I’ve swapped out my Apple Watch for a luxury Hybrid watch. This is what I learned

What is happening

I usually wear an Apple Watch. But I spent two weeks trying out a hybrid watch called Withings ScanWatch Horizon.

why does it matter

Smart watches are not cheap. You should know what you’re getting for your money, and whether the alternatives are worth investing in.

great smart watch You must do three things well: prevent you from seizing phoneIt tracks health metrics and looks great on your wrist. but not all smart watches Are the same. Some are better at replacing a phone, while others look like a regular wristwatch. This is the biggest difference between traditional smartwatches (such as Apple Watch) and hybrid smartwatches like Withings ScanWatch Horizon, which I reviewed recently.

Traditional smartwatches do a little bit of everything. It’s relatively elegant, has plenty of health and activity tracking functionality and is packed with phone-like features like NFC for mobile payments and a speaker and microphone for receiving calls. apple watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch 4And the Fitbit Sense and the next pixel clock fall into this category.

But hybrid watches usually combine the qualities of analog watches and smartwatches, just as the name suggests. They tend to look more like regular watches, with traditional faces that have physical hour and minute hands rather than digital numbers. Hybrid watches don’t have many “smart” features, but they usually last longer on a single charge and still have plenty of healthy tracking options.

I prefer traditional smartwatches and usually wear Apple Watch. But spending two weeks with the $500 Withings ScanWatch Horizon reminded me why hybrid smartwatches can be attractive — and also how short compared to general-purpose smartwatches.

Read more: Google Pixel Watch: What we know (and don’t know) so far

tied to my phone

I felt more dependent on my phone when switching from my Apple Watch to ScanWatch Horizon. The Withings Hybrid watch can display notifications (such as calls, texts, and app alerts), and you can also use the watch to set timers and alarms.

But even these basic tasks are easy to accomplish on traditional watches. Since ScanWatch Horizon only has a small circular screen that occupies a small portion of the watch face, it’s not ideal for reading full notifications. As I wrote in my reviewThe ScanWatch Horizon’s lack of a touch screen and voice controls also made it less convenient to set times and alerts from my wrist.

Apple Watch Series 7 showing the keyboard

It’s much easier to read notifications and respond to texts on your Apple Watch. The Series 7 (pictured) has a larger screen with a QWERTY keyboard.

Lisa Eadicicco / CNET

If you want a smart watch that can take some of the burden off you phone When it comes to everyday tasks, ScanWatch probably isn’t. Think of the ScanWatch Horizon as a watch first and then a smartwatch second. Although I do not have Apple Watch Connected to my data plan, it is still a useful alternative to my phone. I don’t have to take my phone out of my pocket to perform tasks like answering texts, browsing news headlines while waiting for an elevator, or checking out at the cash register at your local Rite Aid.

This is not the case with ScanWatch Horizon. I grabbed my phone almost immediately whenever I felt the noise of the notification. ScanWatch Horizon looks more like a modern accessory with built-in health tracking. I liked the way it looked on my wrist, but didn’t find myself using the screen much other than to check the time or start a workout. Most of my posts happen inside the Withings HealthMate app, which provides a breakdown of metrics and physical activity.


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ScanWatch Horizon is more limited than the Apple Watch when it comes to mimicking the functionality of your phone, but it has a different advantage. The ScanWatch Horizon is one of the most stylish smartwatches you’ll find, thanks to its stainless steel case, laser-engraved round bezel, and analog face. Not to mention, it’s also cheaper than the stainless steel version of the Apple Watch Series 7, which starts at $700.

Amazing battery life

The Apple Watch may have more intelligence, but it doesn’t come close to the battery life of the ScanWatch Horizon. Withings claims the ScanWatch Horizon can last up to 30 days on a single charge, which is far superior to standard smartwatches. In my experience, the ScanWatch Horizon drained 35% of the battery after just over a week. I didn’t spend long enough with her to see if she lived up to Withings’ 30-day claim, but it’s impressive nonetheless.

Apple Watch Series 7 bolstered a bit, to show a digital watch screen

I usually charge my Apple Watch every night, but Withings says the ScanWatch Horizon can last up to 30 days on a single charge.

Lisa Eadicicco / CNET

The Apple Watch Series 7On the other hand, it usually lasts 1-2 days on a single charge. But that’s also because the Apple Watch has a lot of technology built into it. The OLED color touch screen alone makes a huge impact on the battery compared to the small ScanWatch Horizon screen. Some other wearable devices such as Garmin Vino 2 Plus which also use OLED screens can last up to nine days. It is possible to get a longer battery life than current smartwatches without sacrificing a bright color display.

Both watches go deep into health, but they have different strengths

Withings Health Mate app

The home screen in Withings’ Health Mate app. I appreciate that Withings provides much more sleep data than the Apple Watch.

Screenshot by Lisa Edesicko/CNET

If there is one area where none of the watches are compromised, it is health tracking. ScanWatch Horizon and Apple Watch Series 7 Both can measure all the distinct health metrics found in high-end smartwatches. This includes electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) measurements—both watches have FDA clearance for this feature—and general heart rate data, activity, exercise, sleep, and blood oxygen saturation levels. The advantage of blood oxygen in withings too It has FDA permitunlike Apple.

Although they share many similarities when it comes to health tracking, smartwatches have their strengths. Withings, for example, has a lot of sleep data to offer. You can see an analysis of the amount of time you spend in light or deep sleep, your average sleep heart rate and breathing disturbances. It also issues a sleep score that rates your sleep quality, similar to Fitbit products, aura And Amazon.

Apple Watch only displays sleep duration, time spent in bed, and sleep breathing rate. This information is also useful, but accessing data on my sleep quality helps me understand why I feel tired or energized in the morning. It also motivates me to hit the sack earlier than usual if my sleep hasn’t been too high lately.

Read more: Galaxy Watch 5 rumors: Samsung may fix battery complaints

The Apple Watch’s design gives it an edge over Withings ScanWatch Horizon in a few other areas. It’s smaller and lighter, which makes the Apple Watch more comfortable to wear during workouts and sleep (although I usually charge my Apple Watch overnight instead). Additionally, the Apple Watch has GPS to track your outdoor runs, while the ScanWatch Horizon has to rely on your phone’s GPS. The Apple Watch is also more effective at encouraging me to stay active throughout the day since I can customize the screen to show my activity rings.

bottom line

Withings ScanWatch Horizon worn on the wrist

The Withings ScanWatch Horizon (pictured) is a stylish watch and fitness tracker in one. But I prefer traditional smartwatches like the Apple Watch which do a better job in my class than my phone.

Lisa Eadicicco / CNET

Withings ScanWatch Horizon inherits some of the biggest advantages of analog watches: a sleek design and a battery that doesn’t need to be charged overnight. It’s also a top-notch fitness tracker that doesn’t require a subscription to unlock deeper insights like existing devices Fitbit Lora do.

However, that didn’t convince me to move away from traditional smartwatches like the Apple Watch. I value the convenience of being able to verbally ask my watch to start a workout, or respond to text messages from my wrist, more than having the best watch. Perhaps I appreciated the distinctive design of the ScanWatch Horizon in 2013 when smartwatches still looked this is. Now that smartwatches are getting smaller, lighter and more popular, they don’t look out of place on your wrist at weddings and dinner parties.

ScanWatch Horizon is ideal for those who want a classic watch and fitness tracker in one. I can see why some might prefer the simplicity of ScanWatch Horizon, as it means the watch itself is less distracting. But the Apple Watch does a better job of liberating you from your phone, and that interests me the most.