Fossil is a well-known name for watches, but for some years now it has also been one of the few traditional watch manufacturers to consistently launch smartwatches based on Google's Wear OS platform. The latest model of the company in India is the Fossil Sport, and one of the reasons we are delighted is that it is one of the first smartwatches to have Qualcomm's updated Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor. This is the long-awaited successor to the Snapdragon Wear 2100, which was the only real option manufacturer to date.
This is not a brand new technology. Qualcomm launched the Snapdragon Wear 3100 almost a year ago, but it has just found its way to India. The same applies to Fossil Sport. Nevertheless, it is here now and we are excited to try it out. Qualcomm's former Smartwatch SoC has long been a performance bottleneck for Wear OS watches, and we hope this new chip will change things for the better.
The Fossil Sport costs Rs. 17,995 and is available in different colors. It is also said to be swim-proof and has heart rate tracking and built-in GPS. Let's see if it is worth the price and whether the new chip from Qualcomm makes it easier to live with Wear OS.
Fossil sport design and features
The Fossil Sport has a classic design with a round dial and three buttons on the right side, just like a traditional watch. The middle button is also a functional crown that you can use to scroll through menus or adjust the volume. The other two buttons can be customized to launch any app on the watch.
The Fossil Sport is available in sizes 43 mm and 41 mm, both of which have the same price. We have the former for review, which should work well for most wrists. The 41mm dial is smaller and the straps are also narrower. The upper part of the watch itself is made of aluminum, while the lower half is made of nylon.
The watch is very light and the silicone strap is comfortable and easy to clean. Overall, however, the Fossil Sport has a toy-like quality that does not have a premium feeling. We noticed some rough edges on the nylon bottom of the case, which made it feel a bit rough.
The Fossil Sport's 1.2-inch OLED display looks sharp and the brightness is automatically adjusted to the ambient light. The display is easy to read even in sunlight. The 22 mm straps are removable and can be exchanged for others if necessary. The bottom of the watch also has a magnetic ring for the charging cradle. This makes it very easy to turn the charger on and off without having to align the charging pins in a specific location.
Overall, the Fossil Sport is a comfortable smartwatch thanks to its low weight. It also looks chic from a distance, but feels a little plastic on your wrist.
In some cases, the sport runs on the Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform and has 4 GB of internal storage. It is powered by Google's Wear OS and includes sensors such as an accelerometer, an altimeter, an ambient light sensor, a gyroscope and a heart rate sensor. It also has NFC and built-in GPS along with Wi-Fi 802.11b / g / n and Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy. There is a microphone for recording voice commands, but no speaker.
Finally, the sport is compatible with Android (except Android Go Editions) and iOS smartphones and requires the Wear OS app.
Fossil Sport performance and battery life
For this test, we mainly used the Fossil Sport with an iPhone XR (test), but we also used it a bit with a Samsung Galaxy S10 + (test). We were excited to see how much the new Snapdragon Wear 3100 would improve, but as it turns out, it's not as impressive as we expected. The touch response of the display is good and the interaction with the menus and settings is relatively smooth. However, there may be waiting times when starting apps. It takes a long time to load the Play Store, even if your watch is connected to fast WiFi.
It takes a second or two to launch Google Assistant with a voice command. Sometimes the watch stops responding and you need to go back to the home screen and start again.
This is pretty disappointing, but not entirely surprising. If you look at the technical details of the Snapdragon Wear 3100 and 2100, not much has changed. It still uses the same CPU and GPU and builds on the older 28nm process.
What this new chip offers is better motion tracking and better battery life (theoretically) thanks to a new co-processor with extremely low power consumption for environmental detection. This explains why Wear OS hardly feels faster with this new chip than before. Wear OS 2.7, which is based on Android 8.1 Oreo, runs on the sport.
Wear OS offers a number of pre-installed apps, including Fit, Fit Breath, Fit Workout and Nike Run Club. You can install more of the Play Store app on the watch, but there's not much to choose from, unlike the variety you get for Apple's watchOS. Apps like Spotify and Uber require authorization that can be run from your phone.
There are some nice watch faces to choose from, although the collection is a bit limited. With some watch faces, you can use background images from your Instagram or Facebook accounts. These custom faces can be saved in the Fossil Watch app so you can quickly access them when needed.
Wear OS is easy to navigate. They swipe down from the home screen to switch quickly. Swipe up from the bottom to view unread notifications. Swipe right for Google Assistant. and swipe left to access Tiles. You can select up to five of these tile screens, e.g. For example, based on your activity progress, weather, calendar events, headlines from Google News, etc.
Pressing the crown takes you to all apps, of which the three most recently opened are always displayed first. You can scroll through the list using either the touchscreen or the crown.
The Fossil Sport does a great job with basic smartwatch functions. Notifications can be viewed easily. A light vibration alerts you to incoming calls. Music played on your phone can be controlled from the clock.
However, usability is more limited if you pair this with an iPhone compared to an Android device. For example, you cannot answer SMS or chat apps unless there is a watch app for it – and the only one currently available is Telegram.
However, the functionality is much better when syncing with an Android phone. You can respond to most chat notifications, even if there is no watch app for them. You can use some of the preset answers or create a custom one by dictating or using a keyboard with swipe gestures. Wear OS also automatically shows you a list of apps that contain companion watch apps and lets you download them directly from the watch app drawer.
The Fossil Sport offers the possibility of downloading and playing music from the watch itself. This is only possible with Google Play Music. You need a subscription to this service to download songs. There is a Spotify watch app, but it can only be used to control music playback on your other devices and cannot stream direct songs through the watch.
Since it's a fitness-oriented smartwatch, we tested the step tracking and GPS functionality to determine how accurate they were. You can choose the type of workout you log in the Google Fit app on the watch that's synced to your Google Account. After selecting "Walking", the sport in our tests took about a minute to get a GPS lock.
We ran exactly 1 km and the watch recorded a fairly short distance of 1.05 km. It's not bad, but you'd better expect a watch with built-in GPS. The heart rate measurement was also pretty accurate and the results matched Apple Watch Series 1 readings.
As far as step tracking is concerned, sport is not the most accurate tool for the job. With a 1000-step step, the watch managed to record only 979 steps, which is less than ideal. We ran this test several times with different numbers of steps, and each time the count was a little short.
The Fossil Sport logs your heart rate with interruptions during daily use and will do so continuously when one of the workouts is activated in the Fit app. The Google Fit app does not have a sleep tracking function. You must therefore rely on third-party apps such as Cardiogram or Sleep on Android, which have their own companion watch apps. The former has a buggy Android app when we tried it, and the latter is based on subscriptions. It would have been nice to have native sleep tracking features.
Fossil claims the sport is swim-proof, though no official IP rating is mentioned. We took it in the shower a couple of times and it continued to work well. The Fossil website also mentions that you can track swimming movements. However, this again requires a third-party app, since Google Fit does not offer swimming movement tracking and neither does Fossil.
The Fossil Sport promises a battery life of more than one day. In practice, this is achievable (we managed an average of 25 hours) if you deactivate the constantly active dial and limit your use to displaying and replying to notifications. With the permanent dial activated, we were able to fall short of the useful life of an entire day.
The watch does not warn you when the battery is very weak and simply goes into an energy-saving mode in which only the time is displayed. You can continue to use it in this mode for about two days before the battery is fully discharged. Connecting the charger directly to a laptop or a quick charger is irrelevant, since in both cases the watch takes about an hour to fully charge from zero.
Even if you make it a habit to charge this device every night, you may be disappointed because the battery life is low by today's standards. Other smartwatches at the same or a lower price as the Honor Watch Magic deliver up to four days of operation with one recharge.
Fossil makes some good-looking smartwatches, and we have to attribute that to it. The Fossil Sport is one of the lightest smartwatches we've worn for some time. This is great, but we just want it to feel a little higher quality and have a better battery life, especially if you pay almost Rs. 18,000 for that. The display is bright, the GPS location works quite well and you can go swimming with it. We also like the customizable watch buttons, which is a nice touch.
Unfortunately, Wear OS is a bit disappointing. It's still too barebones and isn't evolving as quickly as Samsung and Huawei's smartwatch ecosystems, which inherently offer much more health monitoring features. The relatively new Snapdragon Wear 3100 hardware is also disappointing as it barely improves performance and battery life. Speaking of which, less than a day's battery life for a smartwatch in 2019 is simply unacceptable.
If you're using an iPhone, we recommend paying a little more and purchasing an Apple Watch. If you don't want to spend that much, but want something with good fitness tracking, you also have good options from TomTom and Garmin.
The Fossil Sport makes more sense for Android users, but be ready to charge the watch every day. If you're looking for longer battery life, the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active and Huawei Watch GT are a good alternative that should last a few days between charges. It's also difficult to verify these claims.