It may have made great strides over its predecessors, but can Google’s premium smartwatch possibly compete with what Apple has to offer?
What we love — Practical design, plenty of features
Given that Fossil has plenty of years’ experience in the fashionable side of watchmaking, it should come as little surprise that the design is attractive, but beyond that it’s also very lightweight and comfortable to wear, and ergonomic too. The crown’s textile grip makes it easy to manipulate, while buttons give a satisfying click when pressed.
The 414×416 AMOLED screen is a large jump in quality over its predecessor, meaning that the display is refreshingly sharp and can pack in plenty of details at once. The speaker is clear and loud, and the vibrations are also difficult to miss. The hardware is relatively powerful, consisting of a Snapdragon 3100 chipset and 1GB RAM, while the software is Google’s proprietary WearOS, which runs snappily enough but can’t hold a candle to the versatility available on the Apple Watch Series 6.
Fitness tracking features are good, offering a variety of workout modes, 24/7 heartrate tracking, and even a cardiogram, while the untethered GPS is ideal for trail runners.
What we don’t like — Battery life could always be better
There are very few gaping flaws with this smartwatch, as it gets the basics all right. A new addition to this model is that of adaptive battery life, which allows you to conserve juice when it’s running low — and this is a good idea, though the execution isn’t ideal as it can be tricky to switch between the different modes. However, there are relatively few smartwatches that couldn’t do with a significant battery boost, as for most of them you’ll need to charge it back up relatively frequently.
The Fossil Gen 5 is a very good all-round smartwatch from Google, that impresses both in style and substance. The design is attractive, lightweight, and practical, while the fitness features should also cover all your needs.