fossil gen 5 lte review vs gen 5 carlyle
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Fossil has always made great watches, but the company didn’t start getting into the smartwatch game until a few years ago. Initially starting with hybrid smartwatches, Fossil eventually transitioned to full-fledged smartwatches running Google’s Wear OS platform. In fact, Fossil is one of the big brands that still relies heavily on Wear OS in 2021. It’s also set to adopt Wear OS 3 for its new watches next year. That’s why we’re rounding up the best Fossil smartwatches you can buy.

Buying the right Fossil smartwatch for your needs

Fossil Group, the Fossil brand’s parent company, owns popular accessory brands like Skagen and Misfit and licenses products from Puma, Emporio Armani, Diesel, Kate Spade, and Michael Kors. Many of these brands’ smartwatches share the same specs and receive updates simultaneously, which is why we’re going to include these companies on our list in addition to other Fossil smartwatches.

The best Fossil smartwatches

  • The Fossil Gen 6 is the best Fossil smartwatch you can buy. It shares aesthetic cues with its predecessor but brings big upgrades to its internals.
  • The Fossil Gen 5 is no longer the best Fossil smartwatch, but it’s still worth your time at the right price.
  • Fossil’s Gen 5 LTE is the best Fossil smartwatch with LTE. It shares several design traits with the Fossil Gen 5.
  • The Skagen Falster 3 is the best Skagen smartwatch you can buy. It’s arguably one of the more attractive watches on this list but shares similar internals to its Gen 5 cousin.
  • The Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR is Skagen’s best hybrid smartwatch. Thanks to that e-ink display, this watch has battery life in spades.
  • Want an alternative hybrid watch? The Fossil Hybrid HR is the best choice. You do trade the Jorn’s build quality for a lower price, though.
  • The Fossil Gen 5E is the best cheap Fossil smartwatch. It’s based on Fossil’s pared-down hardware platform but still offers the style synonymous with the brand.
  • The Michael Kors Lexington 2 and Bradshaw 2 are the best smartwatches from the Michael Kors stable. These two products are for those wanting flashier hardware on their arms.
  • Emporio Armani’s Smartwatch 3 is an excellent stylish alternative. It’s available in a selection of color-coded cases and straps.
  • The Diesel Fadelite is, however, the best-looking Fossil smartwatch. It packs a translucent case with straps, giving the timepiece a unique aesthetic.

Fossil Gen 6: The best Fossil smartwatch

The Fossil Gen 5 has long stood out as the best Fossil smartwatches, and one of the best Wear OS watches you can buy. However, the Fossil Gen 6 is a marked upgrade that we can’t ignore.

It’s the first Fossil smartwatch to feature the faster Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus SoC, which should bring considerable improvements to the performance. With that upgrade comes the promised upgrade to Wear OS 3 next year. The Gen 6 also sees a new heart rate and SpO2 sensor combo and faster charging, albeit with a smaller battery than the Gen 5.

We haven’t reviewed Fossil’s latest smartwatch yet, so we can’t comment on its performance. But on paper, it packs more modern hardware than its predecessor. And with the security of software upgrades, especially the major jump to Wear OS 3, it’s the best Fossil smartwatch you can buy right now.

Fossil Gen 6 smartwatches 46mm 42mm sizes
Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch
The new hotness
The new Fossil Gen 6 smartwatches are the first devices to run on Qualcomm's Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus platform. They also boast new heart rate and SpO2 sensors and faster-charging batteries. While they ship with Wear OS 2, all Gen 6 devices are slated to get Wear OS 3 in 2022.

Fossil Gen 5: Another excellent Fossil smartwatch

fossil gen 5 smartwatch review display watch face 5

The Fossil Gen 5 was once the best Fossil smartwatch you can buy and one of the best Wear OS watches, too. However, since the Fossil Gen 6 is here, we have to relegate this venerable model. That said, it’s still an excellent option for those who don’t mind older hardware or software.

A sleek design, good performance, a beautiful display, and plenty of color options are all factors in the Fossil Gen 5 once topping our list. Thanks to Fossil’s custom battery modes, it also has decent battery life, which have since made their way to all Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100-powered smartwatches in Fossil Group’s lineup.

You can regularly snag the watch under its list price, which still makes it a viable alternative for Fossil fans.

Fossil Gen 5 press render
Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch
With a stainless steel watch band and additional band options, the Gen 5 is a good-looking alternative to other smartwatches. Even better, you don't give up substance for style. The Gen 5 features fitness and heart rate tracking, along with Google's Wear OS platform for seamless syncing with your Android phone.

Pros

  • Crisp, bright display
  • Plenty of great watch faces preinstalled
  • Useful custom battery modes
  • GPS, NFC, and heart rate sensor
  • Accurate fitness tracking
  • Built-in speaker is very useful

Cons

  • So-so battery, but better than average

Check out our full review to learn more about the Fossil Gen 5.

Fossil Gen 5 LTE: The best Fossil smartwatch with LTE

fossil gen 5 lte review watch face display 2
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Looking for a Fossil smartwatch with cellular connectivity? The Fossil Gen 5 LTE is the smartwatch you’re looking for. It’s essentially the same watch as the Gen 5 Carlyle (above), only you can activate it on Verizon’s network to receive calls and texts on your wrist without a nearby phone.

There are some limitations. It’s only available in the US, can only be activated on Verizon’s network, and is only compatible with Android phones.

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Fossil Gen 5 LTE
A great Wear OS watch, now with LTE
The Fossil Gen 5 LTE takes one of our favorite Wear OS smartwatches and adds cellular connectivity. If you're an Android user on Verizon, you'll want to check this watch out.

Pros

  • Great display and overall design
  • Useful custom battery modes
  • GPS, NFC, and heart rate sensor
  • Built-in speaker/mic are useful

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Verizon exclusive
  • So-so battery life

Check out our full review to learn more about the Fossil Gen 5 LTE.

Skagen Falster 3: The best Skagen smartwatch

skagen falster 3 review watch face on wrist 1

The Skagen Falster 3 fixes all the performance and battery issues that plagued the first two Falster smartwatches. It has essentially the same specs as the Fossil Gen 5 (above), as well as its fantastic custom battery modes that really help it eke out as much battery as possible. There’s also a built-in speaker, so you can hear Google Assistant talk to you and answer phone calls directly on the watch through Bluetooth.

Really, whether you should buy the Fossil Gen 5 or Skagen Falster 3 depends entirely on which design you like more. The specs, performance, and pretty much everything else are the same between both devices. However, the Skagen Falster 3 is newer, so sales are rarer.

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Skagen Falster 3
The Skagen Falster 3 rights many of the wrongs committed by its predecessor. It has improved specs, support for making/receiving Bluetooth calls, a built-in speaker, and the same great custom battery modes found on the Fossil Gen 5.

Pros

  • Simple, clean design
  • All-day battery life
  • Useful custom battery modes
  • Performance is greatly improved
  • Built-in speaker is convenient

Cons

  • Wear OS can be buggy, doesn’t inspire confidence
  • Expensive

Check out our full review to learn more about the Skagen Falster 3.

Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR: The best Skagen hybrid smartwatch

skagen jorn hybrid hr review notifications
Jimmy Westenberg / Android Authority

Fossil Group has brought its Hybrid HR platform to the Skagen brand with the Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR. This is our favorite hybrid smartwatch from the company due to its improved design over the Fossil Hybrid HR (below), long battery life, and of course, the innovative e-ink display.

The Jorn Hybrid HR’s e-ink display is bigger than the tiny screens found on most other hybrid smartwatches. This allows you to see more information on your wrist at one time without the need to interact with the watch. Again, there are some usability issues with Skagen’s watch, but we’re big fans of the platform overall.

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Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR
A stylin' hybrid
The Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR is a hybrid smartwatch built on Fossil Group's e-ink smartwatch platform. It can last over two weeks on a single charge, mirror your smartphone notifications, and more.

Pros

  • Beautiful design
  • E-ink display is innovative and fun
  • 2+ week battery life
  • Decent (but basic) fitness tracking options

Cons

  • On-device software is clunky

Check out our full review to learn more about the Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR.

Fossil Hybrid HR: Fossil’s best hybrid smartwatch

fossil hybrid hr review watch face collider hr 3
Fossil Hybrid HR

The Fossil Hybrid HR is nearly identical to the Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR in functionality. The main differences are the overall build quality, the companion app, and the price.

While our Fossil Hybrid HR (Collider model) looks wonderful, its build quality is noticeably lacking compared to Skagen’s offering. However, you might find this one on sale more often. The watch was announced in 2019, so it receives regular discounts on Amazon and Fossil’s website.

fossil hybrid hr brown leather
Fossil Hybrid HR Collider
Fossil nailed the look of the Hybrid HR. It's a beautiful hybrid watch with a useful e-ink display, wrapped up in an affordable package. The Collider model is geared towards people with larger wrists.
fossil hybrid hr pink silicone
Fossil Hybrid HR Charter
Fossil nailed the look of the Hybrid HR. It's a beautiful hybrid watch with a useful e-ink display, wrapped up in an affordable package. The Charter model is geared towards people with smaller wrists.

Pros

  • E-ink display is great for battery and visibility
  • Premium, classy design
  • 2+ week battery life

Cons

  • Erratic sleep tracking
  • Unreliable heart rate monitor
  • No GPS options (connected or built-in GPS)
  • Limited software features

Check out our full review to learn more about the Fossil Hybrid HR.

Fossil Gen 5E: The best cheap Fossil smartwatch

If you’re after the Fossil Gen 5 but want something slightly smaller, look no further than the Fossil Gen 5E. Available in 42 and 44mm sizes, the Gen 5E smartwatches boast many of the same Gen 5 features at just $250.

The Fossil Gen 5E has the same processor, RAM, custom battery modes, built-in speaker, and NFC for Google Pay as the Gen 5. However, the Gen 5E has a slightly smaller display, 4GB of storage instead of 8GB, and you only get connected GPS instead of built-in GPS. Also, it has a physical pusher on the side, but it’s not rotatable to scroll through Wear OS.

While the Gen 5E sounds like a decent smartwatch overall, we’d recommend buying the standard Gen 5 if you can find it on sale or investing in the Gen 6 if you’re looking for something more futureproof.

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Fossil Gen 5E Smartwatch

Michael Kors Lexington 2 and Bradshaw 2: The best Michael Kors smartwatches

Michael Kors Lexington 2 Wear OS smartwatch 3
Michael Kors Lexington 2

Michael Kors fans will love the Lexington 2 and Bradshaw 2 smartwatches. These two classy smartwatches were announced at IFA 2019, bringing Fossil’s generation 5 upgrades to the Michael Kors brand. That means both of these watches have the Qualcomm Snapdragon 3100 SoC, 1GB of RAM, a built-in speaker, and custom battery modes like the Fossil Gen 5.

The Lexington 2 is usually more expensive than the Bradshaw 2, but functionality should be similar across both devices.

Michael Kors Lexington 2 Wear OS smartwatch 4
Michael Kors Lexington 2
The Lexington 2 is getting long in the tooth but its age doesn't detract from its classy exterior. Based on Fossil's Gen 5 platform, the watch includes plenty of practical features, too.
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Michael Kors Bradshaw 2
A little flashier than its Lexington 2 sibling, the Bradshaw 2 is also based on Fossil's Gen 5 platform. You can have it covered in stones, slathered in gold, or in several other ostentatious finishes.

Emporio Armani Smartwatch 3: Another great Gen 5 smartwatch

Emporio Armani Smartwatch 3 Wear OS 3
Emporio Armani Smartwatch 3

The Emporio Armani Smartwatch 3 is expensive, but damn, is it a nice watch. It features all the same specs as Fossil’s other fifth-generation watches, complete with a speaker for answering calls and hearing Google Assistant replies. It has a sportier, lighter design compared to the other options on our list. It also comes in a ton of different colorways.

Emporio Armani Smartwatch 3 Widget Image
Emporio Armani Smartwatch 3
An alternative to Michael Kors and Diesel's flashy offerings, the Emporio Armani Smartwatch 3 can be had with simpler, stately straps or in a bevy of color-coded cases and straps.

Diesel Fadelite: The best looking Fossil Group smartwatch

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The Diesel Fadelite is one of our favorite-looking smartwatches of all time. It doesn’t even look like a smartwatch! It comes in four colorways, but the clear (above) is by far our favorite. If you’re not digging the all-clear look, there are also transparent blue, black, and red colors.

The Diesel Fadelite has the latest Snapdragon 3100 processor but only 512GB of RAM, while other competing Wear OS watches have 1GB of RAM. We’ve found the best Wear OS performers have the 3100 SoC and 1GB of RAM, so performance might be an issue. We haven’t reviewed the Fadelite yet, though, so we can’t vouch for its performance or battery life.

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Diesel Fadelite
Arguably one of the best-looking smartwatches you can buy, the Diesel Fadelite is available in several transparent finishes. Our favorite is the completely clear option.

Looking for more brand-specific recommendations? Check out the following guides: