Alpina AlpinerX Hands-on Review

Alpina’s AlpinerX is so good, other hybrid smartwatches should be running scared

Alpina’s AlpinerX is the pinnacle of current hybrid smartwatch design and usability.
Alpina’s AlpinerX is the pinnacle of current hybrid smartwatch design and usability.
Alpina’s AlpinerX is the pinnacle of current hybrid smartwatch design and usability.


  • Great, sporty design
  • High-quality build and materials
  • Screen makes viewing notifications easy
  • No charging needed
  • App is excellent


  • Expensive

Could the Alpina AlpinerX be the ultimate hybrid smartwatch? Alpina is a Swiss watch brand with real heritage, making timepieces since 1883, and it’s particularly well-known for sports-orientated watches. The AlpinerX is a mix of classic Alpina design and modern connected technology, which makes it incredibly appealing. If Tag Heuer’s Connected Modular 41 and Connected Modular 45 are the perfect examples of Swiss engineering and touchscreen technology, then the Alpina AlpinerX brings the same cache and appeal to the hybrid space.

Distinctive mechanical feel

Before diving into the connected features, let’s jump into the AlpinerX’s design. Our review version came with a 45mm black stainless steel and glass fiber body, with a slightly convex sapphire glass over the top of the dial, and a bi-directional bezel showing compass points and degrees in white. This is repeated on the dial, where luminous orange hands — which recall the instrument panels inside an aircraft — offer considerable visual flair.

At the base of the dial is a sizeable digital screen, and it’s where you’ll see all the connected features. This makes the AlpinerX very different from other hybrid smartwatches, as they tend not to have digital screens, but it’s a subtle and well-implemented bridge between simpler hybrids and full-on digital touchscreen smartwatches.

The strap is made from thick rubber and comes in black, with Alpina and Geneve written across it; but also comes in orange with a black body watch. Alpina will also produce a blue watch with a blue strap. The buckle has a fold-over design, etched with the Alpina logo. After a week on our wrist, we found the AlpinerX to be immensely comfortable, never getting overly sweaty, and due to how lightweight the watch is, it was never bothersome.

This is a seriously comfortable watch to wear. It’s also a beauty. We wore it with smart and casual clothing, and it looked great with all our outfits. It’s not too big, it’s also not overly thick, and the buttons are large and easy to locate and press. On the final version, the rear will be engraved, but it’s blank on our review model.

The AlpinerX is very comfortable, not too big, and never gets overly sweaty.

We loved the mechanical feel of the AlpinerX, particularly the sound the hands make when advancing through time. There’s no second hand tickling away, but as the minute hand moves, it’s accompanied by a very distinct, gear-driven “tick” that is so physical, the watch feels much more alive than any other hybrid watch we’ve worn. It may sound strange, but we warmed up to the AlpinerX more because of it. You just don’t get that level of appeal with a digital watch, smart or otherwise.

The choice of true Swiss-connected smartwatches is small, but when one as impressive as the Alpina AlpinerX is available, you’re unlikely to feel shortchanged.

Connected features and screen

Interestingly, the AlpinerX elevates itself slightly beyond the usual hybrid smartwatch standard by incorporating a small display, rather than solely relying on vibrations to alert you of incoming notifications.

The screen shows abbreviated text of the app that’s attracting your attention. For example, Facebook shows up as FAC, along with a number representing the amount of messages waiting for you, emails are EML, WhatsApp is WHA, and so on. A glance is all that’s needed to identify the alert, and pressing the upper and lower buttons moves through multiple notifications.

Alpina AlpinerX Hands-on Review
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

Our review model only showed these visual alerts, and didn’t vibrate. We spoke to Alpina about this, and were informed the final models will have a vibration alert. Since it wasn’t operational on our watch, we can’t comment on its effectiveness.

Through an app on your phone you can see activity and sleep data, but you can’t see this information on the digital display on the watch.

If the screen strangely doesn’t show fitness and activity, what else does it offer outside of notifications? This is an outdoors watch, which means it comes with a barometer, a compass, an altimeter, temperature sensor, and unusually, a UV indicator. Data from all these sensors is shown on the watch’s main screen, and you can scroll through them using the crown. It’s all also accessible in the app. The screen is easily readable in daylight, without being too bright, and is genuinely informative.

All the benefits of a full smartwatch, without the drawbacks.

We like the way the screen illuminates with a quick press of the crown, how it shows a customizable world time, and how it automatically moves the hands out of the way when there’s information on the screen. The screen also blends in with the overall watch design, looking less like a cobbled together attempt to mimic a smartwatch, and more like Casio’s cohesively-designed hybrid analog and digital displays used on its G Shock range.

Even though there is a screen on the watch, it doesn’t require charging, meaning the screen offers many benefits of a full smartwatch, without the drawbacks. Who can argue with that?

Like the design, the AlpinerX operates in an ultra-polished fashion, and it’s clear the whole project has been properly thought out.

AlpinaX app

The Alpina app is yet another win for the AlpinerX. All the data is shown in an attractive, easy-to-read manner. It’s fast to react, the settings are simple to change, and the notifications can be tailored to your liking.

If you only want email notifications, for example, you can turn everything else off. We connected the watch to our iPhone X using a beta version of the app, and the process was flawless. Final versions of smartwatch apps are often poor, so to find a polished, reliable, and informative app that’s still in beta was pleasing.

There are some missteps, though. The dynamic coach feature sounds grander than it is, and it appears to only provide long-term activity data. It’s also joined by some basic advice on making improvements to your activity levels, sleep, and eating habits. It’s not tailored for you specifically, which isn’t a problem unique to the AlpinerX, but a downside with most fitness trackers and smartwatches.

Also, the most prominent button in the app takes you to the Alpina website. It’s pointless promotion, and spoils the app’s neat design and general focus on user experience.

Price and availability

Alpina has decided to launch the AlpinerX on Kickstarter, where it will be sold for $450 in an early bird offer, before jumping to $895 after the campaign ends. At the time of writing, we’re not aware of any benefits or rewards outside of the lower price for backers.

This is a real Swiss hybrid smartwatch, and you shouldn’t expect a low price. In terms of value, $450 is reasonable for a watch of this quality, with sapphire glass, Swiss heritage, and a very comprehensive feature set. What’s more, it works really well, and the app is excellent.

It’s absolutely worth the price on the Kickstarter campaign. It’ll be down to the depth of your pockets if you want to buy one outside of the campaign. Any watch closing in on $1,000 has a lot of competition, both in the smart and the traditional world.


Alpina’s continued commitment to build desirable hybrid smartwatches is excellent news. The AlpinerX deserves to be a success. It’s everything we want from such a device — great style, considerable functionality, flexibility, desirability, and a degree of exclusivity due to the higher than average price.

It’s a Swiss hybrid smartwatch that even staunch traditional watch fans will appreciate. We’re leaving our final verdict until we try a fully-operational model; but the Alpina AlpinerX hasn’t disappointed during our week with it.

Product Review

A Mercedes so sophisticated, it connects to your watch to plan your massage

The mid-size luxury SUV segment is a must-win competition, and the 2020 Mercedes-Benz GLE is the newest contender. With active suspension, driver assist, and even a connection to your watch, this is more than an SUV, it’s a mobile device.

Watch out for these top-10 laptop buying mistakes

Buying a new laptop is exciting, but you need to watch your footing. There are a number of pitfalls you need to avoid and we're here to help. Check out these top-10 laptop buying mistakes and how to avoid them.

Here are the best Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa deals for Black Friday

Apple products are the most sought-after products for Black Friday, the leaked preview ads show what discounts retailers will have for the Apple Watch Series 3 and other smartwatches, such as the Fitbit Versa, this holiday season.

Music to our ears: Spotify at long last arrives on the Apple Watch

Spotify subscribers are now able to jam out to their favorite tunes on their favorite workout accessory, as the Swedish streaming service has finally released its official Apple Watch app.

Check out 25 of the best Wear OS apps for your smartwatch

Looking for some ways to spruce up that new Android smartwatch of yours? Here are the best Wear OS apps to download and use with any Android smartwatch, including a few specially enhanced for Wear OS 2.0.
Health & Fitness

Withings new Pulse HR is a customizable, connected fitness tracker

Inspired by Withings first ever fitness tracker the Pulse, the new Pulse HR is updated with the latest in fitness tracker technology including smart notifications, 24/7 heart rate tracking, and more.
Product Review

With style and feature upgrades, Misfit's next-generation Vapor 2 gets it right

Misfit’s next-generation smartwatch, the Vapor 2, packs built-in GPS, a heart-rate sensor, and more, into a beautiful design that starts from $250. We take a closer look at the company's latest device.
Emerging Tech

Believe it or not, this fire-proof exoskeleton isn’t designed for space marines

A company called Levitate Technologies has developed a fire-resistant upper body exoskeleton that’s capable of lowering exertion levels by up to 80 percent when you carry out manual work.

The Motiv smart ring is coming to 20 more countries and physical stores

Remember Motiv's activity tracking smart ring? It's back with a raft of new features that adds biometric identification and token authentication, all on a device that fits on your finger.

Everything you need to know about Garmin’s GPS watches and trackers

Garmin jumped into the GPS smartwatch and fitness tracker market five years ago and has built a portfolio of devices that rivals competitor Fitbit. Here's your guide to the latest and greatest fitness devices that Garmin has to offer.

Google's Wear OS update 'H' promises battery life improvements

Google has rebranded its Android Wear operating system to Wear OS. Removing the Android name may help people better understand Google-powered smartwatches, which also play nice with iOS devices. 
Product Review

This featherweight Fossil might be the lean smartwatch you've been waiting for

Fossil has released its first-ever smartwatch featuring Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100. For $255, it comes equipped with a heart-rate sensor, built-in GPS, and more, but does the Fossil Sport live up to the hype? We take a closer look.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: A.I. selfie drones, ‘invisible’ wireless chargers

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for November 2018

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.