First Impressions of The Fossil Sport Smartwatch – Forbes


Fossil is best known as a more traditional watchmaker but in the past few years, it has managed to establish itself as a competitor in the smartwatch space.

One way in which this experience serves the company well is that it knows how to make watches that people are actually fond of. Fossil knows what it's doing when it comes to design, that's for sure.

As a result, the firm's latest smartwatch - the Fossil Sport - is more than just a tech-filled fitness tracker. It's a good-looking timepiece.

It's not style over substance, though. The Sport touts some quite exciting new internals, too. It's based on Qualcomm's brand new Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip, which is made especially for devices just like this, promising to bring better efficiency and thus battery life.

Fossil Sport hands-on review: the displayLee Bell

I got some time with the watch recently during a launch event. Here are my initial thoughts.

Design

The first thing you'll notice about it is that it's quite well - albeit minimally - put together, which I think Fossil has done on purpose as the display is nice and big, and capable of displaying a lot of information. This means the watch doesn't look too busy when you're scrolling through reams of text, and will also go nicely with whatever you decide to wear with it.

In terms of construction, the Fossil Sport has a brushed aluminium bezel, which comes in different hues depending on the colourway you're going for. And because it's aluminium, it feels super lightweight; I don't know how light it is exactly (Fossil were keeping tight-lipped about this) but it's impressively dainty and comfortable to wear as a result. It's also rather thin, with its case measuring just 11.5mm thick. All these factors help make it an impressively designed smartwatch in my opinion.

If I was to pick out a negative, I'd have to say the light weight of the watch does feel a little cheap. And at £249, that's quite disappointing.

Fossil Sport hands-on review: the strap designLee Bell

Nevertheless, its silicon strap is really comfortable. This, added with how lightweight and stylish it is, makes it a pleasure to wear.

Display

When it comes to the display, the Fossil Sport doesn't disappoint. It boasts an AMOLED 1.2in screen with a respectable 390x390 pixel resolution, which is vibrant, clean and really really bright. While I didn't have the opportunity to see how well this eye-popping screen performed under direct sunlight due to the event being indoors, I can imagine it would fare very well.

It didn't disappoint when it came to performance, either. The screen responds really well to every touch and swipe you throw at it, and with all text being displayed clearly and with apps opening up instantly. This is probably down to the inclusion of the Qualcomm Wear chip, which we'll come to next.

Fossil Sport hands-on review: the side profileLee Bell

Performance and software

As mentioned in the display section, the Fossil Sport has no problems handling everything you throw at it. I was really quite impressed by the wearable's overall responsiveness, which is no doubt a result of the Qualcomm Wear 3100 platform that powers it.

But - and it's a big but - while touting one of the most powerful chips on the wearables market right now, the Fossil Sport can only offer enough power to last you just one day between charges.

In theory, the new Snapdragon Wear chip should make the Sport one of the most power efficient smartwatches on the market. This is because the processor uses quad-core A7 processors, has ultra-low power co-processors, and is thus able to reduce power usage with low-power functions, including music playback, GPS tracking, and voice commands. However, it doesn't seem to be offering much in terms of extended battery life here.

Fossil Sport hands-on review: the sensorsLee Bell

Then there's the confusing fact that Fossil is even making the 24-hour life a marketing statement, promoting it as one of the Sport's key features - almost as though it's a groundbreaking feat.

If you've owned a smartwatch in the last few years, you'll know that most of them can last at least double this time, so why Fossil is boasting about a "24 hours" battery life on its brand new smartwatch seems a little crazy to me.

Fossil Sport hands-on review: the software featuresLee Bell

Putting that small (read: massive) flaw to the side for one moment, the Fossil Sport does have an excellent selection of software features. It'll power all your standard activity tracking needs, for instance, heart-rate monitoring, alongside NFC payments and GPS tracking. It's also swim-proof up to 5ATM. Sadly, I wasn't able to test all these features out where I got my hands-on but we'll be looking forward to trying it out when I get a unit for full review.

And one last thing, in case you need to know, the Sport is compatible with all smartphones running Android 4.4+ or iOS 9.3 and newer. It's available from now, worldwide. 

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