Fossil is a company that primarily forays into lifestyle accessories. They own a diverse portfolio of world-class brands selling wearable items, fashion watches, and smartwatches being one of their most popular products.
What are the smarts on a Fossil smartwatch?
Fossil prides itself on making smartwatches that totally “GET YOU”. They are designed so that you can stay connected while feeling modish and made to be your constant companion as you go about your day – working or relaxing.
Although they look sleek and trendy like a customary fashion watch, they have some premium technology stored in that compact design:
Your fitness companion
These smartwatches use Google Fit to monitor your physical activity, whether you are lounging on the couch at home, are in the middle of your morning run, or breaking out pools of sweat at the gym – they count your steps, distance traveled and calories burnt. The latest ones even monitor your heart rate!
Personalize the look
These watches come with a range of customization options. Not only can you switch between different strap designs from the box (leather, silicone, or metallic), switch between colors (neutrals and bright), you can customize the design on the dial too.
There are different pre-loaded watch faces available to choose from (although technically you can download unlimited faces from Google Play Store!)
You can set the background to a picture too – basically, whatever matches your mood!
Bluetooth keeps you connected
You don’t have to hang on to your phone all the time. Hands-free has a completely new meaning now!
You can receive calls, texts, get alerts from your calendar, social media, the weather, and control the music you listen to. You have the ability to swipe, select, type, and control with our touchscreen-enabled smartwatches, and configure your notification settings so that you can only be informed of what’s most important to you.
Some of their hybrid watches allow you to take pictures with the touch of a button too!
Google’s technology at your fingertips (well, wrist)
These watches run Google’s Wear OS and have built-in motion sensors along with GPS, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth. They are compatible with both Android and iOS phones as long as the Wear OS app is installed on your device. The only restriction is that your phone must be running Android OS version 4.4+ (excluding Go edition) or iOS version 10.0+.
Fossil’s touchscreen watches have Google Pay, which means you no longer have to take your wallet with you either, GPS, Google Calendar syncing, and a built-in microphone through which you can give voice commands to Google Assistant and get proactive help throughout the day.
Today we’re going to be discussing the Fossil Sport Vs Gen 4 Explorist. They do have all the above features in common but let’s see what is different about these touchscreen smartwatches.
Breaking it down
To do a comparison of these two watches, we will be talking about their distinctive look, features, the technology versions being used, real-time performance, and which one does better in which cases.
Right away, one can see that the Fossil Sport smartwatch has a very classic round-dial design with 3 buttons on the right, just like a regular watch.
The screen is, in fact, tiny! It is available in two sizes, 41 mm and 43 mm, and the rounded case and bezel makes the watch face look even smaller. This makes it appear bridled and almost toy-like, lacking the premium look of bigger watches like the Gen 4 Explorist.
But, since the watch is designed to be sporty, this is actually a big advantage for people who want something minimal and innocuous. The Fossil Sport is the only smartwatch by Fossil in the “Ultra Lightweight” category and it weighs about 26 grams, nearly half of the Gen 4 Explorist!
You won’t feel like there is something strapped to your wrist at all, which makes it more comfortable to wear, especially while doing sports. The 22 mm silicone strap is more lightweight than metallic straps, and customizable all the same.
The display is sharp and bright enough even under sunlight. It has 4 GB of internal storage, in-built GPS, Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy, and runs the Qualcomm Snapdragon 3100 processor. Fossil Sport is swim-proof and can withstand up to 5ATM, higher than the Gen 4. The battery can easily run for 24+ hours, depending on the usage.
(You can also conserve power by keeping the “always-on display” option off and using the “tilt to wake” instead, which means that the display only snaps on whenever you tilt your wrist upwards to look at your watch.)
Although this smartwatch has a microphone for accepting Ok Google commands, there is no speaker, and you cannot answer calls through it directly unless you have your phone nearby or earphones plugged into your ears. You only have the option to attend or reject calls.
Like Fossil’s other smartwatches, it is powered by Google Wear OS and runs Google Fit, Google Pay, and Google Assistant. It has activity tracking, music storage and control, alarm settings, calendar alerts, weather updates, multiple time zones, and an LED flashlight. You can also download third-party ridesharing and music apps.
Speed of Performance
You would expect that since this smartwatch runs Snapdragon 3100, which is the very latest compared to the Snapdragon 2100 in previous watches, performance would be much faster and smoother. But, the performance difference isn’t that huge.
The touch response is better for sure, and then wait while launching apps is lesser, but there is still a slight lag. In comparison to the Gen 4 Explorist however, it does do considerably better.
- Latest Snapdragon 3100 processor
- Better motion tracking
- Runs Google Wear, Google Fit, Google Pay, Google Assistant
- 24+ hours battery life
- Smooth touch response
- 5 ATM swim-proof
- Lower price
- The small touchscreen makes for harder touch control
- Snapdragon 3100 real-time performance is not as impressive as expected
Fossil Gen 4 Explorist HR
As always, looks first. The Gen 4 Explorist also features the regular round design with buttons on the right but has a bigger dial and touchscreen (45 mm).
It has a heavier, metallic edge design too, and comes with a standard 22 mm stainless steel strap (which can be switched for silicone and leather nevertheless). It weighs nearly twice the Fossil Sport, so it might feel bigger and bulkier on your wrist. But then again, the bigger size does give it more touchscreen room and the “premium” look that Fossil Sport lacks.
In terms of smart features, everything is nearly the same as before. It is powered by Google Wear and has Google Fit for activity tracking and heart rate monitoring, Google Pay for smooth online checkouts, and Google Assistant for hands-free help whenever you need it. It also has an in-built GPS for distance tracking, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth for smartphone syncing.
You can get call and text alerts, but cannot respond to untethered calls. You still have Google Calendar for your convenience, weather reporting, alarms, a music player, flashlight, and compatibility for third-party apps. And of course, it will work with both Android and iOS devices.
The Gen 4 is also swim-proof but can bear only 3 ATM of water pressure compared to Sport’s 5 ATM.
The performance edge
Everything else we’ve seen till now is not much different from Fossil Sport, the only exception being the size and weight.
But the real deal-breaker for the Gen 4 is its slower performance. It has an older processor, the Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100, which lags more than 3100. The touch and motion-sensing are also less responsive compared to the Fossil Sport, and sometimes you almost have to forcefully jerk the watch to snap the tilt-sensing display on.
Even the Bluetooth version here is 4.1, which is older than Fossil Sport’s 4.2, and this does reflect in its connectivity.
The battery life falls short of 24 hours and will be outlasted by Fossil Sport.
And the surprising part?
Even with the slightly lower performance, Gen 4 is priced higher than Sport!
- Not a big difference in performance even with an older processor
- Bigger touchscreen
- Premium look
- Runs Google Wear, Google Fit, Google Pay, Google Assistant
- Up to 24-hour battery life
- Swim proof up to 3 ATM
- Performance lags
- Battery life lower than Fossil Sport
Fossil Sport is a later model than the Gen 4 smartwatch so it features many performance upgrades, and is priced lower than Gen 4 – where’s the downside?
In terms of durability, speed, and battery life, Fossil Sport does give a better sport. The only edge the Gen 4 has is in terms of size – you might find the Fossil Sport touchscreen a bit too small which can make it clumsier to use. Still, Gen 4’s premium design does come with more weight and a higher price.
So, unless you are willing to pay extra for a slightly bigger screen, Fossil Sport makes for a better smartwatch companion, hands down!