Battery life is usually the biggest drag of using a smartwatch, but Fossil’s newest wearable makes some clever sacrifices for stamina’s sake. And of course, in Fossil fashion, the device is pretty gorgeous — at least, I think so after trying it on at CES 2023.
The $229 Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition is a slight departure from the standard Gen 6 Wellness Edition, which was Fossil’s first smartwatch to ship with Wear OS 3 out of the box. While the Hybrid edition isn’t a Wear OS watch, it still has the smarts and fitness tracking abilities that many users expect from a connected wearable.
Instead of a full-color AMOLED display found on popular smartwatches, the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition features a grayscale E-Ink display much like you’d associate with Kindle e-readers. The display sits below a set of physical watch arms, lending the watch’s “hybrid” branding. While I’ve seen smartwatches that successfully combine traditional timepiece elements with smartwatch features, I’m not sure if I used one that achieves an elegance quite like Fossil’s.
The physical arms are part of the navigation experience on the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition. They danced around the screen when I switched between apps and other functions in my demo. Paired with metallic finishes and slanted timekeeping bezel, and it feels like a best-of-both-worlds solution — a handful of smarts in a designer-like package.
Those smarts include the basics such as a timer, weather report and music controller, as well as notification mirroring. It even has Alexa built-in, letting you make queries from your wrist (though no speaker, so Alexa can’t talk back to you.) I also got to check out some customizable watch face options, allowing for some personalization of the 27.9mm display.
And since the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition is still pitched as a “wellness” watch, the device has essentially the same fitness-tracking functionality as the standard Fossil Gen 6 with Wear OS 3 thanks to continuous heart rate monitoring, SpO2 readings, step counting, workout tracking and more.
Fossil says that with regular use of these features, the smartwatch should last between 2 and 3 weeks. That estimate is fantastic compared to lifestyle smartwatches. Fossil also clarified to me it has no intention of competing for Garmin and Fitbit watches that go the distance with advanced fitness tracking and GPS.
While several Garmin watches specifically can also last weeks on a single charge, they’re often much pricier than the $229 that Fossil asks for the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition.
The Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition comes in black, gold and silver and is available as of January 5, 2023.