Colors: Blush, Black, Navy
Display: 1.1 inches, 240 x 240p
Sensors: Heart rate, SpO2
Connectivity: Bluetooth, NFC
Compatibility: Android, iOS
Voice assistant: Alexa
Water resistance: 3 ATM
Battery life: 2 weeks
The Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition is a dumbed-down smartwatch that prioritizes simple fitness tracking over high-tech features. Skipping Wear OS 3, the device strips back to a bare-bones experience that might suit some first-time smartwatch users.
Similar to other Fossil watches, the Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition has eye-catching style elements that you don’t find on many of the best smartwatches. It’s more fashionable than, say, the Google Pixel Watch. What’s more, Fossil’s hybrid watch goes the distance — thanks to an e-ink display, the watch’s battery lasts more than two weeks.
But it comes with compromises that don’t make it the right choice for everyone. This Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition review covers the watch’s biggest pros and cons.
Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition: Price and availability
The Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition is available now and costs $229. It comes in three color options: Blush (light pink), black and navy.
For comparison, the regular Fossil Gen 6 starts at $299, while the non-Wellness Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid starts at $229. The difference between the Hybrid Wellness Edition and standard Hybrid watch is that the latter features more premium-looking materials. The Wellness Edition is supposed to look more sporty.
Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition review: Design and display
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.
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. 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.
That said, the watch’s overall responsiveness is quite slow. It’s not a watch for the impatient; sometimes, you might wait several seconds for an action to be carried out, apps to open, notifications to clear or simply to return to the home screen. It was a drastic change of pace compared to the snappiness of the Apple Watch Ultra and Samsung Galaxy Watch 5.
Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition review: Fitness tracking and features
With the term “Wellness” in its name, you’d imagine Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition makes a good fitness tracker. It’s not as sophisticated as a Fitbit or Garmin watch, but it can hold its own when it comes to the basics.
I tracked several walks on the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition. Outside, tethered GPS let me see my distance traveled. Inside on the treadmill, I could keep an eye on my step count, heart rate and calories burned. The watch also offers automatic workout tracking, for those times when you forget to launch a walking workout before you get moving.
Swimming is one workout you won’t be able to do with the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition. The watch is only rated 3 ATM, which means it’s safe against splashes while doing the dishes or out in the rain. That’s not a deal-breaker for me, but important to know if laps are your activity of choice.
The watch does have sleep tracking, but it’s rather basic. It offers sleep stages and duration, while leveraging the watch’s SpO2 sensor for insight on your quality of rest. If sleep-tracking is your priority, I would recommend an Oura Ring Gen 3, Pixel Watch or even an Apple Watch.
Activity data from the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition optionally syncs with both Google Fit and Apple Health, demonstrating how the watch plays nice with both iOS and Android smartphones.
Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition: Smartwatch features
Speaking of compatibility, Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition can even mirror smartphone notifications from either mobile platform. It only has the option for Alexa as a voice assistant, though the watch doesn’t have a speaker, so it can’t talk back to you.
It has a timer, weather report and music controller, which are entry-level features but welcome nonetheless. I also experimented with some customizable watch face options, which made the watch feel more my own.
Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition review: Battery life
A major reason you might want the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition is for its epic battery life. Only some Garmin watches and Amazfit watches can last over two weeks like this Fossil watch. The Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition’s stamina is in large part credited to the colorless e-ink display.
My unit of the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition lasted approximately 18 days before needing to be recharged with the proprietary charger. It was nice to not worry about battery life. I think someone who’s eager to embrace the less-connected watch experience will appreciate not having to bring a charger on every trip they go on.
Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition review: Verdict
The concept of a low-tech smartwatch might not be new, but the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition is one of the best attempts I’ve seen. By balancing traditional timepiece elements with some simple smarts, the watch seems like it should cater to either first-time smartwatch users or those who don’t want to wear something too techie on their wrist around the clock.
I found the lag quite annoying, but that’s the trade-off for a passive smartwatch experience. Similarly, the fitness tracking and sleep tracking data is rather entry-level. It’s not a running watch for marathon training, but it certainly should do the job if you’re hoping to get moving a bit more.