Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition initial review: Tradition meets function

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Fossil's Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition smartwatch is an evolution of the Gen 6 Wellness Edition smartwatch, offering many of the key features but with an E-Ink display instead of OLED.

Announced at CES 2023, the hybrid smartwatch promises a two week battery life, whilst continuing to provide functions like heart rate and SpO2 tracking, as well as Alexa.

Lovely design

  • 44mm casing, 11.4mm thick
  • 3ATM water resistant
  • Three colour options

First and foremost, the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition looks and feels like a traditional watch. It has a lovely stainless steel casing that delivers a premium finish along with three function buttons - one home button and two configurable push buttons - on the right edge of the 44mm casing.

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In the past, Fossil Hybrid watches have been available in a smaller casing option too, though the Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition only comes in the 44mm option. That's no bad thing though, it's a good size and it looks great on, even on smaller wrists. It's also 3ATM waterproof.

On the underside of the 11.4mm-thick casing is where you'll find the charging pins - though you won't need these as often as a normal smartwatch - and the heart rate sensor sits here too. Colour-matched stainless steel lugs allow for interchangeable 22mm straps, meaning the opportunity for plenty of different looks, with silicone and link bracelets available.

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Within the watch face of the Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition is where you'll notice the biggest difference compared to the Gen 6 Wellness Edition smartwatch though. There are mechanical hands and simple hourly markers for an elegant finish.

The hourly markers sit within a raised bezel surrounding the E-Ink display - more on that in a minute. That bezel is more noticeable on the blush model than the black and blue models, but it looks great.

Great display

  • E-Ink display
  • Greyscale, 218ppi

Within the raised bezel and in the centre of the watch face is an E-Ink display with a back light for visibility. To be clear, it's not like the Amazon Kindle with a backlit display. There's a light that will come on when you tap it if you need better visibility in the dark.

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The grayscale E-Ink display is responsive and detailed with a 218ppi. It of course doesn't offer the same vibrancy as you'd get from an OLED screen, and it's greyscale so you don't get the punchy colours either, but it's perfect for this model and within the design of the Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition.

There's a special Wellness Gauge watch face that offers plenty of information, from steps and battery life to heart rate, the digital time and the weather.

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While that face in particular can't be customised and is currently exclusive to this model, other watch faces can be so there are plenty of options for a different look if the Wellness Gauge face is a little too busy or you want something more simple.

Plenty of features

  • Heart rate tracking, SpO2, VO2 Max
  • Automatic workout tracking
  • Alexa
  • Notifications for calls, messages, apps

In terms of features, the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Smartwatch is packing a punch. We briefly mentioned there are two configurable push buttons, which you can setup to take you directly to particular functions, like Alexa.

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There's a microphone on the Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition but no speaker so if you ask Alexa something, the response will be in written form on the watch face. That of course means you don't have functions like being able to make and receive calls from your wrist too, but there's still plenty on board.

You'll find heart rate tracking and blood oxygen measuring, and the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition is also capable of estimating VO2 Max on the Wellness Gauge watch face.

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It can also automatically detect workouts and there are notifications for calls, texts and apps. Basically, the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition offers many of the main features you'd want from your smartwatch - or the ones you'd actually use - like being able to control music and see who is calling rather than play music on the watch itself, or answer calls.

Battery life

  • 2 weeks
  • 80% in 60 minutes

The Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition promises a two-week battery life - one of the positives from using an E-Ink display instead of an OLED screen. We were told that you'd get two weeks if you're a heavy user too, with the suggestion that some would get closer to three weeks.

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While we weren't able to test the battery life during our brief amount of time with the Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition, it's still looking like you won't have to bring your charger away for a one-week holiday, which is great.

You'll be able to get around 80 per cent battery in an hour of charging too so even if you do have to top up your device, at least it will be quick to do.

Original Article

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