Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Version assessment: historical past repeats itself

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The unique Fossil Gen 6 form of received shafted. Whereas Fossil was nonetheless growing the watch, Google and Samsung sprung the information that Put on OS 3 was on the horizon. Fossil apparently discovered at the same time as the rest of us. Then, Qualcomm introduced a newer, faster wearable chip. By the point the Gen 6 debuted, it was working a soon-to-be last-gen chip — and Samsung’s first Put on OS 3 watch, the Galaxy Watch 4, was already out. It wasn’t Fossil’s fault, however the Gen 6 was outdated earlier than it ever hit cabinets. Sadly, it looks like the brand-new $299 Gen 6 Wellness Version, Fossil’s first native Put on OS 3 watch, received the quick finish of the stick, too. 

Like the unique Gen 6, the Wellness Version has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100 Plus chip. It’s received the identical 1.28-inch OLED show, the identical 1GB of RAM, and the identical 8GB of onboard storage. The Wellness Version additionally has the identical sensors. It’s successfully the identical watch, with a barely completely different aesthetic and Put on OS 3 put in out of the field. (Older Gen 6 watches shipped with Put on OS 2 however can now be up to date to Put on OS 3.) On reflection, I’m unsure what I believed could be completely different this time round. However, having frolicked with all of the out there Put on OS 3 watches on the market, it appears like there are two tiers of the working system: the Put on OS 3 you get on Samsung and Google watches and the one everybody else is caught with.

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Appears ain’t all the things

The 44mm Gen 6 Wellness Version is a classy watch. Though it’s barely larger than my 42mm Gen 6, I dig the sleeker general aesthetic, and I favor the extra fashionable tackle the buttons — I had fewer unintended presses this time round, because of the flatter profile of the pushers. You may simply swap out the default 20mm silicone straps, however I wouldn’t be ashamed to put on it as is to a proper occasion. It’s comfy for on a regular basis put on, and whereas it wouldn’t be my first alternative for health monitoring and even within the high 5, the chrome steel case provides a bit of additional sturdiness. Simply don’t take it within the pool, because it’s solely received 3ATM of water resistance. That’s effective for laundry dishes however isn’t thought-about secure for swimming.

However a snazzier design isn’t sufficient to redeem the Gen 6 lineup as an entire. The massive factor I used to be on the lookout for with the Wellness Version was a greater general expertise. I received that, however I ended up with some surprising annoyances, too.

Close up of crown and pushers on the Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition

I dig the extra fashionable crown and pushers on the Gen 6 Wellness Version.

Put on OS 3 on the Gen 6 is best than Put on OS 2, however not essentially quicker. Scrolling by means of menus is zippy, and notifications pop up shortly. However typically, there’s a slight pause whenever you launch apps, or a display screen freezes for a scorching second earlier than shifting alongside. After I tried to obtain Strava through the on-wrist Play Retailer, it crashed. A number of instances. And when the search did “work,” Strava by no means really appeared as a downloadable app. I ended up having to push it from the net model of the Play Retailer, however it took some time earlier than it put in. That is so bizarre since I’ve undoubtedly downloaded Strava from the on-wrist Play Retailer onto each different Put on OS 3 watch I’ve examined. It wasn’t an enormous difficulty as a result of Adidas Working got here preloaded, and you may as well monitor exercises through the native Wellness app. However nonetheless. 

None of that made the Wellness Version unusable. It was simply odd. However other than occasional stutters, Put on OS 3 was nonetheless an enchancment. It was so good to have extra third-party apps that truly work. You possibly can use Spotify on Put on OS 2, however it wasn’t an excellent expertise. It’s a lot improved in Put on OS 3 and eventually helps offline playlists. You too can use YouTube Music, SoundCloud, or Deezer. (Does anybody use Deezer?)

It was so good to have extra third-party apps that truly work

Nevertheless, it’s not higher than Put on OS 3 on the Pixel Watch or the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and 5 lineups. I think a few of my efficiency points have been as a result of 4100 Plus chip, which launched in 2020 however didn’t actually seem in lots of watches till the tip of 2021. By then, Samsung had already moved on to a next-gen chip for its Galaxy Watch 4 and 5 lineups. The Pixel Watch makes use of a last-gen Samsung chip, however it’s been bumped as much as 2GB of RAM to make up for it. I’ve a sense a future Fossil Watch working the Snapdragon W5 Plus chip will carry out higher, however that’s not an possibility simply but.

Close up of YouTube Music app in the Gen 6 Wellness Edition’s main app menu

Put on OS 3 has a a lot better-maintained third-party app ecosystem than Put on OS 2 did.

Amazon Alexa and Calm apps shown on Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition in the watch’s main app menu

Google Assistant is lacking, however at the least you will have Amazon Alexa?

However Put on OS 3 itself has extra options on Google and Samsung watches. These watches have Google Assistant. The Gen 6 Wellness Version doesn’t. It’s unclear if that’s coming someday sooner or later, however for now, you’ll must make do with Amazon Alexa. (It’s effective.) 

Alexa is best than nothing, however a smartwatch working Google software program must have Google Assistant. For well being and health monitoring, Google and Samsung’s Put on OS watches have robust native apps, too. Fossil has the Wellness app, however whereas it’s aesthetically pleasing, it’s not built-in properly into the general Put on OS 3 expertise. The Pixel Watch has a Fitbit integration, which, although imperfect, is extra polished than Fossil’s Wellness app. It’s straightforward to see a every day Fitbit dashboard in your Tiles as properly. Samsung’s watches have Samsung Well being, which additionally integrates extra easily throughout the One Watch UI pores and skin Samsung runs over Put on OS 3. Even the previous Google Match Tiles might at the least provide you with a fast visible of how far alongside you have been in your every day objectives. 

That brings me to Fossil’s new companion app. Put on OS 3 has achieved away with the previous Put on OS app, that means firms must drum up their very own companion apps. Montblanc did it with the Summit 3, and Fossil’s achieved it right here, too. This places non-Google and non-Samsung Put on OS watches at an obstacle. Google has the Pixel Watch app, whereas Samsung has the Galaxy Wearable app. For well being, they depend on the Fitbit and Samsung Well being apps. It’s not elegant to depend on a number of apps, however settings are straightforward to edit, and there are ample methods to view your every day and historic well being knowledge.

No offense to Fossil, however its app is skeletal. It seems to be fairly, and it’s greater than ample at swapping watchfaces and customizing Tiles. However viewing historic well being knowledge is, to place it properly, unintuitive, and the minimalist knowledge isn’t that helpful. Then once more, at the least you possibly can view well being knowledge within the Fossil app at launch. You couldn’t with the Montblanc app after I examined, and I don’t have it anymore to examine. 

The one “edge” Fossil’s received over Google and Samsung is that its model of Put on OS 3 is iOS suitable. However that is extra of a philosophical win for individuals who both double-wield Android and iOS telephones or like to modify between the 2 platforms. iOS loyalists are more likely to go for an Apple Watch or perhaps a Garmin in the event that they’re actually into health.

The Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition draped over a phone with the Fossil Smartwatches app pulled up

The Fossil app is okay for switching up watchfaces and customization, however it’s barebones.

What’s up with the battery and settings?

Through the years, Fossil has tried to take the sting out of the not-so-great battery life on its watches. It was one of many first so as to add quick charging and a number of battery-saving modes. However it’s virtually 2023, and a smartwatch has received to final you thru the workday. This one not often did.

With the always-on show enabled, I used to be fortunate to make it to bedtime earlier than the watch routinely switched to one in all its battery-saving modes. Sooner or later, I had AOD on and took the watch off the charger at 9AM with one hundred pc. By 11:30AM, it was all the way down to 69 %. To date, all I’d achieved was sit at my desk and hop on the bus to go to work. I received extra mileage if I turned AOD off, however going for a 30-minute GPS run nonetheless meant I needed to high off the battery earlier than mattress if I wished to trace sleep.

On the very least, Fossil’s made it in order that the watches cost tremendous quick. You may rise up to 80 % in half-hour. 

I attempted futzing round with some settings to see if I might stretch battery life additional, however that led me to a different one of many Wellness Version’s quirks. It will seemingly reset my settings after I caught it on the charger. Not each time, however usually sufficient to gaslight me. For instance, I at all times flip off sounds on smartwatches. My marriage is dependent upon it. My partner hates all types of digital dings, beeps, and bloops, however they particularly hate Fossil watch alerts. And but, the sounds stored turning again on. I really haven’t any rationalization for it, and I hope it’s one thing Fossil fixes in future updates.

Higher at health than wellness

The Gen 6 Wellness Version will not be notably good at wellness. Take SpO2, or blood oxygen, monitoring. As with the Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watches, you possibly can take SpO2 spot checks with the Wellness Version. It’s a comparatively new addition to Fossil watches, which I used to be completely satisfied to see because it was an indication that Fossil was making headway so far as superior well being monitoring goes.

Too dangerous that the primary time I attempted it, the watch mentioned my SpO2 ranges have been at 83 %. For context, 95 to one hundred pc is taken into account commonplace, whereas anything below 90 percent is cause to hunt medical care. After all, I attempted to see if this was a one-off, however the watch then failed to finish a number of subsequent readings. It stored telling me to put on my watch increased on the wrist and to regulate the strap, however neither appeared to make a distinction. (I additionally couldn’t have worn it any tighter — it was on the smallest attainable strap gap.) I rebooted the watch, and that appeared to do the trick, however I nonetheless received extra errors than I normally do with smartwatch SpO2 readings.

Close up of the Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition’s sensor array

The Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Version has SpO2 sensors, however the characteristic is… wonky.

The opposite metric I’d been wanting ahead to was Cardio Health, or VO2 max. However although I’ve been sporting this look ahead to over every week, I’ve but to get a rating. Fossil’s troubleshooting FAQ says that you need to be capable to get a rating in about 24 hours however that intermittent put on would possibly imply taking up every week. I’ve been sporting this watch all day, every single day, aside from when it’s on the charger or when it dies whereas I’m out and about. I’m nonetheless solely 60 % of the way in which to a Cardio Health rating. It’s not exceptional to attend that lengthy to gather sufficient knowledge for a metric, however it’s longer than common for VO2 max. 

The Wellness Version can monitor sleep, however it’s not sleep tracker due to its poor battery life. Just a few instances, the watch had converted to time-only mode earlier than I awakened, although I’d gone to mattress with at the least 40 %. (That’s the minimal most different smartwatches recommend for sleep monitoring.) The consequence was that my sleep knowledge was unreliable as a result of the watch lower sleep monitoring early. As an example, on an evening that my Apple Watch Extremely and Oura Ring tracked 7.5 hours of sleep, the Fossil tracked 4.5 hours. All three units have been round 30–40 % charged, however solely the Fossil did not make it to the subsequent morning. It doesn’t imply sleep monitoring is inconceivable — it simply means you’ve received to be rather more conscious of battery ranges than you’ll with different units. 

Close up of the Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition’s watch face while it sits atop colorful bins

I want battery life have been higher on the Gen 6 Wellness Version. It’d make sleep monitoring simpler on the very least.

However, the Wellness Version was manner higher at monitoring my out of doors runs than different latest Fossil watches I’ve used.

Right here’s how GPS checks are likely to go along with Fossil watches. I strap it on, begin up the native health monitoring app, do my little run, and facepalm after I load up the recorded map. Normally, there’s a stretch the place the GPS says I’m working within the East River or zigzagging by means of partitions like Kitty Pryde. Not this time. I went on two 30-minute runs, which I recorded on my telephone, the Gen 6 Wellness Version, the Garmin Fenix 7S Sapphire Photo voltaic, and the Apple Watch Extremely. The GPS maps corresponded throughout all 4 platforms, as did coronary heart price, tempo, and distance knowledge. That’s an enormous enchancment over the Fossil Gen 5 lineup. In any other case, coronary heart price, tempo, and distance knowledge have been additionally on par throughout all 4 units. 

That is nonetheless a vogue smartwatch, even whether it is referred to as the Wellness Version

I don’t anticipate an entire lot from Fossil watches on the well being and health entrance. That is nonetheless a vogue smartwatch, even whether it is referred to as the Wellness Version. So although my outcomes right here have been extremely blended, I wouldn’t say that’s a serious con. So long as you’re conscious that these options aren’t the principle focus, you possibly can nonetheless use this look ahead to informal well being and exercise monitoring.

Persistence is a advantage

For the previous few years, I’ve instructed Android customers to attend for the subsequent Fossil watch. I’m loath to present that recommendation once more, however historical past appears to maintain repeating itself. As soon as once more, Fossil’s achieved the perfect job it might probably to make lemonade out of Put on OS’s lemons. However older {hardware} and a less-finished model of Put on OS 3 hasn’t arrange any of the Gen 6 watches for fulfillment. 

That mentioned, for those who’re choosing between a Fossil Gen 6 (or the Skagen Falster 6, Michael Kors Gen 6, and so on.) and the Gen 6 Wellness Version, I’d go along with this. Fossil has began rolling out Put on OS 3 to the vanilla Gen 6, however you’ll save time if it’s preloaded. Even when that’s not a priority, the Wellness Version has a extra elegant design, and the chrome steel case is a perk. I’d additionally undoubtedly decide this over the Montblanc Summit 3. Not solely will you save roughly $1,000, however it’s additionally a much less cumbersome watch, and the Fossil companion app is marginally higher, too.

Close up of the Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Edition on a woman’s wrist with a Cardiogram app notification reading “What’s your heart telling you?”

My coronary heart is telling me that you need to look forward to the Gen 7.

However for the value, you’re going to get a fuller expertise with the $280 Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 or the $350 Pixel Watch. Each these watches have a extra polished model of Put on OS 3, quicker processors, higher battery life (although it’s an in depth name with the Pixel Watch), and extra sturdy well being options. For those who’re prepared to pay $50 further, you may as well get mobile connectivity. 

Hopefully, Fossil lastly will get a extra even enjoying discipline with the Gen 7. Ideally, it’d get the brand new Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 Plus chip, and as soon as the Put on OS 3 transition nears completion, maybe there’ll be a extra uniform expertise throughout all Android smartwatches. (Trace trace, Google Assistant for everyone else, maybe?) Lord is aware of Fossil has had a whole lot of endurance with the Put on OS platform through the years. It’d be good to see that repay — for them and the Android smartwatch ecosystem as an entire.

Comply with Proceed: Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Version

Each sensible gadget now requires you to comply with a collection of phrases and situations earlier than you need to use it — contracts that nobody really reads. It’s inconceivable for us to learn and analyze each single one in all these agreements. However we began counting precisely what number of instances you must hit “agree” to make use of units after we assessment them since these are agreements most individuals don’t learn and undoubtedly can’t negotiate.

To make use of the Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Version, you could pair it with an iPhone or Android smartphone. That features the telephone’s phrases of service, privateness coverage, and some other permissions you grant. You might also be prompted to permit the Fossil Smartwatches app to entry your telephone’s pictures, location, Bluetooth, movement and health knowledge, voice assistant knowledge, notifications, background app refresh, and mobile knowledge.

By establishing the Fossil Gen 6 Wellness Version, you’re agreeing to 2 necessary agreements:

There are additionally non-obligatory permissions you possibly can grant, together with sharing knowledge utilization and opting into advertising emails. For those who select to allow the Alexa, you could comply with each Amazon Alexa’s privateness coverage and phrases of service in addition to the Alexa Talent by Fossil’s privateness coverage and phrases of service. Additionally, you will be prompted to grant permissions to permit Alexa to view and edit exercise knowledge, gadget info and settings, coronary heart price knowledge, SpO2 knowledge, and exercise knowledge. For those who select to combine with Apple HealthKit or Google Match, you could additionally comply with these phrases.

Last tally: two necessary agreements and several other non-obligatory agreements.

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