If you’re anything like me you probably can’t walk past a watch shop window without looking longingly at the immaculate time pieces in the window. There is something about their elegant, simplistic look which makes them timeless (no pun intended) and they work so well when worn with your every day work wear or when going out on the town.

Of course, times move on and people now have different priorities and want their watch to provide alarms, notifications and fitness tracking. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a fitness tracker that looked like a watch? Unsurprisingly manufacturers have now caught on to this trend and are starting to produce what are known as hybrid smartwatches. They combine the classic look of a classic analog watch and pair it with bluetooth connected smart watch technology that tracks your daily activity.

The idea is that you should not be able to tell that your device is a fitness tracker. It should give you access to all the latest technology whilst still looking like a traditional analogue watch. There are different ways of achieving this goal including providing discreet screens as part of the watch face or via an app. You have to decide if you would be more comfortable with an all out smart watch or happy to make the compromise between style and technology in a hybrid smartwatch. If it is the latter we have compiled a list of

Fitness trackers that look like watches

1. Garmin vívomove HR

Garmin vívomove HR fitness tracker that looks like a watchThe Garmin vívomove HR is a stylish hybrid watch. It comes with a touch screen but when not in use all you can see is the traditional hands so it looks like your average watch. The touch screen is used to show you messages and text. The hands are displayed all the time and they are set at the right time via the app. If you do need to read some text they helpfully move out of the way. Although some people report that they do struggle to see the screen in certain light due to reflections  With the hands and the screen you are typically looking at around a week of battery life before a charge is needed.

As you would expect with a Garmin watch the fitness tracking capabilities are good. Unusually for a hybrid watch it has V02 Max to monitor your stress level. In addition you get notification support, a heart rate monitor, silent alarms, auto activity tracking and the ability to take it swimming

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2. Nokia Steel HR

Nokia Steel HR fitness tracker that looks like a watchNot as fully featured as a smart watch the Steel HR is great at what it does. It couples good lucks with good fitness tracking credentials. It tries to do a limited amount and do it well and keeps the functionality tight. You have the ability to monitor heart rate, sleep, calories burnt, steps and calorie burn. The small dial will show you percentage completion to your daily step target In addition you get something known as a smart wake up alarm. The idea being it wakes you up at an optimal time whilst you are in your lightest sleep based on its tracking data. It comes with a very easy read to display, decent battery life  and a good app in the shape of Nokia Health Mate which will also allow you to hook up some Nokia Body+ scales. The strap it comes with out of the box probably isn’t too everyone’s taste and can be changed to a more classical magnetic steel one. The other notable downside is the lack of customisation possible to the alarms.

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3. Kate Spade New York Holland Hybrid Smartwatch

Kate Spade New York Holland Hybrid SmartwatchAvailable in numerous watch faces the stylish and good looking New York Holland may look like a watch but is a fitness tracker in disguise. Powered by a CR2142 battery the lack of screen helps to provide 6 months of life before it needs changing. It can track sleep, steps and countdown events with the 0 to 100 scale at the top of the watch face showing progress towards your step target. It lacks a heart rate monitor and is water resistant to 30 metres.

To work at its best you will need to use the watch with the app and that is thought to be confusing but also enables you to hook your watch up to other useful functionality such as the ability to take pictures and control music playback on your phone.

Check the latest price for the New York Holland at Amazon.

 

4. Withings Activité Pop

Withings Activité Pop fitness tracker that looks like a watchAlthough a bit older than some of the trackers here the Activité Pop is still just about holding its own at the cheaper end of the scale for hybrid smart watches. It is the type of tracker that works with activity throughout the day and not steps. There is a small dial in the bottom right hand corner shows how much you have completed of your daily goal.
The data that feeds this dial is also sent to your phone via a typical sync process. Within the app you can then configure things further.  Lacking features like a backlight, multiple alarms and the date on the watch display you will also miss out on some of the functionality available in future trackers.

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5. Timex IQ+ Move

Timex IQ+ MoveThe IQ+ Move has a traditional looking watch face and comes with the ability to change the straps to suit your taste. Lurking behind the analogue design however is a fitness tracker. It will monitor steps, calories burned, distance and sleep metrics such as time awake and deep and light sleep phases.. Water resistant to 50 metres a traditional watch battery provides long battery life should last a few months before needing replacing. The face itself has a secondary dial in the bottom right which shows your progress towards your daily activity goal. This will only get you so far. More advanced features are provided by a Bluetooth connection to the Timex Connected App (works on IOS and Android) which also set the time and date on the watch. As apps go the reputation isn’t great and general reviews seem to state it is prone to error. However, you might get more accurate step tracking by hooking the watch to your phones GPS to increase the accuracy of distance tracking.

The main method of interacting with the watch is by using the 3 buttons on the right hand side of the watch face. The middle button enables the Indiglo feature which illuminates the dial so you can read it in the dark for approximately 5 seconds. If held for longer it also initiates synching from the watch to the app. The other buttons depend on settings in the app but the general premise is they make the hands of the watch move to show the date or the time in another time zone or number of steps taken.

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6. MyKronoz ZeTime

Timex IQ+ MoveThe ZeTime began life as a Kickstarter project and takes a different tack to other watches here by providing a touch screen and overlaying mechanical hands above it. So maybe you get the best of both worlds. You pay the price for this wizardry with a shorter battery life of around 3-5 days for the screen and 30 days for the hands. In keeping with doing things slightly differently this watch also shuns common operating systems and uses its own which probably shows in some of its implementations of common features. However, it seems that every software update is moving it ever closer to where it needs to be. If you’re wondering what happens to the hand if you get a message they cleverly move out of the way which is quite neat.

It is stylish and people are bound to comment on its good looks. The good stuff is that you can get notifications from your favourite apps, it is has a heart rate monitor, sleep tracker and pedometer and you don’t have to wait for the screen to come on every time you lift your wrist due to the mechanical hands. The bad stuff is the custom OS not having had the issues ironed out just yet including how hard it is to get it to play music.

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7. Skagen Jorn Hybrid

Skagen Jorn Hybrid fitness tracker looking like a watchSkagen have quite a selection fo hybrid smart watches on their books. The good looking Skagen Jorn Hybrid has quite a slim design and when you look at it you wouldn’t think it had any technological features.This is a testament to the design. This watch comes with all your classic fitness tracking features of activity (steps walked, distance travelled, calories burned) and goal tracking which are then synced back to the app. Other smart watch type features are the ability to control your phone’s music and camera and notification alerts from your apps. Notifications work by configuring the app to set each person or apps as a specific indicator or hour on the watch face. As soon as you receive a notification the indicator you will feel a vibration and the indicator will move to the correct person for you to work out where it came from. Not to everyone’s tase and can be a little confusing. This is compounded by the fact that the numbers on the clock face are quite small and hard to read.  Some other downsides are that there is no heart rate monitoring, the vibrating alerts are too weak and there is no timer or stopwatch functionality.

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8. Misfit Command

Misfit Command fitness tracker that looks like a watchIn common with most watches here the Command lets you set up vibration alerts for calls, texts and app notifications. You configure these in the Link App and the watch will then point to the relevant icon in the sub dial. You also have the ability to perform other smart actions such as controlling the camera or music on your phone or find your phone by ringing it. The watch itself is water resistant to 50 metres and can be used in conjunction with the lap counting upgrade from Speedo which can track how far you swam in both 25 and 50 metre pool. The battery lasts around one year and you can track steps, distance, calories and sleep metrics.

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9. Fossil

Fossil fitness tracker with watch face
Fossil have lots of choice in this area and if you visit their website you will be able to see for yourself. That being said if you want some guidance our favourite would be the Fossil Q commuter watch. In common with lots of these watches numbers are quite small to read which may cause a few issues as an actual watch It admittedly looks great and you can control functions on your phone through the 3 buttons on the side. With this watch everything has to be done in the app including setting the alarms and also configuring how notifications work.

 

Conclusion

Hybrid smart watches are a relatively new category of fitness tracker. As such, some ideas are still finding their feet in how to implement them as well as the current innovative solutions. In our view, a hybrid smart watch would suit somebody who loves traditional watches but still wants to have a good idea of their daily activity.