SKAGEN Connected review: Two new styles for hybrid smartwatch lovers

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Skagen-Connected-review

If you’re looking for a traditional watch with a few basic smartwatch features and fitness tracking, the SKAGEN Connected Collection is worth looking at.

TA-ratings-93Last fall we took a look at the SKAGEN Hagen Connected hybrid smartwatch. For those not looking for a full-blown smartwatch and a more traditional look, the Hagen definitely fit the bill. The company has since released a few new models and our updated SKAGEN Connected review takes a look at the Jorn (for men) and Hald (for women) hybrid smartwatches. As we’ve previously reviewed the Hagen Connected, this review will most likely seem pretty similar if you’ve read the previous one already.

Specifications

The SKAGEN Jorn Connected and Hald Connected Hybrid Smartwatches have the following features and specifications:

  • Automatic time and date: Automatically updates to the correct hour and date, eliminating the need to account for time-zone changes when traveling, Daylight Saving Time or the number of days in a month
  • Activity, sleep, and goal tracking: Wirelessly track steps, sleep, water intake and more
  • Email and text notifications: Haptic vibrations notify wearer when a message is received. Customize notifications to include only the people (or apps) that matter most
    • Color indexed notification options give users the ability to assign a selection for specific contacts, apps, alarm, date, and additional time zone
  • SKAGEN Link technology: Snap a photo, ring the phone, control music and track goals with the push of a button
    • Customize the three pushers to either control your music, snap photos, ring your phone or track goals
  • Dual-time function
  • Interchangeable straps: Quick-release design allows wearers to instantly update their hybrid smartwatch’s look with a selection of straps (sold separately)
  • Battery operated: runs on a standard coin cell battery with an average life of 4-6 months; no recharging required
  • Compatibility: Android Devices 4.4+, iOS 8+ / iPhone 5 +
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth Smart Enabled (4.1 Low Energy), Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
  • Case Size
    • Jorn: 41 mm x 41 mm
    • Hald: 40mm x 40mm
  • Case Thickness: 10mm
  • Water Resistant: 3 ATM
  • Strap Width
    • Jorn: 22mm
    • Hald: 20mm
  • Styles available
    • Jorn: Titanium/Black Leather, Silver/Brown Leather
    • Hald: Rose Gold/Brown Leather, Gold/Brown Leather, Rose Gold/Grey Leather, Silver/Black Leather

What’s in the Box

  • Jorn or Hald Connected Smartwatch
  • Quick Start Guide
  • Warranty Manual
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What’s in the box (Hald Connected on left, Jorn Connected on right).

Design

Like the SKAGEN Hagen Connected Hybrid Smartwatch, the Jorn Connected — for men — and Hald Connected — for women — looks pretty much like your traditional watch. Our review units came with the matte Silver case and brown leather strap for the Jorn Connected and the polished Rose Gold case with brown leather strap for the Hald Connected. The crown on the right side of the watch has been replaced with three push buttons, one in the middle and another both above and below it. The bezel around the watch face is pretty thin as well, and the only other thing that is noticeable over traditional smartwatches is the actual thickness of the case  — which of course is only noticeable if you are looking at the watch from the side.

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The Hald Connected (top) and Jorn Connected (bottom) look like a traditional watch.

The design on the Jorn Connected and Hald Connected varies slightly from the Hagen Connected. First, the watches are slightly thinner with a 10mm thick case instead of 11mm as is the case with the Hagen Connected. The three oval push buttons have been replaced with smaller round ones. The buttons on the Jorn Connected are inset while the ones on the Hald Connected are capped. The bezel on the Jorn Connected and Hald Connected is also angled down whereas it was flat on the Hagen Connected.

While the Hagen Connected featured a second dial which indicated which mode you were looking at and for tracking your daily progress, this has been replaced with a series of four dots and moving the 0/25/50/75/100 markings around the outside of the dial after the 1-31 day markers. In the case of the Jorn Connected, the 1 – 31 date markings are on the outside of the dial between the 10 and 8 indicators, the four dots appear between the 8 and 10 o’clock position with the 0 – 100 markings between 10 and 12. On the Hald Connected, the 1 – 31 date markings are spread out between 12 and 10 with the dots and 1 – 100 markings appearing between 10 and 12. On both watches, the dots are colour coded and you can set which colour the watch hands move to when you receive a notification for a specific app or contact. You can also set notifications to vibrate only so that the hands don’t move when you get a notification.

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The second dial is missing and the markings vary between the Hald Connected (left) and Jorn Connected.

As was the case with the Hagen Connected, the genuine leather watch strap is attached using quick release clips, so you can easily swap out the strap for another watch strap of your choosing. On the clasp side are two loops which hold the end of the strap nicely, keeping it from flopping around. The watch is also water resistant to 3 ATM or 30 meters, which means it is splash/rain resistant but not suitable for showering, bathing, swimming, snorkeling, water related work, and other water activities. Again, it’s nice to have peace of mind that your watch won’t be ruined if you’re caught out in the rain or accidentally splash some water or spill something on it.

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The quick release straps can easily be interchanged.

These new designs from SKAGEN are pretty classy looking and coupled with the Hagen Connected certainly offer a few design choices to suit your taste.

Ease of Use

Setting up the Jorn Connected and Hald Connected Hybrid Smartwatch is super simple:

  • Install app
  • Create account
  • Turn on watch by pressing any button
  • Pair by holding any button down for 5 seconds, small dial spins
  • Update firmware
  • Calibrate by using buttons in the app to match watch hands on your watch
  • Set units for height, weight, and distance
  • Set height, weight, step goal, and sleep goal
  • Connect to other apps including UA Record, Up By Jawbone, Google Fit
  • Set contact and/or app notifications
  • Assign push button actions

As long as the watch is paired to your smartphone, the watch time will match local time on your phone which is a great feature for frequent travelers as you don’t need to update the time on your watch once you reach your destination.

Checking the various functions is as easy as pressing one of the three buttons, depending what function you’re after. I’ll discuss that more in the performance section below.

Software

The watch is connected through the SKAGEN Connected app for Android and iOS. The app itself is pretty simple and walks you through the initial setup of the app and getting your watch connected.

Once you’re good to go, you can set up your notifications, alarms, second time zone, and adjust your step, sleep, and custom goals. Notifications allow you to choose up to six contacts to be notified if they call, text, or email you (all of which can be toggled independently so if you want only SMS notifications from one person and only emails from another, you can do so). When we reviewed the Hagen Connected, you could only choose six contacts and you were limited to text, call, or email notifications. While you can only choose six contacts in the updated app, you can also choose up to six different apps to receive notifications from as well — including all calls or all text messages so you’re not limited to just six contacts for receiving call or text message notifications from. On that note, it’s handy if you only want to receive notifications from a couple people and a few different apps and is a welcome addition to the app since our last review.

The software also allows you to specify units (metric or imperial), set vibration strength, and toggle push notifications.

Performance

As far as basic functionality goes, the Jorn Connected and Hald Connected Hybrid Smartwatches work pretty much the same as the Hagen Connected. Step count seems to be fairly accurate based on the count compared to other step trackers and smartwatches I’ve used in the past. Sleep tracking isn’t too bad either, and it picked up those afternoon weekend naps pretty frequently as well.

Pushing the top button will show you the current date by moving both hands to the appropriate number between 1-31 on the outside dial of the watch face. Pressing the middle button will switch between the second time zone and alarm time if you have either set. The main hands will move to indicate the time for the selected mode, while the small hand in the second dial will point to A, B, or C to indicate which mode you are viewing. When your alarm goes off, press the bottom button to silence it.

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The buttons on the Jorn Connected feature an inset design…

The bottom button can also be attached to a phone function. You can set it to either ring your phone, control your music (short press to play/pause the current track, two short presses to skip to the next track, or one long press to go back to the previous track), take a photo (short press for a single photo or long press for a photo burst), or track your custom goal. Each of these functions worked as expected, and I did get some use out of using it to control music while streaming on my phone.

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…while the buttons on the Hald Connected feature a capped design.

As mentioned above, the notification comes in the form of a vibration on your watch and hand movement to a specific coloured dot but you’ll still have to look at your phone to see what the notification was, and who it was from. A welcome addition to the app was the ability to receive even more notifications than previously available before.

As before, I was able to easily connect the app to both UA Record and Google Fit and the step counting carried over to each of those apps with no issues whenever I synced the watch to my phone.

SKAGEN has definitely made some minor, but welcome, changes to the app which only serve to improve on the performance of the Connected watches as well.

Battery Life

Full smartwatches usually need to be charged up every night or every other day if you’re lucky. The Connected Hybrid Smartwatches use a traditional watch battery and SKAGENclaims a 4 to 6-month battery life before you need to change batteries. Based on the Hagen Connected which I reviewed last October — which is still showing 30% battery life left according to the app, I have no doubt that you should be able to achieve the claimed battery results depending on your usage.

Price/Value

Starting at $175USD, the Hald Connected also comes in $185 variants (as mentioned in the design section above) while the Jorn Connected also has a $195 variant. As with the Hagen Connected, the solid construction and basic smartwatch functionality definitely offer value for your money.

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The Hald Connected (left) and Jorn Connected offer good value for the asking price.

Wrap-up

The Jorn Connected and Hald Connected are equally decent additions to SKAGEN’sConnected Hybrid Smartwatch collection alongside the Hagen Connected. If you’re looking for a traditional watch with a few basic smartwatch features like basic notifications and fitness tracking, the SKAGEN Connected Collection is worth looking at.

*We were sent review samples of the SKAGEN Jorn and Hald Connected Hybrid Smartwatches for the purposes of this review.

SKAGEN Connected Hybrid Smartwatches

$175+ USD
SKAGEN Connected Hybrid Smartwatches
9.3

Design

10/10

    Ease of Use

    9/10

      Software

      9/10

        Performance

        9/10

          Battery Life

          10/10

            Price/Value

            9/10

              Nailed it

              • Easy to pair
              • Solid design/construction
              • Easy to use
              • Traditional design
              • Connects to other apps
              • Step and sleep tracking seem accurate
              • Addition of more app notification support

              Needs work

              • Doesn't always sync properly to other apps (namely sleep)
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