I almost gave up my Apple Watch to get this fancy hybrid watch

What happens next

I wear an Apple Watch almost every day. I did however spend a few weeks testing out a hybrid watch called The Withings ScanWatch Horizon.

Why is it important?

Smart watches are expensive. It is important to know what you are getting for the money and whether there are any alternatives.

Smart watches are more that just a computerized time-tracking device. The best versionsThree tasks are what you excel at. They provide peace of mind, monitor your health and look great on your wrist. Phone. However, not all smartwatches work the same. Some are better than a phone and others have a more watch-like appearance. This is the main difference among hybrid smartwatches. Withings ScanWatch Horizon, which I reviewedTraditional smart watches (eg Apple Watch).

Traditional smartwatches can do a bit of everything. It’s sleek and lightweight, with lots of activity and health tracking functionality. It also has phone-like features like NFC mobile payments and a speaker and microphone to take calls. Apple watch Samsung Galaxy Watch 4Then there’s the Fitbit SenseAnd the pixel clockYou are likely to fall under this category.

Hybrid watches combine the best of both an analog and smart watch. They are similar to regular watches but with traditional faces and digital numbers instead of hour and minutes hands. Although hybrid watches don’t offer many smart features, they can last longer and have more health tracking options.

I prefer the traditional smartwatches which I 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 they fall short compared to general-purpose smartwatches.

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My phone is my key

When I switched from the Apple Watch to ScanWatch Horizon, I felt more dependent upon my phone. The hybrid watch from Withings can display notifications such as calls, texts and app alerts. You can also set alarms and timers with the watch.

Even these basic tasks are simpler to do with traditional watches. The ScanWatch Horizon’s circular screen is only a small part of the watch face and it’s not ideal to read full notifications. As I wrote in my reviewThe ScanWatch Horizon lacks a touch screen or voice controls, making it difficult to set alerts and times from my wrist.

It’s much easier for you to read notifications and respond quickly to texts via your Apple Watch. The Series 7 (pictured), has a larger screen and a QWERTY keyboard.

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

You want a smartwatch that can ease some of your burden PhoneScanWatch Horizon is probably not the best watch for everyday tasks. ScanWatch Horizon is a smartwatch and a watch, in my opinion. Although I don’t have one, I do have a few. Apple WatchIt’s still an excellent alternative to my phone, even though it is connected to my data plan. It’s not necessary to take my phone out to answer text messages, browse headlines, or check out the cash register at my local Rite Aid.

ScanWatch Horizon does not have this problem. I reach for my phone almost immediately when I hear the notification sound. ScanWatch Horizon feels more like an accessory that has built-in health tracking. Although I loved how it looked on my wrist and the ease of use, I rarely used the screen other than to check the time or start a workout. My posts are mostly within the Withings HealthMate App, which gives a breakdown of metrics as well as physical activity.

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The ScanWatch Horizon is more limited than the Apple Watch when it comes to mimicking your phone’s functionality, but it has a different edge. With its stainless steel case, laser-etched rotating bezel, and analog face, the ScanWatch Horizon is one of the most stylish smartwatches you’ll find.

Amazing battery life

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

Apple Watch Series 7 propped up a bit, showing a digital clock screen

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

Lisa Eadicicco/CNET

the Apple Watch Series 7, on the other hand, 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 touchscreen alone takes a bigger toll on the battery than the ScanWatch Horizon’s tiny screen. Other wearable devices Garmin Venue 2 Plus Which also use OLED screens can last up to nine days. It is possible to get more battery life than current smartwatches without sacrificing a bright color screen.

Both watches work deeply on health, but they have different strengths

The Withings Health Mate app

The home screen of the Withings’ Health Mate app. I appreciate that Withings offers a lot more sleep data than the Apple Watch.

Screenshot by Lisa Idesicco/CNET

If there’s one area where none of the hours compromise, it’s health tracking. ScanWatch Horizon and Apple Watch Series 7 Both can measure all the premium health metrics found in high-end smartwatches. This includes electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) measurements—both watches have FDA clearance for this feature—along with general heart rate, activity, exercise, sleep, and blood oxygen saturation levels data. Withings feature blood oxygen too It has FDA clearanceunlike Apple.

Although they share many similarities when it comes to health tracking, smartwatches do have their strengths. Withings, for example, has more sleep data to offer. You can see an analysis of how much time you spend in light or deep sleep, your heart rate during sleep and breathing disorders, similar to the Apple Watch. On top of that, Withings also issues a sleep score that evaluates your sleep quality, similar to Fitbit products, aura and amazon.

Your Apple Watch displays sleep duration, time spent in bed, and breathing rate during sleep. when WatchOS 9 operating system Launched this fall, it will also display sleep stages, which addresses one of the major shortcomings of the Apple Watch compared to other sleep trackers. This information is also useful, but getting down to a sleep score helps me understand why I feel tired or energetic in the morning. It also motivates me to hit the sack earlier than usual if my sleep score hasn’t been so high lately.

The design of the Apple Watch gives it an edge over the 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 to sleep (although I usually charge the Apple Watch overnight instead). Additionally, the Apple Watch has built-in GPS for tracking 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 that do a better job of separating me from 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 at night. It’s also a top-notch fitness tracker that doesn’t require a subscription to unlock deeper insights like existing devices do 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 I have a better watch. I might have appreciated the ScanWatch Horizon’s distinctive design back in 2013 when smartwatches were still looks 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.

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

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