I've used the Pininfarina Senso hybrid smartwatch – here are 3 things I like, and 2 that I don't

The market for hybrid smartwatches is growing, but is this the model for you?

The Pininfarina Senso Hybrid smartwatch on a grey background against a pink plant pot
(Image credit: Sam Cross)

It's clear that the market for hybrid smartwatches has expanded a lot in recent years. While users once only had a few options, new releases and growing popularity have made the decision much more difficult for users.

One popular option is the Pininfarina Senso hybrid smartwatch. For the unaware, Pininfarina is a design house with a rich heritage – most notably as a design partner for Ferrari.

Here, they've traded wheels for workouts, with a design which fuses luxurious looks and cool internal specs. The result is a watch which will look great in your morning meeting, but can also tackle your lunchtime run.

Let's dive into three things I really like about this watch.

1. Gorgeous styling

Okay, so this one probably isn't too much of a surprise. Have a read of the back catalogue for Pininfarina's design work and you'll know that this being a decent looking thing is no surprise.

But in the flesh, it is a really nicely worked thing. The case shape is gorgeous, with gentle rounding and a neat squircle case shape. Add the gorgeous textured dial into the mix, and it's not hard to see why this is such a popular device. 

The Pininfarina Senso Hybrid smartwatch on a grey background against a pink plant pot

(Image credit: Sam Cross)

2. Just the right amount of tech

One of the toughest parts about designing a hybrid smartwatch is getting the right balance. Too much tech and it may as well just be a smartwatch; not enough and you run the risk of making thing look gimmicky.

Here, the balance is just brilliant. The small screen at the 12 o'clock position houses all of the smartwatch goodness, acting as a little window into the capabilities within.

To me, that feels like the perfect amount of tech on show. It doesn't overshadow the other elements of the watch, but is large enough to be seen clearly on the wrist.

3. Perfect for non-athletes

When you look at the smartwatch market, there are certainly a lot of devices focused towards hardcore users. Those who are obsessed with their chosen workout and have a deep and thorough understanding of the relevant metrics.

For most of us, though, that isn't the case. For me personally, exercise and activity is just one of those things you have to do to live healthily. I couldn't go in depth on the relevance of different health metrics or statistics.

Fortunately, the Senso really doesn't place too much weight on that. The result is a smart device which feels like anyone could use it.

The Pininfarina Senso Hybrid smartwatch on a grey background against a pink plant pot

(Image credit: Sam Cross)

But it's not always plain sailing. Here are two things I don't enjoy about it.

1. Case size

There is no getting around the fact that this is a large case diameter. A 44mm diameter coupled with a 16mm case thickness make for a true monster on the wrist.

While it's not unmanageable, it's certainly not ideal for smaller wrists. On top of that, it can feel quite cumbersome for a watch which is designed to go with you on sporting activities.

If I could change one thing here, I'd put this tech into a smaller case. In fact, I've recently been using another watch with a similar case shape – the Spinnaker Hull Chronograph

That's a few millimetres slimmer and shaves 1mm off the case thickness, but the overall result is astounding. If the Pininfarina technology could fit into that case size, it might just be the perfect pick.

The Pininfarina Senso Hybrid smartwatch on a grey background against a pink plant pot

(Image credit: Sam Cross)

2. Strap mismatch

Another thing I really couldn't get around is the strap situation. As standard, this watch comes on a leather strap. That works for the office, but is just never going to be a great idea for working out.

Users can now opt to add other straps including a rubber option, but it feels like that would lose the dressy appeal of the watch. Ultimately, whichever option you go for feels like it detracts a little from one of the many faces this watch enjoys.

Sam Cross
Staff Writer

Online news writer at T3.com, Sam has five years of experience in online and print journalism, with work featured in publications like Metro and Last Word on Sports. After years writing about music and football, Sam now turns his hand to bringing you news about new phones, smart home products, smart watches, laptops and TVs. Sam is a longtime fan and user of Apple products, including iPhones, MacBooks and Apple Watches.He’s also T3’s resident football expert, bringing you everything you need to know about the big games, including how to watch them. In his spare time, Sam is a keen guitarist, watch lover and (very) amateur golfer.