It is widely believed that smartwatches have a future and analogue watches have little life left, unless, of course, they take on some of the features of their utility-rich ‘smart’ counterparts. The Fossil Hybrid HR is one product that bears testimony to this assumption. As the name suggests, this watch is a hybrid of analogue and smart digital wrist watches. Its analogue-like design and smartwatch-like utility justify its hybrid title.
The Fossil Hybrid HR seems to be a new-age analogue watch with smartwatch-like features. But does it succeed in delivering the best of both worlds? Let’s find out:
This is one area where the Fossil Hybrid HR exceeds your expectations. It does not have ordinary looks, thanks to its classic circular 42-mm stainless steel case of a smoked colour. On the top of the case, there is a circular digital e-Ink display (non-touch), for smartwatch-related utilities, with a physical dial at the circumference, and hands for hour and minute readings pinned at the centre. The right side of the case has three keys that are all it has for navigation and operation, since there is no touchscreen. At the bottom, there is a slightly raised optical heart rate sensor for health and fitness tracking, and pogo pin connector for charging through the supplied magnetic cradle.
Overall, the Fossil Hybrid HR is a well-built watch with a captivating design which blends well with most clothing styles. Moreover, its stainless steel strap is easy to wear and oozes luxury; you can change them for leather straps (sold separately) if you like.
The Fossil Hybrid HR is not a smartwatch. It is an analogue watch with some smartwatch-like features, including heart rate tracking, activity tracking, music controls, notifications alerts and weather information. You can use it as a standalone device and still check basic information like time, date, heart rate, step counts and more – thanks to its e-Ink display. Connect with a smartphone (iOS and Android) and the watch syncs data with the Fossil app (requires pairing the watch with a smartphone), which is easy to use and represents data in colourful and interactive form. Moreover, the app is required for customising the widgets available on its e-Ink display and the watch’s physical buttons. The watch also receives the phone’s notifications (when connected), and the Fossil app allows you to set up apps that can send notifications to the watch.
Utility and performance
The Fossil Hybrid HR has a mixed utility. It is less intrusive but functional. However, it is not perfect. The e-Ink display has a low refresh rate which results in stuttering. The display is not backlit but has lights which are activated by double tapping on the watch’s face mirror. The double tap does not always work. Besides, the lack of a touchscreen restricts the watch’s operations to its three-button layout on the right side of the case. Though they are customisable, it takes time to get used to the buttons for navigating around and using the watch’s features.
As for the health and fitness tracking features, the watch’s heart rate sensor is neither responsive nor accurate. It registers heart rate but shows vast deviations in data, making the reading unreliable. The watch lacks GPS, so you cannot track your outdoor runs. Moreover, the activity tracking feature is also a mixed bag and does not always work as intended.
Though the watch’s performance is nothing to write home about, its on-battery time is exceptional. On full charge, the watch goes on for more than two weeks. Charging time is also good: The watch takes around two hours to get a full charge from zero to 100 per cent. Unfortunately, the watch does not support wireless charging and comes with Fossil’s pogo pin-based charging cradle, which is the only means to charge the watch.
At Rs 16,495, the Fossil Hybrid HR is a step forward in the right direction for analogue watches. It might not be a full-fledged smartwatch, and has a limited set of features. Yet, it makes a wholesome package for someone who is out in the market for a wrist watch that can offer the best of both worlds – analogue and smart. The Fossil Hybrid HR is a design marvel and less intrusive in operations than smartwatches, and its utility goes beyond that of basic time-telling watches.