I usually wear an Apple Watch. But I spent a few weeks trying out a hybrid watch called the Withings ScanWatch Horizon.
Why it matters
Smart watches are not cheap. You should know what you are getting for your money and whether it pays to invest in alternatives.
Greatthree things need to be done well: to prevent you from constantly catching your own , follow health metrics and look great on your wrist. But not all are the same. Some are better at replacing the phone, while others look more like a regular wristwatch. This is the biggest difference between traditional smart watches (e.g. ) and hybrid smartwatches such as .
Conventional smartwatches work a little of everything. They are relatively elegant, have a lot of health and activity tracking features and are packed with features like a phone like NFC for mobile payments and a speaker and microphone for receiving calls. Apple Watch,, and coming fall into this category.
But hybrid watches usually combine the qualities of analog watches and smart watches, just as the name implies. They look more like ordinary clocks, with traditional dials having physical hands for hours and minutes instead of digital numbers. Hybrid watches do not have as many “smart” functions, but they usually last longer with one charge and still have a lot of options for monitoring health.
I prefer traditional smart watches and I usually wear them. But spending a few weeks with the $ 500 Withings ScanWatch Horizon reminded me why hybrid smartwatches can be attractive – and how they fail compared to general-purpose smartwatches.
Related to my phone
I felt more relying on my phone as I switched from the Apple Watch to the ScanWatch Horizon. The Withings Hybrid Clock can display notifications (such as calls, texts, and application alerts), and you can also use the clock to set timers and alarms.
But even these basic tasks are easier to perform in traditional classes. Because the ScanWatch Horizon has only a small round screen that takes up a fraction of a clock face, it’s not ideal for reading full notifications. As I wrotethe lack of touch screens and voice controls of the ScanWatch Horizon has also made it less convenient to set time and alarms from my wrist.
If you want a smartwatch that can take some of the load off yourwhen it comes to everyday tasks, ScanWatch is probably not that. Think of Horizon ScanWatch as first a watch and then as a smartwatch. Although I don’t have my own connected to my data packet, it is still a useful surrogate for my phone. I don’t have to take my phone out of my pocket for tasks like replying to text messages, checking news headlines while waiting for an elevator, or checking out at the checkout at my local Rite Aid.
This is not the case with ScanWatch Horizon. I grabbed the phone almost immediately whenever I felt the buzz of the notification. 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 use the screen just to check the time or start exercising. Most of my engagement takes place in the Withings HealthMate app, which provides analysis of body metrics and activities.
ScanWatch Horizon is more limited than Apple Watch when it comes to mimicking the functionality of your phone, but it has a different advantage. With its stainless steel case, rotating laser engraved frame and analog watch face, the ScanWatch Horizon is one of the most elegant smart watches you’ll find. Not to mention, it’s also cheaper than the stainless steel version of the Apple Watch Series 7, which starts at $ 700.
Incredible battery life
The Apple Watch may have more memory, but it can’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, far surpassing standard smartwatches. In my experience, the Horizon ScanWatch battery ran out to 35% after just over a week. I haven’t spent long enough with him to see if he meets Withings ’30-day claims, but it’s impressive nonetheless.
The, on the other hand, usually lasts one to two days with one charge. But it’s also because the Apple Watch has a lot more technology built into it. The color-sensitive OLED screen itself has a huge impact on the battery compared to the small ScanWatch Horizon screen. Some other wearable devices like the Garmin Venu 2 Plus that also use OLED screens can last up to nine days. It is possible to extend the battery life of today’s smart watches without sacrificing the brightly colored screen.
Both watches go deep into health, but they have different benefits
If there is one area where no watch is a compromise, it is health monitoring. ScanWatch Horizon iboth can measure all the characteristic health metrics found on high-end smartwatches. These include electrocardiogram measurements (ECG or ECG) – both FDA-approved for this function – and general data on heart rate, activity and exercise, sleep, and blood oxygen saturation levels. Withings characteristic of oxygen in the blood as well unlike Apple’s.
Although they share many similarities when it comes to health monitoring, smart watches have their advantages. Withings, for example, offers much more information about sleep. You can see an analysis of how much time you spent in light or deep sleep, the average heart rate in sleep, and breathing problems. It also issues a sleep rating that assesses the quality of your sleep, similar to Fitbit products,and Amazon.
Apple Watch only shows sleep duration, time spent in bed, and sleep breathing rate. This information is also useful, but access to sleep quality data helps me understand why I feel tired or energetic in the morning. It also motivates me to let go earlier than usual if my sleep score hasn’t been very high lately.
The design of the Apple Watch gives it an advantage over the Withings ScanWatch Horizon in several other areas. It’s smaller and lighter, making the Apple Watch much more comfortable to wear while exercising and sleeping (although instead I usually charge the Apple Watch overnight). In addition, the Apple Watch has a built-in GPS for tracking outdoor running, while the ScanWatch Horizon must rely on your phone’s GPS. The Apple Watch is also more effective in encouraging me to stay active throughout the day because I can customize the screen to display my activity rings.
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 is also a premium fitness tracker that does not require a subscription to unlock deeper insights such as devices fromand Oura.
However, that didn’t convince me to deviate from more traditional smartwatches like the Apple Watch. I value the convenience of being able to verbally ask my watch to start exercising or reply to messages from my wrist, rather than having a watch that looks best. Perhaps I appreciated the more prominent design of the ScanWatch Horizon back in 2013 when smartwatches still looked like this. Now that smart watches have become smaller and lighter and more common, they don’t look inappropriate on your wrist at weddings and dinners.
ScanWatch Horizon is ideal for those who want both a classic watch and a fitness tracker in one device. I could understand why some would prefer the simplicity of the ScanWatch Horizon, as that means the watch itself is less of a nuisance. But the Apple Watch does a better job of releasing your phone, and that’s more important to me.