Fossil Sport review

This featherweight Fossil might be the lean smartwatch you've been waiting for

The Fossil Sport packs the latest tech into a sleek smartwatch, all for a great price.
The Fossil Sport packs the latest tech into a sleek smartwatch, all for a great price.
The Fossil Sport packs the latest tech into a sleek smartwatch, all for a great price.

Highs

  • Extremely lightweight
  • Includes new Snapdragon 3100 chipset
  • Bigger battery
  • Runs new Wear OS

Lows

  • iOS capabilities are limited
  • Apps still take a while to load

DT Editors' Rating

Ever since the launch of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100, we’ve been waiting for the release of a smartwatch with the new chipset. Enter the Fossil Sport, Fossil’s new Wear OS smartwatch. Not only does it pack the latest technology, but it also comes equipped with built-in GPS, a heart-rate sensor, NFC, and runs Google’s latest version of Wear OS, all for $255.

After two years of enduring the aging Snapdragon 2100 chip, its successor is supposed to offer better battery life along with improved performance. As one of the first smartwatches with the new chip, does the Fossil Sport live up to expectations? Let’s take a closer look.

Lightweight, interesting design choice

The Fossil Sport comes in two sizes: There’s the 41mm case and the 43mm case. It also comes in six different fun and quirky case colors, some with matching bands, which is a first for Fossil. There’s a red case with a red silicone band, a light blue case with a light blue silicone band, gray with neon yellow, dark gray with black, blush with blush, and gold with gray.

We’ve described many smartwatches as lightweight, but the Fossil Sport takes it to an entirely new level. It’s the lightest smartwatch Fossil has ever created, and it’s all thanks to the materials used: The bottom of the case is nylon while the top of the case is made of aluminum, which is why it feels like it weighs close to nothing on the wrist.

Our review unit was the 41mm blush case with the blush silicone band, and at first glance it has a sleek look to it. The case size is great for our small wrist, and at 12mm thick it’s only a little slimmer than the Fossil Q Venture HR — but still looks chunky from the sides because of the layered design. Since the aluminum case sits on top of the nylon base, it gives the smartwatch a bit more height.

Its size and weight also make it comfortable to work out with. The silicone band doesn’t irritate our skin when we sweat, and during our runs, we forget we’re even wearing it until we check on our stats. It’s also extremely versatile, allowing us to wear it during the day at work with casual outfits and at night in our workout clothes.

There are also plenty of pre-installed watch faces to choose from, most of which are customizable.

We aren’t fans of the two-tone design; the nylon base is white while the aluminum top and watch band are both blush. For $255, the design cheapens the look a bit and we would have preferred the entire case be one color to give the smartwatch a more seamless look. But for a “sport” smartwatch, it does look much sleeker than others on the market like the Garmin Fenix 5X or the Mobvoi Ticwatch S.

On the side are three pushers — a rotating crown and two buttons that can be used to trigger shortcuts. We set our top pusher to trigger the weather and the bottom to trigger Google Fit. Rather than having to scroll through with your finger on the display, you can use the crown to navigate menus and notifications. Holding down the crown also triggers Google Assistant.

There are also plenty of pre-installed watch faces to choose from, most of which are customizable when it comes to switching up the color scheme and complications to show whatever you’d like, such as step count, weather, Google Pay (with an NFC chip built into the watch, you can use it to make contactless payments), and more.

Fossil Sport Review
Brenda Stoylar/Digital Trends

With the addition of the heart-rate sensor and Google’s redesigned Wear OS, Fossil added three watch faces that integrate Google Fit to allow you to check on your progress throughout the day. For the most part, we stuck to the “Essential Digital” watch face, which gives us the date, time, calendar alerts, our heart-rate, and notification alerts.

Slightly improved performance, nice display

With the Snapdragon 2100, we never experienced any glaring performance issues but there are some things to be aware of – we typically encountered lag when scrolling through the main menu and apps were slow to load. The new Snapdragon Wear 3100 doesn’t bring groundbreaking improvements, but they’re noticeable. Scrolling feels much smoother and there’s no longer any lag when looking through the menu or sorting through notifications.

Unfortunately, apps like Spotify and Weather do still take a while to load, but they’re slightly quicker than with the older chip. Google Assistant also feels faster when loading results after you ask a question or give it a command.

The Fossil Sport’s redesigned Wear OS is a huge improvement over the previous user interface.

The 1.2-inch AMOLED display on the Fossil Sport is sharp and bright enough to see in direct sunlight. With 390 pixels-per-inch, the screen is easy to read, and colors are vibrant on both the watch faces and the content. Following the release of the Fossil Q Venture HR, it’s also nice to get a break from bedazzled displays which tend to make the screen look smaller.

The Fossil Sport also comes with 4GB of internal storage, allowing you to store music on the watch. You can also connect any Bluetooth headphones or earbuds.

Redesigned Wear OS

As this point, we’re getting used to the redesigned Wear OS, after using it on the Fossil Q Venture HR and the Misfit Vapor 2, but it’s important to note that it’s a huge improvement over the previous user interface. It’s more streamlined and doesn’t require you to memorize tons of different gestures. For those just starting out with their first Wear OS device, it’s much easier to get to grips with.

Fossil Sport Review
Brenda Stoylar/Digital Trends

Now, all you need to do is memorize a few swipes — left, right, up, and down. A swipe up brings you to all of your notifications neatly stacked on top of one another, and you tap on a specific one to expand it and then tap again to collapse it. To clear a notification, swipe full to the left or right. A swipe down brings you to all your shortcuts like battery saver, Google Pay, Do Not Disturb mode, and more. Unfortunately, there’s no customizability when it comes to choosing which tiles appear in the menu, like you can do with Google’s Android mobile operating system.

Swiping to the left will bring you to the redesigned Google Fit. With one swipe, you can see all your activity metrics and tapping on one will launch the app. There, you can see a complete overview of your activity with more in-depth metrics. This also made it easy to refer to when we were on our run, allowing us to quickly check on our stats without having to struggle with specific gestures. With a built-in heart-rate sensor, you can also see your beats per minute throughout the day.

Fossil doesn’t have a proprietary fitness app, but — thanks to the improved Wear OS — Google Fit integration is nearly seamless.

Swiping to the right brings you to our favorite feature which is powered by Google Assistant. This section provides you with a personalized list of upcoming calendar appointments, restaurant reservations, and more. We like to be able to glance at it whenever we need to check for traffic alerts in the morning on our way to work. It’s also extremely useful for whenever you have a trip coming up, since it provides you with upcoming flight and hotel information. At the bottom, there’s also Smart Suggestions which are there to make sure you get the most out of your smartwatch, enabling you to tap to see your step count or even check for coffee shops nearby.

With the new Wear OS, Spotify and Noonlight are also pre-loaded on the device. Once you open the Play Store both apps should automatically start to download. If that doesn’t work, we recommend searching for them on the Play Store and then downloading them.

It’s also important to remember that the new Wear OS still works best with Android phones. Those using an iPhone will be limited in some use cases. With iOS, you have to make sure the Wear OS app is always on in the background for the smartwatch to stay connected and receive notifications. Unfortunately, iPhone owners can’t interact with notifications and can only accept or deny phone calls from the watch.

All the necessary fitness features

For a “sport” smartwatch, the Fossil Sport covers the basics. Unlike Fitbit or Misfit, Fossil doesn’t have a proprietary fitness app, but you can download a third-party app if you’d like. You don’t have to because the new Wear OS makes using Google Fit extremely convenient.

Since the smartwatch has built-in GPS, we were able to track the distance of our runs using Google Fit. But if you’re the type of person who likes to have a visual map of your runs or workouts, you’ll have to take your smartphone with you. If you choose to use only your smartwatch, the data will sync to your smartphone. The Fossil Sport also tracks steps, calories burned, and heart-rate throughout the day and when you choose to track it throughout your workout.

With a built-in heart-rate sensor, the Sport makes it easy to track your BPM. If you opt-in to the feature, your BPM will update every 20 minutes where it will be logged into the Google Fit app. That way, you can check the fluctuation whenever you’d like to compare specific times of the day. There’s also the option to manually measure your heart-rate instead, which does preserve battery.

When we worked out with the Fossil Sport, we found the heart-rate sensor was extremely spot on. When comparing our own metrics, we found the smartwatch was either at the exact BPM or maybe one or two off.

If you’re looking for more in-depth tracking than Google Fit provides, we recommend downloading a third-party app. If you’re also in the market for a smartwatch that can do a little bit more hardware wise, we recommend the Fitbit Versa which comes with Fitbit Coach — allowing you to follow certain guided workout routines right from your wrist and keep track of past workouts right on the display.

While the Fossil Sport is definitely comfortable wear to bed, since it’s so lightweight, it doesn’t have sleep tracking capabilities. We would recommend downloading a third-party app for this as well.

Improved battery life

Fossil says its new smartwatch should last 24 hours depending on use — the new chipset is supposed to optimize battery life. You’re also supposed to get an additional two days in battery saver mode. We’re still going to need to do some additional testing, but we believe that’s true to an extent. It’s still too early to tell whether the improved battery life is because of the chipset or the larger battery size than you’d normally find in a 41mm case.

Fossil Sport Review
Brenda Stoylar/Digital Trends

With a 350mAh battery (on both case sizes) we saw about a full day’s worth of battery life with extra juice to last into the next day. On a normal workday where we didn’t work out at the end of the day, we took the Fossil Sport off the charger at 9:15 a.m. on 100 percent. By 2 p.m., it was at 76 percent and by the time we left the office it was at 56 percent.

On our way home, we didn’t do too much with it — mainly using it to check notifications and the weather and by 9:52 p.m. before we went to bed it was at 41 percent — which is extremely impressive for a Wear OS device. Normally, we can only get about 12 hours before having to place it back on the charger.

The Sport also has rapid charging and ours hit 100 percent in just over an hour.

On a day that we did work out we didn’t see too much of a difference, but that was because it had only been a quick 15-minute jog. After charging it up to 100 percent at 9 a.m., it was at 35 percent by 11 p.m. having tracked our run with Google Fit when we used Spotify simultaneously.

We turned on battery saver mode throughout the night and into the next day until about 1:30 p.m. Our smartwatch was at 19 percent when we finally turned battery saver mode off. It then dropped down to 10 percent by about 3 p.m where it automatically went back into battery saver mode.

We’re going to continue to monitor the Fossil Sport’s battery life to see how it performs over time. In comparison to the Fossil Q Venture HR and the Misfit Vapor 2, which include the Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100, the Fossil Sport has much better battery life — but that could also be because the Q Venture HR and Misfit 2 have smaller, 300mAh batteries.

As with the latest Wear OS smartwatches, the Fossil Sport also has rapid charging. The device comes with a puck-shaped charger that has magnetic pins attached, allowing you to simply clip the smartwatch in without worrying about it sliding off while charging. We found our smartwatch hit 100 percent just over an hour after plugging in.

Price, availability, and warranty information

The Fossil Sport is currently available for $255 from Fossil’s website. The smartwatch comes in six different case colors with matching silicone bands — black, blush, neon yellow, light blue, gray, and red. Since the smartwatch has interchangeable watch straps, Fossil offers 28 additional straps to purchase.

Fossil offers a limited two-year warranty that covers any manufacturing defects, but it doesn’t cover accidental damage to the case or watch strap.

Our Take

The Fossil Sport is a sleek-looking smartwatch with a vibrant display and is equipped with a built-in heart-rate sensor, GPS, and more. For $255, you also get the latest Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset providing you with a smooth experience and great battery life.

Is there a better alternative?

Yes. If you’re willing to shell out a little more money there’s the Samsung Galaxy Watch for $330. It comes with the same fitness features, like built-in GPS, heart-rate monitor, and more, packed into a beautiful design. It also comes with extremely impressive battery life that lasted us between three to four full days (depending on case size).

If you’re looking for a more fitness-intensive smartwatch, there’s the Fitbit Versa for $200. It comes with a stunning design, heart-rate monitor, and can last up to five days on a single charge.

As for iOS users, we recommend purchasing the Apple Watch Series 4. You won’t experience the same limitations you would with a Wear OS smartwatch and can instead take advantage of all its features, though you will have to shell out at least $400.

How long will it last?

The Fossil Sport should last you beyond the two-year limited warranty. Since it runs the new Wear OS and has the new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip, there are plenty of updates to come. With a 5ATM rating, it’s also swim proof, so you don’t have to worry about jumping into the shower with it or taking it for a swim.

Should you buy it?

Yes. The Fossil Sport comes with an all-new chipset, the necessary fitness features, and great battery life all in a sleek looking design for the same price as a smartwatch with Qualcomm’s two-year old chip.

However, those who already own a Wear OS watch with a 2100 chipset shouldn’t worry about whether or not to make the upgrade – we don’t think the changes are significant enough to justify buying a new smartwatch.

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