While Samsung is joining forces with Google to breathe new life into Wear OS, the search giant’s most trusted (and prolific) smartwatch-making partner is essentially left trying to beat a dead horse into rising up and taking on an absolute beast at its peak.
That may seem like a rough metaphor to describe the freshly unveiled Fossil Gen 6 family, but it’s hard to view the Wear OS 3
“compatibility” of these otherwise attractive new Android and iOS-supporting smartwatches as anything but a huge dealbreaker.
To be perfectly clear right off the bat, the Gen 6 lineup is set to ship this year running an outdated OS version (that no one really liked in the first place) before eventually joining the Galaxy Watch 4
and Watch 4 Classic
on the Wear OS 3 bandwagon at some point in 2022.
Well, at least the hardware is good… allegedly
If you’re willing to overlook the aforementioned inconvenience, perhaps mesmerized by the admittedly stylish designs and “endless” customization options of the Fossil Gen 6 collection, you’ll be glad to hear this is the first smartwatch powered by Qualcomm’s hot new Snapdragon Wear 4100+ processor.
While that doesn’t sound like the kind of major upgrade
over the Snapdragon Wear 4100 many expected to see released this year in Qualcomm’s attempt to catch up with the blazing fast chips inside the industry-leading Apple Watches, the Fossil Gen 6 is guaranteed to vastly improve the performance of its predecessor.
That’s because the Gen 5
settled for a Snapdragon Wear 3100 “platform”, leaving the 4100 SoC to Mobvoi’s TicWatch Pro 3
and TicWatch E3
. Of course, it will be very interesting to compare the Fossil Gen 6 to those two devices rather than the Gen 5 to verify the company’s promises of considerably “faster application load times, highly responsive user experiences, and more efficient power consumption.”
Another interesting thing to test in the real world will be Fossil’s cheeky claim that the Gen 6 can be charged “two times faster than the leading smartwatch” out today (cough, Apple Watch Series 6
, cough), purportedly reaching 80 percent battery capacity in just a little more than half an hour.
That’s a pretty clever solution to the age-old smartwatch battery life problem, allowing you to track your sleep and use the Gen 6 for 24 hours and then quickly charge it in the morning before starting the cycle all over again. Multi-day usage is also possible, mind you, but only by enabling Fossil’s proprietary Smart Battery Modes and giving up some much-needed functionality.
What’s here and what’s missing
Compared to the Gen 5, the Fossil Gen 6 adds a more than welcome SpO2 sensor monitoring your blood oxygen levels. In case you’re wondering, that’s a fairly standard feature among the best smartwatches available today
, matched by everything from the Apple Watch
Series 6 to the Galaxy Watch
4, Fitbit Sense, and TicWatch Pro 3.
Unfortunately for Fossil, many of the Gen 6’s direct rivals and even some lower-cost activity trackers
nowadays come with a bunch of other health and fitness capabilities that this bad boy is unable to contend with.
We’re talking things like ECG and blood pressure monitoring, and on a somewhat unrelated note, optional cellular connectivity as well. Granted, if history is any indication
, an LTE-enabled Gen 6 variant is likely to break cover sooner or later, but until then, you may want to know these Bluetooth and GPS-only models are up for pre-order today starting at $299.
That’s… not too expensive but also not incredibly cheap for an intelligent timepiece packing the same old 1GB RAM and 8GB storage while sporting a decidedly familiar 1.28-inch circular AMOLED display as well.
Interestingly, the Fossil Gen 6 is offered in both 42 and 44mm case sizes and a grand total of seven “timeless styles” that you can easily personalize with a limitless selection of interchangeable straps, not to mention all sorts of different dial and button designs.
As always, the external appearance and build quality seem to be two of Fossil’s key selling points, but not everyone will like what they see beneath the swim-proof design and stainless steel body of these Gen 6 beauties.