Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch review

The most high-tech Fossil yet

Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch
(Image: © TechRadar)

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The Fossil Gen 5 is a solid and dependable smartwatch. It's well priced for what it offers, looks decent enough, and is sufficiently versatile, allowing you to easily swap watch straps around for special occasions.

It was never likely to completely solve the battery issue that torments Wear OS watches, but the intelligent use of battery saving modes and the superior Snapdragon chipset ensures that low battery life doesn't get in the way of how you use the Fossil Gen 5 too much.

With plenty of features to keep fashionistas happy as well as fitness enthusiasts, there's a lot to like here. The Fossil Gen 5 is a good all-rounder, just don't expect to use the speaker that often - it's a neat bonus rather than genuinely useful.

Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch

(Image credit: TechRadar)

Who's this for?

The Fossil Gen 5 is aimed at almost everyone. Its fitness features are sufficient that you can keep an eye on your heart rate, and the route you travel, while still paying for a snack on your walk back from the gym.

Swap out to a smarter watch strap, and the Fossil Gen 5 will also slot in nicely to your business and personal life, looking the part wherever you are.

Should you buy it?

The Fossil Gen 5 is a good option for the majority of users. We're inclined to still suggest that the Apple Watch 4 or Apple Watch 5 is the best route for iOS users, but for everyone else, the Fossil Gen 5 is a solid proposition. It's well priced, looks good, and does almost everything you could want it to do.

First reviewed: September 2019

Not tempted by the Fossil Gen 5? Here are some key alternative options:

Apple Watch 4

Apple Watch 4

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More expensive than the Fossil Gen 5, the Apple Watch 4 remains the practical smartwatch option for iOS owners.

It's soon to be superseded by the newly announced Apple Watch 5 but, regardless, it's feature-packed and far more useful for iOS owners thanks to more extensive notification support than the Fossil offers. The battery life is better too.

Appearance wise, it's a fair bit different from the Fossil Gen 5, but you can't beat it for options.

Read our full Apple Watch 4 review

Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2

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Ok, so the Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 isn't quite available yet at the time of writing, but it's coming very soon and it's priced around the same as the Fossil Gen 5.

Better water resistance and more expansive fitness features makes this a great proposition for active watch users, but we'll admit that looks-wise, the Fossil Gen 5 pips it to the post.

Read our full Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 review

Fossil Q Explorist HR

(Image credit: TechRadar)

If you want to stick with Fossil but you're on a budget, the Fossil Q Explorist HR is a good bet. It looks great and it offers plenty of features for daily use as well as at the gym.

It's not as fast as the newer Fossil Gen 5, but that shouldn't bother you too much given the lower asking price. Just don't expect the battery life to last more than a day.

Read our full Fossil Q Explorist HR review

Jennifer Allen

Jennifer is a roving tech freelancer with over 10 years experience. Having graduated from Swansea University with a degree in Media and Communication Studies, and later with a diploma from Staffordshire University with a post graduate diploma in Computer Games Design, she's written for a huge number of publications, including T3, FitandWell, Top Ten Reviews, Eurogamer, NME and many more. 

Her main areas of interest are all things B2B, smart technology, wearables, speakers, headphones, and anything gaming related, and you'll find her writing everything from product reviews to buying guides and hunting down the latest coupon codes to save you money. In her spare time, she enjoys the cinema, walking, and attempting to train her pet guinea pigs. She is yet to succeed.