Fenix 6 as a Fossil Hybrid HR alternative, part 5 : NOTIFICATIONS & MUSIC


✌Winner : Fenix 6

A Gmail notification with emojis

This is, for me, the main use of a smartwatch. Checking notifications at a glance without taking my phone when I’m busy and my hands are full is a blessing. This was the main function of my Fossil Hybrid HR. I loved this watch because it was the only one with 2 weeks battery life which did a good job with notifications and gave me Emojis as well as reasonably readable text.

Detail of a notification

Notifications list

Notifications are often not so well handled by many smartwatches. Samsung Tizen watches, Wear OS and Apple watches are certainly the best in that department, offering an experience quite similar to the phone. Alas, these watches are plagued with abysmal battery life (1 to 3 days with AOD) and proprietary solutions creating huge compatibility issues. Texts are more limited on a Samsung Tizen watch if you don’t use a Samsung phone, Apple Watches doesn’t work with Android…

The Quick Glance notifications widget showing notifications count by app

Actions available for texts, Twitter DM, mails … Archive, delete, answer, app block …

Garmin uses a middle of the road solution, you won’t get absolutely everything like on your phone but compatibility is excellent and their solution is the most practical I ever used.

  • You can select precisely what phone app notification is displayed on the watch
  • Text is large and easy to read
  • Emojis are there, big enough, in color and most of the recent ones too
  • Most common apps does have their own icon
  • Notifications get grouped by app or sender, so, if a friend sends multiples short texts it will appear as only one long notification and that’s pretty clever and convenient
  • Depending on the app on the phone, notifications are actionable and let you respond (android only as Apple keep this function for their own watches only) with canned messages

There are some limitations :

  • No picture and no multimedia file is passed to the watch, you just get an « image » mention
  • Long mails are cut but you still can scroll quite a bit and read enough to figure if the notification is important or not

This is much better than the not so easy to read notification with no answer on a Fossil Hybrid HR with small blob style emojis difficult to recognize, and recent emojis not displayed.


✌Winner Fenix 6

You can use the Fenix 6 as a remote controller for music. It will display the title and let you change volume, skip song … same functions offered by the Fossil Hybrid HR. There will be no cover art displayed, like on the Fossil. Unfortunately the volume setting is not very convenient to use and requires too many button pushes. The Fossil Hybrid HR has the same issue. 

Quick Glance for the music remote

The full music remote

What makes the Fenix 6 (PRO ONLY) shine about music is that it can store music inside its memory and play it directly through any bluetooth headset or speaker. There is enough storage to store something like 2000 songs, .mp3 and .m4a files are supported. You can add music simply by dragging music files in the watch, connected to a computer. This is quite quick and much faster than the awful transfer through bluetooth used by Apple Watches.

There is no speaker in the watch (just a beeper) you will not be able to listen music without a headphone or a wireless speaker.

Available music apps for the Fenix 6

Another option is to simply install on the Fenix 6 pro one of the dedicated music apps for Deezer, Amazon music, Spotify or one of the podcast apps available. Then, if your streaming contract allows it, you will be able to download playlists directly on the watch, to listen to music without phone. Even better, download will use WIFI for a faster transfer.

Music stored in the watch will display small cover arts, which is a nice touch.

Be aware that listening to music stored on the watch will drain the battery much much faster.