New Fossil Gen 5 smartwatches boast better battery life and improved iPhone compatibility

Fossil has just pulled the wraps off its fifth-generation smartwatch lineup. The range aims to offer a wealth of upgrades over 2018’s Gen 4 Fossil watches, including better iPhone compatibility, new battery extension options and on-wrist call support.

Each year, Fossil releases a bevvy of Wear OS-powered smartwatches, offering a rich feature set at a competitive price. While the Fossil Group may be responsible for the next Emporio Armani Connected or Skagen Falster, it’s the company’s own watches where the latest hardware and software makes its debut.

Fossil Gen 5 design

The new Gen 5 lineup is currently comprised of two updated designs, based on the company’s existing ‘Carlyle’ and ‘Julianna’ forms. The six variations on these body types all make use of a 44mm case with a mix of black, ‘smoke’ and rose gold finishes, and employ a blend of materials, including polished and brushed metal, as well as leather.

Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch lineup press images

Carlyle (left), Julianna (right)

Fossil Gen 5 features

Atop Google’s Wear OS platform, these watches also feature Fossil’s new smart battery saver feature, which lets users choose from one of four discreet modes.

‘Extended Battery Mode’ promises “multiple days [use] on a single charge”, while retaining features like heart-rate monitoring. ‘Daily Mode’ accommodates the watch’s full feature-set, including the option of the always-on display. ‘Custom Mode’ grants fine-grain control over the watch’s power management setup, and ‘Time-Only Mode’, as its name suggests, flips the watch into a dedicated battery-saving state where only the time is displayed.

The Fossil Sport smartwatch, which launched earlier this year, also showcased some of these features, as well as serving as the first watch on the market to feature Qualcomm’s latest wearable processor, the Snapdragon Wear 3100 – this has the potential to provide the biggest upgrade over Fossil’s Gen 4 offerings.

The Wear 3100 boasts greater power efficiency compared to its predecessor, thanks in part to a dedicated co-processor. The older Wear 2100 has powered the majority of Fossil’s smartwatches to date (although the range did dabble with Intel chips in its early days), however, its performance and power efficiency have always been lacking.

The new chipset should at the very least grant users greater longevity, but improved performance and efficiency would have been more timely upgrades, based on the lacklustre reliability of some of last year’s entrants.

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Fossil hasn’t just tweaked power and battery, these latest watches also bring new features to the table − like full voice feedback from the Google Assistant and on-wrist call support, even when paired with an iPhone.

Fossil Gen 5 specs

The full spec rundown also includes the return of several features from previous-generation Fossil smartwatches, like integrated GPS, NFC with contactless payment support and interchangeable straps.

Here’s the full feature-set:

  • Stainless steel case, top-ring, and pushers
  • 44mm case size
  • Stunning 1.3-inch touchscreen digital display
  • Swimproof (up to 3 ATM)
  • 24+ hours of battery life (based on usage) and multiple days in extended battery mode
  • Interchangeable straps and bracelets
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100
  • Sensors: Heart rate, NFC, GPS, altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light, microphone
  • Powered with Wear OS by Google and compatible with iOS 10+ or Android 4.4+ (excluding Go edition)
  • Bluetooth
  • Wireless syncing and magnetic charging

Fossil Gen 5 price and release date

Fossil’s Gen 5 Smartwatches are available to buy right now, direct from the company’s website; with all six current SKUs available for £279. This places them perfectly in line with Samsung’s Galaxy Watch and means they’re markedly more affordable than the most recent Apple Watch Series 4.

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