I normally wear an Apple Watch. But I spent a few weeks trying out a hybrid watch called Withings ScanWatch Horizon.
Why it matters
Smart watches are not cheap. You should know what you are getting for your money and whether it is worth investing in alternatives.
Allthey have three check boxes. They should follow medical metrics, look good on your wrist and prevent you from constantly snatching . But not all smart watches are the same. Some are a better replacement for your phone, while others offer a sleeker look resembling a watch. This is the biggest difference between traditional smart watches (such as ) and hybrid smart watches, such as .
Ordinary smart watches can do a little of everything. They are relatively stylish, have lots of health and activity monitoring features, and are packed with phone-like features such as NFC for mobile payments and a speaker and microphone for receiving calls. Apple Watch,, and the upcoming fall into this category.
However, hybrid watches usually combine the qualities of analog watches and smart watches, as the name suggests. They tend to look more like regular watches with traditional dials that have physical hands for hours and minutes instead of digital numbers. Hybrid watches don’t have that many “smart” features, but they usually last longer on a single charge and still have plenty of health monitoring options.
I prefer traditional smart watches and usually wear them. But a few weeks spent with the $ 500 ScanWatch Horizon reminded me why hybrid smart watches can be attractive – and how they lag behind general-purpose smart watches.
Connected to my phone
When I switched from Apple Watch to ScanWatch Horizon, I felt more dependent on my phone. Withings hybrid watches can display notifications (such as calls, text messages, and application notifications) and you can also use them to set timers and alarms.
But even these basic tasks are easier to complete on a traditional watch. Because ScanWatch Horizon has only a small circular screen that occupies a fraction of the dial, it is not ideal for reading full notifications. As I wrote inThe missing touch screen and voice control on the ScanWatch Horizon also made it difficult to set times and alarms on my wrist.
If you want a smart watch that can take away some of your workloadWhen it comes to everyday tasks, ScanWatch probably isn’t. Imagine ScanWatch Horizon first and then a smart watch. Even though I don’t have mine attached to my data plan, it’s still a useful replacement for my phone. I don’t have to take my phone out of my pocket for tasks like replying to text messages, browsing headlines while waiting for an elevator or checking out at the local Rite Aid box office.
This is not the case with ScanWatch Horizon. I grabbed the phone almost immediately whenever I felt the buzz of the announcement. ScanWatch Horizon looks more like a fashion accessory with built-in health monitoring. I liked the way it looked on my wrist, but I didn’t find that I was using the screen for anything other than checking time or starting a workout. Most of my involvement takes place in Withings HealthMate, which provides a breakdown of body metrics and activities.
ScanWatch Horizon is more limited than Apple Watch when it comes to mimicking your phone’s features, but it has another advantage. With its stainless steel case, swivel laser engraved bezel and analog dial, the ScanWatch Horizon is one of the most elegant smart watches you’ll find. Not to mention that it’s also cheaper than the Apple Watch Series 7 stainless steel version, which starts at $ 700.
Amazing battery life
Apple Watch may have more smart features, but it can’t get close to ScanWatch Horizon’s battery life. Withings claims that the ScanWatch Horizon can last 30 days on a single charge, far superior to a standard smart watch. In my experience, the ScanWatch Horizon battery has discharged to 35% after more than a week. I haven’t spent long enough with him to find out if he meets Withings’ 30-day requirements, but it’s still impressive.
The, on the other hand, usually lasts one to two days on a single charge. But that’s also because Apple Watch has a lot more technology built into it. The OLED color touch screen alone has a huge impact on the battery compared to the small ScanWatch Horizon display. Some other wearable devices, such as the Garmin Venu 2 Plus, which also use OLED displays, can last up to nine days. With today’s smart watch, you can get longer battery life without having to sacrifice a bright color display.
Both watches go deep into health, but have different advantages
If there is one area where no watches compromise, it is health monitoring. ScanWatch Horizon aboth can measure all the characteristic health metrics found on a high-end smart watch. This includes electrocardiogram measurements (ECG or ECG) – both watches are FDA approved for this function – and general data on heart rate, activity and exercise, sleep and blood oxygen saturation. Withings’ function of oxygen in the blood as well unlike Apple.
Although they share many similarities when it comes to health monitoring, smart watches have their own strengths. Withings, for example, offers much more sleep data. You can see a breakdown of how much time you spent in light or deep sleep, average heart rate in sleep, and breathing disorders. It also issues a sleep score, which evaluates the quality of your sleep, similar to products from Fitbit,and Amazon.
Apple Watch only shows the length of sleep, the time spent in bed and the frequency of breathing in sleep. This information is also useful, but accessing my sleep quality data helps me understand why I may feel tired or full of energy in the morning. It also motivates me to hit the bag sooner than usual if my sleep score hasn’t been too high lately.
The design of the Apple Watch gives them an advantage over the Withings ScanWatch Horizon in several other areas. They are smaller and lighter, making the Apple Watch much more comfortable to wear while exercising and sleeping (although I usually charge the Apple Watch overnight). In addition, Apple Watch has a built-in GPS for tracking outdoor runs, while ScanWatch Horizon must rely on your phone’s GPS. Apple Watch also more effectively encourages me to stay active throughout the day because I can customize the display to show my activity rings.
Withings ScanWatch Horizon inherits some of the biggest benefits of analog watches: sleek design and a battery that doesn’t need to be charged every night. It is also a state-of-the-art fitness tracker that does not require a subscription to unlock deeper information such as devicesand Oura yes.
That means it didn’t convince me to move away from more traditional smart watches like the Apple Watch. More than having the prettiest watch, I appreciate the convenience of asking my watch to start training or responding to messages from my wrist. I may have appreciated the unique design of the ScanWatch Horizon more in 2013, when smart watches still looked like this. Now that smart watches are smaller and lighter and more common, they don’t seem inappropriate on your wrist at weddings and parties.
ScanWatch Horizon are ideal for those who want a classic watch and a fitness tracker in one device. I understood why some prefer the simplicity of the ScanWatch Horizon because it means the watches themselves are less intrusive. But Apple Watch does a better job of freeing you from your phone, and that’s more important to me.