Smartwatches don’t have to resemble Apple’s Watch, which has smooth, rounded edges and few to no tactile controls. The Gen 6 watch from Fossil features a round case with a physical crown, two buttons, and a classic nubbled bezel, as well as plenty of communication, entertainment, and fitness features. While the watch is available in a variety of styles, we tested the $329 model created in collaboration with Razer, which looks and feels just as attractive as Fossil’s other choices but adds a Razer-green strap and a few exclusive watch faces for PC gamers. It’s also limited to 1,337 copies, adding to the strange gamer cred. Wear OS is the watch’s operating system, which is both a strength and a weakness: Google’s smartwatch platform is powerful, but it’s inconsistent and often difficult to use. In the end, Samsung’s One UI changes to the Wear OS-based Galaxy Watch4 make it a better choice for Android users, but the Apple Watch Series 7 remains our overall favorite.
RAZER X FOSSIL GEN 6 SMARTWATCH SPECS
|Phone OS Compatibility||Android, iOS|
|Watch OS||Wear OS|
|Display Size||1.28 inches|
|Fitness Features||Accelerometer, GPS, Heart Rate Monitor, Blood Oxygen Monitor|
|Estimated Battery Life||1 day|
|Separate App Store||No|
|Phone Call Capacity||Yes|
Whether you like Razer or not, it’s stylish.
The Gen 6 looks and feels as sturdy and attractive as any of Fossil’s normal watches, with a round screen, metal case, ridged bezel, and obvious mechanical buttons. The Razer we tried is black, but other colors, including gunmetal, rose gold, and stainless steel, are available for $299 to $319. The watch comes in 42mm and 44mm sizes, with rose gold being available only in 42mm and black being available only in 44mm. For all models, the smaller size has a slightly more ornate rose gold bezel.
The Razer watch comes with two textured silicone wristbands, one black and one bright green. A variety of alternative straps in various colors and materials are available for $29 to $49. After a while with the black silicone band, I switched to the bright green one and discovered that it grew on me. It’s bright and unusual, and it complements the black case nicely. Of course, any Razer fan will recognize this shade of green, and it is one of the few differences between this watch and the ordinary ones.
The metal watch is 3ATM water resistant, so you can swim with it in theory. Even if Fossil says you can get it wet, the watch isn’t officially waterproof because it lacks an IP rating. The Samsung Galaxy Watch4 is more durable, with a 5ATM rating, an IP68 dustproof/waterproof rating, and MIL-STD-810G compliance, allowing it to withstand harsh drops, extreme pressures, and temperatures.
Controls and Display
A 1.28-inch circular AMOLED screen with a resolution of 416 by 416 pixels serves as the watch face. It’s as bright, vivid, and crisp as the Apple Watch Series 7 and Samsung Galaxy Watch4. The spherical form allows for both digital and analog watch faces, and the Gen 6 comes preloaded with various Fossil-specific faces (in addition to the standard Wear OS faces). The Razer version comes with three Razer faces: a plain analog face with the Razer logo, a digital Razer Chrome face with a color wheel, and an all-text face.
Three tactile controls on the right side (if worn on the left wrist) function in conjunction with the touch screen, adding to the traditional watch experience. A ridged crown protrudes from the center and may be pushed in to wake the screen or move to the app list, held down to activate Google Assistant, and twisted to scroll up and down the screen. The button above the crown shows your fitness information, while the button below it gives you access to your Google Pay cards, which you may use to make NFC payments. The two buttons can be customized to start any Wear OS program if you don’t wish to use those functions.
It’s a handy control mechanism, but it’s not without flaws. The most serious physical issue is that I keep triggering Google Assistant by bending my wrist too far. To protect the crown, two small metal nubs flank it, but they’re shorter than the crown itself, making it easy to press the button down accidently. It’s really a minor annoyance, and the watch normally goes to sleep after a few seconds, but it’s still unpleasant. The other oddities are all Wear OS-related, and we’ll go over them in greater detail below.
Internally, the Gen 6 is powered by a Snapdragon Wear 4100+ engine with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, which should suffice for most programs. It has Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, NFC, and GPS for connectivity. The watch contains an accelerometer, altimeter, ambient light meter, compass, gyroscope, IR presence sensor, PPG heart rate sensor, and blood oxygen sensor for environmental and user monitoring. The Gen 6 also has a microphone and speaker, allowing you to use Google Assistant and make phone calls right from the watch.
In its power-saving Extended Mode, Fossil claims the Gen 6 has a battery life of over 24 hours, however in typical use mode, the duration fluctuates greatly depending on use, and it still falls short of both the Apple Watch Series 7 and the Galaxy Watch4. The battery died completely in around six hours the first time I set up the watch, though this was most likely due to heavy use and installing a number of applications and updates. After that, I discovered that I could get a whole day of use out of the watch, though using it to track sleep would be pushing it. Fortunately, the watch charges quickly, taking approximately half an hour to reach 80 percent battery life, so if you want to wear it to bed, you can quickly charge it up.
Wear OS: Powerful, But Uncomfortable
I use an Android phone on a regular basis, and the best way to characterize Wear OS is that it’s an Android-based smartwatch platform, for better or worse. It has a lot of features, however they are dispersed among several navigation techniques with confusing controls. Samsung’s Galaxy Watch4 runs Wear OS as well, but it adds Samsung’s One UI to the mix, making it a little easier to use, especially when browsing and opening apps.
Wear OS, unlike the Apple Watch, is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. The Android and iOS Google Wear apps have nearly identical capabilities, and I had no trouble receiving notifications from my iPhone on the watch or controlling music and podcast playback.
You can set the watch face to be always on (which will deplete the battery faster), tapped to wake, tilted to wake, or only appear when you push the crown after following the supplied instructions to link the watch to your phone. With over 20 options preinstalled and the opportunity to download more from the Google Play store, the face is highly configurable. Facer, a watch face marketplace software, comes preinstalled as well, giving you even more options.
Basic information, like as time, is displayed on the watch faces in a number of forms. There are a variety of digital and analog faces available, including those from Fossil and Razer. From elegant two- and three-hand analog clocks to simple four-digit digital readouts to chronographs with numerous analog displays and data-filled digital screens loaded with biometric data, they can be as simple or as intricate as you wish.
You may tap parts on some watch faces to access other Wear OS capabilities or see more information. A step counter may change to display the exact number of steps taken, or the date may display your forthcoming appointments. I chose the Fossil Wellness face, which displays six distinct health data inside a ring that tells the time digitally.
Swiping up on the watch face displays your notifications, which are displayed in a basic text display that you can scroll with your finger or by spinning the crown. Swiping right on the face activates Google Assistant, which displays the current weather. By pressing and holding the crown, you can access Google Assistant.
Swiping down on the watch’s face activates a quick settings menu that includes buttons for Airplane mode, Silent mode, Do Not Disturb mode, Theater mode, and battery and brightness choices. Above them, a gear button takes you to the main Wear OS settings menu, which has a lot more choices.
Swiping left on the watch face brings up your Wear OS tiles, which are discrete displays that you can switch between to see different information or enable different functionalities. There are 16 tiles that you can arrange in any order and enable or disable individually. Weather, phone access, timers (both a conventional timer and a 20-second handwashing timer), biometrics displays, and even Amazon Alexa are among the features.
Then there are Wear OS apps, which is where things start to get a little skewed. The Wear OS apps currently installed on the watch are displayed by pressing in the crown. Apps are distinct from tiles, and they may only be accessed via this menu or by assigning one of the two buttons next to the crown to that app. You can move your favorite apps up the list, but there’s no way to add them to a quick-launch menu or tile, so you’ll still have to scroll and tap your way through a long, Android-like list with little icons.
More Wear OS apps than tiles are available, including dozens of health and wellness apps from Adidas, Calm, Nike, and Strava. Ovulation and period tracker applications are also available, which is great because the capability isn’t built into the watch itself. You may use the watch to operate Podcast Republic, Shazam, Spotify, and YouTube Music for music. You may also include productivity apps like compasses, calculators, Google Keep, and Google Translate in addition to entertainment and fitness. Unfortunately, Google Authenticator isn’t available on Wear OS, which I think would be really useful. There are a few password managers and authenticators for Wear OS, but they’re all from unknown developers, and I wouldn’t trust their security.
Then there’s the matter of actually downloading apps. You can gaze through the watch itself, but on such a little screen, this is plainly inconvenient. You can use your PC to access the Google Play app store. You can also use the app store if you have an Android phone. If you have an iPhone, you can still use the watch and browse the web.
When it comes to watch faces, tiles, and apps, it’s evident that the more powerful the function you want to use on the watch, the more digging you’ll have to do to discover it. Time and straightforward information? They can be shown directly on the watch face. Biometrics in detail? They’re standing on tiles. Are you looking for a calculator, a voice recorder, or translation services? They’re buried in apps, and since Google doesn’t have as many options as Apple, you might have to pay a few dollars for a third-party software that performs the job.
In terms of fitness, the Gen 6 comes close to matching the Apple Watch Series 7 in terms of health tracking. It offers heart rate, blood oxygen (SpO2), and sleep tracking features, as well as the regular step counting and training activities, which all functioned well in our tests.
However, unlike the Apple Watch, the watch lacks an electrocardiogram (ECG) feature and does not monitor abnormal heart rhythm. Furthermore, Google’s acquisition of Fitbit has yet to result in seamless integration with Wear OS, so if you’re switching from a Fitbit device, you won’t be able to carry over your progress or utilize the Fitbit app with the watch. It also lacks the Galaxy Watch4’s bioelectric impedance analysis (BIA) sensor for evaluating body composition.
A great Fossil watch with a Razer twist
The Fossil Gen 6 is a good alternative for Android users if you don’t mind dealing with Wear OS, but the Samsung Galaxy Watch4 is our Editors’ Choice because of its lower price, longer battery life, more durable build, and easier-to-use Samsung One UI interface. Due to a more intuitive UI and the finest number of third-party smartwatch apps, the Apple Watch Series 7 remains our overall favorite. The Razer collaboration here consists of a vivid green silicone band and a couple limited-edition watch faces. I like the green band, but unless you’re a die-hard Razer fan, this version isn’t better than any other Fossil model.
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