Smartwatches aren't made for everyone, so what if you could have some of the best features available in top-end wearables but apply them to an analogue piece of wristwear? That's what hybrid smartwatches try to do, and there are lots of choices for you.
Simply put, a hybrid smartwatch is an analogue watch with mechanical hands that subtly packs in smart features such as step counting, run tracking, and smartphone notifications. They’re the smartwatches to pick if you want some tech function to your wrist wear but don’t want to flaunt it.
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.
Hybrids also have the advantage of much longer battery life, as they don’t have battery sapping digital screens that need recharging every night.
We’ve reviewed all the latest hybrid smartwatches to rank the ten best below. The watch at number one might not be the best for you, so make sure to read the full in-depth reviews for each to see which suits your needs.
Not all the watches 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 have connected GPS, some have heart rate sensors, and all must link to your phone via Bluetooth and be monitored with a companion app.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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