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Tuesday, March 31, 2020

Fossil Gen 5 review: Good one, but just for Android users

Fossil Gen 5 review: Priced at Rs 22,995, the Fossil Gen 5 is a great deal to consider if you're looking for a smartwatch under Rs 25,000 in India.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Rs. 22,995
Written by Sneha Saha | New Delhi | Updated: January 3, 2020 2:55:18 pm
Fossil Gen 5, Fossil, Fossil Gen 5 review, Fossil smartwatch, Fossil 5 review, Fossil 5, Fossil smartwatch review, Cheap Fossil smartwatch The Fossil Gen 5 Carlye HR Black Silicone variant that I’m using looks good and classy, but I prefer the Smoke Stainless Steel model as the black silicone strap feels flimsy. (Express Photo: Sneha Saha)

Last year, India’s wearables market reached an all-time high thanks majorly to the success of the Apple Watch Series 5. This, the monopoly rivals like Fossil want to break.

The Fossil Gen 5, was launched in India last month. All five variants — Carlye HR Black Silicone, Julianna HR Black Stainless steel, Julianna HR Blush Leather, Carlye HR Smoke Stainless Steel, and Carlye HR Rose-Gold tone Stainless Steel — come with the same price tag.

Here is our review of the Fossil Gen 5 Carlye HR Black Silicone version.

Price: Rs 22,995

Specifications: Stainless steel case | 44 mm case size | 1.3inch touchscreen digital display | Swimproof (up to 3 ATM) | 24 plus hours of battery life (based on usage) | extended battery mode | interchangeable straps | Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 | 8GB storage | 1GB RAM | Heart Rate | NFC | Microphone | Powered with Wear OS by Google | Compatible with iOS 10+ or Android 4.4+ (excluding Go edition) | Bluetooth connectivity | Wireless syncing | Magnetic charging.

A looker

The Fossil Gen 5 Carlye HR Black Silicone variant that I’m using looks good and classy, but I prefer the Smoke Stainless Steel model as the black silicone strap feels flimsy. If you are ever bored of the strap, it is easily replaceable. A tiny hook below the strap lets you change it fast.

Fossil Gen 5, Fossil, Fossil Gen 5 review, Fossil smartwatch, Fossil 5 review, Fossil 5, Fossil smartwatch review, Cheap Fossil smartwatch I feel one of the best things about the Fossil Gen 5 is its big circular AMOLED screen. (Express Photo: Sneha Saha)

I am using Fossil Gen 5 for the last two weeks now and love how it looks on my hand. The smartwatch offers a clean design and goes well with everything be it ethnic wear or casual jeans and tee. The fit of the watch is great and the weight is also fine.

The big screen gets pretty bright

I feel one of the best things about the Fossil Gen 5 is its big circular AMOLED screen. The screen also adds to the overall design of the smartwatch.

Display is one area where most smartwatches often go wrong, but the Gen 5 gets it on the spot. The screen of the Gen 5 is big and bright enough to read messages and emails very easily. Users can reply to a message using the Gen 5, although the typing experience isn’t all that great. I mostly used my phone to respond to WhatsApp messages.

Fossil Gen 5, Fossil, Fossil Gen 5 review, Fossil smartwatch, Fossil 5 review, Fossil 5, Fossil smartwatch review, Cheap Fossil smartwatch The Gen 5 also allows users to choose brightness level that ranges from 1-5. (Express Photo: Sneha Saha)

The display of the watch gets bright in almost all lighting conditions. Users can adjust the brightness of the watch screen in the Settings menu on the watch or the Wear OS app. Users will need to download WearOS app from the Play Store to use the Fossil Gen 5 in a better way. The WearOS app is also available on App store for the iPhone users.

The Gen 5 also allows users to choose brightness level that ranges from 1-5. I like the fact that this watch comes with some nifty features like Always On display, and Sunlight Boost, which when enabled automatically boosts the screen brightness in direct sunlight.

Fossil Gen 5, Fossil, Fossil Gen 5 review, Fossil smartwatch, Fossil 5 review, Fossil 5, Fossil smartwatch review, Cheap Fossil smartwatch On the right of the watch there are three buttons. (Express Photo: Sneha Saha)

It is great to see the Fossil watch come bundled with innumerable watch faces and also allows users to download new ones from Google Play store. For me, the watch faces already available are sufficient as there are several options to choose from. Watch faces can be changed with either the watch or the Wear OS app on the phone.

Simple, easy to use

On the right of the watch there are three buttons. The middle one is a rotatable crown, the one below it is a shortcut for fitness features like walking, running, swimming, among others. The third button (above the rotatable button) is a dedicated one for Fossil’s customisation app, which wasn’t of much use to me. All the three buttons are easy to reach and use. Navigating from one option to another was also smooth and easy.

Fossil Gen 5, Fossil, Fossil Gen 5 review, Fossil smartwatch, Fossil 5 review, Fossil 5, Fossil smartwatch review, Cheap Fossil smartwatch Connecting the Fossil Gen 5 to smartphone is also very easy and simple.

Connects to phone in minutes

Connecting the Fossil Gen 5 to smartphone is also very easy and simple. To connect, enable the phone’s bluetooth and ensure the watch is also turned on. Open the Wear OS app on phone and click on “Set up a new watch”. The app will then search for the watch, click on “Carlye HR” (this is because I am using the Carlye HR edition of Gen 5, other models will have different name) and you’re good to go.

Fossil Gen 5, Fossil, Fossil Gen 5 review, Fossil smartwatch, Fossil 5 review, Fossil 5, Fossil smartwatch review, Cheap Fossil smartwatch The Snapdragon Wear 3100 powering the Gen 5 offers a smooth user experience. (Express Photo: Sneha Saha)

The Wear OS app allows users to choose the apps they want to get notified from. I selected WhatsApp, Phone, Facebook and FaceTime.

Works well with Android phone

I first connected the Fossil Gen 5 with my iPhone XR but later paired it with Realme X2 as Wear OS isn’t very compatible with iOS software. Pairing with an iPhone the Google Assistant suffered an error almost all the time for me. The watch also didn’t allow me to receive calls when paired with an iPhone.

So, if you are an iPhone user you should just take a step back. However, for Android the watch works seamless. The experience is as smooth as it can get. Of course, because it runs Wear OS.

The Snapdragon Wear 3100 powering the Gen 5 offers a smooth user experience. Tasks like switching from one app to another, moving from one screen to another happens without any lag, which is great.

Fossil Gen 5, Fossil, Fossil Gen 5 review, Fossil smartwatch, Fossil 5 review, Fossil 5, Fossil smartwatch review, Cheap Fossil smartwatch Fossil Gen 5 comes with several smart and fitness features and also a heart rate sensor. (Express Photo: Sneha Saha)

The one area where I feel the Fossil Gen 5 could have been better is the audio quality, The Gen 5 lets users pick calls directly from the watch and talk without the phone. However, I often switched back to my phone to make or receive calls as the audio quality of the watch is poor and the voice of the caller always gets mushy.

The Fossil Gen 5 comes with several smart and fitness features and also a heart rate sensor. With just a click the Fossil Gen 5 starts tracking activities like running, walking or any kind of other physical activities. The Gen 5 also allows users to plan their day by getting the latest forecast, follow the latest breaking headlines, put a timer, and even set an event reminder.

Battery could have been better

The Fossil Gen 5 offers great performance but I wish the battery life was also good enough. The Gen 5 lasted for just a day on a single charge, which I feel could have been slightly longer. I had to charge the watch every night. The charging speed is fine. The wireless charger, which comes bundled with the box, takes around 90 minutes to fully charge the Fossil Gen 5. Fossil possibly knows the battery issue and hence provides various modes like extended, time only, among others. In the review period I used the watch with daily mode switched on.

Should you buy Fossil Gen 5?

Fossil Gen 5, Fossil, Fossil Gen 5 review, Fossil smartwatch, Fossil 5 review, Fossil 5, Fossil smartwatch review, Cheap Fossil smartwatch The Fossil Gen 5 offers great performance but I wish the battery life was also good enough. (Express Photo: Sneha Saha)

Priced at Rs 22,995, the Fossil Gen 5 is a great deal to consider if you’re looking for a smartwatch under Rs 25,000 in India. The smartwatch looks great with lots of smart and fitness features bundled with it. If you are an Android phone user looking to buy a Wear OS powered smartwatch, the Fossil Gen 5 should be the one for you, that is if you can afford it. However, as I mentioned iPhone users can skip this one and opt for an Apple Watch instead. If Watch Series 5 seems too expensive for you, there’s the Watch Series 3 that’s priced similar (price starts at Rs 20,900) to the Fossil Gen 5.

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