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(Pocket-lint) - When a smartwatch maker announces that it's been working on a new model, you typically expect a spec sheet full of upgrades over its previous model.

However, that's a system that Withings has ignored with the ScanWatch Horizon - and is often a rarity in the niche world of hybrid smartwatches.

Instead, the French company has simply made a more premium version of the standard Withings ScanWatch, with the exact same internals used here.

Is it a classy, worthwhile alternative to something like the Garmin Vivomove Sport, then? We've been testing in order to find out.

Our quick take

We don't think the Withings ScanWatch Horizon will make sense for everyone - there's a cheaper, equally accurate alternative in Withings' own lineup, after all.

That said, the Horizon is super-premium to wear, looks as good as anything on the market, and brings superb tracking to the table, making it a great proposition on its own two feet.

If you don't get scared off by the price tag, and love the look of it, this could be the perfect hybrid watch for you. For anyone who wants a more affordable or slim option, the standard ScanWatch is right there, too - it's a pretty simple equation to figure out.

Withings ScanWatch Horizon review: A classy upgrade

Withings ScanWatch Horizon

4.5 stars - Pocket-lint recommended
For
  • Looks superb
  • Premium build
  • Great tracking
  • Comes with a strap option
Against
  • Quite pricey
  • Pretty heavy
  • No GPS

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Design

  • Green or blue finish
  • Weight: 72g
  • Stainless steel build with sapphire glass face
  • Comes with a replacement rubber strap

The look and feel of the ScanWatch Horizon is comprehensively different to the original model, with only a couple of key similarities.

To deal with those first, you again have a standard analogue watch face interrupted by a small circular PMOLED display on the top half, which lets you navigate simple menus and check your fitness stats quickly when you have the need.

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This screen also works identically to how it does on the ScanWatch, with a relatively clear image that's easy to read but a clear size limitation that means it's not exactly multi-purpose.

You again have a crown to let you click through these menus and display options, too, which is both chunky and easy to turn.

From there, it's all changed - the watch is now all-metal, with a stainless steel body and a matching band to go with it. The Horizon comes in deep blue or green options, and both look pretty gorgeous.

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They're finished in a classy dull matte way that catches the light really well at certain angles, but it's subtle enough to blend in with basically any outfit you like. This gets even easier when you factor in the matching rubber strap that comes with the watch, which helps to lighten the load and make it look less formal.

The box also comes with a few replacement links and tools to let you slot them in and out of the metallic band so that you can get it sized right - a familiar process for those who've owned metal watches before, but a little fiddly if it's your first time.

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The watch nods to its diving-inspired design with a rotating bezel, as well, although this doesn't really do anything unless you're a fan of keeping timers in your head, and it was actually so stiff on our model that rotating it was a bit of a struggle.

The ScanWatch Horizon looks beautiful to our eye - we loved the normal ScanWatch and still do, but this is a step up in build quality and materials. It is consequently a lot heavier, though, making it perhaps slightly less enticing to exercise in, but that might be a minor problem for some.

You also can only get it in one 43mm size, so there's no option for more diminutive wrists - another shortcoming that isn't too shocking given its design.

Performance

  • Tracks heart rate, SpO2, calories, steps and sleep
  • Can check ECG manually
  • Plenty of workout modes

On the back of the Horizon, you'll find exactly the same array of trackers that you get in the base ScanWatch, letting you keep track of your steps, calories, heart rate and much more as you move around your day.

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Withings offers something a little unique in the smartwatch world thanks to how much its watches look like normal analogue models, and that's once again the attraction here.

You get the benefit of heart rate tracking from a watch that looks old school and can just keep it on while you exercise to keep on top of a range of stats. You can also use it when you like to take electrocardiogram readings for peace of mind, which is always welcome.

With blood-oxygen metrics also on board, it's fairly comprehensive on the exercise front and has a bunch of workout modes that you can pick from for more accurate tracking based on what you're doing.

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As we mentioned above, though, it's worth bearing in mind that this is a pretty heavy watch. Wearing it to exercise was no problem for us, but it did present a more noticeable weight than most others we've tried, particularly compared to something like the Apple Watch SE.

Its accuracy is excellent, however, and managed to keep pace with our other trackers and repeat the solid performance of the original ScanWatch.

Features

  • No built-in GPS
  • 30-day battery life
  • Water-resistant to 100M

One major feature miss for a watch like this is the lack of independent GPS, which means that you'll need your phone connected if you want route tracking during exercise.

This might not be a must-have, given the Horizon doesn't have a screen to navigate by in the first place, but, still, with the price being bumped up significantly (you can find a standard ScanWatch for around half the price of a Horizon) and the watch itself being chunkier, we'd have loved for Withings to find a way to include it.

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That said, it would probably have impacted heavily on the watch's excellent battery life in that case, which stands at 30 days of regular use, with a 20-day reserve on low-power mode - something that could come in handy if you forget a charger.

Charging it up only takes a couple of hours, too, so it's really in the category of smartwatches you can almost forget you need to charge in the first place. Similarly, you can easily lose any fear of it breaking in rainy conditions, with proper waterproofing and depth resistance.

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Withings' HealthMate app also continues to be one of the better companion apps on the market, both with clear metrics and easy navigation, and hooking your data into Apple Health or your choice of platform is nice and simple so that your stats can all go to the same place.

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To recap

This is an impressive update to the ScanWatch's build quality, bringing a gorgeous all-metal body and strap that will be right up some people's street. If you want a chunkier, heavier ScanWatch with a different look, you've just found the solution.

Writing by Max Freeman-Mills. Editing by Conor Allison.