Fossil is known for stylish smartwatches, many running WearOS and while the Fossil Hybrid HR isn’t their first hybrid smartwatch it looks to be the smartest hybrid smartwatch design yet from any watchmaker.
What’s so great about the Fossil Hybrid HR? How about a 2-week battery life, traditional watch hands, an e-ink low energy customizable display beneath those watch hands, heart rate sensor, sleep tracking, step tracking, notifications, activity tracking, weather, music controls, in a classic good looking watch design available in three different finishes – rose gold, smoke silver and black.
All versions of the Hybrid HR feature a 42mm stainless steel case and a 24mm display area. There is a difference between the Charter and Collider versions of the Hybrid HR in that the Charter has a 18mm wide strap while the Collider sports a 22mm wide strap. The Charter is more for petite wrists I suppose and I’ll be reviewing the rose gold Charter. Besides the different strap sizes and strap material choices, the watch specs are the same in every other way including the 11mm thick case.
The watch is also waterproof to 3ATM which means you should be able to swim with it though it doesn’t track swimming as an activity.
Many are comparing the Fossil Hybrid HR to the late and much beloved Pebble smartwatch that was killed off by Fitbit. Characteristics that it has in common are the e-ink display, battery life, and basic but practical smartwatch features like notifications, step, activity and sleep tracking.
Where it falls short of the Pebble is the ability to respond to notifications but it has its own charm in those cool mechanical watch hands that automatically move out of the way in order for notifications and other data to be read on the display beneath them. It also has a heart rate sensor which the Pebble lacked.
There’s no built-in or connected GPS but the Fossil Hybrid HR is more the type of watch one wears on a daily basis to work or school. It tracks your steps, monitors your heart rate, provides notifications and oh yeah it tells the time. It’s a watch! And it’s also one that doesn’t have to be charged very often.
The Hybrid HR supports activity tracking for a limited number of activities such as running, treadmill, elliptical, weights, and general workouts (a generic category for whatever).
Daily activity tracking can be seen on the display including active minutes – those minutes during the day in which you got your heart rate high enough to count as active minutes.
A more detailed look at the day or week’s weather forecast can also be viewed.
There are three physical buttons on the right side of the case that can be customized. Tapping on the screen will turn on the LED lights for backlighting in dim environments.
There’s no onboard music storage but the Hybrid HR can control whatever music app is playing on your connected smartphone.
The companion smartphone app allows you to customize the display, view more detailed activity and sleep tracking data, and manage other functions of the watch.
I have to admit that I’m excited about this watch because the design is like, duh, why didn’t somebody design a watch like this before? Actually, others have tried. It’s not a new concept but this is the smartest take on it. The e-ink display uses very little battery which makes so much sense for a hybrid smartwatch.
Yes, there are smartwatches that do more like the Apple Watch but not everybody needs or wants all that nor do they want to charge a watch every single day.
I can appreciate both kinds of smartwatches and I’m really looking forward to reviewing the Fossil Hybrid HR and not having to worry about the battery. The full review will be coming very soon!