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Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid Smartwatch Review: The Best of Both Worlds

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Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid Smartwatch Review: The Best of Both Worlds

Modern premium smartwatches are incredibly complex and feature-filled, but they tend to be quite disappointing when it comes to battery life. With even premium devices such as the Apple Watch series offering just about a day or so of battery life, many may want to avoid such devices in order to not have to deal with charging another gadget every day. There’s also the problem of the design of most smartwatches, which tend to look a bit bland; it’s essentially a screen on your wrist, devoid of the classic styling and mechanical engineering that goes into a traditional wristwatch.

That’s where hybrid smartwatches come in. Touted as a combination of smart functionality and old-school charm, a hybrid smartwatch brings together the best of both types of watches, along with the promise of far better battery life than the typical premium smartwatch. The smartwatch I’m reviewing today, the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid, is exactly that.

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Priced at Rs. 18,495 onwards in India, the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid has an e-ink display, health and fitness tracking capabilities, Alexa voice assistant function, and a claimed battery life of up to two weeks. Is this hybrid smartwatch the way forward for aesthetic-conscious buyers with a mid-range budget? Find out in this review.

fossil machine gen 6 hybrid review buttons Fossil

The Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid has three physical buttons for controls and navigation

 

Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid Smartwatch price and variants

Fossil has launched the Gen 6 Hybrid smartwatch range in two variants — Machine (45mm) and Stella (41mm). Apart from the obvious difference in size between the Machine and Stella, the design also tends to make the former better suited for men, and the latter better suited for women.

Both variants are available in multiple colour and strap options, including silicone, leather, and stainless steel. Regardless of the variant, options with a silicone or leather strap are priced at Rs. 18,495, while those with the steel strap cost just a bit more at Rs. 18,595. The black Machine Gen 6 Hybrid with the stainless steel mesh strap was sent to me for this review.

Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid Smartwatch design

Like most hybrid smartwatches, the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid has an analogue timekeeping system, with mechanical hour and minute hands. However, it’s worth pointing out that they aren’t entirely mechanical as the time is set by synchronising with a smartphone, and the hands themselves move around to assist the ‘smart’ functionality of the watch.

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There is no seconds hand, and no crown either. The part that looks like a crown is in fact a regular physical button that does not rotate. There are two more buttons above and below the centre one of the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid, which are used for navigation, and can be set to quickly open specific functions from the home screen. The left side of the watch has a microphone, which can be used for voice commands.

The smart functionality on the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid smartwatch is carried out through an e-ink display under the hands. This power-friendly display is what gives this smartwatch better battery life than devices with full colour screens, and is also a lot easier on the eyes. However, this display not backlit, which means that it isn’t legible in darkness unlike watches with backlit displays, but double-tapping on the glass activates lights that illuminate the display for five seconds. I found that I needed to tap the glass quite hard to activate the lights.

fossil machine gen 6 hybrid review alexa Fossil

You can give voice commands to Alexa on the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid, with responses appearing as on-screen text

 

In the past, numerous complaints about issues of fogging under the glass have been raised in the older versions of the Fossil Hybrid smartwatch series. However, I didn’t encounter these issues even in humid monsoon weather, or when stepping out from an air-conditioned car, so it seems that Fossil has addressed these concerns with the Gen 6 Hybrid.

The black colour of my review unit matches well with the stainless steel mesh strap, and has a 45mm case with a sophisticated, straightforward design that will fit in with both formal and casual looks. The strap of the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid was fairly comfortable for me, but added quite a bit of weight to the already hefty smartwatch. I would recommend the silicone strap for a more comfortable fit, and the straps themselves are replaceable with any 24mm quick-release watch straps.

At the bottom of the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid are the optical sensors for detecting heart rate and blood oxygen levels, as well as the magnetic charging system. The charger clamps on and makes contact with metal running around the middle, so you can attach the charger onto the watch in any direction.

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The Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid is 3ATM water resistant, and uses Bluetooth 5 for connectivity with the paired smartphone. It’s powered by the Fossil Q Intel Atom processor, and has 16mb of internal storage, although this is used for its own functionality and isn’t user accessible. The sales package includes the magnetic charger with a USB Type-A plug on the other end, and instruction leaflets.

Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid Smartwatch software, interface, and app

I would ordinarily expect the software and user interface on a hybrid smartwatch to be fairly simple, but the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid surprisingly has quite a complex one this kind of device. Although the e-ink display would have you think it’s a bit basic, it neatly covers the essential functionality of a smartwatch. It has the ability to clearly render text to display notifications and data, and also gives access to various tools including timers, music controls, and weather reports, to name a few.

fossil machine gen 6 hybrid review app Fossil

The companion app manages the Bluetooth connection with the smartphone, and also lets you choose a theme for the e-ink display

 

When viewing notifications, the hands usefully move out of the way to allow for an unobstructed view of the operative parts of the e-ink display, snapping back into position to tell the time when you’re done. Even from the home screen, a quick shake of your wrist will cause the hands to move around once to let you see complications on the display. It’s a useful set of tricks that ensures a clear view of the display at all times.

The hands also serve as the pointer for the user interface, letting you navigate and scroll to various functions on the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid. The top and bottom buttons let you scroll, while the middle button selects whatever app or selection option the hands are pointing at. In some cases when indicated, pressing the middle button goes back to the home screen. This is a very elegant solution that makes up for the lack of touch controls.

Interestingly, there is also Alexa voice assistant support on the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid. You can set Alexa to be invoked with the top button, or navigate to it through the app menu and speak into the microphone on the left side of the watch. Responses are in the form of on-screen text, and the entire system is linked to your Amazon Alexa account for personalised responses and linking with other devices you may have.

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There are various workout modes on the watch which can be selected through the menu, including walking, running, cycling, and elliptical, among others. The data from these workouts can be viewed on the app.

Naturally this needs the smartwatch to be connected to your smartphone, which itself needs to have Internet access. Responses to questions and controlling IoT devices linked to my account was possible for me from the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid, but I wasn’t able to control music playback on the paired smartphone or even on Echo smart speakers. Alexa needs to be set up through the main app to work.

fossil machine gen 6 hybrid review bottom Fossil

The Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid is rated 3ATM for water resistance

 

The Fossil Smartwatches app (available on iOS and Android) controls the connection between the smartphone and the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid. The setup and pairing process was fairly quick and easy, and connectivity and synchronising was a breeze. The app displays health tracking data and battery status, and also lets you link the health data to Google Fit or Apple Health, if you choose. There are a handful of other basic settings than can be tweaked such as watch hand calibration, preferred distance and temperature units, and daily fitness and health goals.

You can also change the watch faces, although this is naturally not as complex as on smartwatches with full colour screens. It is possible to pick between a white or black background with a few styles available in both colour options, and also choose the complications and data points you want displayed, such as battery level, heart rate, steps, and weather. You can also create a custom style with an image of your choice, but I found that this looked a bit odd and preferred the regular watch faces.

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Additionally, you can choose which apps can push notifications to the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid, and also can also make the smartphone ring by paging it from the smartwatch. I found that the Android app caused significant battery drain on the smartphone, and I needed to charge my phone twice as often when it was paired with the device. I didn’t experience the same issues on iOS.

Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid Smartwatch performance and battery life

A hybrid smartwatch is a considerably different device from the typical touchscreen-based smartwatch, or even premium fitness-focused devices from brands such as Garmin and Fitbit. With hybrid watches, focus is on the look and feel, as well as battery life, and the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid largely succeeds at delivering exactly what is expected of it. That said, it also performs impressively as a fitness tracker.

fossil machine gen 6 hybrid review menu Fossil

The Fossil smartwatch looks good, and has excellent battery life

 

Heart rate and blood oxygen tracking was accurate when compared to a pulse oximeter and my Apple Watch Series 5 when standing still or sitting down. Heart rate measurements while walking tended to be a bit hard to capture because of the loose fit of the metal strap. All of the data is visible in the wellness app on the watch for easy reference.

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Step tracking was among the most accurate I’ve seen on wearables I’ve reviewed; the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid measured 1,001 steps where I manually counted 1,000 steps. Over a longer walking workout of over 3,000 steps as measured by the Apple Watch, the Fossil smartwatch measured a difference of just 30 steps, an error margin of less than one percent.

This is considerably better than most of the competition, including the more expensive Wear OS-powered Michael Kors Gen 6 Bradshaw. There is no built-in GPS on the device, but the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid can use tethered GPS, making use of the smartphone’s GPS to record distances while tracking outdoor workouts such as walking, running, and cycling. This worked as expected, and matched the distance figure I got from my GPS-enabled Apple Watch.

Other core functions of the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid, including the music remote, stopwatch, timer, and weather app worked as expected for me. Notifications were pushed reliably, including caller identification and any text-based messages that could be seen directly on the watch. Connectivity was largely stable, and the watch remained connected to the smartphone at distances of up to 4m.

Battery life on the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid was excellent, thanks to the efficient nature of the hardware. The company claims that the smartwatch can run for up to two weeks on a single charge, and I was able to match up to this figure with moderate use that involved regular notification pushes, walking workouts, and frequent notifications from my smartphone.

Verdict

The concept of a hybrid smartwatch isn’t new, but the lack of real ‘smarts’ in these sort of devices has usually been a key factor why buyers prefer full-fledged smartwatches. The Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid is different, in that, it truly finds the middle ground between new-age smarts and old-school mechanical charm, offering accurate fitness tracking, Alexa support, reliable notification pushing, and very good battery life, along with a sophisticated design.

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For authentic all-day wearing and all-occasion suitability, there’s nothing better than the Fossil Machine Gen 6 Hybrid that you can buy for around Rs. 20,000 right now, in my opinion. With its efficient and capable hardware, reasonable pricing, and excellent style, this seems to be the way forward for hybrid smartwatches.


Noise co-founder Amit Khatri joins Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast, for a special episode. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Wearable Technology Can Change Autistic People’s Lives – if They’re Involved in Designing It

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Many autistic people experience difficulties in expressing their emotions. This can result in increased anxiety, depression, anger and physical health problems. Research shows autistic adults are significantly more likely to experience depression and anxiety than their peers.

Imagine a future, where technology could help people regulate their emotions and alert them to sensory overload before they became overwhelmed.

An increasing number of technological solutions, that aim to help people regulate their emotions are being developed for autistic people. And some autistic people are adapting technology such as digital heart rate monitors to try and track their stress levels.

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Many studies have explored autistic people’s use of wearable technology, such as smartwatches, virtual reality (VR) or brain-computer interfaces (BCI) to regulate their emotions.

BCIs are a direct communication pathway between the brain’s electrical activity and an external device, commonly a computer or robotic limb.

Speaking to the community

But before our study, no one asked the autistic community for their views on how useful the technology is.

Poor usability is a longstanding problem for autistic users of this technology because developers lack of awareness of their needs.

A recent study found only 10 per cent of wearable technologies for autistic people addressed their needs and 90 per cent viewed autistic traits as shortcomings that need correcting.

Our recent study explored the autistic community’s thoughts on any technology they had previously used to help them regulate their emotions and their views on what they need from technology.

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Thirty-four autistic individuals and their allies (family, health and social care professionals and college staff) took part in focus groups.

We presented information on how emotional regulation technology could be used. For example, smartwatches that detect physiological stress signals and prompt users to start coping techniques.

We found the autistic community was keen to use technology to help regulate their emotions but it often costs too much, was difficult to use without training and wasn’t well adapted to their needs.

Our focus group results showed wearable technologies could be uniquely beneficial to autistic people, if they are involved in the design process.

Life with autism

One participant shared how their daughter deals with emotional challenges: “She looks perfectly fine and she’s behaving perfectly fine. Except she’s not. She hides it so well, the anxiety and everything that – we haven’t got a clue! Sometimes the prodding can lead to a big explosion.” Meanwhile, care staff spoke about how important it was to understand how autistic people are feeling: “You want to get in before the behaviour starts. Before it escalates. We could go in before to offer reassurance, a distraction. For other people it’s withdrawal. give them their own space.” Another care worker said: “We know there might be a pattern but we just can’t see it.” Participants told us technology could make all the difference. A relative of an autistic person said: “I’d like something … that he can self regulate, tell people how he’s feeling. Something that’s an app that somehow connects with a colour, so he can pick a picture that says how he’s feeling and people know without it being a big song and dance.” Some autistic participants felt there is a shortfall of support for those with higher IQ.

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One told us: “You feel like you kind of walk between the two worlds almost. You’re not quite severe. So you’re not at that point on the spectrum where you need a lot of support that you’d get if you were.” Help me, don’t fix me Most research has been based on out-of-date theories about autism, such as the idea it is a medical illness that can be cured or treated.

Recent breakthroughs in the neuro-diversity movement triggered a call for autism research to focus on empowering autistic people and their unique communication styles instead of trying to “fix” them.

Autistic participants agreed technological designs should promote independence, rather than try to mask autism.

Many participants were reluctant to use technology due to a lack of confidence in their ability to use it, especially within community care settings. Other barriers included cost or lack of awareness about existing technology.

Our study results emphasised the importance of strategies that take an individual’s life goals into consideration.

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Although a lot of money is spent on developing new technologies, both researchers and healthcare organisations often fail to consider how it will be implemented in practice.

As one autistic person, said: “If you’re going to make something for someone ask them what they want. Don’t just spit out something and go here’s what I made. The amount of papers where people claimed to have made something for learning disabilities. Have you ever had it tested? Have you ever used it with anyone?” Technology companies must create their products alongside the autistic community. And products should aim to adapt to the environment according to individual needs, rather than trying to change the person.

Autism is simply a different way of seeing the world. Not only would this new approach help develop useful technology-based support strategies, it would help to create more inclusive environments for everyone.


What should you make of Realme’s three new offerings? We discuss them on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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Fitbit to Discontinue Support for Music Transfer From Computers This Fall

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Fitbit is putting an end to Fitbit Connect app, soon leaving the users unable to transfer music from their computer to a Fitbit device. The Fitbit owners will soon lose the company’s service to transfer music files to their Fitbit device.

In their statement on the Help page, Fitbit stated that they are discontinuing their Fitbit Connect app on October 13. However, the company has also given two options to users to download music to their devices. “You can continue to play personal music stored on your watch and transfer music to your watch with the Deezer app and Pandora app,” the statement read.

In the FAQs related to the discontinuation of the Fitbit Connect app, the company has elaborated that users can undertake a 90-day trial of Deezer or Pandora before subscribing to their paid services for downloading music to their Fitbit devices in the future.

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The Fitbit Ionic, Fitbit Sense, and Fitbit Versa users can download the Deezer playlists and Flow directly to their watches. However, this feature is not available for Fitbit Versa Lite Edition.

Meanwhile, Fitbit users in the US can download the Pandora app to listen to music. The feature is supported in the Fitbit Ionic, Fitbit Sense, and Fitbit Versa series (except Fitbit Versa Lite Edition). To download music from the app, one will need a paid subscription and a working Wi-Fi connection.

Fitbit Connect is a companion app for Mac and Windows computers that lets you sync fitness data between devices and transfer music to legacy Fitbit devices. The phasing out of the software on desktop is also evident from the fact that the company no longer recommends Fitbit Connect on its setup page.


Are affordable smartwatches worth it? We discuss this on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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LG Tone Free T90, T60 With 9 Hours of Battery Life, ANC Unveiled: All Details

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LG Tone Free earbuds 2022 lineup has been unveiled along with some specifications by the South Korean company. The lineup includes Tone Free T90, T60, TF7, and TF8. The true wireless stereo (TWS) earbuds are going to be rolled out starting late-August, according to LG Electronics. The Tone Free T90 TWS earbuds are this year’s flagship earphones from the company, and they feature up to 9 hours of battery life with Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) off and a IPX4 rating for water and sweat resistance.

The South Korean tech giant, LG Electronics, has not revealed the prices for any of the above mentioned four TWS earbuds so far. Although the company is yet to reveal a definite launch timeline, it has announced that it will start rolling out the TWS earbuds in major markets globally in late-August. As previously mentioned, the company revealed some specifications of the LG Tone Free T90, T60, TF7, and TF8 earbuds.

LG Tone Free T90, T60, TF7, TF8 specifications

According to the company, the LG Tone Free T90 will be 2022’s flagship TWS earbuds offering from LG Electronics. It features a new internal structure with larger dynamic driver to help the earphones generate deeper and more satisfying bass, according to LG Electronics. The Tone Free T90 uses graphene, a material that is said to reduce vibrations. The earbuds also use Meridian Headphone Spatial Processing (HSP). The technology is said to enable the Tone Free T90 to offer a consistent tonal balance at a given volume.

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LG Tone Free T90 TWS earbuds also feature Dolby Atmos with support for Dolby Head Tracking technology across all content. The company claims that the Tone Free T90 earbuds are the first wireless earbuds to feature an audio virtualiser designed by Dolby. They also support the Snapdragon Sound Technology Suite 1. It is said to offer 24-bit/96kHz resolution audio. The ANC technology on the Tone Free T90 gets the Double Step ANC Algorithm and Real Time ANC Optimiser. The Tone Free T90 feature a three mic + VPU setup. The eabuds support wireless charging. Both, Tone Free T90 and T60, feature IPX4 rating for water resistance.

The design of the upcoming earbuds’ has been created by LG Electronics in collaboration with POSTECH Ergonomic Design Technology Lab. The four TWS earbuds are said to be smaller and lighter in weight. The company said that the “Performance Fit” ensures the right positioning of the earbuds inside wearer’s ears. LG Tone Free T90 and T60 get the UVnano charging case, which offer a wider coverage by sterilising all parts of the ear gels. They also sport the Plug and Wireless feature that is said to enable the charging case to also work as a Bluetooth transmitter. The package will include a USB Type-C and an auxiliary cable as well.

LG Tone Free T90 and T60 are claimed to offer up to 9 hours of battery life with the ANC off. The charging cases of the two are claimed to come with up to 20 hours of battery life with ANC off. The quick charge feature on the Tone Free T90 and T60 TWS earbuds enables them to be completely charged after about an hour in the UVnano charging case.

Meanwhile, LG Tone Free Fit TF7 and TF8 feature a three-microphone setup. They also get the Median Sound technology and ANC. Both these earbuds models will also get UVnano charging cases. The earbuds are said to be designed for active lifestyles, and hence, they feature the SwivelGrip technology.

The Tone Free Fit earbuds also support fast charging. The Tone Free Fit TF8 and TF7 are claimed to offer up to 10 hours of battery life with ANC off, and the charging cases are said to come with up to 20 hours of battery life with ANC off. Both the TWS earbuds models from LG Electronics get a IP67 rating for dust and water resistance. The Tone Free Fit TF8 TWS earbuds also feature Plug and Wireless technology.


What should you make of Realme’s three new offerings? We discuss them on Orbital, the Gadgets 360 podcast. Orbital is available on Spotify, Gaana, JioSaavn, Google Podcasts, Apple Podcasts, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts.

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