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Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Fossil Gen 5e review: Sophistication and performance in one package

Fossil Gen 5e smartwatch review: It will cost you Rs 18,495 in India and is aimed at those who wish to have a fancy watch that can also track your health.

Rating: 4 out of 5
Rs. 18495
Written by Ankita Garg | New Delhi |
Updated: April 9, 2021 8:11:53 pm
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Fossil Gen 5e review: Planning to buy a WearOS smartwatch with a gorgeous design and fitness features? Fossil might be your best bet. The company has launched a slightly cheaper version of the Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch for people who have a budget of around Rs 18,000. The new Fossil Gen 5e comes with plenty of activity tracking features, a built-in speaker and microphone, 3ATM rating, heart rate monitoring and more.

The watch is priced at Rs 18,495 in India and aimed at those who want a stylish smartwatch, which can also track health and fitness. But how well does the new Fossil Gen 5e deliver? I tested the watch to find all the answers.

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Fossil Gen 5e review: Design, display

Fossil is known for offering lavish and classy smartwatches, and the Gen 5e is no different. I got the 42mm variant with stainless steel chassis, which isn’t chunky and can be worn all day without any issues. If you don’t want the pink silicone strap, then you can get it in others colours as well.

Fossil has placed sparkling stones around the display, which adds a bit of bling to the watch, and I didn’t quite mind it. However, it might be a bit extra for some folks, though the company has more staid offerings as well.

The AMOLED display, which is encased in an aluminum case, feels premium to touch. The frame has only one button on the right side, which offers good tactile feedback. You do get a speaker and microphone for taking calls, notification alerts and interacting with Google Assistant, which is just great.

The button acts as the power button, offers access to the app drawer, acts as the back key and can even summon the Google Assistant. The smartwatch has a captivating 1.19-inch circular AMOLED touchscreen. If you are using colourful watch faces, then you will notice that the colours really pop out. The panel is crisp, clear, and bright enough in sunlight too. However, there is no adaptive brightness support, so you will have to manually adjust it when indoors or outdoors. The good thing is the option is immediately available, so you can adjust it on the go.

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Fitness tracking, General performance

It features Qualcomm’s older Wear 3100 SoC, but still offers good performance. Animations were smooth and the app loading time was mostly quick. The transition was always fast, whether swiping between different watch faces or checking data in the Wellness app or navigating to the settings section. I was using tilt-to-wake up and the watch never really failed to wake up the screen. I didn’t use Always-On-Display (AOD) as that was eating a lot of battery.

The version that we got for review is a women’s smartwatch, but it doesn’t support tracking for menstrual cycles as well as stress levels, which would have been a good addition. Nevertheless, there are plenty of activity tracking modes, including Walking, Running, Biking, Badminton, Elliptical, Dancing, Stair Climbing, and more.

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The smartwatch supports continuous heart rate monitoring as well and it was mostly accurate. I compared it with Realme Watch S Pro and Fossil showed heart rate readings in the same range as reported by Realme Watch. I liked the fact that the watch was quick to show heart rate readings per second, while tracking activity and the results were accurate too. Google’s Fit app doesn’t provide very detailed data, so you can download the Cardiogram app to check your pulse every minute.

The smartwatch registered close to accurate steps. I manually counted 100 steps and found that the watch registered only 85 steps, which is fine. You will never get the exact number with any wearable. It is worth noting that there is no built-in GPS. While we do expect a watch to have GPS under Rs 20,000 price range, the Fossil Gen 5E did track distance well using my OnePlus 6.

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The smartwatch takes less than a second to connect to the phone’s GPS whenever you start an activity. The result is mostly accurate, but whenever you go for a run or walk, you will have to carry your phone to track your route. I went for a walk (2km) and the smartwatch reported 2.02km.

Sleep tracking on most of the smartwatches are accurate and the same was also the case with Fossil Gen 5e. The smartwatch recorded the exact time when I fell asleep and woke up. I also got data on sleep stages, showing awake time, light sleep, and deep sleep in the Google Fit app.

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Battery life, battery saving modes

The battery life of Fossil Gen 5e is okay, and the result actually depends on how much you are using it. With 40 minutes of GPS-enabled activity via the phone, 15 minutes of non-GPS activity tracking, notifications alert, daily steps, heart rate monitoring, I got around 13-14 hours of battery life.

I kept AOD off to save some battery, but the sleep tracking and tilt-to-wake up feature was enabled. The brightness level was mostly on 3 indoors and 5 outdoors. To be specific, a three-km walk drained about 10-12 percent of my battery life. If you don’t want to miss out on your sleep data, then you will have to charge the smartwatch before going to bed. It is better to keep it on charge when you are having dinner. The magnetic charging puck bundled with the watch took 1 hour 5 minutes to charge the watch by up to 100 percent.

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Fossil offers a few battery saving modes that one can use for prolonged usage. There is an Extended mode, which allows the use of essential features. This feature made only a slight difference in extending the battery life. You can use custom mode for slightly better results.

The Time Only mode can be used for saving a vast amount of battery life, but that doesn’t let you track anything, use any apps, or see notifications. Also, you will have to snap the watch into its charger to turn off this battery saving mode.

Extras (Calling, payment, Watch Faces and more)

With the Fossil Gen 5e, I was able to reply (type and send) to all the notifications when paired to my OnePlus 6. The experience was smooth and replying to messages through a watch could come in handy.

Wear OS automatically suggests basic replies, which makes it easier to reply to a few messages. If you don’t want to open up a small keyboard and type a message, then you can also use your voice to send a text message.

I was also able to attend calls on the watch without any issues, but you will have to keep it a little close to your face to hear the caller.

The voice of the receiver was mostly clear and I have no complaints about call quality. You just need to make sure that the watch is connected to your smartphone. Apart from this, I was also able to accept and reject incoming calls from the watch.

You don’t have to worry about watch faces as you get a lot of choices. You can also download third-party Watch Face apps if you run out of options. The Watch Faces that are available on the Wear OS app are not customisable. However, this option is available in a few third-party apps.

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Fossil Gen 5e also lets you access other third-party apps, including Spotify, Google Keeps, Google Maps and more. So, I was able to stream music, check the weather, navigate, and more. However, I was not able to test the tap-to-pay feature, which is not available in India. The watch was showing all the other Google apps, except Google Pay.

What to keep in mind before you buy it?

While the Fossil Gen 5e is a great addition to your smartphone accessory, it does miss out on a few things. The smartwatch doesn’t come with SPO2 monitoring, built-in GPS, menstrual tracking, Blood Pressure monitoring, and stress level monitoring. These are some of the features that some of the users would want to have on a watch, especially given the price here.

Features like adaptive brightness, wireless charging support, and automatic tracking are also not available, but these are not that important. The tap-to-pay was not accessible on the watch.

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Fossil Gen 5e review: Should you buy it?

Fossil Gen 5e is priced at Rs 18,495 in India. Those who are looking for a fancy smartwatch that can also show notifications, control music, reply to messages, monitor heart rate, track daily activities with a good accuracy level can buy the Fossil Gen 5e.

The device offers almost all the key fitness features that most of you want in a smartwatch, but misses out on a few things. The battery life is okay. The smartwatch will die after around 14 hours with moderate usage. Alternatively, you can buy Fitbit Versa 3 or Samsung’s Galaxy Active 2, but these don’t offer luxurious design that you get with the Fossil Gen 5e.

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