In a world full of smartwatches of all types, Fossil’s Gen 5e offers a refreshing change. We test it to see whether the attractive design also offers a good package.
Having tested a fair share of smartwatches over the years, I think that I can say that I have sampled all kinds of smartwatches – the rugged outdoorsy lifestyle kind, the sophisticated fitness-tracking kind, and even the luxury smartwatch. And while most of the watches are decent performers, I’ve been disappointed by the design of most of them. And that’s because most smartwatches follow the same formula – plastic or composite case, silicone strap, and dark finish. Frankly, it gets boring after a while.
And this is where the Fossil Gen 5e stands out. Featuring a metal dial, the 5e feels good to the touch and much more convincing on your wrist than a smartwatch with a flimsy plastic body. The combination of a dark grey case and a tan leather strap makes the Fossil look much more handsome on the wrist than most watches of its kind. The single button – disguised as the crown of the watch – has a reassuring heft to it, which feels quite good in operation.
Featuring a 1.19-inch screen, which looks crisp and is bright enough to be easily legible, the 5e is powered by the Snapdragon 3100 processor, which is a generation older now. While the performance of the 5e, with the Google Wear OS, is quite satisfactory, it loses out in terms of features.
Now, the 5e does not feature an in-built GPS or an SpO2 sensor, and the absence of both hurts the watch’s appeal. No GPS automatically means that you won’t be able to track your workouts, which can be a problem for fitness enthusiasts. What does work well on the Fossil, though, is its sleep monitoring feature. Even the battery life is quite decent, especially considering that Wear OS-powered devices are not really known for their battery backup. Fossil claims a backup of 24 hours on a single charge, and we were able to more or less achieve that mark without any issues during the test.
If there’s a critical issue with the 5e, it’s with Wear OS. Despite some improvements over the past year or so, it still remains cluttered and difficult to use compared to Tizen or WatchOS. On the other hand, the 5e’s build quality, smart design, and solid feel on the wrist work quite well in its favour.
So, if you’re a non-conformist who doesn’t want the traditional Apple or Samsung watches and are not too keen on tracking fitness, the 5e offers a handsome-looking alternative for those looking for good a smartwatch.
Pros: Solid construction and handsome design
Cons: Wear OS
X-factor: With its metal construction, the 5e offers a stylish alternative to traditional smartwatches.