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Fossil’s new Wear OS smartwatches look good, but they’re still lacking features

New Fossil smartwatches

Fossil today unveiled the fourth generation of its Fossil Q line of smartwatches that run Google’s Wear OS and come packed with features like heart rate tracking, NFC and untethered GPS.

Fossil is calling its Q Venture HR and Q Explorist HR devices its most “tech-packed” touchscreen smartwatches to date. Among its other features are swimproof functionality, more than 36 exclusive dials, the ability to set social media photos as watch face backgrounds, and optimized charge time that allows users to charge the device within an hour to last all day.

If some of those sound like a bit of a catchup, it’s because they are. Another is in the fact that the watches run the outdated Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip from Qualcomm, which is already used in Fossil’s third generation line of watches. This, despite the fact we already know new Qualcomm chips for Wear OS watches are on the way this fall.

Still, Fossil thinks users will find a lot to like here in terms of both function and design.

‘’Since our entry to the smartwatch market, it has always been our first priority to be nimble and adapt quickly to innovations-both in technology and design’’ said Fossil EVP Steve Evans. “We know a lot of watch wearers have both a traditional watch and some kind of an activity tracker — by adding significant features in terms of technology, without compromising our design standards, this new generation of smartwatch will provide consumers with one device that fits all of their needs. Ensuring the best possible experience for our customers has always been important, which drove the innovation of this product; we cannot wait to see the consumer response around the globe.’’

As far as the rest of the details for the fourth generation Fossil Q line, Fossil has created watch dials that let users quickly access manual readings straight from the watch face. There are Fossil dials with heart rate integrated into the designs, showing users their beats per minute on their watch face at a quick glance.

Users are also getting NFC compatible with Google Play. New untethered GPS capabilities let users continue with a focus on fitness, tracking walks, bikes and more via Google Fit and third-party fitness apps without having to bring a phone along.

Tom’s Guide goes on to point out that the watches include “all the features we’ve come to expect from smartwatches like the Apple Watch and Fitbit Versa. The fourth-gen watches sport an NFC chip for wallet-less Google Pay transactions, 2.5GB of on-board music storage, an optical heart rate sensor, GPS for more accurate run-tracking with Google Fit and third-party fitness apps, and a microphone for querying Google Assistant. Both devices are swim-proof, too.

The new watches, we should note, also retail for between $255 and $275.

Andy is a reporter in Memphis who also contributes to outlets like Fast Company and The Guardian. When he’s not writing about technology, he can be found hunched protectively over his burgeoning collection of vinyl, as well as nursing his Whovianism and bingeing on a variety of TV shows you probably don’t like.

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