Fossil Sport first look: A sporty smartwatch that doesn't forget about keeping it stylish

Customisation is king with Fossil's Snapdragon 3100-packing smartwatch

It’s a busy time at Fossil Group towers. After announcing the Q Explorist HR and Q Venture HR, smarter versions of the company’s third-gen smartwatches, the company is back again with the Fossil Sport.

The new Sport is the second to feature Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 3100 smartwatch chipset, promising longer battery life than the fourth generation Fossil smartwatches.

Read next: The best Wear OS smartwatches

Don’t let the name fool you, though. Sport may play a big role, but Fossil is still aiming to win style points with this Wear watch.

But does it convincingly toe the line as an activity-hungry fashion piece? We’ve had some hands-on time with the Fossil Sport to find out. Read on for our first impressions.

Fossil Sport: Design

Fossil Sport hands on: A sporty smartwatch that doesn't forget about the style

Let’s get the nitty gritty out of the way – the Sport comes in six different colours (silver, blue, red, gold, rose gold and grey), and interestingly follows rivals Apple and Samsung in offering two case sizes, 41mm and 43mm.

As you can see in the image below, the pair don’t look too dissimilar, but those with smaller wrists will naturally be better suited to, well, the smaller watch.

With a dearth of unisex options on the market, it's a big positive that Fossil Group has decided to build a smartwatch that has the potential to appeal to both men and women. Our only real gripe is that the two don’t really differ enough. While the Samsung Galaxy Watch and Apple Watch Series 4 are offered in sizes 4mm apart, the difference between the two Sport models is instead just 2mm. That's not a whole lot.

Fossil Sport hands on: A sporty smartwatch that doesn't forget about the style

(Fossil Sport 41mm model)

Perhaps we're being hypercritical. After all, this is a aesthetically appealing smartwatch. The company pumped up the Sport as its lightest device to date, and from our brief time with both on the wrist, this would appear to check out. It definitely has a similar feel in weight to the Fitbit Versa. Fossil says the Sport weighs in at around 36-40g, and that feels about right.

The bands, too, add to this feel. There are 28 to choose from, ranging from a sporty silicon to a more premium fabric. So giving wearers a plenty of options to mix things up. There are thinner bands to better suit smaller wrists, and plenty of eye-catching styles to pick from here.

Fossil Sport hands on: A sporty smartwatch that doesn't forget about the style

(Fossil Sport 43mm model)

In terms of the display, Fossil has packed in a 1.2-inch AMOLED screen with a pixel resolution of 390 x 390 – that's better than the Galaxy Watch, one of the best round displays we've come across in 2018. And though we couldn't fully run through the different menus of the Sport, since Fossil was only showing its devices in demo mode, the screen was punchy and vibrant.

Overall, there's plenty of positives from the design. We're not completely sold on the white casing present on the underside of the bezel on most models – it detracts slightly from the otherwise convincing feel of the Sport – but the different colour bezels and changeable straps certainly help soften the blow.

Fossil Sport: Features and Wear OS

Fossil Sport first look: A sporty smartwatch that doesn't forget about keeping it stylish

The Fossil Sport arrives with great promise from a software perspective. Not only is it running the latest version of Google's operating system, Wear OS, but it's also the first affordable device (unless you consider Montblanc's £845 Summit 2 affordable) housing Qualcomm's new chipset, Snapdragon 3100.

But what does this really bring that's different? Well, as Fossil tells us, the new chip brings with it the ability to extend battery life past 24 hours for the first time in its range. If you want a smartwatch that can track your run in the morning, send you notifications in the day and still be powered when you're listening to music on the journey home from work, that's what's on offer here.

Of course, whether this actually lives up to the billing is another matter. We'll be looking to test this extensively over the coming weeks, as it's one of the more tangible benefits of Qualcomm's latest chipset.

Unfortunately, as we mentioned earlier, we'll also have to wait before we can make a full judgement on how the device runs from the wrist. Everything appeared fairly zippy in the limited demo mode, but using the digital crown to navigate through the core menu is about as far as we were allowed to go.

Even so, this should be Wear OS as we've come to expect it – there'll be support for activity and swimming through the refurbished Google Fit, accompanied by the device's heart rate monitor and GPS, as well as standalone apps, Google Pay, sleep tracking, customisable watch faces and more.

Will it all run more smoothly, with the addition of the Snapdragon 3100? Perhaps. We expect any speed improvements will be marginal, but we'll be looking to test this more thoroughly in our wider review.

Fossil Sport: Initial verdict

Fossil Sport hands on: A sporty smartwatch that doesn't forget about the style

Over recent years, while Fossil Group's consigliere has focused primarily on offering fashion-first devices, the company itself has routinely embraced the technical and trackable elements of smartwatches.

Nothing epitomises this more than the Sport, which blends together a sporty-yet-stylish design with the very latest smartwatch technology. That doesn't automatically make it the company's finest work. This could very well suffer the same accuracy issues as fourth-gen devices in further testing, or fade into the background like the Fossil Q Control – but there's enough reason for optimism here.

Customisation is always a welcome step with watches, and the fact Fossil has provided two case sizes (even if they're not all that different) and a mixture of masculine and feminine bands instantly makes it one of the more appealing Fossil devices you can slap on your wrist. Add to this the promise we have in the features and software, as well as it being offered much cheaper than something like the Apple Watch Series 4, and Fossil may just be on to a winner with the Sport.

We're looking forward to spending more time with it to find out if this a smartwatch that deserves a place on your wrist.

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  • Maryland_USA·

    I'll probably stick with my one-year-old Fossil Explorist Gen. 3, with its stainless steel band. It has a larger face, and it recently received two updates: first to Wear OS 2.0, then to Wear OS 2.1.

    Even so, I was getting only 14, maybe 15, hours of battery life.

    But recently I made two small tweaks:

    1. In my third-party watch face (Minimal & Elegant), I changed the "time on" brightness from 20 seconds to 6 seconds.

    2. I changed the brightness level from Auto to level 3 of 5.

    Now my battery is lasting 18 or 19 hours.