Though Google still hasn’t released its own Wear OS smartwatch, Fossil has become the platform’s unofficial standard-bearer, working closely with leading mobile chipmaker Qualcomm to make use of its latest Snapdragon Wear processors and developing related technologies impressive enough to catch Google’s eye. Now Fossil is unveiling its latest design, the Gen 5 Fossil Touchscreen Smartwatch, at a reasonable price point given its feature set.
In short, Gen 5 is the hero product Google hasn’t made, designed as a “best-in-class technology experience” with support for Google’s latest Wear OS software and Qualcomm’s most powerful smartwatch chip, Snapdragon Wear 3100. If you’re looking for a non-Apple wearable that nonetheless has a lot in common with the Apple Watch, Gen 5 is ready for your wrist.
Gen 5 arrives in three stainless steel body colors — black, smoke, and rose gold — with six total options thanks to a variety of metal, plastic, leather, and fabric band options. The body is a 44mm size, like the larger Apple Watch, and as the name suggests, there’s a 1.3-inch touchscreen on the front plus traditional watch-style button and dial controls on the right side. Unsurprisingly, you can swap bands, and recharge the watch using a magnetic charger.
One of the key selling points is Gen 5’s improved battery life, which leverages Snapdragon Wear 3100 to offer four preset modes. “Extended battery mode” promises multiple-day run times by stripping away less essential features to conserve power, leaving you with notifications, heart rate tracking, and the time. “Daily mode” promises 24 hours of run time with full functionality, which can be extended to longer times if you activate “Custom Mode” to manually adjust settings, or much longer times if you shift into “Time-Only Mode.”
Another addition to the new design is 3ATM waterproofing, enough to enable Gen 5 to be safe to use when swimming, including a waterproof speaker that can be used to receive phone calls, hear spoken and alert notifications, and play music. At first, the call feature will be exclusive to Android users, but Fossil is promising a custom app with iPhone calling support later this fall.
Most of Gen 5’s other features are carryovers from prior models, though storage has been doubled to 8GB, including 1GB of RAM, and earlier sensors have been upgraded for improved accuracy and lower power consumption. The sensor and wireless list continues to include heart rate, NFC, GPS, altimeter, accelerometer, gyroscope, ambient light, and Bluetooth hardware.
All of the hardware will be accessible through the latest version of Wear OS, including support for Tiles, and the watch is now bundled with more apps. The popular heart monitoring app Cardiogram, music streamer Spotify, safety app Noonlight, and Nike Run Club will all be pre-installed on Gen 5, seemingly in hopes of giving users a more Apple-like variety of music, health, and fitness features.
Fossil is releasing Gen 5 today for $295. It will be available initially through Fossil’s website and select Fossil retail stores around the world, joining the smaller, prior-generation Fossil Sport, which arrived last November for $255.
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