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Fossil's new smartwatch might solve Wear OS' biggest problems

With the Snapdragon 3100 and custom battery modes, the new Fossil Wear OS smartwatch sounds like it's going to be a winner.

Published onAugust 5, 2019

fossil generation 5 wear os smartwatch

Update: August 6, 2019 at 12:47 p.m. ET: We have updated this article to reflect the news that older Fossil watches will get the new battery saving features in a future update. Read more below.

Original article: August 5, 2019 at 10 a.m. ET: Fossil is refreshing its line of Wear OS smartwatches today, complete with upgraded specs, software features, and a refined look. At least right now, it sounds like these two new devices might be the best Wear OS watches you can buy.

The two new watches are the Julianna HR with its gold bezel and Carlyle HR with its gray display bezel. Both have the same specs, so you really only need to choose the watch that will look best on your wrist. They come with a 1.28-inch fully round AMOLED display at 328ppi, a case size of 44mm, and customizable physical buttons on the side — just like most other Fossil smartwatches.

Finally, another Wear OS watch with the latest processor!

This time around, Fossil chose to include the newer Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 SoC for these devices, as opposed to the older 2100 chipset every OEM continues to use for some reason. One of our biggest complaints with pretty much all Wear OS devices in the past has been laggy performance. This new processor, coupled with 1GB of RAM, should help the watches run smoother. Fossil also says the sensors integrated in the watches have been given an upgrade to help improve fidelity and optimize power consumption.

Speaking of batteries, Wear OS devices have traditionally struggled to last an entire day on a single charge. To combat this, Fossil is including four built-in battery modes to the watches: Extended Mode, which limits the watch’s features but still lets you see the time, notifications, and heart rate data; Daily Mode, which lets you access every sensor on the watch; Custom Mode, which lets you choose which sensors you do and don’t use; and Time-only Mode, which turns off all sensors and only gives you the time.

Thankfully if you’ve recently purchased a Fossil smartwatch, you don’t have to regret your buying decision. Fossil noted on Twitter that the Gen 5 Fossil smartwatch’s battery-saving features will make their way to older Fossil watches in a software update.

New to the Gen 5 Fossil watches this time around is a built-in speaker, which means you can now audibly hear Google Assistant responses, alerts, music, and even take phone calls from the watch. In the past, Android users were only able to make phone calls from their Wear OS watches. In hopes to court even more iOS users, Fossil made a proprietary app that lets iPhone users take phone calls from their watches. This is a first for a Wear OS watch. 

The best Fossil smartwatches you can buy
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A Fossil Gen 6 is perched on a picnic table.

Note that there’s no SIM card or eSIM embedded in these watches, so your phone will need to be connected to your smartwatch in order to make and receive phone calls.

All the new smartwatches also feature 8GB of onboard storage for music and apps, built-in GPS, and NFC for Google Pay.

There are six colorways available with a mix of Black, Smoke, and Rose Gold case options to choose from. You can buy your Gen 5 Fossil Wear OS watch from today, August 5, on and in select Fossil retail stores for $295. 

I probably don’t need to remind you that Wear OS has seen better days. Many of today’s Wear OS smartwatches struggle with battery life and performance issues, not to mention the lack of customization options from third-party OEMs. These new Fossil Wear OS watches seem to be a big step in the right direction if you ask me.

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