Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch Review

Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch Review

Last Updated on by Daniel Lawrence

The Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch is the first smartwatch that we have had the opportunity to review. While we are used to seeing the same kinds of designs over and over again, this watch stands out from the crowd in a number of ways.

Although it has a classic look, this Wear OS by Google-powered smartwatch offers all the features you’d expect from a full-featured smartwatch.

Fossil Gen 5: Overview

Fossil Gen 5 Review

The Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR offers a robust set of features in a stylish package for about $199. This is Fossil’s fifth generation of the wearable watch. As part of the generational upgrade, the battery life has been improved, which can last more than a day in low-power mode. In addition, it recharges rapidly, gaining a nearly full charge in less than an hour.

There’s a speaker on the new Fossil watch hybrid, so users with smartphones can answer tethered calls and hear what Google Assistant has to say. Furthermore, it comes with 8GB of storage, which is ideal for those interested in downloading compatible apps.

A key component to this device is Wear OS by Google, which enables life and fitness tracking, calendar syncing, access to Google Assistant and Google Pay, notifications from apps on your smartphone, and GPS tracking.

Fossil Gen 5: Design


The Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch is easy to set up and easy to use right out of its classic watch box. The smartwatch is aesthetically pleasing and resembles analog watches in some respects. Due to its more traditional round clock face, many of my friends were surprised to learn that it was a smartwatch.

This smartwatch is water-resistant up to 3 ATMs, and I have worn it in the shower several times without incident; it also tracks swimming, taking things beyond the bathroom. This smartwatch compares favorably with the Apple Watch Series 3 and the best Fossil smartwatch in terms of memory. As a result, it feels outdated in comparison to other models, such as the Apple Watch 6, which offers 32GB of storage.

Probably the most useful feature of the Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch is the seamless transmission of the information you probably use most frequently on your phone right to your wrist with notifications signaled by gentle vibrations. You can check your calendar, text messages, app updates, weather, and mapping information by simply flicking your wrist with Wear OS by Google. It displays all of this data on a 1.28-inch AMOLED screen, which has a resolution of 416 x 416 and 328ppi, high enough to display graphics in CRS definition.

Fossil Gen 5: Key features

Connectivity options include Bluetooth 4.2 LE, GPS, NFC, and WiFi. There is an intuitive swipe left, right, up, and down on the touchscreen. On the right side of the watch are three crowns/buttons for easy access to your apps, including Google Pay, your agenda, and alarm.

The Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch has a lot to offer, but it’s not all smooth sailing. I had to learn the interface and found myself constantly swiping and clicking to remember where settings and items were (or simply googling how to do something if I got lost).

The untethered, internal GPS tracker is very useful for those who want to track their movements and workouts. Through its fitness tracker, the heart rate monitor helps you keep track of your health. You can track your fitness and goals either through Wear OS by Google options or through a third-party workout app, which is ideal for those who want to exercise while leaving their phones behind. On a hike through the woods in Upstate New York, my watch recorded similar stats to a friend’s Apple Watch.

I used the included fitness apps to track my activity, from steps to indoor and outdoor workouts, but dedicated fitness enthusiasts may want to download a different app to access more data. The step tracker is automatic and accessible from the home screen, which proved a welcome addition to my trip to NYC where I walked 10,000 steps before lunch.

In my experience, I had to charge the Fossil Gen 5 by midday on most days, but most days the watch lasted until the evening before going into battery-saving mode. This is fine for passive users, but slightly disappointing if you plan on using the smartwatch features daily.

I found that the biggest disadvantage for me was that I could read text messages sent to my phone but not reply to them on the watch since I paired it with an iPhone running iOS.

It was easy to set up, but there was one hiccup

Fossil Gen 5 initial setup is fairly straightforward, but you must pay attention during the entire process. You can imagine how difficult it is to go through the seamless Apple Watch setup.

Having successfully paired my watch with my phone, I had a smooth day until I disconnected the watch from my phone to connect with my car’s Bluetooth (another inconvenience of having multiple devices connected). My watch had to be restarted and paired with my phone again for reasons I still don’t understand. Nevertheless, once it paired a second time, it worked without a hitch.

Durable and Great Design

Fossil Gen 5 is a smart-looking watch that by all accounts can stand up to some abuse (or a simple shower) without showing signs of wear and still function as intended. The screen itself is large enough to see the data well. With a slim wrist, the watch looks oversized but is nothing out of the ordinary in today’s world of smartwatches. When it’s time for a recharge, the watch simply snaps onto the USB magnetic charger and rotates while charging.

Additional features

The Fossil Gen 5 supports Android 6.0+ and iOS 12.0+ thanks to Wear OS by Google. Users should be able to make do with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, but don’t expect the most robust smartwatch experience.

The loudspeaker and microphone make it possible to make phone calls and use Google Assistant, although you shouldn’t count on it too much. When my voice was picked up by Google Assistant, it wasn’t always able to understand what I was saying. Its small size limits how loud and clear it can be, even when you aren’t wearing headphones.

Vibration alerts are not intrusive. Furthermore, I used Theater Mode to keep the screen off when I didn’t want to be disturbed (including during a movie outing) and was able to use it easily

Pros Cons
Attractive design Battery drain with standard to heavy use
Uses Wear OS by Google Occasional tech hiccups
Built-in GPS It May be heavy on the wrist for some
Speaker allows tethered calls  
Quick to recharge  


Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR is an excellent smartwatch for those looking for a mid-priced smartwatch that does most of what a smartwatch should be able to do. The display is easy to read (with the brightness adjustable) and the interface is generally intuitive after a bit of experimentation. Those who want to access data quickly on their wrist without opening their phone will find this useful.

Smartwatch users looking to track fitness and activity levels will have no complaints about ease of use, although they might want to download an external app via the Google Play store beyond the basic Wear OS by Google fitness apps. If you make smart use of its battery-saving features, you’ll likely be able to keep the watch going for a full day. It can also be recharged for an hour and then used again at full capacity. Furthermore, the Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch is attractive, and when you wear your computer on the wrist, that’s no small feat.