Wear OS is a platform that’s gone from a pioneer in the industry to a stagnant, boring offering. Now, it’s finally back on the uptick with a fresh new design and a brand new chipset. The Fossil Sport is one of the first new watches with the Snapdragon Wear 3100 under the hood and it’s also the best Wear OS smartwatch for most people.
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The Fossil Sport has a strange design, but I mean that in a good way. The overall look is a lot like a classic watch, but it’s built from an aluminum and nylon material on the top and bottom respectively, and that results in a watch that looks great while remaining extremely light and fairly inexpensive too. That nylon material does feel and look like plastic, but it’s also durable and doesn’t feel cheap either.
On my personal Sport, I picked up the “Smokey Blue” version of the Sport. On a lot of other watches, that might just mean a different colored band, but on the Fossil Sport, it changes the color of the band as well as the body of the watch. Several colors are available too, some much more flashy than this.
As for the band itself, personally I wasn’t much of a fan. For whatever reason, it causes a bit of irritation on my wrist which makes it slightly itchy. From what Fossil tells me, that’s a very rare case, so most users should be fine. Even so, swapping it out with a 22mm or 18mm band depending on the case size is a breeze. Personally, I swapped it with the leather/silicone band from the Fossil Q Explorist HR and it feels very good. The light weight helps me forget I’m even wearing it at times.
The 43mm size of the Fossil Sport I purchased was just right for my wrist. It’s not overly huge, but also not too small. For those with smaller wrists, a 41mm casing is also available. In either option, though, you’re getting the same AMOLED display which I found bright enough for outdoor usage, and also pretty sharp. It also held up well to scratches over the several weeks I’ve been wearing it.
Along the side of the Fossil Sport, there are three buttons. In the center, a multi-purpose button for accessing the Assistant and app drawer, as well as navigation. The crown rotates satisfyingly and has a nice tactile click too. The top and bottom buttons are customizable to open whatever app you’d like. Personally, I’ve got them set to open Google Pay and the Weather.
SOFTWARE AND PERFORMANCE |
When it comes to software, Wear OS is… Wear OS. Fossil is very light on bloatware, only including a handful of apps pre-loaded and none of them get in the way. As for watchfaces, Fossil’s main focus on this watch is Google Fit-related health tracking, so the “Pulse” series includes a few options with Heart Point and Move Minute rings. I love the Pulse Bold and used it daily.
Notably, the new Wear OS interface is pre-loaded on this watch. That’s a great thing because it vastly improves the platform. Easy swipes access Google Fit, the faster Assistant, and improved notifications too. It’s still far from perfect, but it’s way better than it’s been since Android Wear 2.0 first debuted.
Many will immediately compare anything Wear OS directly with the Apple Watch, and that’s honestly not a fair comparison anymore. They’re two different animals. Wear OS adds smart features to a classic watch, while the Apple Watch is a wrist-worn supercomputer. As someone who’s always worn a traditional watch, I love the Wear OS approach, and the Fossil Sport is the best version I’ve ever tried.
Of course, another huge part of the Fossil Sport is the new Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset packed inside. Sadly, there are no huge performance gains on that chipset, but between the new hardware and Fossil’s work in software, things run smoothly here for the most part. I’ve had a few hiccups that froze the watch for a while, but a quick reboot usually fixes that.
BATTERY LIFE |
The saving grace of the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset inside of the Fossil Sport is how it helps the battery life. That’s not to say it lasts a week, but it will generally last through a day more reliable than anything I’ve used previously. If I turn off the always-on display, I can make it through roughly 2.5 days.
What’s nice, though, is the added watch-only mode. It strips the Fossil Sport of all of its smart features which, yes, sucks, but what it gives you is flexibility. Toggling on this mode lets your battery last far longer than Wear OS is capable of while still greeting you with the time when you need it. I found this useful in places like on an extended flight, as I didn’t lose the time but still saved the battery life on the watch.
As for the charger, I’m still disappointed that Fossil doesn’t use a wireless option like the Galaxy Watch. Rather, there’s a magnetic pin-based charger. It works well enough, but I’d prefer a dock for sake of convenience.
FINAL THOUGHTS |
Right here, right now, the Fossil Sport is the best Wear OS watch for most people. Sure, better specs are available with something like the Montblanc Summit 2, but few people are going to drop nearly $1k on a Wear OS watch. At $255, the Fossil Sport is simply excellent.
In today’s Wear OS market, most options come from well-known fashion brands. That’s not a bad thing really, as options like the Skagen Falster 2 and Michael Kors are great choices. However, there are very few Wear OS watches that are just good for everyone, no labels attached. Fossil is a big name in watches, but the Fossil Sport is just a great watch that balances everything well. It’s got the latest specs, a timeless design, and an affordable price point. What’s not to like?
More on Wear OS:
- The best smartwatches for Android you can buy today
- Google acquires ‘select’ Wear OS-related IP, some R&D staff from Fossil in $40M deal
- Wear OS 2.3 now available for some smartwatches, no major feature additions
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