Everybody and their dogs have heard about smartwatches by now. But among these smartwatches, there are diamonds in the rough you might not have heard of. One of these products is the Fossil Gen 5, a smartwatch that has been making waves in the industry recently. Produced by Fossil, this watch is among the best Wear OS smartwatches you can get.
Fossil Gen 5: Overview
Fossil Gen 5 uses Wear OS technology to support its systems. It is perhaps one of the few watches that support Wear OS. Other smartwatch manufacturers have shifted to other operating systems. This comes as a direct result of this operating system being clunky and slow. Not to mention it’s a battery killer, too.
Wear OS was adapted from Android smartphones onto smartwatches, but it seems that it wasn’t ported properly. It’s weird, occasionally unintuitive, and above all, it wastes battery life. It seems as though it wasn’t meant for smartwatches in the first place. Hence, smartwatch makers hopped on to other systems.
But luckily, the Fossil Gen 5 fixes many of the problems of Wear OS. It has a better processor than regular smartwatches. This means it can function much faster than other Wear OS watches. And on top of this, it has a decent battery life that puts other smartwatches in the dust.
Design And Display
When it comes to design and display, the Fossil Gen 5 looks just like a normal watch. However, it does have distinguishing physical features. These features make it stand out and look remarkably different from any other watch.
Size and Form Factor
In terms of design, it looks just like a regular watch. It’s round and has a strap that lets you attach it to your arm. You could say it looks boring, but its simplistic looks and minimalist design make it rather pleasant for the eyes.
It has a normal case size of 44 x 12 mm, making it take a decent chunk of your arm. This means that you’ll have bigger fonts that you don’t need to squint your eyes to look at. It has bezels on the side which you can use to navigate some aspects of the watch.
The strap that it comes with is 22 mm, which is good because regular watch straps are the same size. This means that if your strap breaks, you can simply replace it with another strap of the same size.
Display and Resolution
The screen is a 1.3-inch AMOLED screen with a decent resolution no matter what you’re doing. All of the fonts and icons are sharp to accommodate people with bad eyesight. The problem with its screen, however, is the fact that it’s difficult to look at when outdoors. Indoors and at night, it’s fine, but when you go out on a bright summer day, it’s a pain to see what’s on-screen.
Although, it does come with a sunlight boost option. This helps brighten the screen so you can see it better in sunlight at the cost of battery life. It’s just annoying to turn it on is all, since it’s not adaptive to where you’re going.
Its resolution is 416×416, which is a bit bigger than your average smartwatch. This isn’t really groundbreaking or anything. But at least you’ll have a lot of room to see what’s actually on the screen instead of having to squint your eyes.
The Fossil Gen 5 battery life is more or less the same as with other smartwatches. But because of its upgraded specs, it tuckers out just a little bit faster than premium watches. To bypass this, the Fossil Gen 5 uses battery saving settings.
There are settings on the smartphone you can tinker with that will change how the watch behaves. For instance, Daily is the regular mode with normal battery life. If you tap Extended, then some smartwatch features will be disabled to make way for battery life to be prolonged. However, some users have stated that the battery saving settings can be confusing to use.
For example, the Daily setting drains battery life considerably. Meanwhile, the Extended option prolongs battery life but turns off way too many settings for the watch to be usable. Hence, some people find it irritating having to switch between these two all the time.
Performance and Hardware
Now let’s move on to hardware. The Fossil Gen 5 has specs like no other, being like a hybrid between a mid-range watch and a premium one. Its performance is indicative of this same thing, as well.
Fossil Gen 5 Specs
Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Wear 3100
1 GB RAM, 8 GB Storage
24 Hours + Multi-Day Extended Mode
Accelerometer, Altimeter, Ambient Light, Compass, Gyroscope, Off-Body IR, PPG Heart Rate
Bluetooth 4.2 LE, GPS, NFC, WiFi
The specs on this smartwatch are quite surprising. It has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 3100, which means it’s quite a bit faster than the average smartwatch. And while this isn’t entirely new to smartwatches, it’s great to have for a watch of this price range.
It also has 1 GB of RAM, which is also about twice as much as a regular watch. And on top of these specs, it has 8 GB of storage. You won’t need all of that, but it’s still great to have. Its battery is similar to that of average watches but does last quite a bit longer. Some have even testified that it can outlast a Samsung Galaxy S10’s battery, though that was on the extended battery mode.
In addition, Fossil Gen 5 comes complete with a GPS tracker and a heart rate sensor. It also has a bunch of other options for fitness tracking and workouts. Plus, it supports WiFi and Bluetooth. You can even connect it to your phone.
How Does It Perform?
Unlike other smartwatches, this smartwatch is always responsive. While other Wear OS watches would be slow in loading and irritating to use, this one is almost seamless. When you do something, you would be surprised at how fast it reacts.
The animations are also seamless and without problems. The clock ticking animations are smooth and you can rarely tell when it lags. Probably the only time this smartwatch has lag is when you go to the Play Store, where it gets quite a bit of lag.
And when you pull up the keyboard to type something, it also gets laggy. However, you won’t be doing much typing on this thing anyway, so that’s not really a problem. But if you do want to install apps, just beware that it has the occasional hiccup.
Fossil Gen 5 Price
You would be surprised at the price of the Fossil Gen 5. It’s a mid-range smartwatch with a price of $295 but functions similarly to premium watches. For a watch of this price, it works excellent and supersedes the expectations of many.
You get a lot of value for your money with this smartwatch. Not only does it have a processor that works overtime for you, but it also has extensive functions. For starters, it has a heart monitor, is waterproof, and has fitness tracking.
However, the Fossil Gen 5 isn’t aimed at sports players. It does still have some functionality for sports, but it wasn’t primarily designed for it. But at $295, if you have the money to spare on a smartwatch, then this might be the smartwatch for you.
You might still think that a price of $295 is still expensive. That’s no problem at all because there are frequent deals and sales for this smartwatch. You might be able to pick it up for $250 or less.
It has to be said that health tracking isn’t the primary function of this watch. It’s not a fitness smartwatch at heart; it’s a regular smartwatch. But nonetheless, it does have applications you can use for health tracking.
The main way it does health tracking other than its heart rate monitor is through Google Fit. It’s a great app that monitors your steps, keeps track of your daily activities, as well as check your active heart rate. You can even calculate your BMI with it.
And because Fossil Gen 5 runs on Wear OS, you can download fitness apps compatible with smartwatches to fill in the gaps. If you’re serious about getting healthier, then Google Fit might not be enough of an app for you. Apps such as Strava can help you get by your workout just fine.
However, using apps can limit the smartwatch’s battery life quite a bit. So don’t be surprised if you’re using fitness apps on this watch and then suddenly you need to charge it. You can always change it to extended battery mode, but as we said earlier, it’s problematic because it limits features a bit too much. Plus, third-party apps aren’t all that accurate anyway.
Software and Functionality
As we’ve stated earlier, this device runs on Wear OS. For regular smartwatches, this means bad performance and annoyingly slow load times. But on the Fossil Gen 5, all of that is seamless. The only tradeoff is its battery life, which can be annoying if you’re using it for an extended period of time.
There are other ways to use this smartwatch apart from your usual fitness and activity tracker. For example, you can use the Google Pay app to pay your bills, but this is restricted to mainly US and UK banks.
You can also take calls and receive messages on your watch. This is provided you’ve already linked your phone to your watch. It works for Apple phones as well, but not to the same extent. You can’t use it to access Siri or iMessage. But Android users don’t need to worry, because they can link all their messages and contacts to this watch.
Comfort and Customizability
Fossil Gen 5 comes in three forms. These are the Gen 5 Carlyle, Gen 5 Julianna, and Gen 5 Garrett. They all have the same price. There aren’t any major differences aside from watchbands. For instance, the Carlyle is the Fossil smartwatch for women, while the Garrett is the Fossil smartwatch for men.
Each individual version of this smartwatch also comes with its own Fossil Gen 5 watchbands. These straps are made out of leather for comfortability or stainless steel for durability. Ordering different versions will allow you to access the various color families available.
Having a 22-mm strap, this watch is honestly just as comfortable as other smartwatches to wear. You could say it’s on the same level as a regular smartwatch when it comes to comfortability.
Fossil Gen 5 vs Other Fossil Smartwatches
They say newer is better. But is the Fossil Gen 5 really the best smartwatch that Fossil smartwatches have to offer? Well, let’s take a look at other Fossil smartwatches and compare them with the Fossil Gen 5.
Fossil Sport vs Fossil Gen 5
The Fossil Sport has a longer-lasting battery than that of the Fossil Gen 5. It also comes in at $20 less, but only supports up to Wear OS 2.12 and has 512 MB of RAM. Other than that, there are almost no physical differences to speak of, as they look and feel exactly the same.
Because it has nearly half the memory that Fossil Gen 5 has, the Fossil Sport fails to keep up with its successor. And even though it’s supposed to have a longer-lasting battery, it almost doesn’t feel that way because the memory can’t keep up with Wear OS. Thus, battery life feels a lot shorter than it should be.
In terms of features, they are quite similar. They both support Google Pay and you can take calls on both of them, only that the Fossil Sport has more sports functionalities than the Fossil Gen 5.
Fossil Gen 4 vs Fossil Gen 5
So, is the Fossil Gen 5 an upgrade over the Fossil Gen 4? The answer is an easy yes. The predecessor of the Gen 5 only has a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 and half its memory. Thus, it’s a lot slower and also a lot clunkier.
The Fossil Gen 4 is also only $20 cheaper than the Fossil Gen 5, so it’s clear who’s the winner here. For only $20 more, you have a better smartwatch in virtually every single aspect possible. Like Fossil Sport, the Gen 4 also loses battery a lot faster than you’d expect.
However, Fossil Gen 4’s market price has dipped quite a bit. So if you want to buy it at a lower price, then consider going for a reseller. Just take note that it might be clunky with its Wear OS.
The Final Say
So what’s the verdict? Well, the fact is that Fossil Gen 5 is among the best Wear OS smartwatches you can buy right now. Going into 2021, it’ll probably still be excellent. It also continues to get software updates. As of August 2020, it got new features like sleep tracking and more fitness functions.
And because it’s a Wear OS smartwatch, you can customize it in practically any way you like. You can also buy different straps for this device if you choose to do so. The only downside is its meager battery life. But apart from that, it’s an excellent buy at its price.
Fossil designed this smartwatch but with little to no sports in mind. You use it for common everyday use with some fitness functions fit here and there. It’s not really a fitness watch, it’s more of a regular high-end smartwatch with fitness functions.