Best hybrid smartwatches 2018: Fossil, Garmin, Nokia and more

Helping you pick a traditional watch with added smarts

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 hybrid smartwatch

Garmin Vivomove HR

Best hybrid smartwatches 2017: Nokia, Fossil, Garmin and more

If you want the perfect marriage of design and smarts, this is our choice for the best hybrid smartwatch you can get right now.

Successor to the Garmin Vivomove, the Vivomove HR offers watch designs for both men and women, adding a discreet display that only appears when you tap on the watch face. It's also waterproof up to 50 metres (like its predecessor) so you can take it for a dip too.

On that nicely disguised display you'll be able to see activity tracking data, check in on heart rate readings, view notifications and even check in on your stress levels. It's essentially the Garmin Vivosport fitness tracker minus the built-in GPS in a much sleeker and stylish body.

Battery life is two weeks in watch mode and five days when you're taking full advantage of the smartwatch features. On the whole, it's a winner.

Wareable verdict: Garmin Vivomove HR

From $199.99, garmin.com | Amazon

Best hybrid smartwatch for design

Skagen Jorn/Hald Connected

Best hybrid smartwatches 2017: Withings, Fossil, Mondaine and more

With the latest Skagen Connected launched in 2017 but this is still by far one of the best looking hybrids to have on your wrist.

There are 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

$175, skagen.com | Amazon

Best hybrid smartwatch for smart features

Kronaby

Best hybrid smartwatches 2017: Nokia, Fossil, Mondaine and more

If you've got a bit more money to play around with, Kronaby's collection of hybrid smartwatches is well worth checking out.

There are models for men and women, with high grade materials adding that touch of luxury. You can swap out the wristbands, too. In terms of smarts, it keeps it basic on the fitness front with just step tracking, but you do get 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

From $395–$675, kronaby.com | Amazon

Best hybrid smartwatch for fitness tracking

Nokia Steel HR

Best hybrid smartwatches 2017: Nokia, Fossil, Garmin and more

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 actually 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.

Read this: Nokia Steel HR review

$179.95, nokia.com | Amazon

Best hybrid smartwatch for iPhones

Fossil Q Accomplice

Best hybrid smartwatches 2017: Nokia, Fossil, Garmin and more

So there's a whole bunch of Fossil hybrids you can pick from, but we've found that the experience is better when paired with iPhones, as opposed to Google-running smartphones.

The Accomplice is one from the collection that we really enjoyed using alongside Apple's smartphone – and it's a looker too. The 38mm watch is classy, light and fairly slim at 11mm thick.

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 for third party apps, including Instagram and WhatsApp.

The three physical buttons on the side of the watch also offer additional smarts, such as letting you control music playback or take a smartphone selfie, as well as more standard functions, like showing the date, showing a second time zone, starting the stopwatch or ringing your phone.

It's big on style and the smarts are discreet, so if you like that combo, then this could be the hybrid for you.

Wareable verdict: Fossil Q Accomplice review

$155, fossil.com | Amazon

Best hybrid smartwatch for simplicity

Misfit Phase

Best hybrid smartwatches 2017: Nokia, Fossil, Mondaine and more

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.

It 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. It's worth noting that its successor the Misfit Path is on the way maintaining that same sleek design while adding new smarts.

Read now: Misfit Phase review

$149.99, misfit.com | Amazon

Best hybrid smartwatch if money is absolutely no object

Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch Classics

Best hybrid smartwatches 2017: Nokia, Fossil, Mondaine and more

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.

Verdict: Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch Classics review

$1,295, frederiqueconstant.com

Your thoughts…

Have we missed your favourite device off our list? Let us know what you think should have been included and why using the comments section below.


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Fitbit Alta HR
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Garmin Vivosport
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Samsung Gear Fit 2 Pro
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15 Comments

  • John_Maas says:

    The Garmin Vivomove is my favorite. Not just for tracking, but it has the looks as well!

  • Pw1 says:

    This is what I want an analogue watch but with a transparent touch display with notifications & apps, I don't want a display just to tell me the time.

  • vinvin616 says:

    what about the Frederique Constant Horological Smartwatch or the Alpina Horological Smartwatch?

  • esha says:

    What about best option for women?

  • hanleylake says:

    Looking for a watch that always shows the time (without needing to shake it), can be used to track walking, swimming, tennis and hockey, and monitor sleep...and affordable. Does it exist?

    • Oscarius says:

      How about the Garmin vivoactive HR? Costs $250 It's a bit lacking in the looks department, though. A Garmin Fenix 3 HR looks a bit more wristwatch-y, but costs double the Vivoactive HR. 

  • g2move says:

    More of these smart analog watches need second hands! I don't really understand why they don't have them. I'm a nurse and half the reason for wearing a watch is for the second hand. I'd love one of these hybrids but until they create some good ones with second hands I can't purchase one

  • maleica says:

    Which of these or similar watches offer a smart alarm, i.e., waking you during light sleep phases with vibrations or sound (or connecting to the alarm clock on your mobile phone)?

  • ewm003 says:

    I am curious what Wareable thinks of the Kairos hybrid watch, I like the concept a lot but hesitant because of the price. Haven't seen any reviews of it anywhere. 

  • jrxmix says:

    After owning a few different smartwatches, I found myself using my Martian watch the most. I prefer to do everything with my phone so I just want a watch that gives me notifications I may miss. No fitness features, but that's taken care of by the Fitbit Alta on my other wrist. Picked up the Martian Kindred MVip for the girlfriend.

  • zip says:

    my Vote goes to mVoice from Martian, analog with Siri, Google Now or Amazon alexa.

    and I can make or take calls on a stylish watch!

  • andrewjbristow says:

    I like the look and function of the Withings, I had a pop which worked well, so upgraded to the Steel HR, which started very well then two weeks in the alarm stop working and the screen mists up with small changers in temperature, a few people of commented on the misting screen. I am thinking of changing to the Garmin

  • Lokifish says:

    Missed the Smart Movt based watches. The are basically Frederique Constant Notify for a significant fraction of the cost. 

  • MrTed says:

    Hey, how about MIM With about 700 days battery life?

  • Cme525 says:

    hello. What do you think of the Timex metropolitanand the letscom fitness? I need something with a second hand. The gear fit 2 keeps giving me a rash like on my wrist which I can only imagine is the charging ports getting wet. 

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