Smartwatches have been a part of our world for quite some time now. Despite that fact, many people still think that they’re not as useful as they should be. Many of them don’t find a reason to get a smartwatch, for various reasons. Hence, they decide to stick to regular watches. Now, there is a category of watches in-between watches and smartwatches, we call them hybrids. Hybrid smartwatches are essentially regular watches with a number of smart features. They tend to offer much better battery life than regular smartwatches, and they distract us less in our everyday life.
The Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR is one such watch. The Skagen Falster 3, which I reviewed last year, is an excellent smartwatch. It has all the bells and whistles, looks great, and is one of the best representations of Wear OS in the market. If you don’t feel like it is for you, though, we’re here to talk about the Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR. In the past 2+ weeks, I’ve been testing this device, and I have to say, I really like it. Many companies tend to release underwhelming hybrid smartwatches that usually lack features, not Skagen, though. The Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR brings the best of both worlds. Is it perfect? No. Is it great? It sure is.
It looks like a classy watch, but it conceals many smart features
The Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR looks really nice, that’s hard to deny. It has that refined minimalistic look that most people love, plus it feels like a quality product. Its body is made out of metal, as are its buttons. There are three buttons included here, and all of them are on the right side. This is an analog smartwatch, that has a circular e-ink display in the middle. Those watch handles move as needed, to allow you to see the information on the e-ink display. They also have some smart functionality to them.
On the back of the watch, you’ll notice a heart rate sensor, which works really well. This watch comes in 38 and 42mm variants. The smaller one is aimed at women, while the larger one is made for men. You can mix and match as needed, though. Both 38mm variants come in a Rose Gold color, though, with different bands (metal mesh and leather). On the other hand, there are three 42mm options. The one we reviewed comes with a black silicone band, which is extremely comfortable, and it comes with a rather interesting pattern, similar to the mesh metal band. The second option is a gray-colored watch, with a gray steel-mesh band. The last variant is silver-colored, and it comes with a brown band. So, as you can see, there are plenty of choices here.
The variant I reviewed, with a black silicone band, is quite comfortable to wear. Accidental button presses are not common. It is possible you’ll accidentally press the middle button if your wrist bends all that way, but that button is quite sturdy (as are all of them), quite probably to avoid such accidents. Still, it did happen a couple of times for me, so that’s worth noting. Though that’s the case for every watch that has such a button on the side, at least in my case. Out of all of them, I’ve had the least accidents with this watch. I haven’t really dropped the watch, so I can’t testify to its durability, but it feels quite sturdy in the hand, and great on the wrist. It does look like it can get knocked around a bit, which is a good thing.
E-ink displays takes some getting used to, but it’s worth it
The Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR comes with physical time indicators around the E-ink display, that’s why the display itself doesn’t stretch all the way across the front side of the watch. Chances are this won’t bother you, as it’s large enough for what it’s supposed to do, at least on the 42mm variant of the watch. This is an e-ink display, which stands for ‘electronic ink’. This display is essentially black and white, and it’s a lot less power-hungry than your regular displays.
Having said that, it has a considerably slower refresh rate, and thus you’ll briefly see things move across it. That’s not exactly an issue for most people, but it’s worth noting. The benefit of this display is that it drains the battery far, far less, and it’s always on. You can see it in direct sunlight without issues whatsoever. When it gets dark, you can simply double-tap the watch’s body, glass on top of its display, or even the watch strap, and the light will appear. This watch comes with a backlight similar to regular watches, which is also a nice touch by Skagen.
Skagen’s app lets you control what’s shown on the display
In the company’s app, which you’ll need to download to pair up this smartwatch, you have plenty of options for customizing this display. You can, for example, choose to have weather, steps, and battery info on it the whole time, like I did. Alternatively, you may opt for a date, or something else entirely. There are quite a few options to choose from. You can even change the whole watchface, if you want, you simply choose it and load it onto the watch via the app.
That application is called ‘Skagen Hybrid Smartwatches’, and the UI is simple and elegant, as is this watch. Skagen did a great job with this application. Navigating it shouldn’t be a problem, at all. By now, you’ve realized that the watch comes with Skagen’s very own software. In the app, you can see your fitness information as well, which we’ll talk more about a bit later in the review. You can choose which apps can send notifications to your watch as well, set alarms, and so on. Check out some screenshots below.
The performance is really good, though the UI can be improved
Using a hybrid smartwatch is considerably different than using a regular smartwatch. The e-ink display that is included here, has a noticeably slower refresh rate than your regular displays. So, you’ll see content move on the display as it shifts. Also, considering this is not a touch-sensitive display, you’ll need to use the side buttons to navigate the UI. Speaking of which, the UI is good, but it could be better.
Notifications do tend to get cut off at times, so you can see the top half of letters. Also, there are only so many characters that a watch can show when it comes to notifications. I had no issues with getting notifications, though, and the vibration was also great (there are medium and high settings). Speaking of notifications, the watch supports one-way mirroring. In other words, when you remove active notifications from your phone, they’ll disappear from the watch. If you do the opposite, the notifications won’t disappear from your phone’s notification shade.
The UI is okay, though it’ll take you a bit of time to get used to it. The main thing that you’ll need to get the hang of it is navigation. Each of the buttons on the side has a specific purpose, and once you get into it, it’s easy to use them.
The watch works without a stutter, it performs great. It did get disconnected for me two times during the review period, but it reconnected on its own soon after, so that’s not something to worry about. The company’s Android app, the one you’ll need in order to use this watch, is really well-designed. Its minimal UI is quite functional, and it’ll allow you to set the watch just the way you like it.
If you want an amazing battery life, the Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR delivers
Battery life on the Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR is excellent, to say the least. That’s what you’d expect out of a watch that has an e-ink display, though, right? Well, yes, but still, it’s quite impressive considering how poor battery life is on most regular smartwatches. The Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR rivals Huawei’s and HONOR’s smartwatch offerings in that regard, as you can get around two weeks of battery life.
During my testing of the watch, I left every feature to be working, just to test out the battery life. The heart rate scanner was on, as was the haptic feedback (medium setting). It is worth noting that GPS is not included in the package, though, at all. I was able to get 15 days’ worth of battery life before I had to put it on a charger, at that point, it was at 2%. Those are some excellent results for a watch.
When the watch finally dies on you, it doesn’t take long to recharge at all. Unfortunately, though, you’ll be recharging it by using a proprietary dock. The Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR does not support wireless charging, unfortunately. That is a feature that I’d expect with a watch at this price point, but Skagen opted to use a proprietary solution. That is not surprising, though, at least not for me personally, as Skagen used the same solution with the Falster 3. I do hope that the Skagen Flaster 4 will include wireless charging. It’s less of an issue when you charge your watch once every two weeks, though.
GPS is not included, but it offers quite a few fitness modes & a heart rate sensor
When it comes to fitness, there are some options on the watch. Do note that the Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR does not include a GPS, though. This is not exactly a fitness watch, even though it does have some fitness features, so do note that. If you’re in need of a GPS, as many runners are, this is not the solution for you. If you can live without it, the Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR does a good job at it.
The watch supports auto workout detection for running, cycling, walking, and a row machine. You can even choose if you want it to ask you whether it should start off an exercise, or if you want it to do it automatically. You can set a steps goal per day as well, while the whole fitness UI inside the app on your phone is really good as well. Hiking, treadmill, elliptical, lifting weights, and some other forms of exercises are also available, but they do not support auto workout detection, at least not yet. The watch did a good job tracking my steps, and also a test run that I did. I’m no runner, though, so I’m not exactly an expert in that regard.
Regular smart watch vs hybrid smartwatch
Some of you are probably trying to decide whether a hybrid smartwatch is worth getting over a regular smartwatch. Well, each of these two types of smartwatches have their positives and negatives. Essentially, where a regular smartwatch shines, the hybrid watch doesn’t, and vice versa. With hybrid smartwatches, like the Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR, you have to give up a regular display, touch-sensitive display, a more advanced UI and UI navigation, and possibly third-party app support, if we’re talking about a comparison with Wear OS or one of Apple’s smartwatches.
On the flip side, hybrid smartwatches offer much better battery life than both Wear OS smartwatches, and what Apple has to offer. The Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR also has an always on display, at all times, on top of offering a two-week battery life. Using the watch by pressing its physical buttons only may seem outdated, but at least you won’t have any accidental display presses, or anything of the sort. Hybrid smartwatches also feel much more like regular watches, which is something some people will prefer.
Honestly, it’s all a matter of preference. Some people may feel more comfortable with regular smartwatches, while others will gladly opt for hybrid ones. Options are good, and the Skagen Hybrid Jorn HR definitely brought something interesting to the table.
Some things you should know
So, I did enjoy using this watch, quite a bit. Nothing is perfect, though, and I did notice something that you may want to know about. This smartwatch does come with a backlight, but that backlight is not too bright, and it’s a considerably different experience compared to a regular smartwatch. It’s not exactly a big problem, but it’s a considerable change you may want to know about, if you’ve used a regular smartwatch before.
Navigating the UI with physical buttons is a considerably different experience compared to having a touch-sensitive display. The UI on the Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR could use a bit of work, even though it’s already quite good, but some more polish would make it even better. I did not notice any bugs, though, and everything worked well. I did notice that the watch shows less text than a Wear OS watch would, though. What I’m talking about is… text messages. It’s also not a big problem, but it’s worth noting that it shows less characters.
The last thing I’d like to point out is… that the glass on top of the display can get foggy in some conditions. To be more specific, if it’s cold outside, and you get out from a warm house, or something like that, that glass will get fogged up underneath. It’s not a big issue, as you can see in the image provided below, but it’s worth noting. There is a gap between that glass, and an actual e-ink display, of course, as this is a hybrid watch, so it doesn’t really surprise me. The problem goes away quickly, but it’s worth noting.
The Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR is one of the best hybrid smartwatches in the market
The Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR is an excellent hybrid smartwatch, with no major issues. A huge emphasis is on the word hybrid here, but that doesn’t take away from its quality or anything else. Granted, this is an expensive watch, but if you want a hybrid smartwatch, this is one of the best ones you can get. This is, without a doubt, the best hybrid smartwatch I’ve ever used. It does require some polish in the UI department, as that will make it even better, but I really enjoyed using it, that’s for sure. If you have the money, and you want a hybrid smartwatch, the Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR is the way to go.