I have a love/hate relationship with my Apple Watch. On the one hand (pun alert!), I love being able to keep my ringer off and just get a silent tap on the wrist when I am getting a call or text. On the other hand (did it again), I don’t love the aesthetic (wearing a black square on your wrist) or the need to ABC – always be charging.
When Apple entered the wearable tech game in 2015, there were very few competitors and no one was doing it better (remember Pebble watches? me neither). Since then, the field has changed and consumers have a much wider variety of styles and level of interactivity to choose from. After three years of being told to stand up every hour, getting pointless news alerts, involuntarily powering down at the end of the night, and having to turn my wrist with force and intent in order to see the time, I thought I might try something new. Enter the Kate Space hybrid smart watch.
Kate makes a couple of options, a touchscreen smartwatch that is pretty much on par with what you expect from Apple or Google, and a hybrid smartwatch that has a normal watch face and scaled back interactivity. These watches are actually made by Fossil, and there are plenty of masculine options available as well. For the purposes of this review, we’ll be looking at the Holland Hybrid Smartwatch, which retails for $250.
I went to my local Kate Spade store, because I wanted to see and feel the watch for myself before purchasing. Unfortunately, I was told they didn’t have it in stock (even though their site said they did) and that the watch was being discontinued! It’s still available online as of this writing, and I did notice they rolled out a new style recently. So I am hoping it was just this particular Holland that was being phased out. I did get to see the Scalloped Smartwatch in person, and though it was nice, I just really wanted to try the hybrid. So I stuck to my plan, and ordered the Holland to be delivered to my door within 7 business days.
When it arrived, I was Very. Excited. I basically snatched it out of my mail carrier’s hands and ripped it open on the spot. The unboxing was very satisfying – adorable Kate Spade packaging, and the watch is sooooo pretty. I am fully entranced by the mother of pearl watch face and tiny crystals for each hour. It says “hooray!” on the top which may seem random, but it’s a sentiment I enjoy looking at multiple times per day; especially since I bought this as a gift to myself in celebration of hitting a personal milestone.
The bracelet band was a tad large, and I ended up getting a link removed at my local watch shop. Downloading the app was simple and pairing was also very easy. Since there are not that many features, set up was super quick. There are three buttons on the side that you can program to do things like operate your phone’s camera, replay your last notification, or ping your phone if it’s lost. I use that last one a lot. Other options include turning music up or down, goal tracking, or activity tracking, but you are limited to just three at a time (because there are only the three buttons).
You can also set the watch to vibrate and move the watch hands in order to notify you when you’re getting calls, texts, facebook messages, or notifications from a plethora of other apps. For instance, when Rose calls me, I get a vibration and the watch hands move to twelve o’clock. Having too many watch hand settings can get confusing, so I only have a couple of important contacts that use the hands – everyone else is just the generic vibration. The only app that I would like to see added is Sideline, which I use in order to have a local work number without having two phones. If that were added, this would be the perfect watch for my needs. I will say, though, that the vibration is very gentle compared to the Apple Watch. Sometimes I hear it vibrating more than I actually feel it.
Lastly, and this is a big one – you don’t have to recharge this watch. Ever. There is a removable battery, just like a normal watch, that is supposed to last up to 6 months with normal use. Given the amount of vibrating my watch is doing, I assume my battery won’t last quite that long. But so far I am loving not having to charge this watch every night, and not having to lug a mile-long cord with me every time I leave town over night. They also make the back easy to open, so you can swap the battery yourself without having to go to the watch shop.
If you’re looking for an apples-to-apples swap for your Apple Watch, this is probably not a solution for you. You may be disappointed that you can’t preview messages on the watch face, or that you can’t answer calls or reply to texts from the watch itself. I still wear my Apple Watch when I exercise (stop laughing, it happens sometimes!), as the activity tracker is much more robust and I don’t care about looking fancy at the gym. Perhaps check into the full Smartwatch if these are your priorities.
However, if you’re like me and want a smart solution that looks beautiful, flies under the radar as a smart watch, but still makes sure you don’t miss a call or text, this might be the product for you.
They also have a thirty day return policy, so there is no harm in giving it a try! Check out all the styles and options, and let’s be pretty together!