Fossil Gen 6 review: Exquisite design, compromised software

Fossil Gen 6 review: The Fossil Gen 6 looks fantastic but is only held back by the unstable Wear OS 2.
By AMRITANSHU MUKHERJEE
| Updated on Oct 29 2021, 09:12 AM IST
Fossil Gen 6 review: The Fossil Gen 6 has fantastic design that is only held back by an erratic Wear OS 2. It start at INR 23,995.
Fossil Gen 6 review: The Fossil Gen 6 has fantastic design that is only held back by an erratic Wear OS 2. It start at INR 23,995. (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

With Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4, things look promising for the Android universe. The new Wear OS 3 platform looks promising and all it needs is a variety of watches to push it. Enter Fossil Gen 6, the latest generation of Fossil’s smartwatch platforms set to spawn some luxurious watches over the year, and is “ready” for Wear OS 3. And straightaway, it looks like a watch, not a weird futuristic gadget.

This alone is the reason Fossil is so popular with smartwatch enthusiasts. The Gen 6 continues the tradition with its exquisite design but internally, there’s new components to revamp the user experience. Starting at INR 23,995, this gadget is more affordable than the Apple Watch SE by some margin and almost the same price as the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.

But looks aren’t everything in a smartwatch, as you are about to discover in the following paragraphs.

Fossil Gen 6 Design

Fossil draws from its experience of designing conventional luxury watches and applies it masterfully on the Gen 6 smartwatch. It looks no different than the multitudes of round smartwatches from far away but a closer look brings out the appreciation for its exquisite details and fine craftsmanship. Look at the crown and the buttons -- no smartwatch in this category exhibits such class as the Gen 6.

Fossil Gen 6
Fossil Gen 6 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

The bezels are masked cleverly and so is the weight, all of which go nicely with the leather strap which itself imparts luxury.

Of course, having a big watch design also means it is not as comfortable as the sleeker alternatives from Samsung and Apple; especially while going to sleep.

Fossil Gen 6 Smartness

With a 1.28-inch AMOLED display, the Fossil Gen 6 brings out its tasteful watch faces to life. Fossil inarguably creates some of the best first-party watch faces to compliment the rest of the watch. Customisation options are limited but you can get third-party faces from the Google Play store.

Fossil Gen 6
Fossil Gen 6 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

Fossil has used the Snapdragon 4100 chip which is fast and power efficient; it shows in the way the watch behaves. Animations are slick and app load times are minimal. Sadly, this is where the love affair with the Gen 6 halts -- the Gen is based on the older Wear OS 2.

Make no mistake, Wear OS 2 is still one of the smartest watch interfaces around, especially when compared to the dumber OnePlus Watch. You can reply to texts, read all characters from various languages and emojis, download 3rd party apps, utilise Google Assistant’s luxury on your wrist, and even make as well as take calls clearly (via Bluetooth). This is everything we ask from a smartwatch.

Fossil Gen 6
Fossil Gen 6 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

However, these features don’t work as cohesively as watchOS 8 on Apple Watch, or even the newer Wear OS 3 on the Samsung Watch 4. The interface is a laggy mess that frequently freezes and refuses certain commands. My unit also kept rebooting occasionally when a lot of notifications dropped in, or I was tracking a workout mode. While it works with iPhones for now (Wear OS 3 won’t), it is better to stick to an Android phone with Fossil Gen 6. The Wear OS companion app is nice but this is a watch that does not need it; you have to get the Google Fit or some other Health app to view your stats.

Fossil Gen 6 Fitness monitoring

Wear OS 2 may lack fluidity but it gives you access to a plethora of fitness monitoring apps and services. The easiest one to setup is Google Fit, which allows you to monitor your heart rate, blood oxygen saturation, steps, calories and sleep. Compared to an Apple Watch Series 7 and Amazfit GTS 3, the Fossil Gen 6 data lacks the pinpoint accuracy, especially during the walking workout mode.

Fossil Gen 6
Fossil Gen 6 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

Heart rate data was comparable and so was the blood oxygen saturation reading. Note that this isn’t a medical device and hence, you should never blindly trust the data. Always consult a doctor in case of an anomaly. That said, it is always helpful to have a rough overview of your cardio fitness.

The Gen 6 can also track sleep and the results are comparable with the Amazfit GTS 3’s data. However, all you can see is the sleep hours on a weekly, daily and monthly basis; there’s insight into the sleep quality.

Fossil Gen 6 Battery life

Fossil Gen 6
Fossil Gen 6 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

By all intents and purposes, the Fossil Gen 6 is strictly a one-day smartwatch. Wear it all day while staying connected to your phone and do an hour of workout; the watch would enter the power saving modes by night. There’s room for improvement here.

However, the Fossil Gen 6 has one of the fastest charging systems I have witnessed on a smartwatch. The watch is usually ready in half an hour for the full day -- the kind of convenience even an Apple Watch Series 7 cannot offer.

Verdict

Fossil Gen 6
Fossil Gen 6 (Amritanshu / HT Tech)

The Fossil Gen 6 is easily one of the most desirable, if not the prettiest, smartwatches I have experienced lately. From the exquisite body to the comfortable leather strap and some tasteful watch faces, this is easy to add to your fanciest wardrobe. It’s not short on features, both smart and fitness ones. The fast charging is particularly a tempting reason to not look elsewhere.

That said, at INR 23,995, this is by all means expensive and it is hard to overlook the messy software experience that somehow mars the overall experience. The Wear OS 3 update is due in 2022 and that is a long time to wait for silly bug fixes.

Moreover, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 at INR 24,000 is a more polished alternative, especially in terms of software.

Our take: The Fossil Gen 6 scores high on desirability with its looks and a fancy feature set; go for it only if you are willing to live with the compromised software experience until the Wear OS 3 update drops.

Rating
3.5 out of 5
Price
INR 23,995/-
Product Name
Fossil Gen 6
Brand Name
Fossil
Pros
  • Stunning design
  • Extremely smart
  • Fast charging
Cons
  • Buggy Wear OS 2
  • Battery life not great
Specifications
  • Processor
    Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100
  • Connectivity
    Bluetooth, Wi-Fi
  • Sensors
    SpO2, Heart Rate, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, GPS
  • OS
    Wear OS 2

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First Published Date: 29 Oct, 08:53 AM IST
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