What's the difference between a smartwatch and a hybrid smartwatch? They might sound like the same thing, but there's a way to tell the two apart from each other.
A hybrid blurs traditional watch designs with contemporary fitness tracking and notification tech. You won't see full touchscreen displays like you get on Android Wear watches or the Apple Watch, and you certainly won't have to deal with a couple of days of battery life, that's for sure. Those smarts are added in a more discreet and elegant way.
Essential reading: The best Android Wear watches
Whether you're style obsessed or want something that's good at tracking your steps without hammering the battery, here's our pick of the top smart analogue watches to get around your wrist.
Best for design
Skagen Jorn / Hald Connected
With the 2017 Skagen Connected, the Fossil sub-brand has gone an extra step. There are now two versions: The Jorn, for men, and the Hald, for women. Both of them come in various styles, and they both retain the same minimalist look that Skagen's dumb timepieces carry.
Activity and sleep tracking are present, but it's all pretty basic. What is different this year is that the sub-dial has been jettisoned. Instead, the face hands will move around and point to a different colour based on your notifications.
The Jorn is available in two variations: stainless steel with a tan leather strap and grey face, or titanium with a grey face and 22mm black leather strap. The Hald comes in either rose gold, gold or stainless steel watch face variations, with different tan and 20mm black leather bands.
Read now: Skagen Connected 2017 review
Best for smart features
If you've got a bit more money to play around with, Kronaby's big collection of hybrid smartwatches are well worth checking out.
There are models for men and women, with high grade watch materials adding that touch of luxury and you can even swap out the wristbands. In terms of smarts, it keeps it basic on the fitness front with just step tracking, but you do get a vibrating buzzes for notifications and the ability to assign physical watch buttons to control features like music playback and remotely take smartphone pictures.
There's also a nice personal safety feature that lets you send out a details of your current location to an assigned contact with the press of a button. New IFTTT support means it can take control of smart home kit too.
It packs decent smartwatch features into a sleek, stylish body and while there's still room for improvement, it's one of our current hybrid faves.
Wareable verdict: Kronaby review
Best for fitness tracking
Nokia Steel HR
Nokia may have taken over the Withings brand, but the Steel HR is still very much the same equation. And while it also may only appear to be a minor upgrade over the sleek Withings Activité Steel, it's so much more than that.
Carrying the same stainless steel casing, chrome hands and silicone strap as previous editions, you now get an additional dynamic digital screen to view data including activity tracking and smartphone notifications.
As the name suggests, there's a heart rate monitor on board as well to continuously monitor heart rate during the day and during workouts.
Battery life is a more than respectable 25 days and there are two different watch case models to take your pick from. The device isn't technically available until this autumn, but we do know the price will remain the same.
Read this: Nokia Steel HR review
The Garmin Vivomove just focuses on steps and sleep, making it far simpler than any other Garmin watch in the company's line up. Certainly more male-friendly at 12mm thick, it's not nearly as svelte as the Activité (below).
Essential reading: All you need to know about Swiss smartwatches
It boasts a 5ATM waterproof (50 metres approx), which means it's fine for the pool, although it's hardly the Garmin Swim in terms of captured metrics. But you do get rewarded for your strokes.
Our favourite part of the Vivomove is the Move bar, which fills up with a bright red warning of impending death as you sit about on your slothenly butt. It makes the Vivomove one of the more effective fitness trackers at getting you active, which should be precisely what they're all about.
We should add that the Vivomove HR, its successor, is on the way with models for both men and women. This also adds in a digital display that disappears when not in use, which is a hybrid feature we've been crying out for some time. Stay tuned for our full review.
Again, while Nokia is now running the Withings show, the Activité still marks the first great example of marrying slick analogue watch styling with tech smarts.
The Android- and iOS-friendly watch is built from luxurious materials with stainless steel casing and domed sapphire glass accompanying a calf leather strap. There's even an additional sports strap to take it for a dip in the pool.
It'll count steps, measure distance, monitor sleep and detect swimming automatically, syncing data to the solid Nokia Health Mate app. It also features a silent vibrating alarm and promises a hefty eight months of battery life.
Although the Activité is no longer available through Nokia, you can still pick it up on Amazon.
Wareable verdict: Read our full Withings Activité review
Best for iOS
Fossil Q Grant
Android phone owners, steer clear. While the Fossil Q Grant is designed to work with Google-running smartphones, we didn't have the greatest experiences with it.
That's not to say that Fossil's smart analogue debut doesn't make a good impression. A watch first and fitness tracker second, the Grant comes in four different designs and has 22mm removable straps so you can customise to your heart's content.
Activity tracking is kept to a minimum, counting steps and nothing more. You can't read notifications on it, but a little blue LED and vibrating buzz will let you know someone is trying to get in touch.
Fossil has added to its smart analogue collection in a big way since the Q Grant, with four new men and women-friendly ranges, including the stainless steel Q Crewmaster, rose gold Q Tailor and bling-tastic Q Gazer. The Q Accomplice has also just dropped, with prices ranging from $155 to $175
Wareable verdict: Read our full Fossil Q Grant review
Best for simplicity
Misfit's first hybrid smartwatch, the Misfit Phase, is a strong debut, delivering a handful of smarts without a single sub-eye. It does make interpreting some notifications a little tricky, mind, but there's no denying the Phase is a real looker.
Read now: Misfit Phase review
The Phase will track your steps and sleep using Misfit's activity tech, while the hands will move to signal a new notification, as well as the shifting colour wheel that can be seen through a small window at the six o'clock mark. All of the smarts are hidden under the surface, giving the Phase the feel of a classic, understated watch.
We'd like it to do a bit more in the smarts department, but if you want something that's simple, tracks your activity, and looks good, this is a strong choice.
Best if money is no object
Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch Classics
This is one model we did not want to take off. From the Swiss watchmaker's hybrid collection the Classics keeps thing really simple on the smarts front. It just does fitness tracking. If you want notification support, check out the Notify models instead.
While it keeps things basic on the connected front it certainly doesn't do that with the watch design. This 42mm watch is a beaut with rose gold plated stainless steel watch casing complemented by a brown leather strap with fine yellow stitching. You really wouldn't know it was a hybrid at all.
The Classics counts steps, monitors sleep and we found it delivered in line with the average fitness tracker. If you like your hybrid smartwatches more watch than smart, then this is the one for you.
Best on a budget
Withings Activité Pop
The Withings Activité doesn't come cheap, but if you can live without the luxurious build quality, then the Pop is still a great option.
Metal is ditched for plastic, but it retains the design charm of its bigger brother. It also offers the same activity tracking and alarm features so you can save yourself a bit of money, keep an eye on your steps and not have to worry about carrying around a charger.
Like its more expensive brethren, this is no longer being sold by the new Nokia overlords. However, Amazon is still stocking the Pop, so pick it up while you can.
Wareable verdict: Read our full Withings Activité Pop review
Thanks largely in part to the Fossil Group, there's a whole lot of hybrid smartwatches on the way. These include the Fossil Q Neely and Jacqueline hybrid for women, the Michele Connected and the Misfit Command. There's also the Diesel On collection, which formed part of Fossil Group's mammoth unveiling at Baselworld 2017 back in February.
We are still waiting to see Alpina's Comtesse Horological for women that feature 36mm frames and allows uses to track fitness and sleep plus receive notifications. If you're looking for your hybrid to have a designer edge, Marc Jacobs is launching its Riley connected smartwatch line. This is expected to drop before the end of the year. Lastly, the Timex Fairfield Contactless supports payments and is launching in November 2017.
Have we missed your favourite device off of our list? Let us know what you think should have been included and why using the comments section below…
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