Fossil has announced it is starting to ship Gen 6 watches from today. The devices have been available on pre-order since August 30th. Gen 6 comes with the 4100+ processor, support for Bluetooth 5.0, more accurate heart rate tracking, SpO2 sensor and fast charging.
The company has also teased upcoming Michael Kors Gen 6 smartwatches. You can expect for them to land in the weeks ahead. Presumably, they will pack the exact same tech.
Fossil Gen 6 – everything you need to know
As expected, the biggest upgrade to generation 6 is the inclusion of the Snapdragon Wear 4100+ chip. The fact that it’s the plus version of the SoC means the structure width shrinks from 28 to 12 nanometers. The chip comes with four ARM Cortex-A53 cores at 1.7GHz. Furthermore, there’s an updated QCC1110 co-processor capable of performing certain offloaded tasks from the main CPU.
This should enable much better performance across the board as compared to the predecessor watches. Fossil has quantified the speed increase at 30%, and there will be lower power consumption versus Gen 5. Bluetooth is up to 5.0 which should boost transfer rates and increase download speeds.
Internal memory was upgraded to 8GB from the 4GB (although some predecessor models had 8GB). Along with this is 1GB of RAM. So this is less than the 1.5 RAM and 16GB of internal storage that can be found on the Galaxy Watch 4.
The big question was which version of Wear OS the watch would run on. But Google had dispelled hopes back in early August that Gen 6 would come with Wear OS 3.0 out of the box. Nope, you’ll need to wait about a year for that which might be a deal-breaker for some. The search giant has said that watches are unlikely to run the souped up Wear OS 3.0 version until well into 2022. Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is the one to go for if you don’t want to wait for the new software.
In terms of design, the 3 ATM rated watch doesn’t look all too different from the current range. As before, you navigate your way around the menus by combining the 3 physical buttons and touchscreen. Unfortunately, quite a thick bezel can still be seen around the edges.
Fossil Gen 6 is available in two size options, a 42mm and 44m. The 1.28 inch display resolution comes in at 416 x 416 pixels, so same as before.
As far as sensors, you’ll find the usual suspects along with built-in GPS. The most advanced of the lot is the SpO2 sensor for blood oxygen measurements. Heart rate tracking benefits from an improved sensor.
Smart functionality allows for making and receiving phone calls when connected to a smartphone, Google Assistant, Google Pay, music control, watch apps, smart home devices control, calendar alerts, notifications and more. No LTE or anything like that.
Battery life is a bit disappointing. You can expect to get around 24 hours with all the bells and whistles switched on. There will, however, be power-saving options and a full charge can be achieved in about an hour. About 80% can be achieved in just 30 minutes, Fossil says.
Some design enhancements to the charging rings in the back can be spotted. They will hopefully help to permanently resolve the melting glue issue. A number of users have reported this problem on the previous generations.
Fossil Gen 6 vs Gen 5 – what’s the difference?
Compare the last two generations and you’ll notice quite a few differences. Here’s a table illustrating the main ones.
Gen 5 /5E
Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100+
Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100
8GB/4GB (depending on model)
Heart rate sensor
Wear OS 3.0 compatibility
Yes (in 2022)
Increased battery charging speed
Yes (80% in 30 minutes)
Smart battery modes
Yes (brighter and with more colours)
Fossil Gen 6 – price and availability
All things considered there are no big surprises. This can be considered an iterative upgrade over the previous generation with the new processor the biggest upgrade along with the SpO2 sensor. It will be interesting to see how the watches perform on Google Wear OS 3.0.
Essential reading: Best fitness trackers and health gadgets
Fossil Gen 6 devices can be purchased on Fossil’s website. You can choose between four colourways for the 44mm model and three colourways for the 42mm case.
Finally, you will be faced with a price tag between $299 and $319 depending on the model. That actually seems quite reasonable considering the specs.
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