Earlier than a bit of know-how turns into ubiquitous, there exists a interval the place you’ve gotten early adopters going all-in on the shiny new toy and others who proceed to cling to the outdated, comfy methods of doing issues. The smartwatch continues to be sort of in that section, the place some persons are reluctant to surrender their acquainted look ahead to one thing that provides extra performance, but additionally probably extra problems. 

Conventional watchmakers reminiscent of Fossil are doing their greatest to usher these individuals into the brand new period by manufacturing hybrid smartwatches which have the feel and appear of conventional timepieces—showcasing basic mechanical motion atop a show for options like step trackers, climate experiences, plus textual content and e mail alerts, and so forth. The Fossil Latitude Hybrid HR—essentially the most fully-featured of the Fossil smartwatch linked lineup with the inclusion of an always-on show and coronary heart price monitor—might not market itself as a “Smartwatch for Individuals Who Don’t Like Smartwatches,” however it could as effectively. 

An awesome smartwatch design for newcomers

Fossil has lengthy been recognized for making trendy—however finally simple—watches. The corporate places years of design expertise behind its Fossil watches, and the top consequence exhibits. The Fossil Latitude Hybrid HR has the heft of sports activities or diving watch, and it doesn’t scream “smartwatch” in your wrist. 

The Fossil Latitude’s beauty paved the way

Proper out of the field, essentially the most placing factor in regards to the Hybrid HR—like all of the Fossil Latitude lineup—is, effectively, how very similar to a watch it seems to be. The hybrid Fossil smartwatch we examined was black and silver, with crimson highlights. It was easy, basic, and will simply be paired with work garments or exercise garments. It merely seems to be like a high quality timepiece, good capabilities apart, which is to be anticipated for a timepiece that retails for $195. 

Clear, crisp textual content is simple to learn on-screen. Eric Alt

The analog arms and huge watch face are simple sufficient to learn with none backlighting or digital show, and the watch’s 50mm case has appreciable heft to it. It feels sturdy. The primary downside to this as a smartwatch is its weight. The Hybrid HR clocks in at a comparatively hefty 5.6 ounces, which is appreciable when measured towards the Fitbit Versa 2 (1.41 oz) and the Apple Watch (1.07 oz); once more, extra according to a “common” Fossil watch that’s sometimes round 6 ounces. The addition of additional weight renders a few of its exercise and health monitoring capabilities moot, because it’s not comfy as an all-out health accent. 

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The silicone watchband of the Fossil Latitude likewise feels sturdy and cozy. At 24mm huge, it sits comfortably and doesn’t irritate nor does it really feel prefer it’s ever at risk of overstretching or carrying out throughout typical day-to-day exercise and even reasonable train. Being an ordinary band measurement, as effectively, means it’s swappable based mostly in your preferences.

The eyes have it

The Hybrid HR makes use of an e-ink show just like the one you’d discover on a Kindle, so it doesn’t glow just like the OLED on an Apple Watch. This can be a standout function, as a result of it will possibly stay on on a regular basis with out consuming up the battery life as greedily as a powered display. The one downside is that e-ink has a slow-ish refresh price, so it could really feel a bit sluggish in comparison with lit screens. Nonetheless, it’s simpler on the eyes, however it will possibly make the digital readouts powerful to see at a look. A agency double faucet on the crystal kicks on a backlight in these situations.

The most effective function so far as the Hybrid HR’s general design is how the timepiece handles switching between conventional watch features and the digital show. Once you press the principle aspect button to entry digital data, the hour and minute fingers routinely go to 9 and three to get out of your manner.

Straightforward setup with iPhone or Android smartphone

If easing into smartwatch use is your plan with the Hybrid HR, then you’ll not be dissatisfied with this Fossil smartwatch. All you actually should do is obtain Fossil’s smartphone app, which is appropriate with Android gadgets working OS 5.0 or greater and iOS gadgets on 12.0 and up. When you accomplish that, it walks you step-by-step by way of syncing and customizing your Fossil Latitude watch. 

The watch additionally comes with a USB wire for magnetic charging/syncing with a desktop system for downloading music or aligning calendars. Solely two to 3 hours on its USB charger ought to present a full, lasting cost of its lithium-ion battery. That juice-up can final effectively over every week: We tried the Hybrid HR with a reasonably constant quantity of use and made it about 11 days earlier than the battery was depleted. 

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Like different choices within the Fossil Latitude line, the Hybrid HR doesn’t have a ton of customization choices, nevertheless it does help you prioritize sure features and make them simpler and faster to entry. The readout on the watch face itself is minimal, based mostly on the corporate’s customized software program, versus a extra sturdy OS like Google Put on. So, for instance, if you happen to intend to make use of this primarily for health, you can also make exercise trackers (reminiscent of steps and coronary heart price) your default show. In case you are extra excited about climate experiences, you possibly can bump these up simply as effectively. By the smartphone app, you additionally choose the apps you’d prefer to obtain messages from—reminiscent of Gmail, Fb Messenger, and even Slack—and you may set the watch to obtain all messages from everybody, or solely from favourite contacts.

Fossil Lattitude Hybrid HR smartwatch
It’s not huge, however it’s chunky. Eric Alt

The training curve with the Fossil Latitude Hybrid HR comes from getting used to which buttons on the watch itself do what. The primary “massive” aspect button is the “enter” button in most situations, which is completely different from different hybrid smartwatches that have a tendency to make use of that because the default “again” button. As a result of the Hybrid HR’s crystal isn’t a touchscreen, scrolling can also be button-based: the opposite two smaller buttons act a bit like scrolling cursors.

The remainder of what it’s good to know

Though not essentially the most refined or detailed smartwatch accessible—being a hybrid, it’s a little bit of a dilettante—it combines sufficient to persuade you of its usefulness past telling time. 

The step tracker and coronary heart price monitor present some perception, however the truth that it isn’t the very best health tracker (coupled with its general bulk), which can seemingly make it a poor substitute for a devoted monitor if you happen to’re targeted on extremely correct monitoring. We used the Hybrid HR just for mild exercise (brisk walks, jogging), however did admire that you may set a “Problem Profile” by way of the app to ascertain health targets, reminiscent of variety of steps per day). The data can also be simply accessible within the app and even shows alongside a helpful calendar for preserving tabs on progress.

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The Fossil Latitude Hybrid HR options an alarm clock perform, textual content alerts, and the power to sync with social media for notifications. You’ll be able to settle for textual content messages and emails, management music, and entry a calendar and climate alerts. It’ll additionally notify you of incoming calls, however there isn’t any speaker or microphone on the watch itself, so that you’re not in a position to settle for calls as you’ll an Apple Watch. When a name comes the watch fingers transfer to their horizontal positions, with textual content on the display notifying you of an incoming name, which you’ll settle for or decline with a push of the aspect button.

It additionally has requirements like a stopwatch. Once more, not extraordinarily deep or refined—you gained’t be capable to sync up contactless fee, for instance—however useful sufficient to do primary jobs.  

So, who’s the Fossil Latitude for? 

On the finish of the day, the Fossil Latitude Hybrid HR is a superb possibility for many who wouldn’t thoughts just a few bells and whistles, however perhaps aren’t able to dive right into a full smartwatch. Total, it’s a nice-looking timepiece at the beginning, with just a few added features, just like the step tracker and coronary heart price monitor, and so forth., that might not be essential for all people. Hardcore health lovers who need to monitor and accumulate information would possibly discover this Fossil smartwatch too cumbersome to be used throughout train, and too slight with regards to numbers and measurements. Individuals who like the feel and appear of a conventional Fossil watch, nevertheless, will admire the general simplicity of the consumer expertise. Weight is an element, nevertheless: It’s not the sort of wearable that blends in and also you virtually overlook it’s there. Total, although, the Fossil Latitude Hybrid HR may be very well-constructed and feels prone to survive as one’s on a regular basis look ahead to lengthy whereas.