measurements were generally in line with what we got from a Garmin HRM Pro chest strap monitor and a Garmin Enduro sports watch. It was generally within 3bpm of readings.
When you step up from steps and sleep and want to track your exercise, there's a dedicated workout mode that you'll need to assign to one of the pushers, if you don't have it set up already.
These workout modes cover running (with connected GPS support from a paired smartphone), outdoor cycling, walking and indoor rowing.
You can set up auto detection for these activities, but instead of simply tracking on recognition, it will ask you if you want to start tracking. If you don't accept it, it won't track it.
HR tracking (indoor row) compared: Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR (left) and Garmin HRM Pro (right)
We put it to the running and rowing test and the running experience just doesn't feel very well optimised on this display. It's trying to do a lot, but it all feels a bit cramped. The size of the text is too small to really easily absorb on the move. From an accuracy point of view, we put it up against the running mode on a Garmin Fenix 6 Pro and while distance tracking seemed fine, pacing had us running a fair bit quicker.
For rowing, it incorrectly captured distance rowed, counted steps for some reason, and both the average and max heart rate readings were off from the Garmin HRM Pro chest strap monitor.
HR tracking (outdoor run) compared: Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR (left) and Garmin HRM Pro (right)
Heart rate monitoring was a little better for running, but as expected, the max heart rate was higher than a chest strap and we had some data missing from the graphs too.
Adding sports tracking features to this watch feels like an all too ambitious move here. Maybe leaving them out and focusing improving the fitness tracking features would have been the approach to have taken instead.
Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR: Battery life
- Two weeks stated battery life
- Real life testing around a week
- Fast charging
Unlike previous Skagen hybrids that used coin cell batteries to give you months of battery life, it's now down to a couple of weeks with the added demands of powering the display and extra connected features.
The onboard battery is capable of delivering up to two weeks based on usage and can charge from 0-80% from a 50 minute charge. In our experience, the daily drop-off tended to be around 15-20%, more towards the 20% mark when we tracked a workout activity from 30 minutes to an hour. A 30 minute workout saw the battery drop by 1%. These numbers don't really equate to two weeks of battery life.
If you don't go heavy on tracking exercise and only picked.a few apps to receive notifications from, then maybe you'll get closer to that two weeks.
It seems ambitious to us, and it feels more like you'll comfortably get a week with anything extra a bit of a bonus.
How we test