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The Insider Pick:
A hybrid smartwatch should give you a traditional watch face, along with subtle notifications. The design should be so good that you don’t even notice it’s a hybrid smart watch until you receive an alert. The Garmin Vivomove HR Premium watch hits all the right notes when it comes to the best mixture of style and usefulness.
Fitness trackers and smartwatches help you track your exercise, pass along your smartphone notifications, and give you not-so-subtle reminders to stand up and move throughout the day. They’re handy pieces of technology.
But now that they’ve been around for a few years and the thrill of the new tech has worn off, we’ve realized something else: A lot of them are ugly or boring looking. The worst ones almost look like something you’d be forced to wear after aliens take over the planet in 2054 and use them to track the locations of the human population.
Tech companies have tried redoing the fitness tracking watch, adding some bling here and there, but it’s tough to change the basic look of the smartwatch because of the larger battery you need to power that screen. Wristwatches have been used as pieces of jewelry for centuries, and people want the things they wear to look good.
Enter smart analog hybrid watches. These look like wristwatches, but they have fitness tracking capabilities built into them. Some of them have tiny screens hidden in the watch face, but most rely on connecting with a smartphone app to present you with your tracking data. They can also buzz with notifications and automatically change time zones when you travel.
These wrist watches meet the expectations we have for men’s fashion with large watch faces that look great. They pull design ideas from high-end Swiss watches, so you’ll like wearing them and showing them off, rather than trying to hide them under a long sleeve shirt. Many fashion brands have gotten in on the trend, too, including Fossil, Skagen, Armani Exchange, and others.
Read on in the slides below to check out our top picks.The best hybrid smartwatch overall
Why you’ll love it: If your primary goal with a hybrid watch is to mix a traditional design with the latest tech, the Garmin Vivomove HR Premium does it best.
A hybrid watch should look like a stylish watch with traditional hands and a dial on the outside, while packing fitness tracking, notifications, and other techy features on the inside. The Garmin Vivomove HR Premium does the best job of meshing a traditional watch design with a tiny screen and high-tech features.
The Vivomove HR Premium even has a heart rate monitor, which is quite unusual in hybrid watches because the sensors tend to add a bit of bulk. The heart rate monitor improves the accuracy of your fitness metrics and gives you more detail when you look in the app for your stats.
You can also see basic fitness metrics like step count, mileage, calorie burn, and more on the tiny screen that’s embedded into the watch’s face. One Amazon buyer pointed out that there’s no built-in GPS on this watch and said the heart rate monitor isn’t always accurate, but the watch can use your phone’s GPS to track your movements.
The small screen also shows text message notifications if you want it to, which is a neat feature. The watch has decent battery life, too, though you will have to charge it after about 5 days. Expert reviewers at Wareable, TechRadar, and Stuff gave it good reviews, as have many buyers.
Pros: Stylish watch face, notification screen along the bottom half of the watch face is subtle, sharp and easy-to-read screen, fitness tracking, good app, strong battery life, heart rate monitor
Cons: Price is a little high, no built-in GPS, heart rate measurements aren’t always accurate
The best stylish hybrid smartwatch
Why you’ll love it: Style is an important aspect of the Emporio Armani Hybrid Smartwatch, but it also has smart features like activity tracking and notifications.
The Emporio Armani Hybrid Watch might appear at first glance as though it emphasizes style over smart features, but that’s not true. Even though it’s a great looking watch, Emporio Armani didn’t forget about adding plenty of smart features that you’ll love.
It looks like a classic Armani watch in terms of design. It has a bold watch face, a subdial that shows how close you are to reaching your fitness goals, and a sleek leather strap. You can also swap that strap out for others if you prefer metal or something else.
As for smart features, the watch tracks your steps, buzzes with notifications, and offers a silent alarm. You can coordinate all the functions and set up notifications in the companion app. One Amazon buyer likes the easy-to-use smartwatch features a lot.
Digital Trends’ review highlighted the premium looking design and liked the mix of techy features with Armani’s classic style. The reviewer noted that the watch looks more expensive than it actually is.
Pros: Great-looking, style and quality, looks like it costs more than it does, strong battery life, nice collection of smart features
Cons: Wristband quality doesn’t match watch’s quality, pricey
The best classic hybrid smartwatch
Why you’ll love it: The Fossil Q Grant hybrid watch has a classic, stylish look that blends right in, but it can also track your activity and buzz with notifications.
If you like a men’s wristwatch to be a bit chunky with a classic dial, you’ll love Fossil’s line of hybrid watches, especially the Fossil Q Grant. It delivers just the kind of look you’re seeking, with its wide and thick watch case. Fossil has tons of other designs that have the same functions if the Grant isn’t your speed.
The Q Grant measures 15mm in thickness and 44mm on the frame, which gives it a chunky, manly design. You can choose between a silver, gold, or black metal casing and the corresponding watch face dial colors. Fossil also sells a number of different straps to go with the watch, so whether you want leather or metal, there’s a pick for you.
In terms of smart features, the Q Grant tracks your activity and sleep, it buzzes with notifications, and it has programmable buttons to control your music, trigger the selfie camera, and more. One Amazon reviewer says the ability to sort the notifications and only receive alerts about certain messages is a great feature.
The app is simple and easy to use, and you can set up all your preferences there. The watch battery inside should last about a year, depending on how many notifications you get.
However, a few Amazon reviewers are disappointed in the longevity of the watch, as well as the fact that the watch face seems to be easy to scratch. Longevity complaints are fairly rare, though, and the watch is rated for water resistance up to 5 ATM.
Pros: Large watch face, classic design, solid look and feel, easy to use app, customize the types of notifications you receive, easy to set up
Cons: Watch face seems to be easier to scratch than some others
SEE ALSO: The best hybrid smartwatches for women
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