Diesel On Full Guard 2.5 first look review: Still big, brash but more feature-packed

IFA 2018: Hands on with Diesel's next generation Wear smartwatch

The Diesel On Full Guard 2.5 is getting the Fossil 4th generation smartwatch treatment. And by that we mean it's getting loaded with features that are going to make it a whole lot smarter than the third gen.

We're talking about adding a heart rate monitor, built-in GPS, waterproofing and Google Pay support, matching the upgrades we've already heard about with the Michael Kors Access Runway and Fossil's own Venture and Explorist HR smartwatches.

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Google's Wear OS will, of course, be at the heart of how those new hardware features are brought together and while I didn't get to see them all in working action (I only got to see versions in demo mode), the new Diesels will support the new changes made to Google's operating system. That includes the new Wear OS interface redesign and the access to the rebooted Google Fit.

We're yet to track down US pricing for the next generation Diesel watches, but we do know the UK details. The matte black steel case on a black silicone strap, gunmetal steel case on a brown leather strap and matte steel case on a black leather strap models will all sit at £319, while the all-over gunmetal steel case design will be £329.That's roughly the same price that the original Diesel on Full Guard came in at, and we expect US pricing to be in the same ballpark, too.

Diesel On Full Guard 2.5: Design and build quality

Diesel On Full Guard 2.5 first look review: Still big, brash but more feature-packed

As far as the design goes, these are still watches every bit inspired by traditional Diesel watches. You've got those industrial-style, machined metal bodies and robust-looking strap options. They're big and unapologetically brash, but that's what Diesel is all about and that's exactly what you get. They certainly feel more manly than some other watches in the Fossil smartwatch family, but that bulk doesn't feel as noticeable as it did on its predecessor. Shaving off a millimeter in thickness to 11mm and dropping down slightly in the case size has worked wonders for the new Diesel.

Diesel On Full Guard 2.5 first look review: Still big, brash but more feature-packed

Some redeeming features remain, like the two physical customisable buttons which sandwich a rotating crown to offer an alternative to navigating screens on the watch. Speaking of the display, that's dropped down in size to a 1.39-inch, which is slightly smaller than the 1.4-inch AMOLED one on the first Diesel On Full Guard. But there's no drop down in quality. It's still sharp, vibrant and proves Fossil is getting things right on the screen front.

Diesel On Full Guard 2.5: Software and performance

Diesel On Full Guard 2.5 first look review: Still big, brash but more feature-packed

As mentioned these watches were in demo mode, so I couldn't get a proper feel of what they are made of on the software features front. But this is Wear OS, and it'll be a similar if not identical experience to other watches from the Fossil Group. Diesel does have a few little extras in the way of watch faces and what Fossil calls micro apps that might not be groundbreaking, but they're nice enough additions to what Wear already has to offers

On the performance front, we're talking about Qualcomm's Snapdragon Wear 2100 running the show, which means it won't be running on whatever the chipset maker has in store when it announces its next-gen tech for smartwatches in September.

Battery life should be a maximum of two days thanks to a 300mAh battery, but that's entirely based on what features you're regularly putting to use. We don't have word yet on GPS battery life, but we imagine this might give the performance a bit of hammering.


Initial verdict

I remember picking up the first Diesel Wear smartwatch and being taken back by the sheer size of it. Even for a Diesel watch. The new On Full Guard 2.5 really does feel like an entirely different prospect on the wrist. Yes, it's still a big ol' watch, but dropping down in thickness and case size means it handles that heft much better. And that's all with packing in all those extra features like GPS and a heart rate monitor. If it has remedied the issues we had with battery life on the first On Full Guard, the Fossil Group may well have another hit on its hands.


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3 comments

  • yogibimbi·

    I actually like the size, the black version look particularly badass. Kudos for the 3 atm waterproofing. Still not competitive with my Mission, but getting closer. What does 3 atm mean in the real world, though? Can the buttons be operated under water? Which is kind of a requirement, since the touchscreens are still useless in water and they are mostly just a potential source of interfering signals. My stopwatch and timer on the Mission are often triggering a start or stop when they shouldn't because of the water doing something to the screen when I am practicing.
    Also, I'll wait for the new Qualcomm chips to be integrated into the watch, maybe bump it up to 5 atm, and will keep close watch on the battery life. Oh, and LTE would be appreciated, but I think that's what the new Qualcomm silicone brings to the party.
    But definitely, this and the Skagen Falster are watches to keep an eye on. I just wish Nixon did something to the Mission. They pretty much nailed it with V1, just a few improvements (the charging terminals and the reliability of the charging sure could do with some improvement), LTE and NFC, and maybe some battery life, and they could keep their position on the top of the pile.

    • jRob2k·

      I'm with you on this. The Mission has been my all time favorite wear watch. The only issue i've had is the charging terminals. I feel like induction charging should be a requirement for all smart watches at this point.

  • Nelson73·

    Over all the diesel on full guard 2.5 watch har everything I was looking for in a smart watch so I thought. I perched it at best buy with in half hour of using it I was so disappointed. Of all the features they left out the internal speaker which was a deal-breaker for me return mine immediately. I also own a Huawei watch 2 classic witch has all the bells and whistles. The only think for me is the size of the screen or I wouldn't give it up for anything.