Fossil Sport Smartwatch Review: A (Mostly) Solid WearOS Watch

I purchased my Fossil Sport Smartwatch over Black Friday weekend, when it was improbably on sale simply after it launched. This admittedly has no bearing on how good a smartwatch it’s, or whether or not you need to think about shopping for one among your personal. But it’d assist to know from the beginning that I’ve worn this watch almost every single day for the previous three months. And that I plan to maintain on sporting it.

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Let’s get this out of the way in which too: The Fossil Sport Smartwatch is nearly actually the very best WearOS smartwatch you should purchase. It’s one of many few with the newest processor, the Qualcomm 3100, which embraces the precept that even essentially the most modest positive factors depend for one thing. It seems sharp sufficient that individuals will ask you what sort of watch you’re sporting. It suffers minimal chunk. And for additional supporting proof I’d direct you to Google itself, which just lately spent $40 million to accumulate a few of Fossil’s smartwatch-related mental property and a handful of engineers. Until Google makes a Pixel Watch, the Fossil Sport Smartwatch is as shut as you’re going to get.

Let’s even be clear that completely none of meaning the Sport Watch is nice. In fact, it typically struggles to succeed in a plateau of “good.” Being the very best WearOS watch can also be an essential qualifier; Samsung’s succesful Galaxy Watch runs a distinct working system, Tizen, which nonetheless works simply advantageous with Android smartphones. But the Sport Watch does provide the very best distillation of Google’s smartwatch ambitions, and it does sufficient issues effectively sufficient that you simply gained’t remorse strapping it on.

Wrist and Shout

It’s a testomony to the Fossil Sport Smartwatch that the majority of any dialogue about it has to focus on WearOS, slightly than the {hardware}. I give it some thought nearly by no means, in the very best manner. It’s mild sufficient that you simply don’t discover you’re sporting it, however sturdy sufficient, not less than in these three months, to stay as much as the “sport” in its identify.

The Sport Smartwatch is presently accessible in two sizes—41 mm and 43 mm—and 4 colours: black, pink, “smokey blue,” and “blush,” which is a beige type of pink. (Grey and light-weight blue have been beforehand supplied however are listed as offered out on-line.) The darker fashions come off higher, because of the combined supplies Fossil deploys. The high case is fabricated from aluminum, nevertheless it rests above onerous nylon. It all blends collectively properly sufficient within the blue and black variations, however the pink and blush get contrasty in a manner that would learn as low cost. Fossil additionally sells bands in lots of, many extra colours if you wish to get inventive and swap in. I haven’t finished this; I like my smokey blue simply the way in which it’s. But I did take the straps off of my watch utilizing its quick-release mechanism, and it took all of 10 seconds to get them again on once more.

On the aspect of the Sport Smartwatch you’ll discover a rotating crown and two mechanical buttons you may program to fit your wants. These all really feel solidly constructed; I strongly suspect my Fossil’s bodily buttons and knobs will outlast its capability to run the newest model of WearOS. The silicon strap, too, strikes steadiness between consolation and sturdiness.

This show is shiny sufficient to learn in broad daylight, and I’ve managed to not scratch it up to now. It has a customized wi-fi charger—it’ll value $25 for a brand new one when you misplace it—that luckily helps quick charging. Fossil says it’ll web you 80 p.c battery life after an hour; that appears about proper primarily based on my expertise. And sure, battery life continues to be a priority for smartwatches with shiny touchscreens, irrespective of who makes them. The Sport Smartwatch isn’t any totally different, however I’ll say that it’s by no means punked out on me earlier than bedtime, and the one instances it is come shut have been once I leaned heavy on the GPS throughout lengthy runs.

A smartwatch doesn’t stay and die on its specs, however there are a pair extra value mentioning: The Sport Smartwatch comes with four GB of storage, which suggests you may hold loads of playlists on it. (The interface for really taking part in them is clunky and maddening, however that’s simply a part of the WearOS expertise, which I’ll get to extra in a minute.) It has an NFC chip for Google Pay purchases, which can shock and delight your folks on the grocery store checkout. And the show has 390 pixels per inch, which roughly interprets to: You can see the pixels when you look onerous sufficient, however not likely at a look, and glancing is all you’re actually doing within the first place. It’s additionally waterproof, so you may swim and bathe with it, however making an attempt to faucet and swipe on a moist show is like making an attempt to faucet dance on a Play-Doh mountain.

As for the general look, you may’t costume up the Sport Smartwatch like you may an Apple Watch. There’s no Milanese looping right here. In reality, it’s incapable of masquerading as something however a smartwatch you may safely sweat on. And truthfully, in some ways in which’s refreshing.

Ready to WearOS

So sure, no actual complaints concerning the Fossil Sport Smartwatch {hardware}. The software program that runs it? Some complaints!

The factor you’ll need to know first, as a result of it’s the most annoying of all the issues, is that regardless of the glitzy new processor, WearOS nonetheless stalls out typically on the Sport Smartwatch. Apps can take a number of beats too lengthy to open. I additionally bumped into a difficulty the place I’d raise my wrist to get up the show and get one thing finished, however the display would go darkish earlier than I may make up my thoughts or end my swiping, and by the point I woke it up once more it forgot what I had been doing. So simply distracted! I didn’t get pleasure from this course of.

Technically the Sport Smartwatch is able to “untethered GPS,” however be ready to attend for an exceptionally very long time for it to kick in. On some runs, it simply … … didn’t. Also bear in mind that, in contrast to the Galaxy Watch and others, it doesn’t mechanically observe exercises, which is a irritating factor to recollect 2 miles right into a run. That’s on me and my forgetfulness, however I’d slightly blame the watch.

And then there are the watch faces. Fossil offers a handful that appear to be a boosted digital watch, with rings to trace your bodily exercise (one for steps, the opposite for something that will get your coronary heart price up) encircling the time, the date, your coronary heart price, and so forth. I assumed I would like a glance that emulated a basic analog watch face, however I bumped into a bunch of points once I tried a couple of: I don’t belief third-party builders with all the info they get once I set up their watch face; all of them look horrible in battery-saver mode, which supplies a scaled-down model of any given face; they really feel like a lie. I’ve caught with Fossil’s standard-issue “Pulse Digital,” and it strikes a ok steadiness for me.

What I do not admire is that Fossil will every now and then try and foist new watch face designs on me. I may have lived a wonderfully content material life with out my wrist buzzing with notifications that learn “New Dial, Who Dis?” and “U+THIS = <3.”

One final wee gripe, after which we are able to return to what’s good, of which there’s lots. My smartwatch has frozen 3 times since I purchased it three months in the past, which is a momentary trouble at worst, however not an excellent encouraging price.

Now for the great! I’m completely happy to report that WearOS is usually intuitive; it by no means takes me various swipes to get the place I’m going, and I don’t discover myself at bizarre UI useless ends typically. It did take me a couple of months to determine how one can uninstall an app—you must seek for it within the Google Play Store in your watch, faucet it, and uninstall it there, which appears not particularly environment friendly—however in any other case the training curve is minimal.

Google Fit tracks all of the fundamentals you’d want, though I used to be annoyed to seek out that it nonetheless doesn’t listing “swimming” as an exercise. It does provide a clear show, although, that serves up important information like coronary heart price and tempo in blocky sufficient font that you simply solely must look. The built-in coronary heart price sensor appears correct sufficient, though when you’re searching for scientific or elite-training analytics, you’re nearly actually higher off with a devoted gadget.

I’ll be trustworthy, although. What makes the Sport Smartwatch value it’s what makes any wristable value it: It genuinely retains me from taking a look at my cellphone on a regular basis. A fast look at my wrist, and I’m again to dwelling my life, slightly than getting sucked down the assorted rabbit holes that stay in my Pixel 3. For that, it’s possibly even higher than an analog watch, as a result of I can even rapidly dismiss any lingering suspicion that the newest notification could be pressing. (It by no means is.)

To my thoughts, that’s the true argument for the Fossil Sport Smartwatch: It could be the first WearOS product that doesn’t trigger extra frustration than it prevents. Faint reward, possibly. But I haven’t as soon as regretted my buy, and the way typically are you able to say that?

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