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Fossil Gen 5 review

Fossil Gen 5: Hands down,and review this is the best Wear OS smartwatch you can

Fossil is one of the latest watchmakers to stay committed to Google’s Wear OS platform. The company releases multiple smartwatches each year, and they are some of the best-looking Wear OS watches in the business. Despite this, I wasn’t expecting me to like the latest Fossil watch as much as I did – many Wear OS watches are slow and struggle to last a full day on a charge.

The new Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch is different. Its improved specs, custom battery modes, and new hardware make it one of the best Wear OS experiences you can find right now. Read our complete Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch review to find out why you should buy one and why you should approve it.

Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch review: the big picture

Wear OS is in an awkward place: Major fashion companies and tech brands are rolling out Wear OS smartwatches from left to right, but Google doesn’t seem overly committed to the platform. If you don’t believe me, look at the Zero Wear OS mentioned on Google I / O 2019.

Still, Fossil and its long list of brands remain accurate to Wear OS. The Gen 5 Smartwatch is one of the few Wear OS watches that run on the new Snapdragon 3100 chipset, and it has a few features you won’t find on other devices: custom battery modes, lots of RAM to help with performance and even a built-in speaker.

It may be performing as one of the best Wear OS watches right now, but it has more competition outside of Wear OS’s relatively tiny bubble. Can it compete with the Apple Watch, Fitbit Versa, and Galaxy Watch?
Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch review: design and display

Screen: 1.28 inch AMOLED
    Resolution 416 x 416

Case size: 44 x 12mm
Strap size: 22mm
Weight: 99.79 g

If you’re familiar with Fossil smartwatches, you’ll be right at home with the Generation 5 smartwatch. It features an overall design similar to previous Fossil watches, with a large, bright 1.28-inch AMOLED display, a crisp 328ppi pixel density, and three programmable pushbuttons on the right side is a rotating crown. The buttons are easy to press, and the rotating crown offers an excellent alternative to swiping your finger on that tiny screen. It’s not a rotating bezel like you’ll find on the Samsung Galaxy Watch, but it will work.

There are two Gen 5 models this time: the Carlyle (our review unit) and the Julianna. They are both the same price and come with a variety of different strap options. Our review unit has a black silicone strap, but you can also buy variants with metal and leather straps. Of course, the straps are interchangeable, so you can swap them out for whatever 22mm strap you have laying around.

There is no functional difference between the two models. Both have the same case size, 44 by 12mm, although it is clear that Fossil promotes Julianna to the more feminine crowd. Julianna models come in soft rose and rose gold colours, while Carlyle models are black and smoked stainless steel.

The Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch is stylish, versatile, and a step in the right direction over Generation 4 watches. It’s not my first choice for a workout buddy yet, but luckily it has the hardware you need if that’s what you need.

Hardware and performance

Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 SoC
8 GB of onboard storage
Three custom battery modes

Heart rate sensor
Bluetooth / wifi
    No LTE connectivity

Below the $ 1,000 Montblanc Summit 2, the Fossil Gen 5 is probably the most stacked Wear OS watch you can buy. It comes with the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip, which isn’t that new, but at least it’s not the old chip that Mobvoi still uses. Fortunately, the jump to the 3100 is worth it for the Fossil watch – the performance is excellent.

I only noticed the clock stuttering when opening the keyboard within the Google Play Store. Other than that, I have no complaints here.

Every Wear OS watch requires the Snapdragon 3100 and 1GB of RAM.

That buttery smoothness is aided by 1GB of RAM, nearly double what other Wear OS watches offer. Fossil also included a total of 8GB of onboard storage, enough to store apps and music. That amount of ROM is good news for people who like to exercise while leaving n your phone at home.

Additionally, the Fossil watch comes with NFC for Google Pay contactless payments, as well as built-in GPS and an optical heart rate sensor. When manufacturers try to cut costs, these are usually the first steps, so it’s good to see them included here. Fossil is not trying to cut corners.

Fossil claims that the heart rate sensor is updated this year. I tested it with my Wahoo Tickr X chest strap and Garmin Forerunner 245 Music watch during a 2.75-mile outdoor run. Take a look at the following results:

The Tickr X heart rate strap reported an average heart rate reading of 117bpm and a maximum of 148bpm. This is slightly below what was said by Forerunner and Fossil. Both wearables returned with the same maximum and average heart rate readings: 164bpm for max and 148 for average. The Fossil smartwatch hit its maximum heart rate of 164 at around the 6-minute mark, while the Forerunner 245 didn’t hit 164 bpm until the 16-minute mark.

Either way, the Garmin and Fossil watches were able to detect significant heart rate trends during training, at least, even though they both exceeded their readings. I ran with these three devices two more times, and the Garmin and Fossil watch outperformed the maximum and average heart rate readings compared to the chest strap.

The fitness crowd will also be happy to hear that the smartwatch has a 3ATM water resistance rating, as well as a built-in altimeter, accelerometer, and gyroscope.

For fitness tracking, the Fossil Gen 5 connects to Google Fit. I am not a massive fan of the platform in its current form, but I admit that it is growing on me. Fortunately, since this is a Wear OS device, you can download a third-party fitness app on your watch if you prefer to stay away from Google Fit.

It's hard to find complaints with the Fossil Gen 5 hardware.

Perhaps my favourite part of this hardware is the addition of a speaker module. This should be a standard on all Wear OS watches. If you talk to your watch through Google Assistant, you can hear the things they say to you. It’s great.

You can also play music through the watch’s speaker, but I don’t know of anyone who wants to do that (probably the same people who like to look at photos in their eyes).

The battery life is decent. It’s certainly better than the average Wear OS watch, which in my experience lasts less than a full day, but it’s certainly not a Fitbit or Galaxy Watch. I usually get through a full day on a single charge with no problem, but I typically don’t have enough juice in the tank to use overnight for sleep tracking. I had the always-on display turned off, so expect even worse longevity if you keep it on.

The smartwatch lost about 10% of the battery during a three-mile run with the GPS and heart rate monitor turned on.

Wear OS alone doesn’t seem to have the best battery-saving techniques, which is why Fossil released three custom battery modes (four in all) to help your device last a bit longer. First, there is the daily mode, which keeps all the functions activated simultaneously: location, always-on screen, NFC, speaker and everything in between. This will drain the battery as quickly as possible.

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