Best hybrid smartwatch 2021: great hidden tech in the watch on your wrist

It’s important to know how you’re planning on using the best hybrid smartwatch for your needs. Hybrid smartwatches are aimed at those who want the best features of a regular smartwatch but applied to a ‘regular’ analogue piece of wristwear. That can make it confusing to know what to look for.

Effectively, a hybrid smartwatch is an analogue watch with mechanical hands that also includes smart features such as step counting, run tracking, and smartphone notifications, but in a more subtle manner than a ‘full’ smartwatch. They’re the best smartwatches to pick if you want the benefits of key tech features while still maintaining a subtle and potentially more classy look on your wrist.

What is a hybrid smartwatch?

Want a deeper explanation of hybrid smartwatches? We’ve put together a full beginner’s guide to watches with hidden tech under traditional faces so you know what to look out for.

Our full beginner’s guide to hybrid watches

Hybrid smartwatches also benefit from a much longer battery life because they don’t have battery sapping digital screens. That saves you needing to charge them up as often.

Like with regular smartwatches, not all hybrid smartwatches have the same functions. Some alert you to your phone’s notifications using mechanical hands while others have small dials for quick-glance readouts. Some hybrid smartwatches also include GPS and heart rate sensors while all of them must link to your phone via Bluetooth and be monitored with a companion app.

We’ve reviewed all the latest hybrid smartwatches to rank the ten best below. The watch at number one might not be the best hybrid smartwatch for you though, so make sure to read the full in-depth reviews for each to see which suits your needs.

Best hybrid smartwatch 2021

(Image credit: Misfit)

1. Misfit Phase

More than meets the eye

Reasons to buy
+Stunning, classic design+Impressive battery life

Reasons to avoid
Slightly confusing notificationsBasic fitness tracking

The top hybrid smartwatch we recommend right now is the Misfit Phase, which offers a sleek and stylish design paired with some genuinely useful functionality when it’s connected to your phone.

Misfit’s Phase is thick, but the design looks classic and no one will immediately realize you’re wearing a smartwatch when you’ve got this wrapped around your wrist.

The battery life is impressive – it’ll last around six months with a single watch battery inside – but the fitness features here are limited, as there’s no heart-rate tracker or GPS.

Misfit’s true highlight here, though, is the price: the Misfit Phase is one of the cheapest hybrids money can buy, so you’ll want to get this if you’re looking for an affordable watch that can buzz when you’ve got notifications and look great too.

Read our full Misfit Phase review

(Image credit: Withings)

2. Withings Move ECG

An ECG in a hybrid

Reasons to buy
+Stylish design+12-month battery life

Reasons to avoid
Plastic scratches easilyHeart rate only works alongside ECG

Our second favorite hybrid watch is from Withings and it’s the only device on this list that comes with an electrocardiogram monitor. This is a feature that gives you a reading on your likelihood to suffer from atrial fibrillation, which is a specific heart condition where you can have an irregular beat.

It’s not the most accurate tech, but it has been included on watches like the Apple Watch 4 and this Withings to give you an idea of whether it’s something you should investigate further with a doctor.

On top of that, you’ll also get a slick looking hybrid smartwatch that is well designed and comes with a selection of impressive fitness features. Plus, it’s by no means the most expensive device on this list either.

Read our full Withings Move ECG review

(Image credit: Withings)

3. Withings Steel HR

A hybrid watch with heart

Reasons to buy
+Accurate heart rate monitor+Easy-to-use app

Reasons to avoid
Limited fitness featuresNot the best battery life

Looking for a small hybrid watch that looks fashionable but can track your heart rate and has a comfortable strap for the odd jog? The Withings Steel HR (sometimes known as the Nokia Steel HR) may be the perfect watch for you, and it sits in second place on our list of the best hybrids.

It has a small second dial so you can see your daily step count (your target can be set in the app), and there’s a small screen above it to show other stats.

If you want to know your heart rate it’ll appear on the screen along with your step count and notifications such as incoming calls, messages and events coming up in your calendar.

There’s a single button on the right of the watch that’s sort of disguised as a crown, while the watch is waterproof, so you can wear it in the shower without ruining it.

Read our full Withings Steel HR review

(Image credit: Misfit)

4. Misfit Command

Is the Command a misfit?

Reasons to buy
+One-year battery life+Secondary button useful for music

Reasons to avoid
Buckle can cause discomfortSleep tracking is limited

A year of battery life, notifications and some basic fitness-tracking tech are the highlights of our third-place watch: the Misfit Command.

At first you may think this watch looks complicated to use, but it’s actually quite easy once you know how it works. The days of the month are displayed on the right of the face outside the time markers, and the days on the week on the left.

When you get a notification through to your wrist the watch will vibrate, and the sub-dial will display the notification type – text message, alarm or calendar notification; this dial also displays your daily step count.

You can create contacts in the app and assign a number from 1 to 12 to each one, and the clock hands will point to the corresponding number when you get an incoming call. The two buttons on the right-hand side of the case enable you to play and pause music, among other things.

The Misfit Command also looks great – we reckon it’s one of the most attractive hybrid watches you can buy.

Read our full Misfit Command review

(Image credit: Withings)

5. Withings Steel HR Sport

The first hybrid since the return of Withings

Reasons to buy
+Stylish design+Long battery life

Reasons to avoid
Notifications aren’t perfectLimited fitness features

The Withings Steel HR Sport is very similar to the Nokia Steel and Nokia Steel HR on this list (the company has recently been renamed Withings) and while the design looks similar there are some important differences.

It comes with better notifications as well as VO2 Max monitor that will be able to give you an overall fitness score that you can improve over time.

The battery is meant to last for around a month, and it has connected GPS and heart rate monitoring that means this is suitable for more fitness activities than a lot of other devices on this list.

Read our full Withings Steel HR Sport review

(Image credit: Misfit)

6. Misfit Path

Limited smarts, but a great design

Reasons to buy
+Elegant metal design+Customizable smart button

Reasons to avoid
Easy to smudge glassUnusable in the dark

The Misfit Path is one of the most simplistic devices on this list, and while it does track some fitness stats this is much more designed to be an elegant timepiece than a flashy smartwatch.

We love the long battery life – it should last around six months – and the fact you can customize one of the smart buttons for whatever you want from your phone.

The Misfit Path isn’t as affordable as some other hybrid smartwatches, but if you’re looking for a trim piece of wristwear that’ll look good this would be a great choice.

Read our full Misfit Path review

(Image credit: Withings)

7. Withings Move

One of the most unique looking hybrids

Reasons to buy
+Classy, subtle design+Several color options

Reasons to avoid
Plastic scratches easilyNo heart rate monitor

The Withings Move is one of the cheapest devices on this list and you’ve got a great variety of different designs to choose from too. This is a good choice from you if you don’t need many fitness features and you’d just like a way to track your daily step count and sleep with an attractive watch on your wrist.

You’ve got 18 months of battery life, according to Withings, and while the watch doesn’t come with top-end features like a heart rate tracker it is capable of tracking lots of your basic stats.

The design and price are the key highlights here though, and while it won’t suit fitness fanatics it may be your perfect idea of a simple hybrid smartwatch.

Read our full Withings Move review

(Image credit: Garmin)

8. Garmin Vivomove HR

Perhaps the best-looking Garmin

Reasons to buy
+Solid gym tracking+Decent battery life

Reasons to avoid
Screen unclear in bright sunlightFiddly touchscreen

While this is perhaps the sportiest device on our list, don’t be fooled by the fact that it carries the Garmin name. The Vivomove HR isn’t going to give you high-end running watch features like the brand’s Fenix 5 range.

It does, however, offer a heart rate monitor and step tracking, and there are also gym tracking features for when you’re doing indoor cardio or recording reps during a weights workout.

The Vivomove HR will also work in the pool as it’s waterproof, but it’s not particularly great at tracking your swimming, so don’t buy it specifically for that task. There are stress-monitoring features, which is something you won’t get on any other hybrid watch, and we found that these worked well.

If you’re after a good-looking watch with some hidden fitness features, the Vivomove HR from Garmin may be the perfect device for you.

Read our full Garmin Vivomove HR review

(Image credit: Withings)

9. Withings Steel

It’s essentially a pared-down Steel HR

Reasons to buy
+Great battery life+Auto activity tracking

Reasons to avoid
No heart rate monitorBasic fitness tracking

The Withings Steel is very similar to the Steel HR higher up our list, but there are a few key differences you’ll want to know about.

First off, it’s a touch smaller than the Steel HR, making it a great option if you want a lighter and smaller device on your wrist. It also doesn’t have a heart rate tracker, but there are features such as step counting and sleep tracking.

There’s also no screen on this watch, so you’ll be relying on the smaller step count dial and the app to view your stats.

The biggest difference between the two Withings (sometimes called Nokia) is the price – the Steel is quite a bit cheaper than the Steel HR, and that may encourage you to go for the smaller and more limited watch.

Read our full Withings Steel review

(Image credit: Fossil)

10. Fossil Q Commuter

Subtle and stylish, but lacking killer smarts

Reasons to buy
+Stylish designs+A year of battery life

Reasons to avoid
Fitness tracking is basicNotifications not always felt

One of the most stylish hybrid smartwatches available right now comes from Fossil, and it’s called the Q Commuter.

Fossil specializes in hybrid watches (although it makes Wear OS watches too), and this is one of the best-looking of the bunch, with a vast array of finish and strap combinations to match your look.

The Q Commuter can give you a variety of notifications – although these are sometimes hard to notice as the vibration isn’t particularly strong – and there are some limited fitness features here too.

One of the real highlights is the battery life, which can run to a year or more.

Read the full Fossil Q Commuter review

  • Don’t want a hybrid? Our best smartwatch guide may be for you
  • Looking for something active? Check out our list of the best fitness trackers
  • Have an iPhone? Our guide on the best smartwatches for iPhone
  • Perhaps you’d prefer our full guide to the Apple Watch
  • Prefer Wear OS? Our selection of the best Wear OS smartwatches
  • Shop the best smartwatch sales and deals
  • Best smartwatch: the top choices you can buy
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