In the shadow of the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Wear OS 3, Fossil has debuted its new slate of flagship smartwatches. The Fossil Gen 6 line boasts upgraded specs, new health sensors, and a promise of a significant software update next year. Here’s everything you need to know about the Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch.
Also read: The full Wear OS buyer’s guide
Fossil Gen 6 at a glance
The Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch line is the direct successor to the company’s Gen 5 line, which debuted in 2019. The Fossil Gen 5 line has been a staple on our best Wear OS smartwatches list for years, due to the customizable and high-end designs, solid performance, and unique software features that helped improve Wear OS’ shortcomings.
The Fossil Gen 6 line makes things even better. Fossil has given its new watches important internal improvements for speedier performance and new heart rate and SpO2 sensors, which will (hopefully) help the company cover more ground in the fitness tracking space. They’re also available in a ton of new colorways, so there’s no doubt you’ll find one that suits your style.
But Wear OS, as it’s wont to do, looms over the new devices. Google and Samsung’s brand-new co-developed Wear OS 3 platform isn’t available for Fossil quite yet, so buyers will need to either hold out for the update next year or take a chance on the Gen 6 line now.
What’s new with the Fossil Gen 6?
Unsurprisingly, the first Fossil Gen 6 smartwatches keep all the major design elements that usually appear in Fossil watches. They all have big, bright AMOLED displays and three pushers on the right-hand side, with the center button doubling as a rotatable crown. On the larger watches, the center pusher is flanked by two small stainless steel guards to give the case a bolder look, similar to the Fossil Gen 5 LTE. The lugs also look far more sturdy on all of the Gen 6 styles.
The Gen 6 line is offered in two sizes: 44mm and 42mm. The larger size comes in four colorways, while the smaller size comes in three.
The real upgrades are under the hood. The Fossil Gen 6 smartwatches are the first devices to run on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus platform, which promises faster app load times and more efficient battery consumption. All models are backed by 1GB of RAM, so performance shouldn’t be an issue whatsoever. We’re keen to see how the Gen 6’s performance compares to the TicWatch Pro 3, which has the standard Snapdragon Wear 4100 chip, and Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 line, which is powered by Samsung’s own Exynos W920 SoC.
Fossil claims the Gen 6’s battery should be able to last over 24 hours on a single charge (depending on your usage habits, of course). It’s able to achieve these numbers thanks to the more power-efficient 4100 Plus chipset, as well as Fossil’s useful custom battery modes that make their welcome return to the Gen 6 line.
When you do need to charge the battery, you’ll be able to do so quicker than before. The Gen 6 line can reach an 80% charge in 30 minutes versus 50 minutes with the Gen 5 line. Fossil claims this is “2x faster than leading smartwatches.” Indeed, it’s nice to see a company focusing on quick charging times — Samsung’s new Galaxy Watches take about two full hours to charge from 0-100% (which is not good).
Fossil also included an upgraded heart rate sensor in the Fossil Gen 6 smartwatches, which will provide continuous tracking throughout the day and better accuracy than before. The heart rate sensor module is completely new, and Fossil developed new algorithms for better accuracy.
Fossil Group is also bringing its Gen 6 tech to the Michael Kors line. The new Michael Kors Gen 6 smartwatches (above) are a glitzier alternative to Fossil’s offerings. They’re based on the same underlying platform as Fossil’s, so they come with the same internal specs and software.
Fossil Group says the new Michael Kors watches will be available to order “soon,” with prices ranging from $350-$425. You can learn more about these watches by visiting Watch Station and Michael Kors’ websites.
Fossil Gen 6 and Wear OS 3: Be patient (and a bit concerned if you’re on iOS)
Right, so, you’re probably wondering about the Fossil Gen 6’s software situation. There’s good news and bad news on that front.
The bad news is that the Fossil Gen 6, just like all non-Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 devices coming out between now and 2022, will launch with Wear OS 2. That means the watches won’t have access to the new Wear OS 3 interface, OEM customizations, offline YouTube Music downloads, the new Google Maps app, or any of the other niceties that are already available on the Galaxy Watch 4.
The good news is that the Fossil Gen 6 line will be eligible for the Wear OS 3 upgrade in mid-to-second-half 2022. That’s a long time to wait, so it’ll be interesting to see how many people buy the Gen 6 when it goes on sale this September vs in 2022 when it will ship with better software.
The Fossil Gen 6 will support Wear OS 3 in 2022. But will iPhone owners be abandoned?
However, there’s one more kinda-big caveat that we just don’t know about right now: iOS support. Wear OS 2 devices, including the Fossil Gen 6, are compatible with Android and iOS. Currently, Wear OS 3 devices are only compatible with Android devices. (Google simply gives us a “no comment” when we ask about iOS support, for what it’s worth.)
That begs the question: Will the Fossil Gen 6 line drop iOS support when it’s upgraded to Wear OS 3? We’re not entirely sure, and it doesn’t sound like Fossil is entirely sure either. “These specifics have not yet been finalized by Google or shared with us. That being said, Fossil Group will continue to support iOS and Android to the full extent that Wear OS supports,” a company spokesperson shared with Android Authority.
We will, of course, keep you updated on the situation as we learn more. For now, potential Fossil Gen 6 buyers will need to be patient while Google figures out how big it wants to make its walled garden.
Fossil Gen 6 vs Fossil Gen 5 vs Fossil Gen 5E
If you want the best Fossil smartwatch, you’ll obviously want to invest in one of the new Gen 6 options. But the new hotness shares many similarities with the… old hotness. Here’s a brief look at the Fossil Gen 6 vs the Gen 5 and Gen 5E series.
The Fossil Gen 6 and Gen 5 have the same large 1.28-inch AMOLED displays. These are crisp and bright displays that you should have no trouble viewing, whether indoors or outdoors. The Gen 5E has a slightly smaller display, though it’s still an AMOLED panel.
The Fossil Gen 5 only comes in one size — 44mm — so those with smaller wrists might either want to opt for the Gen 6 or Gen 5E, which are both offered in 44 and 42mm sizes.
All three devices have 1GB of RAM, though the Gen 5 and 5E are powered by Qualcomm’s older Snapdragon Wear 3100 SoC. You get 8GB of storage with the Gen 6 and 5, but only 4GB of storage with the Gen 5E.
All three series also have built-in waterproof speakers and microphones, as well as the ability to place and answer phone calls via a connected smartphone. If you’re after truly phone-free watch calling, your only option is the Fossil Gen 5 LTE. Speaking of waterproofing, all three series have 3ATM water resistance ratings, so you can take a dunk in the pool or shower.
One of the only other notable differences between the three models is GPS support. The Gen 6 and Gen 5 both have standalone GPS (so you can leave your phone at home), while the Gen 5E has connected GPS.
Looking for the full comparison? Check out all the specs below.
Fossil Gen 6 specs (vs Gen 5 and Gen 5E)
|Fossil Gen 6||Fossil Gen 5||Fossil Gen 5E|
Fossil Gen 6:1.28-inch AMOLED
416 x 416 resolution
Fossil Gen 5:1.28-inch AMOLED
416 x 416 resolution
Fossil Gen 5E:1.19-inch AMOLED
390 x 390 resolution
Fossil Gen 6:44mm with 22mm straps
42mm with 18mm straps
Fossil Gen 5:44mm with 22mm straps
Fossil Gen 5E:44mm with 22mm straps
42mm with 18mm straps
Fossil Gen 6:Stainless steel case
Fossil Gen 5:Stainless steel case
Fossil Gen 5E:Stainless steel case
Fossil Gen 6:Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus
Fossil Gen 5:Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100
Fossil Gen 5E:Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100
Fossil Gen 6:1GB
Fossil Gen 5:1GB
Fossil Gen 5E:1GB
Fossil Gen 6:300mAh
30 mins to 80% charge
Fossil Gen 5:310mAh
50 mins to 80% charge
Fossil Gen 5E:300mAh
50 mins to 80% charge
Fossil Gen 6:8GB
Fossil Gen 5:8GB
Fossil Gen 5E:4GB
Fossil Gen 6:Accelerometer
PPG heart rate
Fossil Gen 5:Accelerometer
PPG heart rate
Fossil Gen 5E:Accelerometer
PPG heart rate
Fossil Gen 6:Rotating home button + 2 additional pushers
Fossil Gen 5:Rotating home button + 2 additional pushers
Fossil Gen 5E:1 pusher (no rotating home button)
Fossil Gen 6:3ATM
Fossil Gen 5:3ATM
Fossil Gen 5E:3ATM
Fossil Gen 6:Bluetooth 5 LE
Fossil Gen 5:Bluetooth 4.2 LE
Fossil Gen 5E:Bluetooth 4.2 LE
Fossil Gen 6:Android
Fossil Gen 5:Android
Fossil Gen 5E:Android
What are some good Fossil Gen 6 alternatives?
The Fossil Gen 6 has a lot going for it, but maybe you’re not into waiting until 2022 for the new Wear OS. Or maybe you want something even more focused on fitness. Whatever your reasoning, we’ve listed four Fossil Gen 6 alternatives below that should suit your needs.
- Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 / Classic: The Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Galaxy Watch 4 Classic are for those who want Wear OS 3 right now. Not only do they start at a lower price point, they come with more health sensors for tracking your fitness.
- Apple Watch Series 6: The Apple Watch Series 6 should be your main smartwatch pick if you’re an iOS user. We still consider it to be the best smartwatch you can buy, thanks to its app support and accurate fitness tracking.
- Garmin Venu 2: The Garmin Venu 2 is the best fitness-tracking smartwatch you can buy. It tracks plenty of sports and activities, and Garmin’s revamped software interface makes the Venu 2 feel much more like a smartwatch than ever before.
- Fitbit Sense / Versa 3: Fitbit’s Sense and Versa 3 smartwatches should not be overlooked. They don’t run Wear OS, but they have many smartwatch features (including Google Assistant support) and stellar health tracking.
Where to buy the Fossil Gen 6
The Fossil Gen 6 smartwatches are now available for pre-order from Fossil’s website, with prices ranging from $299 to $319. Fossil has not yet nailed down an exact release date, but the watches should begin shipping towards the end of September.
$300 is a lot to pay for a device without the new Wear OS 3 update. With that said, Fossil’s update track record has been stellar over the years — even the two-year-old Gen 5 devices are still receiving software updates. Based on past experiences, we’d imagine the Gen 6 models would receive support from launch until long after Wear OS 3 has been released.
Notably, the Fossil Gen 5 series also launched for $300. Fossil is well-known to mark its smartwatches down quite a bit during sales events like Black Friday, though, so if you’re unable to stomach the price tag now, just wait a few months.
Top Fossil Gen 6 questions and answers
Q: When will the Fossil Gen 6 get Wear OS 3?
A: According to Fossil, the Gen 6 series smartwatches will receive the big Wear OS 3 update in 2022. No other update details have been provided yet.
Q: When is the Fossil Gen 6 release date?
A: The Fossil Gen 6 is now available for pre-order and will start shipping to buyers near the end of September.
Q: Is the Fossil Gen 6 waterproof?
A: The Fossil Gen 6 series is rated 3ATM, so you can take a swim or shower with your watch. Just don’t go deep-sea diving with it.
Q: Is the Fossil Gen 6 compatible with iPhones?
A: Yes, the Fossil Gen 6 is compatible with both Android and iPhones. However, we’re unsure if the watches will keep their iOS compatibility when it comes time to upgrade to Wear OS 3.
Q: Does the Fossil Gen 6 have GPS?
A: Yes, all Fossil Gen 6 models have standalone GPS.
Q: How long does the Fossil Gen 6 battery last?
A: Fossil claims the Gen 6 smartwatches can last over 24 hours depending on your usage. With extended battery-saving modes activated, you can make the watches last even longer at the expense of fitness and smart features.
Q: How quickly can the Fossil Gen 6 charge?
A: Fossil claims its Gen 6 smartwatches can charge to 80% in just 30 minutes.
Q: Is the Fossil Gen 6 available in an LTE option?
A: No, the Fossil Gen 6 series does not have an LTE option at this time.
Q: Can the Fossil Gen 6 track sleep?
A: Yes, the Fossil Gen 6 series of smartwatches can track sleep.