Fossil's new Gen 5 Wear OS smartwatches let you choose your battery mode
Battery life has been a perennial problem for smartwatches – glowing color screens and small battery compartments usually mean a recharge every night – but Fossil's new Gen 5 models give you a choice of four battery modes to pick from and an upgraded Snapdragon processor, as well as other upgrades.
Under the hood is the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor platform, the main feature of which is better power management. Fossil takes advantage of this with four modes the user can choose between – Daily, Extended, Custom, and Time Only. The less functionality you need, the longer the battery lasts.
Daily Mode is the default setting, with all the watch features enabled, and the time always on show. As the name suggests, this gives you around 24 hours between charges (according to Fossil's testing, at least).
Extended Mode turns off that always-on time (so you'll need to raise your wrist to see it) while keeping most of the key features, including notifications and heart rate monitoring. Custom Mode, meanwhile, lets you pick and choose which features you want enabled, including Wi-Fi, the on-board speaker, NFC, location tracking, and so on.
Finally, Time Only Mode is exactly that – it just shows the time, and even then only when you press a button. Fossil reckons you can get weeks of battery life this way, and it should prove to be a useful option for getting just a few more hours of battery when you're running low.
Other improvements include the on-board speaker that we've just mentioned, enabling you to get responses from Google Assistant read out to you, and letting you make and take calls from an Android or an iOS phone (the watch will still be tethered to the phone – it doesn't have its own LTE chip).
Fossil has also doubled the internal storage from the previous version of its smartwatches to 16 GB, and again Wear OS is running the show, with Google Assistant and Google Fit front and center. Pre-installed apps include Spotify, the emergency alert app Noonlight, and the heart health metric monitor Cardiogram.
Rounding out the specs, the watch is 44 mm in size, with a 1.3-inch screen, and is waterproof to a depth of 30 m (around 100 ft). The usual step and activity tracking is included, and as with previous models, NFC and GPS are on board too.
Fossil has been making some of the best Wear OS smartwatches for years now, and while this upgrade might be relatively minor, it keeps Wear OS relevant in a market dominated largely by the Apple Watch. You've got six casing and strap colors to pick from with the new Gen 5 models, which are on sale now for US$295.
Product page: Fossil