Hybrid smartwatches: The best of both worlds

Varun Agarwal | Updated on: May 23, 2018

Straddling the traditional and digital, they are ideal for those who don’t want to make a total switch

A set of smartwatches are gradually taking over the market, which let you track your daily steps, sleep cycles, connect to your smartphone for alerts and yet do not require regular charging. We are talking about hybrid smartwatches.

For watch enthusiasts who like a hint of old school conventions, yet are inquisitive about smartwatches, hybrids are a great match.

They bring the best of two worlds together — classic quartz movement and modern features. Besides striking looks, they feature an enormous battery life, Bluetooth connectivity, are gesture enabled and have an app of their own.

Most hybrid watches rely on traditional batteries, which means they do not require a charge for up to a year. The alerts are subtle — you’ll get call alerts, message alerts, the ability to track your phone, without letting anyone get a hint that you’re actually using a watch with smart features.

We went around town to check what’s in store for you.

Titan WE: The classic Indian watch brand was one of the earlier adopters of smart hybrid technology. And with Titan WE, the Tata group company goes a step further with a specialised women’s watch focussed around safety and well being.

The new Titan watch looks just like any other elegant offering from the company, with almost no signs of smart features on it. It is divided into two — quartz movement and smart movement. To enable smart features, the watch needs to be charged everyday and tracks your fitness along with keeping you safe. This means that even if the technology goes obsolete and you no longer want to use smart features, you can still continue using it as a regular quartz watch.

With safety in mind, Titan allows women to alert friends and family with a press of a button in case of an emergency situation. It also lets you track steps taken, distance covered, while allowing you to challenge friends using the Buddies feature. Another feature that is arguably useless, the watch lets your special someone know you are thinking of them using a dedicated button on the watch.

While it is a good attempt from Titan, we felt the mobile app that is required to customise alerts needs a lot of work. Plus, the need to charge the watch everyday if you want to use smart features is a let-down.

Price: ₹10,495

Emporio Armani Connected: Emporio Armani brings in a lot of smartwatch features with its Connected hybrid by taking the lead and defining how smart alerts should be on a hybrid watch.

The elegantly designed watch offers a premium finish, something you’d expect from Armani. A simple design with just the date and time visible on the dial, it stays away from the clutter of a typical smartwatch. You can however check the status of your fitness goals or buzz your phone in case you’re unable to locate it by pressing one of the three buttons on the side.

It can also tell you who is calling or texting you, including WhatsApp — all without pulling out your smartphone.

Connected to your phone via Bluetooth, the watch still gives you a battery life of up to a year, depending on how many alerts you’ve set on it.

The biggest drawback of the watch however, is that you can’t adjust the time without using its app on your smartphone. Which means if the company stops supporting the app, your watch can turn useless.

Price: ₹25,995

Fossil Q Machine: The Fossil Q interface is that of a traditional timepiece, but the hands on the watch tell you more than just time. You can customise it with the mobile app in a way that whenever your spouse calls you, for example, the watch will buzz and the time shown on it could be 3’o clock. A call from your best friend could show 5’o clock. The watch allows you to set 12 such alerts. You can store the numbers of 12 important contacts, each of which will be represented by the time displayed. Calls and texts from everyone, or from specific contacts, can be assigned and so too can notifications from any app.

A second dial marked by the word ‘Hybrid’ performs several functions. The first is a constant read-out of the percentage of your daily step goal completed. Fossil not only manufactures its own branded watches but also watches for several fashion brands such as Emporio Armani, Diesel, Michael Kors and Skagen. This makes the Q Machine’s features strikingly similar to those present in Emporio Armani Connected. However, at about half the price, the Q Machine offers more information on the watch dial itself, making it a more practical watch to own.

Like most Fossil watches, the Q Machine comes with an easily replaceable strap.

Price: ₹13,495

Frederique Constant Horological: Hybrids are not limited just to fashion brands.

They have caught the fancy of Swiss luxury watch-makers too and Frederique Constant Horological is one such example.

The latest hybrid from the Swiss watch-maker keeps things rather simple with a mechanical manufacture-made movement tied with smart features.

It comes with features such as step tracking, sleep tracking and a second time zone. Its companion app goes a step further and gives you health tips based on your stats.

The watch is a perfect example of how you can combine fine Swiss craftsmanship with technology.

If you’re a watch collector, you won’t be disappointed about its longevity, unlike typical smartwatches that’ll go obsolete in a couple of years. This one will stay classic.

Price: ₹98,900

Published on May 23, 2018

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