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Fossil Sport Smartwatch

March 24, 2019

I split my time between an iPhone and a Pixel to keep tabs on both the iOS and Android ecosystems. I have an Apple Watch that I wear when carrying my iPhone, and when I worked for Samsung I wore a Gear S3 when carrying (at that time) a Note 5. When I joined Google and switch to the Pixel I stopped carrying the Gear S3, but there wasn’t a particularly good Android Wear (now Wear OS) watch I wanted to try (in large part because everything was still using the old Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset).

Qualcomm finally released the 3100 (which, granted, isn’t actually that much better), and when Fossil had a sale on their Sport Smartwatch ($200, down from $275) that uses it I decided to get one to try it out.

I’ve been using it for a few weeks now, and so far my impression is a somewhat unenthusiastic “it’s fine”. From an industrial design standpoint it’s not nearly as nice as the Apple Watch or even the Gear S3, and I prefer the Gear’s rotating dial over a rotating crown. The battery life is decent; turning the watch off at night I can typically eke out 3 days of use before needing to charge. The OS is still noticeably laggy; Qualcomm may be have improved battery life with the 3100, but it’s still a pretty slow processor.

The OS itself is pretty good. I actually like the way it handles notifications a bit better than how iOS does: it’s easier to skim and delete messages from their notifications (iOS seems to want me to scroll through an entire message before giving me the option to delete it). Since keeping tabs on notifications is my primary use case for a smart watch, that’s a plus for Wear OS.

At the end of the day, though, what Wear OS really needs is better hardware, both processor and watch. I’d be tempted to go back to my Gear S3, but I’d prefer not to install Samsung’s software on my Pixel. So I’ll keep using the Fossil Sport with my Pixel; like I said, it’s a perfectly fine watch. But I’m glad I got it for $200, rather than paying full price.

From → Hardware, Software

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