Fossil has a new smartwatch that it wants you to take notice of. It's called the Gen 5, and yes if you're wondering it is Fossil's fifth generation smartwatch in its long-running series of wearables. It runs on Google's Wear OS platform and it comes with the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip inside, both of which are as to be expected.
You'll be able to pick this watch up starting today at Fossil's official website and at "select partners" for a retail price of $295. There are three colors for the watch case, which are Black, Smoke, and Rose Gold (there's an option for a case with gems around the edge, too), and there are numerous options for the straps including silicone, leather, and metal.
The Gen 5 comes with a few new features to complement the new hardware and the new look. Since it's running on the latest version of Wear OS it includes the popular Tiles feature, but more importantly it has a new battery-saving feature that Fossil is simply calling "Extended Battery Mode," and as the name suggests its one and only purpose is to help you increase the amount of time you can wear the watch before needing to put it back on the charger.
There are four different pre-sets for saving battery life, designed to give the user more control over how much battery they use. Extended Battery Mode is the one you choose if you want to kick your battery life out to multiple days beyond the standard time. There are also pre-sets for Custom Mode, Daily Mode, and Time-Only Mode.
Custom Mode is for picking and choosing which watch features you may or may not want to use, while Daily Mode basically enables everything, and Time-Only disables everything but the clock so you can either stretch the battery life by a few hours at the end of the day or if you usually just use the watch for time from the beginning.
Battery life is great, but what about other new features? There's a new swimproof speaker that's been embedded too. Now you can actually listen to things like incoming notifications or responses from Google Assistant. The speaker can also be used for taking calls and it will be able to play third-party music. While a watch speaker isn't going to be the best audio experience for your favorite songs, it'll probably be enough to get you by if you just have to hear something right away and have no other options.
When it comes to the specs most of the hardware isn't too different from other smartwatches. It comes with the standard 1GB of RAM, 44mm size case, 1.28-inch display, and battery life that will last at least 24 hours on a single charge without using the special battery pre-sets. It does however branch out on the internal storage. Fossil has bumped this up from 4GB to 8GB which means even more room for apps and loads of room for locally-stored music.
Full specs include NFC for payments, a swimproof rating up to 30 meters, an upgraded heart rate sensor, untethered GPS, wireless syncing, rapid charging, magnetic charging, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, a mic for speaking to the watch via Google Assistant, removable straps, a 12mm thickness for the case, gyroscope, ambient light sensors, an altimeter, an accelerometer, an LED flashlight, and a full round AMOLED display panel.
From a distance this might look like just another Wear OS smartwatch, and with more of the same some consumers may wonder if they should upgrade. If for nothing else, the 4GB of additional storage compared to most smartwatches could be a major benefit, but the Gen 5's list of other features and stylish design are notable too.