Fossil Gen 5 LTE review: Wear OS is still not good enough

Fossil Gen 5 LTE review

The Fossil Gen 5 LTE looks terrific and also lets you leave home without your phone, but you'll spend on it with your pocketbook and also with Use OS's mistakes.

What's a firm to do when upgrading a smartwatch? For Fossil, the answer has been fitness-related, turning the fashion-first wearable right into a much more powerful Fitbit opponent. The company can have swapped Qualcomm's Snapdragon Wear on 3100 chip for the more recent Snapdragon Wear 4100, too. But rather it included LTE in a time when many individuals are remaining home.

As Fossil's initial smartwatch with independent cellular capabilities, the Fossil Gen 5 LTE Touchscreen Smartwatch ($ 349) is a version of the two-year-old Fossil Gen 5 that lets Android individuals with Verizon cellular strategies release their wearable from their smartphone. For those that are out and also concerning these days, this version of Use OS's most pertinent smartwatch can take phone calls, send out messages and also use applications even when their mobile is MIA.

The best smartwatches, like the Apple Watch Series 6 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, have actually supplied LTE alternatives for a number of generations now. So also if this Fossil Gen 5 LTE is a little late to the event, it deserves identifying whether its brand-new feature is really a welcome guest or just an effort to sidetrack us from Use OS's recurring shortages.

Fossil Gen 5 LTE: Price and availability

The Fossil Gen 5 LTE costs $349 for both the Black or Blush models. That's about $50 even more than the Gen 5's original price of $295. Currently, you can obtain the non-LTE version of $199, though, making it one of the most effective economical smartwatches. The non-LTE version supplies a greater selection of designs and colors too.

And also when you obtain the LTE version, you'll require to prepare for added costs. With a Verizon Unlimited plan, it costs $10 each month (the very same as Apple Watch as well as Galaxy Watch) for LTE support. You'll additionally use Verizon's Number share solution, meaning the number for your friend's mobile phone and also your Fossil smartwatch will certainly be the exact same.

Fossil Gen 5 LTE review: Design

Fossil develops attractive watches, both smart and not. Keeping with the brand's design sensibilities, the round, 44-millimeter Fossil Gen 5 LTE features smooth, stainless-steel bezels and also a familiar three-button array.

Fossil Gen 5 LTE review

It's still extra-large on little wrists, particularly when used together with the tiny Garmin Lily, but the advantage is a large and readable display.

The silicone straps of the model I tested are a lot more conducive to exercising than, say, the optional leather or steel harmonize ones you can interchange. However I was cautious about revealing the Fossil Gen 5 LTE to too much sweat or various other aspects: It's ranked 3ATM for water resistance, whereas most smartwatches made for activity are rated 5ATM. 5ATM indicates the smartwatch can stand up to swimming workouts in superficial waters. 3ATM suggests the smartwatch is just splashproof, so take it off prior to showering.

For some, that's appropriate. Unlike the light-weight Fossil Sporting activity, which is made for activity, the Fossil Gen 5 LTE really feels more lifestyle focused. It's less for the jogger who wishes to stream songs or pay for a coffee and also more for the specialist that requires to be reachable or connected at all times.

Fossil Gen 5 LTE review: Going phone-free

For this review, Fossil sent me an LG Stylo 5-- far from among the very best phones, but a phone that's set up for Verizon Number Share. After I coupled the Fossil Gen 5 LTE to the WearOS app on the Stylo, it prepared to operate solo. That indicated I can leave the phone behind when I opted for strolls, to the food store and also some various other tasks. It is just one of minority LTE-capable WearOS smartwatches; if you want something a lot extra luxe, look into our Montblanc Top 2+ hands-on.

Fossil Gen 5 LTE review

Since the number had not been linked to my personal get in touches with or messages, I didn't obtain numerous notifications besides Gmail. I did, however, make a couple of phone calls from the short-term number. According to the receiver, my voice seemed clear on the other end, however farther contrasted to when I contacted my Apple Watch with cellular.

If you have the older Gen 5, you can make calls and also send out messages from your wrist as long as your smartphone is nearby. Both variations provide on-board GPS, so, once more, the vital benefit you're obtaining from the LTE version is the capability to ditch your phone for a while.

Possibly if I were going out more on a regular basis I would certainly gain more of the advantages of an LTE smartwatch, but I could not appreciate the liberty as high as I would've liked. I'm certain I'm not the only one in this placement these days.

Fossil Gen 5 LTE review: Use OS

Wear OS obtains a bum rap, and I can not say it's not been worthy of. I recently blogged about just how the Google Aide voice detection function hasn't functioned for months, and also very few people noticed. Including me-- when I evaluated the best Google Assistant commands from my wrist, I by hand activated it with the Fossil Gen 5's tile-based menus.

Fossil Gen 5 LTE review

The food selections still do not have the app range as well as class of Samsung's Tizen OS and also Apple's watchOS. Even the Fitbit Versa 3's user interface, which I believed seemed sluggish during testing, really felt much more responsive than the Fossil Gen 5. The Snapdragon Wear On 4100-packed TicWatch Pro 3 offers a considerably enhanced Wear OS integration, making me want Fossil updated the Gen 5 LTE's chipset, especially for the price.

One thing that's obtaining better about Wear OS is Google Fit. Health solutions are much more affordable than ever before these days, and also while Google hasn't gone as much to introduce an Apple Fitness Plus rival, it has actually expanded the data you see in your Google Fit account. It launched a camera-based respiratory system rate visitor for Pixel phone customers earlier this year. When I tracked an exterior walk, I located my step count and also heart rate matched my Apple Watch's dimensions. Apple, Samsung and Fitbit all track more workout kinds, though.

It's important to keep in mind that while Wear OS does deal with both Android and also iphone, you'll require an Android to make use of the LTE capabilities of the Fossil Gen 5. You'll likewise would like to know that the Fossil Gen 5 LTE doesn't ship with the most up to date software program upgrade, so you will not get features now located on the routine Fossil Gen 5 like native sleep tracking or Fossil's brand-new health app. You'll still get Wear OS applications like Pandora, Nike+ Run Club, Spotify as well as Google's whole suite of programs, naturally.

Fossil Gen 5 LTE review: Battery Life

Like the normal Fossil Gen 5, the Fossil Gen 5 LTE has a number of battery administration devices that allows you identify for how long you desire your smartwatch to last. For life isn't an option, however based upon how you use the watch you'll experience different staminas.

You can select from Daily, Personalized, Extended and also Time Just. Based on my experience Daily as well as Personalized will certainly obtain you somewhere between 14 as well as 24-hour, which is a little brief by smartwatch criteria. Prolonged grows that home window to a couple of days (at the expense of most features) while Time Only transforms the Fossil Gen 5 LTE right into a normal-looking wristwatch.

No matter just how I use it, my Apple Watch Series 6 lasts just around 24 hr. Although the uniformity contributes to a billing schedule, it would certainly be nice if making use of much less features rewarded me with longer battery life like it performs with the Fossil Gen 5.

Fossil Gen 5 LTE review: Verdict

As the first Wear OS smartwatch with cellular support in the U.S., the Fossil Gen 5 LTE had large footwear to load. Fossil still makes a few of the best wearables in terms of both performance as well as fashion, and now consumers have an LTE option.

But should they take it? I desire Fossil introduced more tangible upgrades for the Gen 5 LTE, particularly for the price. Since the standard Gen 5 now costs $199, the company is requesting for an added $150 for LTE assistance. That's pricer than Apple's premium for Cellular-- for a watch with an aging chipset, however. If you're looking for a budget-friendly LTE watch, the Apple Watch SE with Mobile beginnings at $329. You'll require an iPhone though.

For Android individuals, your best bet is still the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 with LTE. If you're dedicated to Use OS, you may obtain lucky: There's a rumor that Samsung's watches are switching from Tizen. Yet Wear OS needs a whole lot of work before after that.