You can trust Fossil to do wrist watches tastefully and when it comes to smart watches, the company has proven its worth. Despite the crippled Wear OS 2, Fossil and all its sub-brands have given us some of the nicest Apple Watch alternatives. This time though, it is all about the hybrid watch and as expected, Fossil made a great one. Meet the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid smartwatch – a wrist watch that has the classy analog dial paired with the conveniences of a smartwatch. Mind you, this isn’t a fully functional smart watch like the Gen 6 watch.
Priced at Rs. 18,495, the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid is all about marrying the grace of an analogue wrist watch with the smartness of a smartwatch. The result is a watch that has a large E-Ink display to show all the stats and data, while two arms do the duty of a conventional wrist watch. The Gen 6 Hybrid comes in Stella (41mm) and Machine (45mm), and I had the former. Being a Fossil, the craftsmanship on this timepiece is elegant and after two weeks with it, I have started questioning the point of smartwatches.
With the Gen 6 smartwatch, Fossil showed how a bland all-screen device can look elegant. The Gen 6 Hybrid allows more space for creativity and that’s where Fossil designers have taken their liberty to shape it into something beautiful. Words cannot do justice to the exquisite persona of the Gen 6 Hybrid Stella – fine design elements adorn the “bezel” of the watch while the rest of the body tries to imitate a conventional wrist watch. The Stella variant in Gold looks fancy, especially with the silicon wrist strap. You also get to see a “crown” with two accompanying buttons – all of them act as control keys for the digital display.
Below the two arms sits an E-Ink display. An E-Ink display can either show black or white. On a watch, this works in favour – it is easier to read texts and see the small icons. Unlike the Garmin Vivomove Sport Hybrid which had a small half-screen OLED display, the full screen E-Ink display liberates more space for texts and menu items. This isn’t a touchscreen display though and you will need to rely on the three buttons for navigation.
Hybrid watches are largely crippled in their abilities but the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid minimizes the impact of the limitations on the user experience. This behaves at best like a fitness band with a large display. You can keep an eye on your phone notifications, check health stats, track your workouts, control music, and the similar fitness band stuff. The Gen 6 Hybrid runs a proprietary Fossil OS, which means it works nicely with both Android and iOS devices.
Despite the limitations of the design, Fossil has managed to somehow let you have your custom watch faces albeit in black and white. There are some tasteful watch face options to choose from and they all compliment the Gen 6 Hybrid’s analogue dial well. I preferred the white background faces for better visibility. And if you want a glimpse of the display at night, you need to double-tap the glass to activate the LED lights, which stays ON for a small time but does enough to give you a glimpse of your display.
Sadly, the navigation is cumbersome on the watch. With no touchscreen input, you have to rely on the watch buttons to move around the menus and select an item. While in a menu, there is no “home” button and hence, you have to go back one menu at a time to reach the homescreen. Fossil needs to figure out a better and easier way to navigate the watch.
Lastly, the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid even has Alexa onboard. Alexa with the onboard mic can take your commands and show weather stats as well as basic data, and even let you control IoT devices. Note that your watch needs to stay connected to your phone via Bluetooth for Alexa to work. You will need to set up Alexa via the Fossil Smartwatch companion app, which lets you login to the Amazon account. The app itself is neatly designed and has all the necessary functions within hand’s reach.
Just like the Gen 6 smartwatch, the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid lets you monitor your heart rate and Blood Oxygen saturation along with steps, calories, and more. The heart rate and SpO2 data was almost identical to the data from the Apple Watch Series 7 with minor variances. There are several workout modes to tap here, covering the basics such as walking, running, cycling and more. The workout data can be seen on the Fossil app. Sadly, the miserable weather in Delhi NCR didn’t allow for a trial of these workout modes. Moreover, someone buying a Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid is less likely to use such a fancy watch for workouts.
With no resource intensive OS and chipset here, the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid has been able to deliver stellar battery life. I had it on my wrist for 10 days without charging. The magnetic puck takes its own sweet time to fill up the battery, which is fine if you leave it overnight for charging.
The Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid wants to offer the best of both worlds – the charm of a conventional wrist watch and the smarts of a smartwatch. With the fullscreen E-Ink display, Fossil has managed to achieve that to a larger extent. This isn’t the smartest watch you can buy at this price but most of you reading this are likely connoisseurs of time pieces and you care about the analogue design more than anything else. And for that purpose, this Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid is a must buy.
However, those seeking the smartness will be left largely disappointed and should rather invest in a Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch, or the new Samsung Galaxy Watch 5.
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