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Fossil Gen 5E smartwatch review: Blend of pleasing looks, some performance

For a watch that costs close to Rs 20,000, the Fossil Gen 5E has the basics covered and it feels like a luxury watch, too, but a better battery life would have elevated the overall experience

Topics
Fossil | smartwatch | fitness wearables

Erick Massey  |  New Delhi 

Fossil Gen 5E
In terms of fitness tracking, the Fossil Gen 5E comes with Google Fit and can track activity goals, steps, sleep, heart rate, cardio levels, and more

recently launched the new Gen 5E, a stripped-down version of the Gen 5 launched in India in November 2019. The latest features a set of sensors to measure key health metrics, a bright screen, stunning looks, and more. Besides, it allows you to receive calls and the option to shuffle among various battery modes.

Despite a fresh look and several improvements over predecessor, the Gen 5E is priced competitively to suit those looking for a premium lifestyle We reviewed this smartwatch to see if it balances looks and performance in everyday use. Let's see what we found:

Looks and design

Fossil Gen 5E

The Gen 5E has good looks with a metal strap holding the 1.19-inch AMOLED circular touchscreen with slim bezels on a 44mm stainless steel case, and a crown on the right to wake the watch up. All this in a black finish gives this smartwatch a premium appearance. The body is not too bulky, either, and the sensors sit at the bottom.

The display, with a 390×390 pixel resolution, and a pixel density of 328ppi make it crisp and colorful. In fact, it has good sunlight legibility as well. The crown, however, is not a rotating one, unlike in the Fossil Gen 5.

Fossil Gen 5E

You can also change the straps and pick between silicone or leather straps (sold separately). But we doubt someone would do that, considering how stunning the smartwatch looks the way it is. But if you want to make the most of it, you might want to go for silicone straps because the metal straps make it heavy (120 gm) for use during fitness activities.

The watch comes in 44mm and 42mm size options and has several strap variants – black silicone, smoke stainless steel, brown leather, and black stainless steel.

Features & performance

The Gen 5E is powered by the Snapdragon Wear 3100 SoC paired with 1GB RAM and 4GB of internal storage. This is an old processor that even Fossil's Gen 5 used. Smartwatches may soon start featuring Snapdragon's latest Wear 4100; in fact, Motorola’s upcoming smartwatch may use the latest Snapdragon processor while Mobvoi's TicwatchPro3 already comes with it.

Fossil Gen 5E

One possible reason why Fossil has stuck to the old processor is because a new one would have escalated the cost significantly. That said, Snapdragon's Wear 3100 SoC does fine in handling regular tasks and even some more; we hardly faced any lag anywhere, be it starting an activity or checking heart rate and other metrics. The watch features Google's WearOS, which complements the overall scheme; the UI has improved slightly from what we has seen earlier in Fossil's Gen 5E.

Despite being sensor-rich, a big limitation here is that this smartwatch can't measure SPO2 (blood oxygen) levels, unlike most smartwatches, even the inexpensive ones. The absence of this ability in a watch as good as the Gen 5E makes it a bit of a compromise. The watch records daily activity well; even the heart rate tracker is good but we felt the watch was slightly erratic in recording daily steps. The GPS is usually precise in tracking your location and we were pretty convinced with it.

Fossil Gen 5E

In terms of fitness tracking, the Fossil Gen 5E comes with Google Fit and can track activity goals, steps, sleep, heart rate, cardio levels, and more. You also get calendar alerts, date reminders, watch apps, music controls, and app notification support. It also supports contactless payments with Google Pay and has a built-in speaker and microphone that allow you to answer calls directly using the watch. While it's easy to receive calls using the watch in quiet places, it gets tough when there is excessive activity around you. Also, it's often tough for the watch to take voice commands in noisy surroundings.

The watch has a water-resistance of up to 30 and it can easily handle regular splashes or even rain.

Battery

Fossil Gen 5E

Just like most lifestyle smartwatches, the Fossil Gen 5E also offers an on-battery time of about a day on a single charge, sometimes less if you are utilising most of the features this watch offers. The watch offers smart battery modes to extend on-battery time, but that means missing out on some features which everyone may not like. The watch takes about an hour to charge fully. It would have been better if the battery lasted longer. At least two days of on-battery time would have been decent.

Verdict


Fossil Gen 5E

Priced under Rs 18,490, the Fossil Gen 5E is a mix of good looks and decent performance. Stainless steel straps lift its visual appeal and make it stand out in the lifestyle smartwatch category. Its ability to record fitness metrics and additional features like speaker and microphone for calls, adds value to the overall package. Its inability to measure SPO2 is a dampener and slightly erratic step counter limits its use as a performance watch. But the heart rate tracker is efficient and quite accurate. Besides, it measures a good amount of details if you use the watch during a fitness activity.

For a watch that costs close to Rs 20,000, the Fossil Gen 5E has the basics covered and it feels like a luxury watch as well, but better battery life would have elevated the overall experience. Go for it if looks and style matter more than performance.

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First Published: Mon, April 05 2021. 11:23 IST
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