Fossil just launched the new Fossil Hybrid HR a smartwatch that uses e-Ink with a traditional watch face on top of it. And since they sent me one for review, I figured I’d try and do a complete walkthrough on it for you guys.
If you aren’t familiar, a complete walkthrough on this channel is where I go through every feature I possibly can on a new device so that you are better prepared should you be in the market to actually go buy one.
With that said, there is a lot to go through, so let’s get started with the styling.
The watch comes in only one size: 42mm; but comes in three case colors: black, gold, and silver.
Each of these is made out of stainless steel, and while all of the colors have a 24mm display area, and are 11mm thick, the ones dubbed Charter HR accept an 18mm watch band (which you can find on places like Amazon to swap out the ones they come with) while the Collider HR ones accept 20mm bands.
The 42mm case size is just a tad smaller than the 44mm size of Fossil’s last pretty well received smartwatch, the Fossil Gen 5 (which you can check out my video on it here if you’re curious), and just like that Gen 5, still feels like a good middle of the road size that’ll suit a majority of people, with a majority of wrist sizes, I imagine.
Now, I’ve said this before, but I’ve always been a fan of Fossil smartwatches (and their subsidiary companies like Skagen) because of the simplistic and minimalistic style. They’re slim, clean-looking, and lightweight and am a big fan of that Gen 5 watch I mentioned. This watch carries that same design language which I like but albeit with a more of a traditional watch vibe, of course.
The Fossil Hybrid HR is also swim-proof up to 3 ATMs (or 3x normal atmospheric pressure). That is slightly less than the 5 ATM we’re used to seeing on other smartwatches lately but still plenty enough for doing laps or going for a swim if you ask me.
For sensors, the watch has a built-in heart rate monitor (hence the HR in the name), and all the other standard hardware to let it track steps and even sleep (which I appreciate). There is no GPS though or barometer as far as I can tell, so you’ll have to use your phone for that if you need to track runs, elevation, etc.
For battery, one of the benefits of it being a hybrid smartwatch and not a more full-fledged one, is that the battery lasts a lot longer. According to Fossil, you should get about two weeks of use on a single charge and the charger can charge it to full in about 60 mins.
Now, I started using mine at half battery on the 1st of November and it’s at about 15%. Checking with my buddy MrMobile, Michael Fisher, who has also been using the watch, he says he’s losing about 10% a day so between the two of us I think it’s safe to say 10 days is about what you’re looking at realistically, which of course, is still way better than any traditional smartwatch.
Moving around it though, we do have three buttons on the side that can be used to navigate the e-Ink screen and can also be customized to launch different functions when pressed (the middle one looks kind of like a dial but doesn’t turn, FYI).
While we’re on the topic actually, let’s dive into the software and how using this watch actually works.
So firstly, the e-Ink screen under the watch hands shows 4 customizable sections for info that you can always see.
Using the new Fossil Smartwatch app, you can go to Customization and tap on the watch face to choose between the following for each of the four sections.
- Blank: Pretty self-explanatory, but this let’s you leave one of these sections empty.
- Second Timezone: Let’s you select a city and display that cities timezone (as opposed to the main watch hands that automatically change the time based on the time of your phone it seems).
- Chance of Rain: Will give you the percentage chance that it’ll rain in your current location.
- Active Minutes: Tells you how long you’ve had your heart rate high enough during the day for the software to consider you actively working out.
- Current Temperature: Current temp in Celsius or Fahrenheit for your current location.
- Heart Rate: Displays your last recorded heart rate (which it will check regularly).
- Day-Date: Shows the current date.
- Steps: Your current number of steps for the day (resets at midnight).
In the app, you can also customize those three side buttons as I mentioned and choose from the following (also the watch hands actually move to lie at 3 and 9 to let you see what is happening on the screen whenever you do any of these options or get a notification).
- Workout Mode: If set to this, when you press this button you’ll be able to choose from a Run, Treadmill, Elliptical, Weights, or general Workout and it’ll begin tracking it.
- Wellness Dashboard: A shortcut to get to your health stats for the day like steps, active minutes, and calories burned. You can also choose to manually check your heart rate here, as well.
- Stopwatch: Brings up a stopwatch you can use to track time.
- Timer: Brings up a count down timer you can set.
- Weather: Takes you to a weather dashboard to see more in-depth weather information than just the temperature and allows you to set up to two locations.
- Music Controls: Shows controls for whatever music player you are using that lets you pause play and skip forward and backward in your playlist.
- Past Notifications: Shows you all of your previously seen notifications so you can recheck them or clear them all.
You can also swipe on these screens to create different profiles that can each have their own watch face widgets and custom functions.
Now, speaking of notifications, the watch can receive them from the phone over Bluetooth as you’d expect from a smartwatch.
The notifications will come in, the hands will move out of the way and you can then use the top and bottom buttons to navigate up and down through the list and tap the middle button to expand the notification to read it further.
Now, since there is no touch screen or any real input methods, you can only really read notifications and cannot reply from the watch like you could with most full-fledged smartwatches.
You can also go all the way to the bottom of the list to clear them all, or all the way to the top to go back to the home screen (you can also tap and hold the middle button as a shortcut to the home screen from any screen, as well).
And there you go, that’s kind of the entire gist of the new Fossil Hybrid HR.
Head here for more info and let me know what you guys think in the comments below!