In a few short years, wearable technology has gone mainstream. People routinely talk about getting their steps in. Wearables like smartwatches are great in that sense. They allow us to track our activity, our sleep, and even our workouts. Plus, it provides notifications so we don’t always have to look at our phones. In many ways, a smartwatch is a swiss army-like device on our wrists. It tracks, it notifies, and best of all—it tells the time.
Today, I’m reviewing the Fossil Gen 6 Wellness edition smartwatch. With continuous heart rate, steps, and sleep tracking, could this be the missing piece in your health and fitness journey? Basically, does it live up as a Wellness device? This review seeks to find out.
Design of the Fossil Gen 6 Smartwatch
At first glance, you would be hard-pressed to know this was a smartwatch running Wear OS 3. On the front is a 1.28” Colour AMOLED touchscreen display enclosed in a 44mm stainless steel case with a 20mm interchangeable silicone strap. Under the hood is a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100+ processor, 1 GB RAM, and 8GB Storage. On the right side is a rotating home button with two configurable push buttons above and below it.
On the back, you’ll find the heart rate sensors and the charging panels that magnetically attach to the charging cable dock. The Fossil Gen 6 also has an accelerometer, altimeter, ambient ligh compass, and SPO2 sensors. On the wrist, it feels comfortable and familiar. It’s not bulky on my wrist and I could wear it for long periods of time without discomfort.
Setting up the Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch
Despite being a Google device, the Fossile Gen 6 works on both Android and iOS. I installed it with an Android smartphone. I first left it to charge. It recharges from 0 to 80% in about half an hour. Nevertheless, I let it fully charge before the setup.
Once charged, a QR code was displayed on the screen. I downloaded the Fossil app and it detected the watch without me having to scan the QR code. From there, I granted all the necessary permissions such as notifications, location, etc. I also added my age, height, weight, and sex to personalize my profile. To complete the installation, I connected my Google account to the Fossil Gen 6. In all, the entire setup took about 5 minutes.
Using the Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch
I’m a very active person. I train at the gym and jump rope almost every morning. I was very eager to test the Fossil Gen 6 to see what kind of data it captures. However, I soon learned that it’s not a fully-featured fitness wearable. Workouts are broken into two groups: outdoor and indoor. Both assume some type of cardio workout, most likely running. Outdoor workouts first track your location. A timer is set that shows distance and heart rate. You can manually change it to look at steps or calories burned instead.
Indoor workouts let you connect to fitness equipment via Bluetooth. This is the first time I’ve seen this feature before but none of the equipment in my gym supports this. Otherwise, the second option is to “skip to workout” which is basically the same time as outdoor workouts.
Missing is the ability to track specific workouts like a jump rope. Some wearables track jumps, unfortunately, this one doesn’t. Nevertheless, I tracked a 30-minute jump rope session using the indoor workout option. The heart rate and calorie data seemed consistent with another smartwatch I wear, the Huawei GT 3 Pro. However, the Fossil Gen 6 seems to track jumps as steps. Still, the jump/step data isn’t as accurate as other smartwatches with dedicated jump rope workouts like the Huawei GT3 Pro.
Sleep tracking with the Fossil Gen 6
The Fossil Gen 6 Wellness edition tracks daily sleeping patterns over the course of weeks and months. The Fossil app displays the time to bed and wake-up time. From there, it breaks down sleep stages into three categories: awake, light, and deep. Heart rate during sleep is also graphically shown.
I personally found the sleep data to be accurate and useful. On the first night, I had an early live radio interview the next morning. That night, I had a bad sleep and I remember waking up several times. That data was captured by the Fossil Gen 6 Wellness edition. I also like looking at the heart rate data. I would watch this data carefully over the course of a year. It’s helpful to learn how sleep quality and heart rate variability are correlated. Health nerds like me live for this type of personalized data.
Battery life of the Fossil Gen 6 Wellness edition
I would be remiss to not discuss battery life. Having charged it before bed, it was dead by the following evening. It didn’t even make it to 24 hours. With all the sensors running, battery life becomes a big issue. Thankfully, you can adjust the battery settings but I was still surprised at how quickly it died out. The good news is, it does charge to 80% in 30 minutes. Basically, to operate it with all the sensors activated, you’ll need to always charge this when you take a daily shower. If not, you’ll need to charge it before bed if you want to capture sleep data.
Final thoughts on the Fossil Gen 6 Wellness edition
This was my first experience with Wear OS 3. As an Android user, I’m interested in how Google envisions software in wearables. The Fossil Gen 6 Wellness edition aims to be a device to keep people aware of their daily activity and sleep. However, I’m surprised by how limited the workout options are, especially with all the built-in sensors. If you just need to track runs, steps, and sleep—this will do the trick. However, be prepared to charge this often. Fossil needs to make big improvements on the battery life, or limit the sensors.
That said, the data it collects seems to be accurate. This makes it suitable for casual users, who want a stylish watch that can tracks steps and sleep. If that is you, then check out Fossil Gen 6 Wellness edition.