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The Fossil Gen 5 - Honest 1 Year Review

Published On: 25 June, 2021
It was a dream to get a smatwatch, a branded luxurious smartwatch for the past 6 years. And there after saved money to get one. And finally last year in the month of June, just after the lockdown went off, I visited the Fossil Store located in South City Mall, Kolkata. Its the only store up here so no other choices. I was preplanned with the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle Stainless Steel Edition which looks very premium. So, back to the day, I went ahead and explored all the smartwatches they had among which there was the previous edition named Gen 4 which was not very popular and its the biggest flop of Fossil Group as there whole back cover which contains the heart rate monitoring sensor and the charging points came off in almost all the watches they sold. I checked online about Gen 5 and found so such issue. This was also the longest battery running time in any smartwatch at that time (June 2020). I even asked them about the Gen 4 issue and why its being sold, but they simply excused me with over night charging.

Top view of Fossil Gen 5 without wrist band with Fossil's analog watch face runningEventually, I got the Fossil Gen 5 with Rs. 22,995, yes thats a hugh amount but I loved it.

So, I came home and started my watch, connected to my smartphone and updated the system. The battery was draining very badly but may be due to first setup. 

Okay, now let us come to the honest review of using the watch for 1 year now. 

Buttom view of Fossil Gen 5

1) Connection & Stability: I was first using this watch with my android smartphones. Primary was the Samsung C9 Pro and then Nokia 8.1. No doubt, everything was working fine, no connection issues or lack of features. Then, I switched to iPhone with iOS 14 running in it. Initially, I faced a lot of problems with the setup. I had to format 5 times and wasted 2 hours to just set it up with my iPhone. It was a very hectic process. Its not that wear os doesn't supports iOS, but the wear os app doesn't works quite well in iOS. After that, when ever you try to connect your watch to iPhone, you have to manually click on connect and keep the app open in your iPhone to get them connected. It sometimes automatically disconnects too.

2) Battery: As said earlier, Fossil claimed that this watch had the longest and the biggest battery in the smartwatch history. They also claims that it will run for 7 days non stop without even charging. But actually there are a whole lot of conditions. This claim only works if the user has set the battery saving facility to extended mode, which eventually turns off the watch and turns on with the small tiny, digital clock. All other features will be disabled, literally everything. You can't even connect to your phone. And that decreases the value of this watch. After paying ~ Rs. 23,000, no body will keep there watch in extended mode. If they want so, they would have went with Rs. 230 watch instead.

Watch Battery when connected to android: The battery with all day use when connected to android, and features like, tilt to wake, gps, background heart rate kept on, it last a day with 35% battery. With total no. of calls per day ~ 40 and answer on phone is kept on.

Watch Battery when connected to iPhone: The battery will last all day with iPhone too, but given that many features will not work and most of the smart features must be turned off. With me, I got around 65% battery left when just used for 8 hours with features like, background heart rate and GPS turned on. 

Left side view of Fossil Gen 5

3) Heating and Stability: The Fossil Gen 5 is made of stainless steel, which is a plus point of getting heat out of the watch. But that doesn't seems to be working as planned by Fossil. The buttom cover or the battery door where the heart rate sensor and charging points are connected gets over heated when the watch is turned on and keeps on heating when the watch is being used continuously for over 10 minutes. You will feel like your wrist is burning. This heating issue splits the glue from the charging ring and it eventually comes off. Though, its not like the previous edidition, but still if the charging ring falls off, you will eventually end up loosing more money at Fossil Service Center.

Back panel of Fossil Gen 5 contains heartrate monitoring sensor & charging rings4) Features: The Fossil Gen 5 provides a hell lots of features for android smartphone users. Some of them are hourly automatic heart rate monitoring, activaty tracker, directly call or text/reply (Any messaging platform) someone from your watch directly (You must be connected to your android phone. iOS users cannot avail this feature), auto brightness, assistant, AMOLED display, built in GPS and a lots more. It comes with 8GB of on board storage and a single giga byte of RAM. Along with that, it features WiFi, Bluetooth, Gyro Sensor, Acceletometer Sensor, Light Sensor, Rapid charging, water resistant, microphone & a built in speaker which is decent enough.

5) Wear OS: 

Front view of Fossil Gen 5 when powering on
Wear OS formerly known as Android Wear doesn't have a good history. The battery life is the main factor for which the review is not that good. The laginess is still there if you install any thrid party app on your smartwatch. Wear OS neither receive latest security patches nor latest version of OS. The current and latest version of Wear OS on Fossil Gen 5 is based on Android Pie, where as Adnroid 12 is almost here. I think Google should take Wear OS seriously and make the required changes on it.

6) Bloatware: The Fossil Gen 5 comes with hell lot of apps preinstalled which may not be visible to the app library but you can find them in all apps under settings. Those apps are regional based and some are Fossil Group's other brand apps which are completely useless and doesn't required to be kept in the system but google/fossil doesn't allow to delete or uninstall them rather you have the option to disable them manually one by one. 

7) Hardware: Fossil Gen 5 is a premium stainless steel watch that feels and looks premium when you wear it. The stainless steel chain band is worth the price and feels heavy. Sometimes it will cause wrist pain if you drive a car as the weight is directly coming to your wrist. This watch also features 3 buttons, amongst which 2 are mechanical buttons and 1 is mechanical button along with a digital crown which rotates at both the direction. The problem is, if you are in India or in a country where water has iron and rain water is not that clean enough, you will definely face issue with crown getiing jammed frequently. It will be hard enough to use the crown one handed and you will also hear scrating sounds from it. 

Right side view of Fossil Gen 5 where the 2 mechanical buttons, 1 mechanical button with digital rotating crown and a microphone is visible

Fossil says its due to sweating or due to contact with water and they eventually cleans it up if you take it to the service center but they will also ask you if this happens again then you have to send it to HQ to investigate which may apparently take upto 30 days. I personally took it to the service center to fix the jammed crown issue and it took about an hour and half to get ready. It was just 6 months when I faced the issue. Again after 10 months of purchase I faced the same jammed crown issue and it was immposible to travel 30 Kms and visit the service center so I took the risk to use WD 40, a water-displacing spray thats acts as a lubricant. After I sprayed it on the crown, turned it ~ 50 times and felt the difference. It was like new and I saved my 60 Kms of petrol. Till date I faced no issue in the watch after I applied the spray. Though Fossil says if they are unable to fix it up within the duration, they will refund you the exact amount or will provide you the same watch free of cost. If you think its a great deal then yes it is as the watch comes with 2 year international warranty but, again you have to setup everything up and have to face a hectic process.

Overall, Fossil Gen 5 is a good premium smartwatch for you if you are a daily commuter by car. If you travel by bike with an iPhone and want to use all the features then, I would not recommend this smartwatch. But, if you are like me with an iPhone and just want to wear it and use basic features like to check who is calling or to workout, you can defintely go for it. For android users, you can go for it but keep in mind, the 3 major issues of the watch,

  • a) Jammed Crown
  • b) Battery Drainage
  • c) Charging ring comes off
Finally the rating, I will give an overall rating of 3.5 out of 5 Stars.