The best Wear OS watch you can buy

Replace: August 19, 2020: We now have up to date our Fossil Gen 5 evaluate with particulars on a brand new software program replace that brings sleep monitoring, new cellphone app updates, and extra. Learn on for the small print!


Fossil is likely one of the final remaining watchmakers to remain dedicated to Google’s Put on OS platform. The corporate launches a number of smartwatches annually, and so they’re among the finest wanting Put on OS watches within the enterprise. Regardless of this, I didn’t count on to love the most recent Fossil watch as a lot as I did — many Put on OS watches are sluggish and battle to final a full day on a cost.

The brand new Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch is totally different. Its upgraded specs, customized battery modes, and new make for among the best Put on OS experiences yow will discover proper now. Learn our full Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch evaluate to seek out out why you should purchase one, and why you would possibly wish to move.

Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch review notes: I’ve been utilizing the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle Smartwatch for roughly per week, working Put on OS model 2.eight with construct quantity PWDU.190718.013 on the July 1, 2019 safety patch. It’s been paired with my Google Pixel three in the course of this evaluate.

Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch evaluate: The large image

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Put on OS is in a clumsy place — main vogue corporations and tech manufacturers are releasing Put on OS smartwatches left and proper, however Google doesn’t appear too dedicated to the platform. When you don’t consider me, simply look again on the zero Put on OS mentions at Google I/O 2019.

Nonetheless, Fossil and its long list of brands proceed to stay true to Put on OS. The Gen 5 Smartwatch is likely one of the few Put on OS watches to run on the newer Snapdragon 3100 chipset, and it has just a few options you received’t discover on different units: customized battery modes, loads of RAM to assist with efficiency, and even a built-in speaker.

It could be within the working as among the best Put on OS watches out proper now, however it has extra competitors outdoors of the comparatively small Put on OS bubble. Can it actually compete with the Apple Watch, Fitbit Versa, and Galaxy Watch?

Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch evaluate: Design and show

fossil gen 5 smartwatch review display watch face 5

  • Show: 1.28-inch AMOLED
    • 416 x 416 decision
    • 328ppi
  • Case measurement: 44 x 12mm
  • Strap measurement: 22mm
  • Weight: 99.79g

When you’re in any respect acquainted with Fossil smartwatches, you’ll be proper at house with the Era 5 smartwatch. It options related total design to earlier Fossil watches, with a giant, vibrant 1.28-inch AMOLED show, a pointy pixel density of 328ppi, and three programmable pushers on the precise facet — the center of which is a rotatable crown. The buttons are simple to press, and the spinning crown offers a pleasant different to swiping on that tiny display together with your finger. It’s no rotating bezel such as you’ll discover on the Samsung Galaxy Watch, however it’ll do.

There are three Gen 5 fashions: the Carlyle (our evaluate unit), the Julianna, and the newer Garrett mannequin that launched at CES 2020. They’re all the identical worth and include quite a lot of totally different strap choices. Our evaluate unit has a black silicone strap, however you can even purchase variants with metallic and leather-based straps. After all, the straps are interchangeable, so you possibly can swap them out for any 22mm straps you’ve mendacity round.

There’s no practical distinction between the three fashions. They’ve the identical case measurement — 44 by 12mm — although it’s clear Fossil is advertising and marketing the Julianna in direction of the extra female crowd. Julianna fashions include tender rose gold and pink, rose gold with a tortoise shell leather-based strap, rose gold with a silver mesh strap, and yellow-gold with a mesh strap colorways, whereas Carlyle fashions are black and smokey stainless-steel. The Garrett fashions are just a little chunkier and are available 5 colours: darkish gray stainless-steel, stainless-steel with a blue silicone strap, stainless-steel with a pink and blue bezel, silver with a black silicone strap, and yellow-gold.

The Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch is stylish, versatile, and a step in the precise path over the Generation 4 watches. It nonetheless isn’t my first alternative for a exercise companion, however fortunately it has the you want if that’s what you want it for.

Hardware and efficiency

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  • Qualcomm Snapdragon Put on 3100 SoC
  • 1GB of RAM
  • 8GB of onboard storage
  • Three customized battery modes
  • GPS
  • Coronary heart fee sensor
  • NFC
  • 3ATM
  • Bluetooth/Wi-Fi

In need of the $1,000 Montblanc Summit 2, Suunto 7, and Skagen Falster three, the Fossil Gen 5 might be probably the most stacked Put on OS watch you should buy. It comes with the Snapdragon Put on 3100 chip, which isn’t all that new, however a minimum of it isn’t the old-as-hell chip Mobvoi continues to be utilizing. Fortunately, the soar as much as the 3100 pays off for the Fossil watch — efficiency is nice.

I actually solely observed the watch stutter when pulling up the keyboard inside the Google Play Retailer. Apart from that, no complaints right here.

Each Put on OS watch wants the Snapdragon 3100 and 1GB of RAM.

That buttery smoothness is helped alongside by 1GB of RAM, practically double what different Put on OS watches provide. Fossil additionally included a full 8GB of onboard storage — loads to retailer apps and music. That quantity of ROM is nice information for individuals who wish to work out whereas leaving their cellphone at house.

fossil gen 5 smartwatch review heart rate sensor 2

What’s extra, the Fossil watch comes with NFC for Google Pay contactless funds, in addition to built-in GPS, and an optical coronary heart fee sensor. When producers attempt to lower prices these are often the primary issues to go, so it’s good to see them included right here. Clearly Fossil isn’t making an attempt to chop corners.

Fossil claims the center fee sensor is upgraded this 12 months. I examined it in opposition to my Wahoo Tickr X chest strap and Garmin Forerunner 245 Music working watch throughout a 2.75-mile outside run. Try the outcomes beneath:

fossil gen 5 smartwatch review garmin forerunner 245 heart rate readings

Garmin Forerunner 245 Music coronary heart fee readings

The Tickr X coronary heart fee strap reported a median coronary heart fee studying of 117bpm and a max of 148bpm. It is a little below what the Forerunner and Fossil reported. Each wearables truly got here again with the identical precise max and common coronary heart fee readings: 164bpm for max, 148 for common. The Fossil smartwatch truly hit its 164 max coronary heart fee at across the 6-minute mark, whereas the Forerunner 245 didn’t hit 164bpm till the 16-minute mark.

Both means, each the Garmin and Fossil watches have been a minimum of capable of decide up on main coronary heart fee developments all through the exercise, though they each overshot their readings. I ran with all three of those units two extra occasions, and each the Garmin and Fossil watches overshot max and common coronary heart fee readings in comparison with the chest strap.

See additionally: The most effective coronary heart fee displays and watches you should buy

The health crowd will even be completely happy to listen to that the smartwatch has a 3ATM water-resistance ranking, in addition to an altimeter, accelerometer, and a gyroscope in-built.

fossil gen 5 smartwatch review google fit

For health monitoring, the Fossil Gen 5 connects with Google Fit. I’m not a huge fan of the platform in its current form, but I’ll admit it is growing on me. Luckily since this is a Wear OS device, you can download a third-party fitness app to your watch if you’d rather stay away from Google Fit.

It’s a struggle to find any complaints with the Fossil Gen 5’s hardware.

Perhaps my favorite part of this hardware is the addition of a speaker module. This absolutely needs to be a standard on all Wear OS watches. If you speak to your watch through Google Assistant, you can actually hear things being said back to you. It’s great.

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

fossil gen 5 smartwatch review custom battery modes 1

Battery life is respectable. It’s definitely higher than the common Put on OS watch — which, in my expertise, lasts lower than a full day — however it’s definitely no Fitbit or Galaxy Watch. I often get via a full day on a single cost with none points, however I usually don’t have sufficient juice within the tank to put on it in a single day for sleep monitoring. I had the always-on show turned off, so count on even worse longevity when you hold it turned on.

Throughout a three-mile run, the smartwatch misplaced about 10% battery with the GPS and coronary heart fee monitor turned on.

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Put on OS by itself doesn’t appear to have the perfect battery saving strategies, so Fossil threw in three customized battery modes (4 in all) to assist your gadget final a bit longer. First, there’s day by day mode, which retains each function turned on on the identical time — location, always-on show, NFC, speaker, and all the things else. It will clearly drain your battery the quickest.

Prolonged battery mode is one step down from day by day mode. On this mode, you possibly can set Bluetooth to activate and off on a schedule for the day, permitting the watch to disconnect out of your cellphone at bedtime so that you’re not losing battery once you’re asleep. This mode additionally turns off all the things aside from button-to-wake, notifications, and vibration.

fossil gen 5 smartwatch review custom battery modes 2

Customized mode is my favourite — you possibly can activate or off something you’d like. I hold all the things turned on aside from the always-on show and NFC. This setup allowed the Fossil watch to final over a day on a cost, however not rather more than that.

Lastly, there’s time-only mode, which supplies you a black display (not always-on) with the time, date, and a Fossil brand. This lets the watch final days and even weeks on a single cost, relying on how a lot battery you begin with.

In January 2020, Fossil rolled out these customized battery modes to all its Gen 5 smartwatches, together with people who don’t have the Fossil title.

The Fossil Gen 5 acquired an enormous replace in August 2020, which introduced quite a lot of design updates and new options. It will probably now natively monitor sleep, which is fairly unusual for Put on OS watches. It additionally now has entry to battery-saving exercise modes with a brand new Wellness app, in addition to the power to trace VO2 max. It additionally gained a simplified design for customized battery modes and a brand new Cellphone app tile.

Put on OS issues and Fossil’s options

fossil gen 5 smartwatch review google assistant

Put on OS will get a nasty rap within the tech neighborhood. I can’t say the status is undeserved, however I believe it’s overblown. Each time I strap a Put on OS gadget to my wrist, I keep in mind how good it’s to have fast entry to Google Assistant, Calendar, and the numerous different Google apps I exploit each day. The brand new Tiles function is kind of good, too. I ought to point out one bug, although: For the lifetime of me, I can’t get Google Information to point out headlines within the new Tiles function. That’s actually the one oddity I observed all through the evaluate interval.

Put on OS additionally works rather well with Android telephones — it isn’t the buggy mess it was.

Nonetheless, I perceive individuals’s issues about shopping for a Put on OS gadget. Google takes its candy time to problem updates (upkeep and main updates), so if one thing goes incorrect together with your gadget, you might be ready awhile for that bug to get squashed. Clearly, it doesn’t put practically as a lot give attention to Put on OS as Apple does with watchOS. Massive function updates simply don’t come round too typically.

As a substitute, Google depends on third-party watchmakers to make up for Put on OS’ shortcomings. In Fossil’s case, that’s figuring out fairly properly.

It looks as if Google would not give attention to Put on OS as a lot as Fossil does.

Historically, Put on OS units battle to final all day on a cost, however the Gen 5’s customized battery modes assist make it achievable. The OS will also be fairly sluggish and buggy with out adequate RAM, however Fossil packed in additional RAM than we’re used to seeing on Put on OS units. This ensures a easy expertise.

I don’t suppose Put on OS ought to hold anybody from shopping for the Fossil Gen 5, however it’s best to know what you’re signing your self up for.

Worth

All Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch fashions — the Carlyle, Julianna, Garrett — value $295, irrespective of which strap kind you select.

$300 is some huge cash to spend on a smartwatch, however it will get you among the best Put on OS experiences presently accessible. Contemplating the Put on OS panorama proper now, it looks as if the Fossil Gen 5 is the best choice for a well-working gadget.

Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch

With a chrome steel watch band and extra band choices, the Gen 5 is a handsome different to different smartwatches. Even higher, you do not quit substance for fashion. The Gen 5 options health and coronary heart fee monitoring, together with Google’s Put on OS platform for seamless syncing together with your Android cellphone.

When you actually aren’t a fan of the Gen 5 for some cause, however nonetheless need Put on OS, try the Skagen Falster three. It has the identical specs because the Fossil Gen 5, solely in a really Skagen-looking type manufacturing facility. The Suunto 7 can be a incredible possibility when you’re in search of a sports-friendly watch. At this level, we’re now not recommending the Fossil Sport, even with its worth drops.

As for non-Put on OS choices, you shouldn’t overlook the Fitbit Versa 2. The primary Versa was one among our favourite smartwatches of 2018, and the Versa 2 is a good follow-up. The Samsung Galaxy Watch Lively 2 (~$270) can be a very good Put on OS different, however the coronary heart fee sensor can’t be trusted to offer correct information.

When you’re an iPhone person, you’re not utterly out of luck right here. The Apple Watch Sequence 5 ($415) is by far the perfect smartwatch you should buy to your iPhone, however Fossil is making an attempt to win you over as properly. And because of Fossil’s proprietary iOS software, you possibly can obtain Bluetooth calls out of your Fossil Gen 5, making Fossil’s smartwatch a stable possibility for iOS customers.

Additionally learn: The most effective health tracker offers we might discover

Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch evaluate: The decision

fossil gen 5 smartwatch review display watch face 1

The Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch is the perfect Put on OS watch you should buy, even in early 2020. It delivers in practically each space — efficiency, aesthetics, and customizability. I simply want the watch lasted longer on a cost with out turning sensors on and off, although that looks as if extra of a Put on OS downside than a Fossil downside.

Fossil nailed it with this smartwatch.

When you’re on board with Put on OS, you’ll love the Fossil Gen 5. Hell, even when you aren’t completely on board with Put on OS, the Fossil watch will in all probability make you suppose twice about it.

Fossil nailed the with this watch. Now let’s hope Google places as a lot effort into Put on OS.

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Garmin Forerunner 245 Music coronary heart fee readings