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Fossil Gen 6 Review

This watch has terrible battery life and overall was not very impressive for the price
Fossil Gen 6
Credit: Fossil
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Price:   $299 List | $229.00 at Amazon
Pros:  Crown scroll, charges quickly, user-friendly "always on" screen
Cons:  Poor value, subpar battery life
Manufacturer:   Fossil
By Benjamin Hickok ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Dec 23, 2021
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57
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#8 of 8
  • Ease of Use - 30% 6.0
  • Smart Functions - 20% 6.0
  • Display - 20% 6.0
  • Fitness Impact - 15% 5.0
  • Battery - 15% 5.0

Our Verdict

The Fossil Gen 6 is a next-generation smartwatch that failed to impress us overall. It uses a crown, which improves navigating the watch's smart functions and features, but this does not work with every screen. It also lacks availability and support for popular apps, has a terrible battery life, and for the price, we felt it was a poor value overall. It's stylish, and we had high hopes, but at the end of the day, there are a lot of better options on the market for the money.

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Overall Score Sort Icon
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Star Rating
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Pros Crown scroll, charges quickly, user-friendly "always on" screenLoaded with smart functions, beautiful display, intuitiveLoaded with smart functions, beautiful display, easy to use, great priceGood value, great fitness tracking ability, excellent battery lifeIncredible battery life, great fitness tracking
Cons Poor value, subpar battery lifePoor battery life, expensiveSubpar battery life, fitness impact tracking could be betterCould be more convenient to use, doesn't have the most smart functionsLack of smart features, could be easier to use
Bottom Line This watch has terrible battery life and overall was not very impressive for the priceIf you are looking for the absolute best wearable to pair with your iPhone, then look no furtherAn incredible smartwatch for Samsung phone users but a little underwhelming when it comes to battery lifeThe fitness features packed into this wearable make it an excellent choice for the priceIncredible battery life and great fitness tracking abilities make this watch a notable fitness wearable
Rating Categories Fossil Gen 6 Apple Watch Series 7 Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Fitbit Versa 3 Huawei GT 2 Pro
Ease of Use (30%)
6.0
9.0
8.0
6.0
6.0
Smart Functions (20%)
6.0
8.0
7.0
5.0
4.0
Display (20%)
6.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
7.0
Fitness Impact (15%)
5.0
9.0
6.0
8.0
8.0
Battery (15%)
5.0
5.0
5.0
8.0
9.0
Specs Fossil Gen 6 Apple Watch Series 7 Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 Fitbit Versa 3 Huawei GT 2 Pro
Water Resistance 3 ATM 5 ATM 5 ATM 5 ATM 5 ATM
NFC (contactless payment) Yes, Google Pay Yes, Apple Pay Yes, Samsung Pay Yes, Fitbit Pay Yes, Google Pay
GPS? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
HR Monitor? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Built-in Microphone? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Built-in Speaker? Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes
Display 1.28 inch Color AMOLED 41mm or 45mm Retina LTPO OLED 40mm or 44mm AMOLED 1.58 inch OLED 1.39 inch AMOLED
Resolution 416 x 416 420 x 352 (41mm),
484 x 396 (45mm)
396 x 396,
450 x 450
336 x 336 454 x 454
Other Sensors Accelerometer
Altimeter
Ambient Light
Accelerometer
Gyro
Barometer
Altimeter
Compass
SpO2
VO2max
Accelerometer
Barometer
Gyro
Geomagnetic
Light
Electrical heart
Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis
Ambient light
Altimeter
3-axis accelerometer
Accelerometer
Gyroscope
Geomagnetic
Air pressure
Processor Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100+ processor Apple S7, Dual-core Dual-core 1.18 GHz Cortex-A55 N/A Kirin A1 + STL4R9
Available Sizes One size 41mm, 45mm 40mm, 42mm, 44mm, 46mm One size One size
Size Tested N/A 41mm 44mm N/A N/A

Our Analysis and Test Results

The Gen 6 is the next generation of smartwatch from Fossil. It offers an elegant and fashionable option to users who may not need more serious fitness tracking abilities provided by other watches.

Performance Comparison


Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch - the battery level is clearly and conveniently indicated on the watch...
The battery level is clearly and conveniently indicated on the watch face.
Credit: Laura Casner

Ease of Use


This metric assessed the user-friendliness of each smartwatch based on the ease of taking screenshots, water resistance, charging setup, crown or bezel scrolling, screen responsiveness, and the ease of changing wrist bands. Right out of the gate, the Fossil Gen 6 failed to impress us.

The screenshot feature, which requires simultaneous use of the power and volume button, was unreliable, and we could not get it to work as advertised. We also could not reliably capture videos. The Gen 6 is also more splash-resistant than waterproof. It has a low water resistance rating of 30 meters, whereas most other wearables we tested have a 50-meter rating. If you don't want to risk ruining a fairly expensive wearable, we suggest removing the watch for showers and avoiding using it for anything other than shallow pool fitness tracking.

Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch - the crown on the fossil gen 6 adds convenience to its ease of use.
The crown on the Fossil Gen 6 adds convenience to its ease of use.
Credit: Laura Casner

The Gen 6 uses a circle pad type of charger, meaning there is nothing to align or hook up, so it's easy to use. However, the charging setup has some of the weakest magnets of the watches we tested, and it is also on the heftier side. The combination of weak magnets and the weight of the watch means that you have to take care not to knock it free of the charger if it is resting precariously at the edge of a desk or nightstand.

While the Gen 6 uses a convenient crown scroll, which helps improve usability, it does not work with every menu. Still, the watch is snappy and responsive, with performance approaching the best smartwatches we tested. It reacts quickly to the turn of a wrist, and the screen response to touching and swiping is fast. A fairly standard lever type of wristband release makes changing bands easy, though not the best of the watches we tested.

Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch - multiple pushbuttons and a bezel enhance usability.
Multiple pushbuttons and a bezel enhance usability.
Credit: Laura Casner

Smart Functions


The Gen 6 started a disappointing performance trend regarding our smart functions metric. We tested popular app selection and support, taking phone calls, controlling music, and making wireless payments. We also considered and evaluated standalone GPS and cellular capability. This watch lacks widespread third-party app availability or support for many popular apps.

While this watch can take calls, the settings are buried in the menu, and it took us some effort to make the feature work as it is disabled by default. The microphone is terrible, and there is a lot of feedback produced during phone calls. The Gen 6 does a bit better with music, even if it does not allow a thumbs up or down via Pandora. It also supports google payment and includes a standalone GPS, though it does not have any cellular capabilities. This means you will always need your smartphone to be nearby to support its limited cellular-dependent features.

Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch - most devices need to be paired with a smartphone for cellular and...
Most devices need to be paired with a smartphone for cellular and data use unless you have a cellular-compatible watch.
Credit: Laura Casner

Display


The main way in which we interact with most modern smartwatches is through the touch interface, so this is a critical component. We rated screen quality and the ability to easily and clearly read text on the wearable in the presence of bright light or the absence of light. We also tested auto-brightness and always on settings and abilities.

The Gen 6 was one of our weaker performers in regards to screen quality. We found it only to be as good as some of the worst-performing smartwatches from previous generations and a disappointment from some of the more expensive devices we tested. However, the always-on and auto-brightness abilities and settings are on par with top-tier wearables. The display's brightness adequately adjusts to the lighting of different environments, and the 'always-on' setting runs a less featured version of the normal face.

Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch - a decent display is easy to use and read. the gen 6 is certainly...
A decent display is easy to use and read. The Gen 6 is certainly decent, though it still doesn't measure up to other watches in our review.
Credit: Laura Casner

Fitness Impact


For this metric, we tested the step counter, heart rate monitor, workout tracking, and stair tracking. Unfortunately, the Gen 6 is far from being a good fitness tracker. It miscounted steps, consistently missing about 6%, compared to our control device, and the watch has no stair counting feature. Heart rate monitoring was only accurate while resting and significantly deteriorated during a workout.

On a slightly more positive note, the Gen 6 has a huge array of workout tracking apps that allow for goal setting, like a target distance or calorie goal. Unfortunately for users of those apps, the underlying data collection may be inaccurate if the dismal step counting and heart rate monitoring performance is in any way indicative of how the apps collect data.

Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch - navigating default screens and apps on the gen 6 is straightforward...
Navigating default screens and apps on the Gen 6 is straightforward, but we weren't impressed with overall data collection from movement and workouts.
Credit: Laura Casner

Battery


Our last metric looked at battery performance, both lifespan and charging capabilities. The Gen 6 performed exceptionally well in our recharging tests, recharging to a full charge significantly faster than any other watch we tested. This is fortunate because users of this watch will be recharging the watch frequently as it has terrible battery life under normal use — one of the worst we have ever tested.

back of the fossil gen 6 smartwatch, with magnetic disc charger.
Back of the Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch, with magnetic disc charger.
Credit: Laura Casner

Value


Overall we weren't too impressed with the performance of the this watch for the price. Some top-tier smartwatches provide premium performance for a premium price. Others that we tested follow a value pricing strategy. This watch is neither and is a poor value for the price.

Conclusion


The performance of the Fossil Gen 6 wasn't very impressive at all. Other smartwatches provide greater support for popular apps, have better smart functions and features, do a better job fitness tracking, have better screen quality, are easier to use, last much longer before requiring a recharge, and are more affordable. Bottom line, this is an okay watch, but there are much better options, and we can't recommend it over a handful of others.

wearables enhance life on the go but can look good too...
Wearables enhance life on the go but can look good too. Unfortunately, style is about the only thing we liked about the Gen 6.
Credit: Laura Casner

Benjamin Hickok
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