So between Apple Watch vs Fossil Smartwatch, which brand offers the smarter wearable tech?
If you’re going to ask me, Apple edges out Fossil for the better implementation of the smart features. Plus, app integration and selection were simply better with the watch OS 5, Apple’s smartwatch operating system.
However, it could easily go the other way.
For this brand head-to-head, we highlighted the best watches from both brands to help you decide where to spend your money.
- Short Introduction to the Apple Watch
- Apple Watch Top Contenders
- Short Introduction to the Fossil Smartwatch
- Fossil Smartwatch Top Contenders
- The Verdict
Short Introduction to the Apple Watch
Apple Watch is a product by, of course, Apple and is one of the first major products that was launched in the Tim Cook era. Although Apple has kept mum about the sales of their wearable tech, according to Asymco analyst Horace Dediu, the company has sold over 46 million Apple Watches thus far – making the watch the most successful wearable device in history.
Incidentally, the success of the Apple Watch has also made Apple the most successful watch manufacturer in the world, even topping Rolex as of September 2017.
Apple Watch Top Contenders
We have taken a look at some of the best smartwatches that Apple has to offer and have taken the liberty to handpick the company’s best ones that suit a number of specific needs and all should be worth your money.
Overall Best: Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS
The Apple Watch Series 4 with GPS + Cellular is a feature-packed smartwatch and it also happens to be the option if you’re buying your first Apple-branded smartwatch. As of this writing, the 2018-2019 Apple Watch lineup consists of three major versions: Series 1, Series 3 with GPS, and Series 4 with GPS+Cellular.
So why get the GPS version only instead of the GPS+Cellular model?
Well, the very simplest answer that I can give is the price. The Series 3 with GPS is certainly the most affordable entry point to the Apple Watch ecosystem without missing out on the majority of the key features.
Design has always been a major strength of Apple products and the Apple Watch Series 4 is no exception. The design of the watch is very functional. The colorful square display is very bright and I had no trouble making out the text whether it’s indoor or outdoor.
The watch also features the watchOS 5 which is the best version of it yet. I especially love the fact that navigating the interface is now very similar to how the iPhone works. Siri also works better which means that you now have a true hands-free / eyes-free experience.
The watch also features longer battery life and faster performance which are always a good thing. It has plenty of great features to get by your day-to-day life. Overall, it’s an excellent smartwatch that offers great value.
For the Sports-Oriented: Apple Watch Nike+
Apple is the behemoth of the tech industry. Nike is one of the biggest sports brands in the world. Combine both of them and you have a product that might just be larger than the sum of its parts.
If you’re planning to use a smartwatch to help you with your fitness goals, the Apple Watch Nike+ might just be for you.
One of the first things I love about the watch is the accuracy of the GPS. The Nike+ records the distance, pace, and routes with great accuracy. Even when using treadmills, the distance calculation is quite accurate. The heart rate monitor also offers comparable accuracy to chest strap heart rate monitors.
Apple does love its proprietary apps, so for the Nike+, you have the Nike+ Run Club app. The app is very straightforward to use and offers plenty of features for recording your activities. However, you don’t have to settle with the Nike+ Run Club app since the watch also supports other well-known fitness apps like RunKeeper, MapMyRun, and MyFitnessPal.
In terms of comfort, I’m happy to report that the watch is comfortable on the wrist. I’ve experienced no irritation while wearing the watch during a workout. The band is also outfitted with numerous holes for ventilation.
For the Budget-Conscious: Apple Watch Series 1
If you are looking for a less expensive alternative to the Series 3, the Apple Watch Series 1 is definitely a solid option.
The Series 1 name is rather confusing since this model is actually newer than the original Apple Watch which is referred to as “Series 0” which was released in 2015. The Series 1 debuted in 2016 along with the now-discontinued Series 2.
The 38mm is about 10% lower in price than the 42mm. The Series 1 will save you less than a hundred dollars but still afford you some pretty good smartwatch features. Despite lacking major features like a GPS, the Series 1 can still track your runs and be used for your workouts without needing your phone.
The Apple Watch Series 1 is also compatible with the watchOS 4 which features improved heart rate tracking features, smarter Siri, and many other enhancements.
For a cheaper price, expect to miss out on some major features and improvements such as GPS, waterproofing, brighter display, faster performance, better battery life, and more.
As long as you’re not hardcore runner or swimmer, the Series 1 has what you need at a far more affordable price.
Short Introduction to the Fossil Smartwatch
Fossil is a very popular American fashion designer and manufacturing company that is known for their designer watches, wallets, handbags, fragrances, and more.
Not planning to be outdone by Apple, Google has released its own smartwatch operating system which is dubbed Android Wear. When it comes to wearable Google-based watches, Fossil is definitely one of the frontliners.
On top of offering full-blown smartwatches, Fossil somehow has managed to stick with their roots by making hybrid smartwatches.
Fossil Smartwatch Top Contenders
Same with Apple’s lineup, we have taken a look at some of the best models that Fossil has to offer in the smartwatch race.
Best Overall: Fossil Q Explorist Gen 3
The Fossil Q Explorist Gen 3 should be an easy recommendation if you want a smartwatch with a fashionable flair.
In my opinion, the Q Explorist lineup is among the best designed and best-looking smartwatches at the moment. It’s also available in many different materials, color options, finishes and band styles, so you can find a timepiece that matches your own personal style. Plus, the straps are swappable which gives you more customization options.
The watch can track steps, distance, and calories burned. However, it’s only making an estimate so it’s not the most accurate tracker out there since it lacks GPS and a heart rate monitor.
Like most smartwatches, the Gen 3 Explorist can display notifications and touchscreen functions for calls, texts, app updates, and emails. It’s also powered by Wear OS, so it’s compatible whether you have an Android or iOS smartphone.
Overall, the Fossil Q Explorist Gen 3 looks and feels just like a regular watch but with some smart thrown in the mix.
If You Want a Regular-Looking Smartwatch: Fossil Q Grant Hybrid Smartwatch
The Fossil Q Grant Hybrid Smartwatch is described, “looks like a watch, acts like a smartwatch” which is fairly accurate.
It’s basically an analog watch with smart features.
The Fossil Q Grant is simply leagues ahead of its competitors when it comes to design and build. It has a gorgeous watch face that’s a real head-turner. I also particularly enjoy the 44m metal frame which feels just about right on my wrist.
The smart features come in a simplistic form of LED lights and vibration motor. The watch can be synced with your Android smartphone or iPhone and you can get notifications via the Q Grant. The LED lights can be used to notify you of things like when certain hashtags are used or when a certain app sends a notification.
The Q Grant is equipped with a 3-axis accelerometer which can track things like steps taken, calories burned, and distance covered. Just don’t expect fancy tracking features like elevation, heart rate monitoring, and sleep tracking.
The Fossil Q Grant Hybrid Smartwatch is easily the best-looking hybrid smartwatch that you can get in the market. It also doesn’t hurt that it’s offered at a great price point.
For the Fitness Enthusiast: Fossil Q Control Gen 3
The Fossil Q Control Gen 3 Smartwatch is the go-to option for hardcore runners and fitness enthusiasts.
While many people would consider the Q Control to be dull and bland, I think the design is good and can work as a watch that fits in any situation. I really enjoy the clean and almost futuristic look of the watch which can be worn whether you are playing sports or attending a suit event.
As mentioned, the Q Control excels in in-depth activity and performance tracking – thanks to its heart rate sensor. It comes pre-loaded with the Google Fit app so you can track your heart rate, steps, and a variety of workouts. The 5ATM water resistance rating means that you can take this watch for a swim.
Overall, the Q Control looks great and works well as a sports watch. However, it does come with a hefty price tag.
So Apple Watch vs Fossil Smartwatch, which do I prefer?
As I’ve mentioned, I have more affinity towards the Apple smartwatches since I’m already knee-deep into Apple’s ecosystem. Plus, most of the “smart” features just work better with Apple’s watches. Tracking and app integration were simply better experiences with my Apple watch.
However, Fossil’s smartwatches have fared well during our comparison.
Fossil watches generally work better with the Android OS, so if you’re already using an Android device, I highly recommend giving Fossil’s offering a look. Plus, they’re great watches if you want a wearable tech that doesn’t look like a “smartwatch.”