Fossil is launching more hybrid smartwatches with the arrival of a new Gen 6 collection, which brings new smarts including an SpO2 sensor and Amazon Alexa integration.
The Gen 6 Hybrid adopts the same design approach as previous Fossil hybrids combining a traditional watch design and mechanical hands with an e-Ink display to show off onboard smarts.
Read this: Best hybrid smartwatches to buy right now
The latest editions come in two looks called Machine and Stella, which are based on existing non-smart Fossil watch designs. The Machine edition features a larger 45mm case and comes in black, silver and smoke and clearly seems to be aimed at men. Stella is smaller, with a 40.5mm case and is available in rose gold, silver and two-tone looks.
Like previous hybrids, the bands they're partnered up with are removable, with leather, metal and mesh-style bands set to be available to mix up those looks.
In terms of new smarts, Fossil is adding a microphone enabling support to talk to Amazon Alexa when the watch is paired to your phone via Bluetooth. It's also adding an SpO2 sensor to track blood oxygen levels. That should join existing features like 24/7 fitness tracking, heart rate monitoring, automatic exercise recognition and connected GPS.
The Gen 6 Hybrid collection promises to deliver two-week battery life depending on style and model, which is the same that was quoted for the Fossil Hybrid HR and Fossil brand Skagen's Jorn Hybrid HR. We found both dropped to around a week of battery life with heavy use of smart features.
Fossil is also taking the opportunity to give its companion iOS and Android app a bit of makeover with more metrics and personalised features set to be added, which will also be available to users of the current Fossil Hybrid HR watches.
It's set to go on sale on Fossil's website on 27 June with prices for some models set to come in at $229. So it looks like pricing will be similar to the launch prices of the Fossil Hybrid Smartwatch HR and Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR. Pages for the new watches are not live, but there is a sign-up page to get nudged when they do drop.
Our experiences with previous Fossil hybrids has certainly been mixed. While we've praised the undeniably strong looks, solid fitness tracking support and features like music controls, we've found the software experience on the watch clunky. We also experienced some not so great screen fogging issues when using the watches for exercise tracking.
While it's great to see Fossil squeeze in more smarts, we're curious how those features will impact on battery life and whether it's addressed those clear issues that exists on the software side to really make it a hybrid worth strapping on.
We're hoping to get our hands on one to find out if Fossil is any closer to cracking hybrid smartwatches.
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