What It’s Like to Ditch My Apple Watch for a Luxury Hybrid Watch

Smartwatches are designed to do three issues effectively: stop you from having to succeed in to your cellphone as typically, observe well being metrics and look nice in your wrist. However not all smartwatches are created equal. Some are higher at functioning as a cellphone substitute, whereas others are supposed to appear to be a daily wristwatch. That sums up the most important distinction between conventional smartwatches (just like the Apple Watch) and hybrid smartwatches such because the Withings ScanWatch Horizon, which I simply reviewed

Typical smartwatches do some little bit of all the pieces. They’re comparatively trendy, have loads of well being and exercise monitoring performance and are filled with phonelike options such NFC for cellular funds and a speaker and microphone for taking calls. The Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch 4, Fitbit Sense and upcoming Pixel Watch fall into this class.

However hybrid watches normally mix the qualities of analog timepieces and smartwatches, simply because the title implies. They have a tendency to look extra like common watches, with conventional faces which have bodily palms for the hour and minutes as an alternative of digital numbers. Hybrid watches do not have as many “good” options, however they sometimes last more on a single cost and nonetheless pack loads of health-tracking choices. 

I choose conventional smartwatches and normally put on an Apple Watch. However spending a few weeks with the $500 Withings ScanWatch Horizon jogged my memory why hybrid smartwatches may be interesting — and in addition how they fall quick in contrast with general-purpose smartwatches.  

Learn extra: Google Pixel Watch: What We Know (and Do not) So Far

Tethered to my cellphone

I felt extra reliant on my cellphone when switching from the Apple Watch to the ScanWatch Horizon. Withings’ hybrid watch can present notifications (like calls, texts and app alerts), and you can even use the watch to set timers and alarms. 

However even these fundamental duties are simpler to perform on conventional watches. Because the ScanWatch Horizon solely has a small round display that occupies a fraction of the watch’s face, it is not preferrred for studying full notifications. As I wrote in my assessment, the ScanWatch Horizon’s lack of a contact display and voice controls additionally made it much less handy to set occasions and alarms from my wrist.

It is a lot simpler to learn notifications and reply to texts on the Apple Watch. The Sequence 7 (pictured) has a bigger display with a QWERTY keyboard. 


Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

If you’d like a smartwatch that may take among the burden off your cellphone relating to on a regular basis duties, the ScanWatch in all probability is not it. Consider the ScanWatch Horizon as a watch first and a smartwatch second. Regardless that I haven’t got my Apple Watch linked to my information plan, it is nonetheless a helpful surrogate for my cellphone. I haven’t got to take my cellphone out of my pocket for duties like replying to textual content messages, shopping information headlines whereas I am ready for the elevator or testing on the money register at my native Ceremony Help.  

That is not the case with the ScanWatch Horizon. I grabbed my cellphone nearly instantly at any time when I felt the thrill of a notification. The ScanWatch Horizon feels extra like a style accent with built-in well being monitoring. I cherished the best way it appeared on my wrist, however did not discover myself utilizing the display for a lot apart from to verify the time or begin a exercise. Most of my engagement occurs inside the Withings HealthMate app, which gives a breakdown of bodily metrics and exercise. 


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The ScanWatch Horizon is extra restricted than the Apple Watch relating to mimicking your cellphone’s performance, however it has a special benefit. With its stainless-steel casing, rotating laser-engraved bezel and analog watch face, the ScanWatch Horizon is likely one of the most elegant smartwatches you will discover. To not point out, it is also cheaper than the stainless steel model of the Apple Watch Sequence 7, which begins at $700. 

Superb battery life

The Apple Watch might have extra smarts, however it may’t come near the ScanWatch Horizon’s battery life. Withings claims the ScanWatch Horizon can final for 30 days on a single cost, far outlasting commonplace smartwatches. In my expertise, the ScanWatch Horizon’s battery depleted to 35% after a little bit greater than per week. I have never spent lengthy sufficient with it to see if it lives as much as Withings’ 30-day declare, however that is spectacular nonetheless. 

Apple Watch Series 7 propped up a little, showing a digital watchface

I normally cost my Apple Watch nightly, however Withings says the ScanWatch Horizon can final for 30 days on a single cost. 


Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

The Apple Watch Sequence 7, however, normally lasts for one to 2 days on a single cost. However that is additionally as a result of the Apple Watch has much more know-how constructed into it. The OLED shade touchscreen alone has a big impact on the battery in contrast with the ScanWatch Horizon’s tiny show. Another wearables just like the Garmin Venu 2 Plus that additionally use OLED shows can last as long as 9 days. It’s attainable to get extra battery life out of right now’s smartwatches with out sacrificing a vibrant shade show.

Each watches go deep on well being, however they’ve completely different strengths

The Withings Health Mate app

The house display on Withings’ Well being Mate app. I admire that Withings affords way more sleep information than the Apple Watch.


Screenshot by Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

If there’s one space the place neither watch compromises, it is well being monitoring. The ScanWatch Horizon and Apple Watch Sequence 7 can each measure all the hallmark well being metrics discovered on high-end smartwatches. That features electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) measurements — each watches have FDA clearance for this characteristic — and common coronary heart price information, exercise and train, sleep and blood oxygen saturation ranges. Withings’ blood oxygen characteristic additionally has FDA clearance, not like Apple’s. 

Regardless that they share many similarities relating to well being monitoring, the smartwatches have their very own strengths. Withings, for instance, has way more sleep information to supply. You possibly can see a breakdown of how a lot time you spent in gentle or deep sleep, common sleeping coronary heart price and respiration disturbances. It additionally points a sleep rating that assesses the standard of your sleep, just like merchandise from Fitbit, Oura and Amazon. 

The Apple Watch solely exhibits sleep period, time spent in mattress and sleeping respiratory price. That data is beneficial too, however gaining access to information about my sleep high quality helps me perceive why I is perhaps feeling drained or energetic within the morning. It additionally motivates me to hit the sack sooner than standard if my sleep rating hasn’t been very excessive these days. 

Learn extra: Galaxy Watch 5 Rumors: Samsung May Repair Our Battery Complaints

The Apple Watch’s design offers it a bonus over the Withings ScanWatch Horizon in just a few different areas. It is smaller and lighter, which makes the Apple Watch  way more comfy to put on throughout exercises and to sleep (though I normally cost my Apple Watch in a single day as an alternative). Plus, the Apple Watch has built-in GPS for monitoring out of doors runs, whereas the ScanWatch Horizon should depend on your cellphone’s GPS. The Apple Watch can also be simpler at encouraging me to remain energetic all through the day since I can customise the show to point out my Exercise Rings. 

The underside line

Withings ScanWatch Horizon worn on a wrist

The Withings ScanWatch Horizon (pictured) is a chic watch and health tracker in a single system. However I choose conventional smartwatches just like the Apple Watch that do a greater job of separating me from my cellphone.


Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

The Withings ScanWatch Horizon inherits among the greatest benefits of analog watches: a cultured design and a battery that does not must be charged nightly. It is also a top-notch health tracker that does not require a subscription to unlock deeper insights like gadgets from Fitbit and Oura do. 

That stated, it hasn’t satisfied me to stray from extra conventional smartwatches just like the Apple Watch. I worth the comfort of having the ability to verbally ask my watch to begin a exercise, or reply to texts from my wrist, greater than having the best-looking watch. I may need appreciated the ScanWatch Horizon’s distinguished design extra again in 2013 when smartwatches nonetheless appeared like this. Now that smartwatches have shrunk and lighter and so they’re extra widespread, they do not appear misplaced in your wrist at weddings and dinner events. 

The ScanWatch Horizon is right for individuals who need each a traditional watch and a health tracker in a single system. I might see why some would possibly choose the ScanWatch Horizon’s simplicity, because it means the watch itself is much less distracting. However the Apple Watch does a greater job of releasing you out of your cellphone, and that issues extra to me.

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