The Hybrid HR from Fossil looks like a classic ladies' watch. A closer look reveals that it is more than that. I wore the hybrid of analog watch and smart watch on my wrist for two weeks – and tested it extensively.
The first impression: impeccable look
There is nothing to complain about optically: the Fossil Hybrid HR looks chic. The rose gold mesh bracelet is modern and casual-noble, fits almost any outfit and is unobtrusive.
The Fossil watch is quite thick and has a relatively large dial, so you shouldn't have a too narrow wrist. A dial with pointers is located above the smart e-ink display, whose display is reminiscent of an e-book.
Battery: two weeks runtime
Before starting to set up, I need to charge the watch's battery. A charging station with USB interface is included. 30 minutes is enough and the battery lasts for two weeks. Top runtime!
Important: The mesh band is very wide at the factory, so the watch should slip on your wrist. You can pry open the clasp with a cent piece and tighten the bracelet. Unfortunately, the watch did not come with any instructions, so YouTube had to help me. That gives a point deduction.
Tricky: I have to move the Fossil Hybrid HR lock first before putting it on.
First steps: connect and prettify
An enclosed information sheet including QR code tells me that I need an app to set up the Fossil Hybrid HR. I download the Fossil Hybrid app and find that it guides me foolproof through the first steps. But then comes the point where I have to hold the middle button of the watch and it happens – nothing. It does not connect to the smartphone, the app switches to screen saver mode. The devices only connect on the fourth attempt.
I look for the mistake with me and personalize my E-Ink dial. I have four places to allocate different values. The Fossil Hybrid app has three presets:
- Fitness : heart rate, pedometer, active calorie consumption and chance of rain
- Travel : chance of rain, date, pedometer and heart rate
- Daily : weather conditions, pedometer, date and heart rate
If you like it more personal, you can create your own theme and use a photo as the background. Thanks to the e-ink display, it always remains black and white and has a slightly pixelated retro look. Doesn't bother me, but I find the subtle circles around my chosen ads more beautiful.
If you want, you can customize the dial on the Fossil Hybrid HR.
The buttons: analog feeling, digital functions
The three buttons on the side of the Fossil Hybrid HR can also be assigned different functions, I choose running tracker (top), pulse monitoring (center) and music control (bottom). The middle button is also my enter key, the other two are the up and down arrow keys. So I can navigate on the digital display, change my playlist on the iPhone and open WhatsApp messages.
It takes a little time to get used to the handling. Again and again I mix up the buttons and get into the wrong menu. After a week, however, I memorized the system and I got on well with the watch.
Room for improvement: the Hybrid HR as a fitness tracker
The Fossil Hybrid HR cannot keep up with a fitness tracker, for example from Garmin . It only monitors the heart rate and pulse. When jogging, it also shows the distance covered. In other sports, such as training on the elliptical machine or spinning, the information is inaccurate and does not correspond to what the fitness equipment itself indicates.
The watch and app deliver different values for the steps taken.
Another minus point: the pedometer works imprecisely. He often confuses movements of my arms with a step. I run the Fossil Hybrid app in parallel on the iPhone – and compare the recorded values in the evening: the app has different values than the clock. I do not trust either of these details, as the experience-proven Apple Health app delivers different values. The Apple application counted 2,000 steps less than the Hybrid HR.
Push notifications: never miss a message again
Using the Fossil Hybrid app, I determine which apps can send me push notifications on the watch. The hybrid watch shows me upcoming appointments from my calendar with lights and indicates that I have just received a message via WhatsApp or Facebook. To do this, however, the Fossil Hybrid app must be permanently open. In addition, the display of the watch only lights up in a very subtle blue that is easy to miss.
I solve the problem by checking my watch regularly. I no longer have to take my smartphone with me everywhere – this is particularly practical in the office: I stay up to date without rudely taking my iPhone with me to every appointment.
The watch is always on the wrist, I never miss a message even without a smartphone.
On the go: control music comfortably
The most important feature for me: With the Fossil Hybrid HR I can control the songs that I hear on my iPhone. Very practical for someone like me who listens to music all the time. My smartphone is not always at hand and likes to get dirty in my pocket.
If I don't like a song or if someone wants to speak to me, I switch to another track or turn the music down. I don't need the fossil hybrid app, I stop and start music with the buttons of the Hybrid HR, select tracks and regulate the volume. After a few days, it runs as naturally as if I had never done it differently.
Thanks to the push buttons, I can quickly zap through my playlist or stop the music.
Conclusion: clock, yes. Smart, yes. Smart watch, no.
The Fossil Hybrid HR is a beautiful watch with a smart touch. It fits every outfit and is very comfortable to wear on the wrist. Operation via the three buttons on the side is handy. The smartphone-independent control of my playlist is particularly useful in buses, trains and sports. Users have to cut back on the fitness functions, they work imprecisely.