When it comes to hybrid smartwatches, Fossil or Garmin are among the top brands. Companies like Apple, Fitbit or Samsung don’t offer a hybrid smartwatch, but instead offer the best of smartwatches. Adding to Fossil’s portfolio is the new Hybrid HR wearable. This hybrid smartwatch comes with an innovative e-ink display, and costs Rs 14,995. If you are on the hunt for a decent and affordable hybrid smartwatch, then read our Fossil Collider Hybrid HR review. Also Read - Oppo smartwatch photo hints at a curved display and Google Wear OS
Design, Display and User Interface
The latest wearable from Fossil is a beautiful blend of analog and a monochromatic always-on display. It sports a classic design, which goes with any outfit on any occasion. The bundled black rubber straps are of good quality, making them comfortable to wear the whole day. There are no size options though, and the watch feels a bit too big for someone with slim wrists. Also Read - Skagen Falster 3 smartwatch launched with Wear OS at Rs 21,995
The e-ink display is among the highlights. It not only blends with the overall watch design, but also doesn’t consume a lot of battery. Fossil calls this panel as “read-out” display. This display shows all sorts of app notifications, real-time weather, heart rate, steps, and date and day for at least seven days. Also Read - TicWatch Pro 2020 smartwatch launched: Price, features and more
The low-power display is also easily readable under sunlight. We noticed a visible lag in terms of response when navigating between options as the e-ink display has a low refresh rate. The Fossil Hybrid Smartwatch HR doesn’t come with a touchscreen. Instead there are three side buttons for navigating.
One of the disadvantages of the smartwatch is that in the dark, you won’t be able to check the time. Fossil has added four tiny LEDs and you just need to double-tap the watch, and it will lit up. However, the backlight doesn’t turn on most of the time, which is annoying especially at night. Also, you will have to tap hard enough to turn LEDs on.
There are a total of three buttons, out of which, the middle button looks like a rotatable crown. Long pressing this button opens a menu, where you will find options like Notifications, Music, Workout, Ring My Phone, Wellness, and more. If you press it just once, you will be able to check all the notifications. The watch doesn’t “automatically” clear the notifications, and you will have to manually clear it after checking them.
Fossil Hybrid smartwatch app
You can customize the watch buttons using the Fossil app. So, if you want to use the middle button for music control, you can do that. The app gives several options, and you can set any three at a time as shortcuts. The options include Workout mode, Wellness dashboard, Stopwatch, Timer, Past Notifications, Music Control, and Weather, to name a few.
Fossil’s Hybrid app has an Alerts section, where you can change the Notifications settings as per your preference. You can receive notifications from any app you have installed on your phone. You just need to turn it on in the Fossil app, after installing a new app from Google Play Store. The app also offers you six watch faces, which you might get bored after some time. You can create your own watch face using Gallery photos, but that seems a bit pointless. First of all, the image will be black and white, and second, the four tiny circles will hide the image. Still, the ability to create your own design for a watch face is a nice addition.
There is a Home section in the app, where you will get all the recorded fitness data. There you will find five activity tabs showing steps count, active minutes, calories, heart rate, and sleep. Once you tap on any one of those tabs, you can check detailed activity information for the day, week, and month. The company’s app is very minimalistic and the customization options are limited too.
I did like the fact that I can control my smartphone’s music from the watch, though there’s no option to store music locally. You can pause, play, and change music tracks using the watch while traveling. Do keep in mind that this is a hybrid smartwatch, and you don’t get an option to reply to notifications, of course, as there isn’t a microphone or a touchscreen. The watch allows you to pick and reject calls, which is nice.
While the smartwatch has real analog watch hands, it sometimes gets difficult to check the default screen information like date, weather, etc. Apart from buttons and watch face customization, you can also change the information you would like to see on the default four circles on the hybrid smartwatch, which is nice. You get to choose from seven options, including heart rate, steps, day/date, active minutes, weather, chances of rain, and second-time zone. Simple. The options are pretty limited, but should be enough for hybrid smartwatch users.
Fossil also has a solution to hands blocking your view. You just need to flick your wrist and the hands will move in the opposite direction so that you can easily see the details. Also, when you receive notifications or calls, the watch hands automatically move to the three and nine positions and the message is displayed on the upper and lower sides. The same will also happen when scrolling through menus or notifications.
Is Fossil Hybrid HR a good fitness tracker?
Before diving into the fitness features of this wearable, you should keep in mind that this is a hybrid smartwatch and it is not meant for fitness fanatics. While the device doesn’t support NFC payments and GPS, it does offers you basic fitness tracking features. This Fossil watch can track activities like treadmill running, Weights, Run, and elliptical training. It can also keep a track of your steps, calories burned, resting and active heart rate, active minutes as well as sleeping patterns.
The smartwatch registered steps close to accurate, as I manually counted steps to check its precision. The results are, of course, not completely accurate, but you do get a sense of an idea, which is normally the case with basic fitness trackers. Unfortunately, the Fossil Hybrid HR even recorded steps when I was traveling in a cab or train. We also noticed that when the smartwatch is not worn and you turn on the workout mode, it shows fake results. This is quite disappointing, and Fossil should take a note of it and fix it.
There’s also an optical heart-rate sensor, which can keep track of your resting and active heart rate all day, and the results here too are not highly accurate. Also, there is no option to manually turn off the continuous heart rate monitoring system or set a time. It tracks heart-rate every one or two minutes. The wearable did a good job of detecting sleep duration, and it also measures heart-rate during sleep, which is nice. You’ll get a detailed overview of your night’s sleep in the app, and it also displays the time when you fell asleep and when you woke up in the morning. The details here are accurate, and you get deep and light sleep details as well.
The Fossil Hybrid HR could also have offered features including the ability to track body energy levels, blood pressure, cycling, and hydration, considering its price. It is also worth noting that smart wearable is waterproof to 3 ATM.
The Fossil Hybrid HR’s e-ink display doesn’t drain much battery. The company claims that its latest wearable can last for two weeks. With continuous heart rate monitoring, one hour workout, and everything else turned on, the watch delivered six days of battery life with 10 percent still left. You can get nearly eight days of battery with limited usage. In the box, you get a USB charging cable, which takes 1 hour 10 minutes to fully top up the battery of the device.
Fossil Hybrid HR smartwatch: Should you buy it?
The Fossil Hybrid HR is priced at Rs 14,995 in India. The hybrid smartwatch is purely for those who prefer looks over fitness features. There is no doubt that this wearable has a gorgeous design, but you cannot rely on this watch when it comes to fitness. Yes, the watch can monitor your heart rate, basic activities and track sleep. The device also allows you to control music, and you can get six days of battery, which should be enough for a hybrid watch lover.
If you are looking for a good-looking analog watch, which can also track very basic activities and show you notifications, you can add this watch to your buying list. However, if you are serious are about fitness and tracking exercise, we would recommend you to opt for a full-fledged smartwatch.