Skagen Hagen Connected Review

Introduction


If you've been following smartwatches, you may or may not have heard of this new breed called 'hybrid watches'. This take on the contemporary smartwatch actually loses much of what makes the smartwatch smart. We're talking about the screen, the processor, and, in fact, the OS itself. You'll find none of that in a hybrid watch. So why buy one, then?

Skagen Hagen Connected Review
Hybrid watches aren't good for checking the weather, or playing Spotify from the wrist. They simply can't do that. However, they make for great fitness tracking devices, and you know what the best part is? You don't have to charge them every other day. In fact, a hybrid watch can usually go for months and months on a single charge!

The Fossil Group is where many notable hybrid watch models originate from these days, and one of the newest ones comes from renowned Danish watch maker Skagen.

Named after the lovely Hagen line of watches, the $200 Hagen Connected blends traditional Scandinavian watch design with a number of smart features to give its owner a taste of modern, connected technology. Shall we take a closer look at this baby?

Design


Skagen Hagen Connected Review

While anoraks may be perfectly happy with touchscreen wearables and watch faces displaying graphics of Iron Man or Mickey Mouse, consumers with at least some sense of style would find themselves thrown off by such designs. This is where hybrid watches like the Hagen Connected come in, as one of their biggest defining features is precisely the lack of screen, and the precense of a good old, real dial, complete with real, moving hands and other traditional elements of classic watches. As Skagen puts it, the Hagen Connected hybrid watch is for people who appreciate good design.

The Hagen Connected is indeed a fine looking timepiece. It has a nicely polished all-stainless steel body, easy to read dials, genuine leather and comfy milanese loop bands... It's a looker! In fact, it comes in four distinct styles, all of which look beautiful and classy. On the wrist, the leather band feels OK, although its inner edges are a tad sharper than ideal. I haven't tested the milanese loop band, but expect it to be at least as comfortable, or better.

Skagen Hagen Connected Review

There's only one real problem with the Hagen Connected's design, and that's how thick it is. The classic, non-smart Hagen is just under 8 mm, which is pretty thin. The Connected, however, is just over 11 mm. It may not sound much, but in reality, and on the wrist, the difference is more than substantial. Probably related to this, the Hagen Connected also feels somewhat hefty, not overly so, but enough to notice it.

Skagen Hagen non-smart - Thickness comparison - Skagen Hagen Connected Review
Withings Activité Sapphire - Thickness comparison - Skagen Hagen Connected Review
Skagen Hagen Connected - Thickness comparison - Skagen Hagen Connected Review

Skagen Hagen non-smart

Withings Activité Sapphire

Skagen Hagen Connected

Thickness comparison


All in all, though, the Skagen Hagen Connected is a lovely watch to wear and look at. It has a certain nobility to its styling, certain calmness and maturity, which I can't help but appreciate.

 

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Skagen Hagen Connected Review

Introduction


If you've been following smartwatches, you may or may not have heard of this new breed called 'hybrid watches'. This take on the contemporary smartwatch actually loses much of what makes the smartwatch smart. We're talking about the screen, the processor, and, in fact, the OS itself. You'll find none of that in a hybrid watch. So why buy one, then?

Skagen Hagen Connected Review
Hybrid watches aren't good for checking the weather, or playing Spotify from the wrist. They simply can't do that. However, they make for great fitness tracking devices, and you know what the best part is? You don't have to charge them every other day. In fact, a hybrid watch can usually go for months and months on a single charge!

The Fossil Group is where many notable hybrid watch models originate from these days, and one of the newest ones comes from renowned Danish watch maker Skagen.

Named after the lovely Hagen line of watches, the $200 Hagen Connected blends traditional Scandinavian watch design with a number of smart features to give its owner a taste of modern, connected technology. Shall we take a closer look at this baby?

Design


Skagen Hagen Connected Review

While anoraks may be perfectly happy with touchscreen wearables and watch faces displaying graphics of Iron Man or Mickey Mouse, consumers with at least some sense of style would find themselves thrown off by such designs. This is where hybrid watches like the Hagen Connected come in, as one of their biggest defining features is precisely the lack of screen, and the precense of a good old, real dial, complete with real, moving hands and other traditional elements of classic watches. As Skagen puts it, the Hagen Connected hybrid watch is for people who appreciate good design.

The Hagen Connected is indeed a fine looking timepiece. It has a nicely polished all-stainless steel body, easy to read dials, genuine leather and comfy milanese loop bands... It's a looker! In fact, it comes in four distinct styles, all of which look beautiful and classy. On the wrist, the leather band feels OK, although its inner edges are a tad sharper than ideal. I haven't tested the milanese loop band, but expect it to be at least as comfortable, or better.

Skagen Hagen Connected Review

There's only one real problem with the Hagen Connected's design, and that's how thick it is. The classic, non-smart Hagen is just under 8 mm, which is pretty thin. The Connected, however, is just over 11 mm. It may not sound much, but in reality, and on the wrist, the difference is more than substantial. Probably related to this, the Hagen Connected also feels somewhat hefty, not overly so, but enough to notice it.

Skagen Hagen non-smart - Thickness comparison - Skagen Hagen Connected Review
Withings Activité Sapphire - Thickness comparison - Skagen Hagen Connected Review
Skagen Hagen Connected - Thickness comparison - Skagen Hagen Connected Review

Skagen Hagen non-smart

Withings Activité Sapphire

Skagen Hagen Connected

Thickness comparison


All in all, though, the Skagen Hagen Connected is a lovely watch to wear and look at. It has a certain nobility to its styling, certain calmness and maturity, which I can't help but appreciate.



Functionality


Skagen Hagen Connected Review

So, you probably noticed this second, smaller dial inside the main one. This is what handles most of the Skagen Hagen Connected's smart features. I mentioned in the intro that hybrid watches are mostly fitness trackers, but that's not entirely true. Manufacturers like Skagen are finding ways to add some useful extra features which easily drive the watch's value even higher.

Fitness


You'll notice how one side of the small dial has numbers 0 to 100. As you go about your day and (preferrably) enjoy some physical activity, the small hand will move through that right section of the dial to show you where you stand when it comes to your daily steps goal. It's very convenient to be able to always take a quick look at how much you've moved thus far. The Skagen's equally minimalist smartphone application gives you the full fitness data, including the standard set of steps, calories, and distance passed. It's also the window to your sleep tracking data, since the Hagen Connected supports that as well. In my tests, I found all fitness tracking features of the Hagen to be painfully accurate, showing me that I'm about as active as a sloth.

One big omission that I experience with the Hagen Connected is exercise tracking. The watch doesn't recognize between different types of sport activities, plus it can't even recognize when you're doing one. Instead, you have the option to set a generic goal to exercise a number of times through the week. Each time you get on with your exercise, you can push the lower button on the Hagen to tell it that you've exercised one time. That's it. If your goal is to exercise 5 times a week, and you push the button 5 times, the app will say that you've reached your number of exercises goal. That's really as far as it gets. You can also set a different type of goal: water intake, or "custom" (you type in whatever you want), which works in exactly the same way. What's worse is that you can have only one of these goals active at the same time. To switch between goals, you have to open the app, navigate to the menues, etc., etc.

Truth be told, most premium fitness trackers out there do a much better job than the Hagen Connected, and in terms of hybrid watches, the Misfit Phase easily comes to mind as being a spectacular fitness tracker, complete with a smart scoring system, automatic workout detection, and a good choice of activity types to tag your workouts with.

Notifications


Aside from that, the Hagen connected can also notify you of certain events like calls or messages, and this happens using the left side of the inner dial – the one with the four slightly varying color shades. For example, if you associate the dark blue piece with your wife, whenever she's calling you, the small hand will move to point at the blue section of the sub-dial. Neat, eh? You can also assing a certain color to all calls, and another to all messages, so you can easily distinguish between both. Of course, these notifications are accompanied by a vibration, otherwise how would you notice when the small sub-eye hand has quietly moved?

Date, Second time zone, and Alarm


Thankfully, there are some other features on the Skagen Hagen Connected to distract ourselves with. First is Date, which is activated by pushing the upper side button. When you do that, the hour and minute hands both go and point at the current date (the outher ring of numbers on the dial). The hands seem a bit slow to travel, which may prove slightly annoying if you happen to be a fast-paced individual.

With Second time zone, you can set any location around the world you wish, and then, with the push of the middle side button, the hour and minute hands will shift to show you the current time at that time zone. This is a fine feature.

There is also a vibration alarm, which is just that – it vibrates at the time you choose. Unfortunately, you can't have more than one alarm enabled, which feels like an unnecessary limitation.

Skagen Link


The most flexible feature of the Skagen Connected is called Link. Previously, I told you that by pushing the lower side button, you get to "tick" a workout session off the list. However, you can choose to change the effect of this button to the following options: 1) ring your phone, 2) play/pause music, or 3) act as a remote camera shutter. These can all be very useful features, arguably more useful than 'adding a workout instance' towards your goal.



Battery life


Skagen Hagen Connected Review

Aside from design, the other strong point of hybrid watches is battery life. While touchscreen smartwatches typically don't last through more than a couple of days, hybrid watches can usually go for up to six months. The same applies to the Skagen Hagen Connected.

Actually, you don't charge the Hagen. It's powered by a standard coin type CR240 battery. Once the watch burns through the charge (at least a few months), you just unscrew the back lid of the Hagen replace the battery, put the lid in place again, and go on with your life, as if nothing happened. Imagine if smartphones were this power-efficient!

Conclusion


Skagen Hagen Connected Review

The Skagen Hagen Connected, like most other hybrid watches, is a fitness tracker in the body of a classic, good-looking watch.

As a timepiece, it's awesome, if you enjoy the minimalist and mature style. As a fitness tracker, it's sadly lackluster, because it doesn't have essential features like workout detection and workout tagging. All it does is to count your steps, but there's a big difference between steps made during a long walk, and steps made during a 30-minute, vigurous exercise routine; 'steps' made during cycling, and steps made while playing tennis. A difference that the Hagen Connected doesn't seem to be aware of.

With that said, the Hagen is a good basic pedometer and sleep tracker, plus it does great as a stylish, functional watch, with bonus features like basic notifications, second time zone, alarm, and a shortcut function button. At $200, the Connected is reasonably priced, but it doesn't necessarily strike us as a great deal, considering its drawbacks in the fitness tracking department, and considering the way more fully featured Misfit Phase or Withings Activite Steel can be yours for $175, or around $140, respectively. The reality is the Skagen Hagen Connected is a great watch, but a mediocre fitness tracker.