Fossil Explorist HR review

Fossil Explorist HR quick details

Design of Fossil Explorist HR

  • 1.4″ AMOLED display
  • 454 x 454-pixel resolution
  • 46mm case size
Fossil Explorist HR retains the look of the 2017 edition of the Explorist, which is not a bad idea. While I never was fond of traditional watches while growing up, I quickly took into the timekeeping wagon when the Smartwatches came in the picture. But soon I found my liking in this segment – a traditional looking machined look timepiece with smarts into it. Fossil Explorist HR offers exactly that. It does not look uber cool but commands noble attention. With a larger case size of 46mm, it is for men. For women, Fossil has introduced the Fossil Venture HR with a smaller case. The display is instant love. You get a brilliant 1.4-inch AMOLED display with a 454 x 454-pixel resolution.  The display is very clear, vivid and a pleasure even in outdoor. It even can be set to always on the screen to show just the time. The blacks are deep and offer good contrast levels. There is a narrow black bezel but is hidden or you would fail to notice it in most of the watch faces which niftly hide the bezels with the UI design. The wake gestures include tapping the screen, a tilt of the wrist and by pressing the crown, all of which can be turned on or off as per your preference in the settings. The 22mm straps are interchangeable and if you don’t like the tan leather strap with metallic casing with stainless steel bezel and buttons, the Fossil Explorist HR also comes in many different designs to choose from. For the watch body, you’ll find it comes in blue, silver, black, rose gold, gunmetal or smoke and each is made of stainless steel. And if you don’t like the leather strap you also get more strap options including metal links or silicone. The right side of the watch has three prominent physical buttons. The middle one when pressed takes you the watch face, a long press launches the Google Assistant. While the display is touch, if your hands are greasy, you can also twist the middle button and scroll through the screens. The two buttons flanking the crown can be programmed which means you can create quick shortcuts to your most frequented apps. The bottom button by default launches the Google Fit upon pressing. The case thickness is 13mm, which is alright for a Smartwatch that packs too many things. At the back is the heart rate sensor. While the sensor area is slightly bumped out, it doesn’t really cause any discomfort while wearing, I never realized it in fact until I touched it. The Explorist HR is not noticeably heavy either and it is pleasant wear – feels good on hand and looks great too as a watch.

The hardware of Fossil Explorist HR

The Explorist is powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 2100 processor with 512MB of RAM and it comes with 4GB of storage. The SD 2100 has had a long run now having arrived all the way back in February 2016. It’s surprising to know the slow pace of chipset development compared to the breakneck speed in the Smartphone pace. While finally, Qualcomm did release the Snapdragon 3100 a few months back, there is still some room left the aged chipset we have here. It also proves to be its Achilles which we will discuss later.

Fossil Explorist HR: Wear OS by Google

Wear OS by Google is slowly but steadily seeing improvements. The watch covers all the features one would expect on a Smart watch. Notifications are easy to read and pops instantly when you receive it on your phone. Having Wear OS means you can download Wear OS compatible apps from the play store and have it run on the watch including maps for navigation. It is compatible with both iPhones and Android devices.

Water resistance of Fossil Explorist HR

You can take a shower or dive into a pool with Fossil Explorist HR. It comes with a 3ATM waterproof rating and can survive a dip in water up to 30 meters. Though if you had opted for the leather strap, you might not want to dip into water or change the strap for a water safe material.

NFC on Fossil Explorist HR

The inclusion of NFC now means the Explorist HR gets contactless payment support.

Fitness Features of Fossil Explorist HR

The Explorists HR comes with built-in GPS which makes it ideal for runners or cyclists. This also means you don’t have to carry your phone along while running and still map your runs and rides. Though this is not your typical sports smartwatch, you could still make good use of it. Even on your regular move around the town and for step counts addition of the GPS score better brownie points. Mapping accuracy is good and reliable. The optical heart rate monitor at the back that glows green when in action, which can be used for both on the spot readings and to show your heart rate in real-time during workouts. The readings are fairly accurate for daily reassurances. The data can be synced to Google Fit and accessing it is just a swipe away from the screen. It can also be programmed to one of the two buttons.

Fossil Explorist HR Battery Life

The bottom of the case has the Optical heart rate monitor which is surrounded by two concentric silver rings. It’s the contact points for the in-box USB propreitory charger. While I would still want all the Smartwatch manufacturers to jump into a universal micro USB or type C charging solution, for now, you have to live with the proprietary chargers. On a brighter side, just rest your watch in any orientation charger pad and it connects to the back of the Explorist magnetically. If you are travelling and you forget the cable you are in a dock. The one grouse I have with most Smartwatches running especially on Wear OS is the poor battery life and that sour note is carried with Explorist HR. You would have to power the watch every day, which honestly takes the joy out of the watch. The Explorist HR should offer all-day battery life. Tracking activity with GPS or constant heart rate monitor could take a toll on the battery life further.


Fossil Explorist has good pleasing looks, it’s a watch that can team up with your different wardrobe and fashion senses. It also has different watch cases and straps you can choose from plus the quick-release straps can help you match with your dress by changing it quickly if you are finicky about it. On the smarts, it ticks everything like heart-rate monitor, built-in GPS and NFC and Wear OS offers good support for the UX. Except for the aged processor and if you can live with the daily regime of charging the watch, this is an attractive smart timepiece.  ]]>

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