Smartwatches usually look great, but choosing the right one is not always easy, especially if you have an Android smartphone. Some Android-compatible smartwatches do offer a balanced mix of utility and features, but many others focus more on design than utility. The Fossil Carlyle HR (Gen 5) might fit better in the latter type. Being a smartwatch, it does a lot more than showing just time and date. But is it a capable smartwatch in terms of features? Let’s find out:
Manufactured by American contemporary accessories brand Fossil, the Carlyle HR is one of the better-looking smartwatches. Its classic circular design makes sure you do not look nerdy. There is a 1.3-inch AMOLED touchscreen; and its 44mm stainless steel case, treated in smoked colour, blends well with most clothing styles. The watch’s stainless steel strap is easy to wear and looks luxurious; you can change them for silicone or leather straps (sold separately), based on your choice.
Fossil has traditionally used Google’s WearOS in its smart wearables; it continues to do so in the Carlyle HR. The watch has all the regular features that the OS supports, including activity tracking using Google Fit, calendar alerts, date reminders, watch apps, music controls and app notification support. In addition, Fossil has integrated some value-added features that make this watch better than other WearOS-based smartwatches. These include untethered GPS, a heart-rate sensor, customisable dials, fast charging and 8GB internal storage, besides a speaker and microphone. With Google WearOS and a comprehensive list of features, the Fossil Carlyle HR might look like a perfect smartwatch. But, it is not.
Even with support for many apps, the operating system in the Fossil Carlyle HR’s lags those in other smartwatches — Samsung’s Tizen and Apple’s WatchOS6, for instance. The watch doubles up as a health and fitness tracker, but it struggles to record accurate data which results in unreliable findings. Its heart-rate sensor is erratic, and adds little to the mix. The built-in untethered GPS functionality allows you to track your run, but it goes for a toss if your route is through narrow lanes or any other place that requires GPS precision. The watch’s built-in speaker and microphone allow you to answer calls directly using the watch, but the speaker’s muted output hampers its utility. Lastly, the watch’s on-battery time is not impressive. At best, you get a day’s battery despite most of the watch’s features being turned off.
Priced at Rs 22,995, the Fossil Carlyle HR (Gen 5) is one of the better choices if you prefer looks to utility and performance. The watch brings major improvements if you compare it with its predecessor — there’s more internal storage, responsive user interface, and a speaker and microphone for calls, besides Google Assistant support. But even with all these upgrades and value-added features, the device fails to impress as a smartwatch.