Fossil Gen 5E Smartwatch Overview: Just a bit too odd in your personal good

“Fossil is shrinking the size and price of the Gen 5E smartwatch, but it ends up with something that isn’t special enough to inspire.”

  • 42mm and 44mm case options

  • Stylish, varied design

  • Easy to use basic fitness tracking

  • The Snapdragon 3100 processor is out of date

  • Wear OS notification support is unreliable

At first glance, the Fossil Gen 5E is a very desirable smartwatch. It’s reasonably priced, has a great design, has a smaller body than the Fossil Gen 5, and covers most of the features that casual trainers need. What it doesn’t do, however, is feel very new or special due to some questionable hardware choices and a lack of desirable features outside of design.

Does this affect the excitement? Does it struggle to tie you up and convince you to put the clock on in the morning? Let’s get into the details Fossil Gen 5Eis good and bad.


Fossil knows what it does to watches, and the Gen 5E is further proof of that. The black silicone strap on my test model is excellent. Its design and feel is very reminiscent of the silicone straps on my Seiko diving watches – flexible, comfortable and robust, and that’s a very good thing. It is matched to a 44mm black stainless steel case that is the same size as the older Gen 5 watch but without the two buttons that flank the crown. This gives it a neater look without drastically compromising functionality.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

While the watch shown here has a 44mm case, you can also buy the Gen 5E with a 42mm case, which makes it suitable for smaller wrists. Buy the smaller watch and it will have an 18mm strap instead of a 22mm version of the larger Gen 5E watch. Since there are few smartwatches made exclusively for women, such a choice is very welcome. Fossil’s design palette for the Gen 5E is diverse and well thought out, the build quality is excellent, and I like the stealthy black style that doesn’t go too far down the tried and true minimalist route.

Fossil’s range of designs for the Gen 5E is diverse and well thought out.

This is where the good news ends and things that fail the Gen 5E show up. The watch’s bezel is smooth, curved, and helps with swiping across the screen, but the screen’s bezel is almost intolerably large. The screen of the Gen 5E measures 1.19 inches, so it is quite small and, in combination with the large black housing, underlines the large black screen bezel. It reminds me more of fitness-oriented smartwatches than one made by a top watch designer.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

I didn’t miss the two extra buttons on the case, but I do miss a rotating crown to make scrolling through Google’s Wear OS software a little easier and faster. The Gen 5E’s fixed crown is a button to open the menu, return to the watch face, and, if held down, open the Google Assistant. The lack of this feature and the large screen bezel make the Gen 5E look pretty old compared to many other smartwatches released in the past few months.

Screen and software

The 1.19-inch screen is just right for a smartwatch. These screens are not for watching videos, but rather showing information at a glance, so they are perfect to use. The 390 x 390 pixel resolution offers the same density of 328 pixels per inch that you’ll find on the larger Gen 5 watch. So it is spicy enough and also pleasantly colorful. There are dozens of Fossil watch faces to choose from, and they are wonderfully diverse.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

It’s version 2.23 of Google’s installed Wear OS software, but not the latest H-MR2 update with various new features and potential performance improvements. However, current fitness and design updates are on board, e.g. B. the redesigned weather tile and the ability to call the Google Assistant with a long press on the crown. The watch also has the latest features from Fossil, including the Wellness App and Extended Battery Mode.

The Wear OS still has flaws, and the Wear 3100 chip just feels old at times.

Fossil’s proprietary fitness tracking system uses the Snapdragon 3100’s co-processor to help extend battery life, but it’s very simple. There are only two training options – indoors and outdoors – and you get time, distance and heart rate data on the screen. The Gen 5E doesn’t have built-in GPS, so it’s not suitable for serious athletes anyway, but Google Fit is on board too if you want more targeted tracking.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The wellness app records daily activity, sleep and heart rate and then displays the data on a screen without putting too much strain on the battery. It’s annoying that you can’t add wellness as a tile, which forces you into the app itself. As with fitness tracking, simple data rather than detailed information is provided here. I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Not everyone wants to follow a 100 mile bike ride and will appreciate an incredibly simple one-tap activity tracking feature and a display of the three most important stats.

Fitness tracking is easy, but not everyone is a serious athlete.

It’s a bit fragmented though. For example, wellness is an app with a screen, while fitness tracking is a tile. Then Google Fit is also a tile, while all of the different Google Fit apps (goals, workout, heart rate and breath) are listed separately as apps and come pre-installed with Fossil Cardiogram, Nike Run Club and Spotify. It’s a bit messy and can lead to confusion about which app to use and where to find it. Fossil’s activity tracking is synced with your Google Fit profile so there is an incentive to use it and hopefully save battery at the same time.

The Fossil Gen 5E is fluid and fast and, apart from one aspect, has worked brilliantly. One aspect is notifications. On Wear OS, it becomes a kind of joke advertisement for notifications as the frequency with which they arrive is often ridiculous. Some days the Gen 5E warned me of so few notifications that it could reasonably be said that this was not a feature of the watch at all. It’s incredibly inconsistent, not a new problem, and not aided by the Gen 5E’s overly subtle vibrating alerts that are easy to miss.

Battery and performance

The Fossil Gen 5E has the old Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor and not the newer Snapdragon Wear 4100 of the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3. It is coupled with 1 GB of RAM. Is it a disaster? Fortunately, and perhaps surprisingly, it isn’t. It responds quickly to touch, there is almost no slowdown during normal operation, and even energy-intensive apps like Maps and Google Play are manageable. It’s not what you’d call bubbly, however, and the Snapdragon Wear 4100 improves performance and battery life significantly. Even if it is usable, there is a far better option, and that’s annoying.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

The old processor is a problem, and part of the blame for the Gen 5E feeling out of date. I appreciate the ability to take calls on the watch, which works surprisingly well with its speaker, and NFC for Google Pay. It’s not lacking in features, it’s just that we’ve seen it all many times. I really need something new from a Wear OS smartwatch at this point, and the Gen 5E isn’t delivering.

Andy Boxall / Digital Trends

Battery life depends entirely on your usage. The 24 hour usage reported by Fossil is approximately correct. If you turn it off overnight and don’t follow any activity, it will take two working days. With a full charge in the morning, average usage, and a 30-minute workout with Fossil’s own app, it’ll take a single day. It’s not good, but in line with most Wear OS watches except for the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 and the Suunto 7.

Price and availability

The Fossil Gen 5E smartwatch has an MSRP of $ 249 or £ 199, but it can be bought for less at a variety of retailers. At the time of writing, the Fossil Gen 5E is available in multiple points of sale for $ 169 and is great value for money at that price. However, inventory can be difficult to find.

Our opinion

The Fossil Gen 5E looks great on my wrist, is for the most part quick and easy to use, and cheaper and more versatile in size and design than the regular Gen 5 smartwatch. It lacks a purpose, however, as it isn’t well-equipped to be a serious fitness tracker and the hardware is old, which hurts its overall desirability and longevity. The main feature is the solid quality of the money as it is well below $ 200 thanks to discounts.

The Fossil Gen 5E is a good smartwatch – aside from the Wear OS notification issues – but it’s rather common, and there are inevitably more smartwatches with the new Snapdragon Wear 4100 processor on the horizon, and it’s worth waiting for instead of messing with this one to be satisfied.

Is there a better alternative?

Yes. The Apple Watch Series 6 is the best smartwatch for iPhone owners. If you have an iPhone, buy one of these instead. If you have an Android phone, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is our recommendation.

However, both are more expensive than the Fossil Gen 5E. Instead, check out the Apple Watch SE or the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3. Both offer the Fossil Gen 5E superior functionality and battery life.

How long it will take?

The stainless steel case should be durable and the watch has a water resistance of 30 meters. So you have to be pretty careless to destroy them. Otherwise, its longevity will depend on software support and battery degradation. In any case, you will be fine for at least two years. At this point, however, the Snapdragon Wear 3100 will be very old.

Should you buy it?

No, you can do better without spending a lot more.

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