Best Hybrid Smartwatches

Updated February 2019
Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
Bottom Line
Pros
Cons
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

48 Models Considered
10 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
411 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.

Shopping guide for best hybrid smartwatches

Last Updated February 2019

These days, gadget fanatics are crazy about their smartwatches — it feels like you can’t go out in public anymore without seeing at least a few people wearing Apple Watches or Android Wear smartwatches. But smartwatches aren’t for everyone, and they have some key drawbacks, namely that most of them only last a day on single battery charge.

Thankfully, watch purists have another option: hybrid smartwatches. Hybrid smartwatches are traditional watches complete with moving hands and gears that incorporate key smartwatch functionality like notifications and fitness tracking. They look like normal watches, but they can provide haptic feedback vibrations and monitor key health metrics like your heart rate or daily step count. While hybrid smartwatches don’t have a touchscreen to interact with, they use Bluetooth to communicate with an app on your smartphone so you can customize your experience. Perhaps best of all, all the big names in wristwatches — from Fossil to Rolex — are getting in on the fun, so if you’re a watch connoisseur, you won’t have to compromise your taste.

Whether you’re looking for your first hybrid smartwatch or a new upgrade for your existing one, we’ve got you covered.

A few select hybrid smartwatches have integrated touch screens, although they typically only cover a portion of the watchface. Touchscreens on a watch can be fun, but they eat a lot of battery, so if your main motivation for buying a hybrid smartwatch is for the battery life, avoid models with touchscreens.

Key considerations

Hybrid smartwatches are lifestyle devices, so the one that’s right for you is going to depend heavily on how you plan to use it. Before you start comparing models, consider these questions to help you narrow your search.

  • Do you have a favorite brand of traditional watches? If you’re a fan of a particular watch brand, you’ll want to explore their particular hybrid smartwatches. Most established wristwatch brands make hybrid versions of their most popular designs, so you can stick with your favorite brand without having to sacrifice any functionality (or fun).

  • Are you a serious swimmer? One of the biggest advantages that hybrid smartwatches have over regular smartwatches is that they can be truly waterproof. Some smartwatches will claim to be waterproof, but that usually only means they’ll be fine if you accidently shower with one on. With hybrid smartwatches, waterproof models can be submerged up to 150 meters without a problem — so if you’re serious about spending time in the water, you’ll want to pick up one that’s truly waterproof.

  • Do you want to use your smartwatch to help you achieve your fitness goals? Some (but not all) hybrid smartwatches support fitness tracking activities like step counting, heart rate monitoring, and sleep tracking. As you’re comparing different models, keep track of which ones support your favorite fitness activities.

Headline: A Fossil for the future

Fossil’s Activist is one of our favorite hybrid smartwatches because it’s an outstanding watch to begin with, and the added functionality makes it nearly perfect. The customizable button is perfect for personalizing your watch, and it’s got glow-in-the-dark watch hands. It’s also one of the few hybrid smartwatches that integrates with Apple’s HomeKit, which is a huge plus for iPhone users.

Features

It can be hard to differentiate hybrid smartwatches because they look so much like traditional watches, but there are definitely some key differentiators in the tech inside. Here are the four hybrid smartwatch features to pay attention to.

  • Programmable buttons: Many hybrid smartwatches have a physical button that can be programmed to support a specific functionality. For example, on some hybrid smartwatches, you can program the button to make your phone emit a sound in case you can’t find it, or get live updates on traffic.

  • Extra-long battery life: Most hybrid smartwatches have great battery life, especially when compared with traditional smartwatches; you can expect most models to last at least a month on a single watch battery. However, some models offer extended battery life, so a single battery can last up to six months. If you often forget to charge your devices, go for a hybrid smartwatch with an extended battery life.

  • Health and wellness features: The majority of hybrid smartwatches support fitness tracking, but the devil is in the details. Sometimes that can mean a full complement of services from step counting to heart rate monitoring, and other times, it means the watch only handles sleep tracking.

  • Build quality and materials: The hybrid smartwatch marketplace is just as diverse as its traditional counterpart, and that means your options will range from cheap models with silicone bands to name-brand luxury editions. If you’re selective about your watches and prefer things like leather bands or high-end finishes, you don’t have to make any compromises with a hybrid smartwatch.
EXPERT TIP

If you buy a hybrid smartwatch that has a programmable button, look up what special functionality you can use it with. In some cases you can get some specific, useful information like traffic updates on your daily commute.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

If you need your hybrid smartwatch notifications to be audible, find one with a speaker. Most hybrid smartwatches rely on haptic feedback vibrations to get your attention, but a few models also support notification tones.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

Most hybrid smartwatches rely on a traditional watch batteries (the kind shaped like thin disks) instead of rechargeable internal lithium-ion batteries, so there’s no need for a charging cable.


Staff  | BestReviews
EXPERT TIP

If you’ll be wearing your hybrid smartwatch at night, get one with glow-in-the-dark watch hands — that way you’ll always be able to see what time it is.


Staff  | BestReviews

Hybrid smartwatch prices

Most entry level hybrid smartwatches cost between $50 and $100. Watches in this range are fairly straightforward, featuring simple designs and budget materials like fake leather or silicone. If you prefer functionality over looks, you’ll find a lot to like in this price range.

The best values in hybrid smartwatches cost between $100 and $150. Hybrid smartwatches in this range offer a strong compromise between features like fitness tracking and popular styles like gold accents or mesh watch bands. If you want the full experience of a hybrid smartwatch will all the bells and whistles and you don’t need high-end looks, stick to this price range.

Luxury hybrid smartwatches start at $150 and can be as expensive as $500. Watches in this price range are functionally equivalent to less-expensive models, but they often carry designer brand names. If you’re a fashion mogul, you’ll want to look closely at hybrid smartwatches in this range. Otherwise, you don’t need to spend this much.

Headline: Timeless elegance, modern convenience

Michael Kors’ Hutton hybrid smartwatches are part luxury watch, part smartwatch, and all class. The programmable button controls the smaller dial on the watch face, and you can customize it to display anything from alternate time zones to your next alarm. It’s on the expensive end, but watches of this quality usually are.

Tips

  • When comparing different hybrid smartwatches, spend time focusing on reviews of their respective companion apps. All hybrid smartwatches communicate with your smartphone through custom apps, so a lot of your experience with your watch will actually take place on your phone. Some hybrid smartwatch apps are intuitive and fun to use, while others are clunky and barely functional. As you’re reading reviews, take note of how people describe the app — it could help you make your purchase decision and save you from a sub-par experience.

  • If you’re interested in using a hybrid smartwatch specifically for tracking your sleep, get a thinner model. Sleep tracking is great for anyone who wants to learn how to get better Zs at night, but it requires you wear your watch all night long. Sleeping with a watch isn’t usually a big deal, but if you buy a bulky one, you might have trouble sleeping with it. Thinner hybrid smartwatches are usually easier to sleep with, so pay attention to how thick each model is so your watch can track your sleep and not disrupt it.

  • Before you start shopping, decide what size watch you want. Hybrid smartwatches come in various sizes, typically ranging anywhere from 38mm to 52mm. You’ll want to buy one that’s the right size for your wrist, so make sure you know your ideal size before you buy. If you’re not sure, check the size of any watches you already own.

Other products we considered

Trasense’s Hybrid Smartwatch offers affordable luxury. Its stainless steel strap and sapphire dial window make it one of the most elegant models available, despite its affordable price tag. It’s got two batteries — one for the basic functionality, one for the smart functionality — and it can go up to 50 days without needing to be recharged. If you need a simple smartwatch that doesn’t require a lot of care and feeding, this is a great option.

We also love Inchor’s Hybrid Smartwatch because it takes health tracking seriously while still looking like a fancy wristwatch. Beyond the standard heart rate monitor, it can track your blood pressure, which is an incredibly rare feature. No matter what your fitness goals are, or even if you just want to maintain your current level of health, Inchor’s hybrid smartwatch can help.

Many hybrid smartwatches are marketed as being specifically for men or for women, but there’s nothing inherently gendered about them. Worry less about who your favorite smartwatch is being marketed to and more about making sure it’s the right purchase for you.

FAQ

Q. Can I set an alarm using a hybrid smartwatch?

A. Yes. Hybrid smartwatches can receive notifications from your smartphone, so the best way to set an alarm is to establish the alarm on your phone and then enable notification feedback on your hybrid smartwatch.

Q. Can I use a hybrid smartwatch to make and receive phone calls from my smartphone?

A. You can only receive calls on select models. To use your watch as an extension of your phone, you’ll need a hybrid smartwatch that has both a speaker and a microphone. A few models out there have them, but they’re rare. Just be forewarned: using your watch to conduct phone calls is a battery-killer, so consider it carefully before you buy a hybrid smartwatch that can take phone calls.

Q. Why do some hybrid smartwatches have GPS?

A. Some hybrid smartwatches are made for runners, and with GPS, they can track their runs. Having GPS on board your hybrid smartwatch can be really useful for seeing the path your runs take or tracking your running distances, but like most add-on functionality, GPS can be a battery hog, so expect models with GPS to have shorter lifespans before needing new batteries.

The team that worked on this review
  • Devangana
    Devangana
    Web Producer
  • Eliza
    Eliza
    Production Manager
  • Enid
    Enid
    Editor
  • Jacob
    Jacob
    Editorial Manager
  • Jaime
    Jaime
    Writer
  • Katherine
    Katherine
    Editor
  • Katie
    Katie
    Editorial Director
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Melissa
    Melissa
    Senior Editor

BestReviews wants to be better. Please take our 3-minute survey,
and give us feedback about your visit today.

Take Survey