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Review of Skagen Jorn Hybrid Connected Smartwatch

My entry level Citizen Eco Drive was (I know, unlucky) playing up and instead of replacing it with another I have ventured into hybrid smart watch territory. I couldn't see much in the way of information on this forum about the one I have bought, a Skagen Jorn Hybrid, so I thought I would post my own review with the hope some others will find it useful. It's not all amazing but it is very, very good and I sometimes wonder what Apple would have come up with if they had gone down the hybrid route - anyway here is my review:

Let's start with a picture of the model I bought - The Skagen Jorn Hybrid in Titanium (note: I have replaced the included black leather strap with a canvas one, which I prefer. I will keep the leather one, as new, as a spare).

Jorn-001.jpg

As you can see it is quite a straight forward design. It doesn't look like any sort of smart watch in both styling and with its relatively small size - it has 41mm diameter, but when I measured it, it seemed to be closer to 40mm - this suits me fine. You need to download the Skagen Connected App (Android or IOS versions are available) and it is really easy to connect the watch, set the time and start using its features. For your information I use my Jorn Hybrid watch with an iPhone 6s. Build Quality isn't bad - I would say on a par with some of the better Casios. The glass is mineral so may scratch a bit easily - I'll have to wait and see. The hands have some lume which is good but it is not very powerful / long lasting. Fortunately they reflect light incredibly well and contrast well against the grey face, so it is only in the pitch dark when you will have an issue here.

The reasons why I was swayed to this sort of watch are as follows:

1) 100% accuracy - the watch will sync to your phone frequently. It connects via bluetooth and this seems to be very stable. It is also worth mentioning that if the watch and phone are apart, the watch will continue to work as a time-piece without needing to re-connect for as long as needed.

2) Battery Life and Level - This is no Apple Watch which needs charging every day. The battery is disposable and lasts for months. One thing which I really like with some battery powered quartz watches is an indication which give you some sort of clue of a low battery so you can replace it before it actually fails. The Skagen Jorn Hybrid also shows this very clearly... on your phone! Both the included app and (on an iPhone anyway) your phone's main status screen shows accurately how much battery is left. After a week or so mine has dropped from 100% to 98%. At this rate it should last for many months as expected.

3) Ease of Battery Replacement - This can be important on non-rechargeable watches. The Skagen Jorn takes a common 'coin' size battery and replacing it couldn't be easier - more on this later. Battery-wise this is as good as it gets for smart watches.

4) Smart Watch Features - Of course, this is why I bought it! This watch has a built in step tracker, built in sleep tracker, limited optional notifications (via vibrations - for example when a text comes in), can control your music/audio and show the date in an unusual way (more later!). It also can be used to show a second time-zone or count stages toward a goal of your choice (e.g. drink 8 glasses of water a day). That's quite a lot for watch which looks so uncluttered.

So, going into more detail... The watch has 3 buttons (see below) which can be easily customised in the accompanying phone app. I'll concentrate on how I use mine:

Jorn-005.jpg


Top Button - Step Tracker Checker. When I press this button the watch shows, on its built in gauge, the number of steps taken today. If, like me before I worked this out, you are wondering how this actually works, what happens is the hour and minute hand sweep around the dial and once together point to the number of steps ( as a percentage of your goal ) as below:

Jorn-002.jpg

It's quite magic to see this happen - very smooth! The new reading stays for a second or two before the hands re-sweep to show the time again. Here you can see I have reached between 50% and 75% of my step goal of 10,000 steps... so I must do more today! It seems accurate and I really prefer this my old Fitbit which had a terrible digital display which couldn't be seen outdoors. A clear victory for the Skagen Jorn Hybrid!


Middle Button - Audio Control. Pressing this button plays or pauses on a toggle whatever is playing on my iPhone. This is really useful and is much better than the double tap on the casing of my Apple AirPods which does the same (but very unreliably) and of course it works irrespective of what you are listening through - headphones, connected speaker / hi-fi / car system and so on. I am a keen music and audio book listener so this is a great feature and it is responsive and reliable.

NOTE: It's not all good on audio though - you can also program the top and bottom buttons to accompany the middle button by controlling the volume up and down. I really liked the idea of this, but sadly, on IOS, using the watch to control volume is somehow very hit and miss. That's a shame.


Bottom Button - Date. Pressing this button does a similar thing to the step tracker checker. Only this time the hands swing round to point at a number on the outer dial. See below:

Jorn-003.jpg

So - here we can see it is the 25th. Of course the watch's calendar is synced to your phone, so no worries about 30 day months or leap years. The downside here are the numbers are very small - I can see them fine with my reading glasses on, but not too well without. Also, as you can see here and probably in my other photos, the date numbers take up most of the dial and are not actually the same as the 'minutes past' - the gaps between each date are slightly larger.

This is fine, but I cannot help but think it would be much easier to see the date at a glance if the numbers corresponded with the minutes past... so on the 5th it would point at 5 past, the 20th, 20 past and so on... Still, even so, it is a essential feature to have on any watch... the date!

I am going to finish this review with some more photos which will show a bit more about the scale of the watch and couple of other points to note

The Back:

Jorn-006.jpg

Replacing the battery couldn't be simpler - a coin unscrews the back and you just replace the battery. I've bought a little supply of batteries which should see the watch though the next couple of years.

Thickness:

Jorn-004.jpg

It's about 10mm. It looks a lot thinner than this on the wrist and when viewed from the side / top.

On the Wrist:

Jorn-007.jpg

This is how it looks on my wrist which is just over 7". I think this is a good size for me. I think if you have a wrist less than 7" you would be pushing it a bit maybe?

NOTE: the little coloured dots on the left hand sideof the outer dial are not actually used - they go back to an earlier iteration of the software / firmware related to notifications. I won't go into more detail, but needless to say they don't really bother me.

So, to summarise:

GOOD:

- Value for money (you can find these for around £100 if you shop around - RRP is £175)
- Styling - I really like an uncluttered watch like this
- Features - but a good blend of form, function and style
- Size - not too big, not too small (for me anyway)
- Battery life and replacement and level - all great, especially for a smart watch
- Some water resistance - but don't go swimming with it
- Replaces Fitbit - yes, it really does if all you want to do is track your steps
- App works well

NOT SO GOOD:

- Volume up/down option not very responsive on IOS
- The date could be shown more clearly

I hope the is useful to a few people who are thinking about a hybrid smartwatch like this. I'd be happy to answer any other questions if I can.
 

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Thank you so much for your review. I have two questions. First, can you set it up to notify you of calendar events? Second, if the watch gets disconnected from the phone because you move out of range, will it automatically reconnect to the phone when you get back in range? The reason that I ask is related to my first question. I don't want to have to remember to reconnect the watch in order to not miss calendar notifications.
 
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