Is the New Fossil Gen 5 LTE Smartwatch the best so far?

The New Fossil Gen 5 LTE Smartwatch is here. It is expected to launch this March or June. Read in-depth Fossil Gen 5 LTE review to know more about its features and spec.

New Fossil Gen 5 LTE Smartwatch
Image Source: Fossil.com

Fossil announced that the Fossil Gen 5 LTE would have a ‘spring’ release date, which many took to mean the end of March at the earliest and end of June at the latest. However, you can get your hands on one now.

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If you have an interest in Wear OS smartwatches then you should see what the Fossil Gen 5 LTE smartwatch has to offer and if it’s the watch for you.

Now, this isn’t a new watch, which you’ll guess by the fact this is the fifth iteration. However, it stacks up well against competitors and is actually used as a base for a lot of Fossil Group smartwatches. Which tells you something good!

LTE support has been the consistent feature missing on the Fossil watches and it’s finally here. We’re not sure what took Fossil so long. One of the fundamental reasons people want a smartwatch is to have freedom from their smartphones.

At around $350, we’re going to tell you everything you need to know about the Fossil Gen 5 LTE smartwatch so you can make an informed decision about getting one for yourself.

Fossil Gen 5 LTE Smartwatch Review, Features and Spec

Image of New Fossil Gen 5 LTE Smartwatch
Image Source: Fossil

Design

We like to start our reviews with how it looks. If you’ve seen a Fossil Gen watch before, you’ll see the design hasn’t had any radical changes. 

The more subtle differences are to the body of the watch. Visually, the only difference you’ll notice is the slot for the home button crown has been recessed because a common complaint prior to this was that it stuck out. What’s more, the angle of the lugs has been addressed to curve better toward the case.

Colour-wise, Fossil has limited your choice between blush or black. Both only offer a 45mm case with a silicone strap.

Specification

If you’re here looking for a basic spec list, let’s give you the upshot:

  • On paper, the Gen 5 and Gen 5 LTE are identical
  • Both have a 1.28” AMOLED display
  • 8GB storage
  • 1GB RAM
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon 3100 
  • GPS
  • Heart rate monitor
  • Altimeter
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Ambient light sensor
  • 310mAh battery

If you know your chip versions, you’ll recognise that the Snapdragon 3100 isn’t new. At the time of release, the 3100 was the best at the time for the Gen 5, so we’re a little surprised to see the new 4100 has been left out in the LTE version. This would make some significant performance improvements for the battery life, display, heart rate and steps accuracy.

Now, we’re not saying the Gen 5 LTE performs poorly. The 3100 is adequate and offers a smooth user experience thanks to the 1GB RAM. We’re just surprised they didn’t put the latest chip in the latest watch. We think it would be better if they had. 

Software

A downside of the Fossil Gen 5 LTE over the previous version (meaning the wifi only model) is that the smartwatch is running on dated software at the moment. In August last year (2020), Fossil did release a mammoth update that saw a new Wellness app and improved battery efficiency through shifting power consumption between the main 3100 processor and the co-processor. 

Fossil also added sleep tracking (though this is no longer special for a smartwatch), V02 monitoring and custom battery modes.

Fossil is promising an update but so far the rumour mill doesn’t know when that might happen. We’ll just have to wait.

Connectivity

The main feature is the fact that the Fossil Gen 5 LTE can operate without a smartphone nearby. Initial set up for the watch will require a smartphone to pair with, but once that’s gone and you’ve set it up with a network (which is optional, but advisable for true independence from your phone), you’re all set.

Some people aren’t OK with leaving their phone totally behind but it is a handy option. Say you’re going for a run and don’t want to be weighed down. The Fossil Gen 5 LTE allows you to take calls, receive messages, track workouts, install apps and a lot more.

Utilising the LTE connectivity will drain your battery life, but this shouldn’t be a surprise to you. A half an hour call will drain around 20%, as an idea of how much juice it drinks. Ditto a 30 minute run with GPS mode on.

Picking up a call requires a bit of a knack. You might feel awkward holding your wrist to your mouth to speak, but you could avoid this by pairing a pair of Bluetooth headphones with your smartwatch. Plus, this option will deliver a better audio experience compared to the built-in microphone on the watch.

Battery Life

As we mentioned in the spec, the Fossil Gen 5 LTE has a 310mAh battery. This will serve a full day of use between charges. Of course, as with all smartwatches, this depends on what you’re using it for and for how long.

Final thought

If you’re looking for a mid-range smartwatch with health tracking features, the Fossil Gen 5 LTE is worthy of your time, but, there are undoubtedly better options, based purely on the reliance of an older processor and the need for a software update. The big selling point is being able to roam independently of your smartphone, whilst staying connected.

At around $350, the LTE version is a great deal more expensive than the Gen 5 but if your requirement is freedom of movement from your phone, then it’s worthwhile.

Maygen is an expert content writer with exceptional knowledge of the smartwatch and fitness tracker market.

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