The Fossil Hybrid HR is the company’s first trial at making and creating a hybrid smartwatch from scratch. It is aimed at people who do want a smartwatch but are not convinced to merely wear a watch with a display on their wrists. They still want the smartwatch functionally but are more leaned towards the analogue looking that they have been wearing for quite some time. Fossil seems to have found the formula to keep them happy and it is an attempt to break out from the regular smartwatch tradition.
Wearing a smartwatch does not essentially mean just heartbeat tracking, push notifications from the phone, etc. But sometimes a watch that has several other functions is what people look for.
How does it look?
While the design is an integral part of any tech product, the Fossil Hybrid HR smartwatch ticks all the boxes in the design department. The Hybrid HR makes up for your fashion statement with all modern features underneath it. The folks at Fossil’s design department seem to have struck the bells. Surrounded by metal on all sides and with the sturdy build along with super comfortable straps for long time usage. Turn the watch around and you can see the heart rate sensor coming to life at regular intervals. That is where it gives away its digital side otherwise it’s hardly distinguishable from an analogue watch. The right side of the watch has three push-type buttons for making interactions and settings to the watch. Sadly the watch face is not touchscreen; Yes, you read it right. The watch size is good for most people except for people with very slim wrists. But Fossil sure deserves a round of applause for its design of the Hybrid HR.
Moving on to the display, underneath the regular watch that you see, is the most interesting part. A digital display is what holds the stage under the analogue counterpart of the Hybrid HR. The display is a 1.06-inch e-ink display that takes care of displaying the notifications and other functions. E-ink displays are good, especially when it comes to consuming power and that is negligible. It is not out of the world but sure gets the job done. Readability under sunlight is adequate and there is hardly anything to nitpick about the display.
There is one thing you will notice is the slow refresh rate of the display. Inputs could take a half a second to show up but this is something I can live with. However, the display not being touch-enabled will make you reach for the buttons more often than you realize. The hands in the watch are programmed to move to 3 and 9 markers which give you a full view of the display without blocking the view and that is something useful. The hands return to their positions as soon as you are done with interacting with the watch. A flick of your wrist does the job of getting the hands away from your view and that is cool. Now comes the part where I tell you that the display is not backlit. Fossil has managed to put some LEDs behind it so to make it visible in the dark. Double tapping the watch face brings up the lights but again it is like a hit or miss situation. I truly wish Fossil incorporates a backlit display in the next version.
How does it perform?
The Fossil Hybrid HR uses Fossil’s in-house OS and can be paired up with Fossil’s Hybrid Companion app which is available for both iOS and Android operating systems. It is endowed with a lot of features. Yes, the watch does look analogue and seems to support basic functions, it does more than you could expect it to do. You can interact with the notifications, accept calls, and clear notifications. The inputs do feel a bit laggy at times but that is not the end. The watch face allows you to customize it with basic wallpaper and weather and some health-related info if you are into fitness. That said, this watch packs a lot for fitness enthusiasts underneath its analogue skin. You get regular readings for heart rate, workout timings, and the total amount of calories burnt. The sleep tracking feature allows you to monitor your sleep which I found pretty useful. While all this data might not be the most accurate when compared to dedicated fitness watches, the Fossil Hybrid HR will get most of us going. Finally, the battery life needs to be highlighted here. It lasted a whopping 10 days on a single charge with regular use without taking it off while some lighter use will see the battery last up to 2 weeks which is very impressive.
Price: INR 14,995/-
Should you buy it?
If you are someone who thinks smartwatches should look like a normal watch, this is for you. The Fossil Hybrid HR Smartwatch packs an analogue punch with an e-ink display, great design and an array of features paired with excellent battery life. However, if you are looking to have dedicated features and a better display, the market is just flooded with options.