The world of smartwatches is still quite prosperous, but the same cannot be said of those with Google’s Wear OS. Our frequency of reviews of these products has dropped dramatically and fewer manufacturers seem to be interested in producing watches of this type. If there is a company that has no intention of slowing down, Fossil is still very aggressive with its multiple brands. Today we will talk about the Fossil Gen. 5 the starting model within the Fossil smartwatch family.
The packaging is very simple. We have inside the watch with a strap of a single size and the magnetic charger with the integrated wire. It is always a pity when the wire is not separated, because it does not allow us to replace it quickly in case of breakage.
Construction and Ergonomics
The fifth generation Fossil is undoubtedly an elegant watch and it is clear that there is a company behind it that has always produced watches. The design is a great mix of classic and modern with a steel case and flush glass. On the right side, we find three keys, one of which, the central one, is also a rotating ring to scroll through the menus, although you will probably never use this function. It is then quite compact with its 44-millimeter case and the thickness is only 12 millimeters. Just a shame that the supplied silicone strap is not suitable for slimmer wrists. However, the narrowest size was too wide and I personally had to use another strap: the standard is the 22mm. The smartwatch is then water resistant up to 3 atmospheres.
This Fossil Gen. 5 is only the second product we try with the latest generation Snapdragon Wear 3100. This processor is then merged with 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of internal memory. Two values that are far more than sufficient for satisfactory daily use and guarantee excellent performance in terms of speed and responsiveness to the watch. We also have Bluetooth 4.2 low energy, Wi-Fi b / g / n, assisted GPS, NFC, accelerometer and altimeter. From the point of view of connectivity it is therefore one of the most complete products in circulation. This also in the face of the addition of microphone and speaker, absent in previous generations.
Fossil Gen. 5 is equipped with a 1.3-inch AMOLED display. A resolution was not announced, but should be around 320 × 320 pixels. It is a high-density screen that is easily readable, as well as very bright. Too bad for the black frames around the display that do not allow the display to cover a wider front surface. The black digital dials blend in with this frame and are probably the best. Unfortunately, the automatic brightness automatic is a weak point. It is often too low and in the end, we decided to set it manually to a more suitable value. The choice is probably due to energy consumption, but it does not really honor a display of this quality.
This Fossil smartwatch arrives on the market with the latest version of Wear OS, or 2.9 (currently with the April 2019 patches). There is no news on how the software was implemented. Keeping pressed on the dial it is possible to change it with one of the many made available by Fossil. You can also personalize them and save them in different categories within a specific item, to have a series of customized dials immediately available. Scrolling to the left you will instead open the Google assistant (which can also be recalled with a long press on the central button) to which you can ask to perform all the operations that you would ask from a smartphone. To the right instead you will be able to insert widgets, up to 5, like the daily activity, the weather, the calendar, news and more.
By scrolling down you will access the quick commands, including the one of not disturbing or activating the speaker (which will sound regardless of the settings on the smartphone). Go up to the notifications. Wear OS is as always probably the best platform to manage notifications on Android. The notifications are perfectly synchronized with the smartphone and are shown exactly the same way, with the same possibility of interaction. You will then be able to see the photos received in chat messages, respond quickly to messages or expand to read more text. Answers can be written on a small keyboard or dictated by voice. Finally, you can answer phone calls choosing whether to start them on your smartphone or smartwatch.
Directly from the clock you can then access the Play Store and install your favorite apps. Not many, the Wear OS universe has never exploded, but there are enough to make it truly the most complete smart watch for Android. A few scattered names: Spotify, Google Keep, Telegram, IFTTT, Uber, Todoist, Adidas Runtastic and lots of fitness apps.
Speaking of fitness, net of the use of third-party apps you can rely on Google Fit. It works well and there are many sports to choose from, but we understand that this is not the vocation of the watch. With an outdoor run without a smartphone, we were very pleased with the overall performance, even though there are smartwatches / sportwatches that have an even faster GPS fix and we noticed a slight delay in noticing rapid increases in heart rate (but then tracked to perfection).
The 400-mAh battery does what it can, but Wear OS has once again shown itself to be greedy for battery. With a single charge, you always arrive at the end of the day with the standard energy mode and at the end of the day, the watch is charged with about 20-30% of the battery, which could also be totally used up if your working day started particularly early. There are other energy modes, one of which can be customized. By turning off always on you can get to two days with normal use, but considering turning it off at night. In our opinion, the absence of a sleep tracking function is indicative.
Fossil Gen. 5 is sold for $295, a price a bit high for the current smartwatch market, but aligned with the price list of a brand like Fossil. The smartwatch is available on Amazon at the launch price.
Fossil Gen 5 is an elegant and extremely complete product. Perhaps you could dare more with display and autonomy, but undoubtedly, it is the most complete product for those looking for a smart product to use with an Android smartphone
- Elegant and comfortable
- Excellent notification management
- Complete hardware
- Perfect integration with Android
- Autonomy of only 1 day
- Automatic downward brightness
- Wide strap
- It is not cheap