Despite growing numbers and more options, you can’t point at a single company that’s perfected smartwatches yet. Fossil isn’t the one that fixes all the issues either, but in our opinion, this is quite close.
The Fossil Hybrid HR brings the best of both worlds — analogue watch hands and the display of a smartwatch. It uses an e-ink display, the kinds used on Amazon’s Kindle devices with watch hands ticking away on top of it.
At first glance, it looks like a regular but high-end watch, which already solves one of the biggest problems with smartwatches — that of blank black screens when at rest. E-ink also consumes very little battery, making the battery run for days instead of hours.
Apple tried to solve the blank screen problem with an always-on display, but that doesn’t come close to actual watch hands. The Fossil watch has premium design, the heft that many watch enthusiasts like and a screen that can display notifications etc.
Sounds perfect, right? It’s not quite there. Fossil hasn’t been able to solve e-ink’s primary problem, the fact that these displays are slow. The display lags when you’re navigating between options, trying to read a text etc. We found ourselves avoiding reading texts multiple times, because it takes too long.
Further, the company has three buttons on the right side of the watch that allow you to navigate the UI. This again is cumbersome and something you’ll end up using only when you absolutely need to.
In addition, you cannot respond to texts from the watch, since it doesn’t have a touchscreen display or support voice assistants.
The Fossil Hybrid HR isn’t the perfect smartwatch, but considering that no smartwatch is really useful or perfect yet, this offers the best of both worlds. If you’re not sure if you can ditch your analog watch for a smartwatch, this is the right smartwatch for you.