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Google’s Wear OS isn’t at its best right now, but if you want a smartwatch that integrates tightly with your phone, the service is available. When deciding to use Wear OS, Fossil offers a wide range of devices that are generally acceptable. More than 1 year ago Fossil Gen 5 review It was one of the best Wear OS smartwatches at the time. Since then, it has rarely happened in the world of Wear OS. This is why Fossil 5th generation LTE is so exciting. It’s one of the few LTE-capable Wear OS devices on the market, and the watch’s LTE can be a real game changer in my experience.
However, it doesn’t offer anything new besides LTE, and while LTE is useful, it doesn’t really make up for old hardware, constant Wear OS bugs, limited carrier support, and high price tags.
Design, hardware, and box contents
The Fossil Gen 5 LTE is available in one style and two colors, gold and black. This is much less than the three styles of the Bluetooth model. The Fossil Gen 5 LTE measures 45mm, slightly larger than the 44mm case of the Fossil Gen 5. It’s pretty big, but the black model Fossil sent me looks great and fits nicely on the wrist.
The body of the Fossil Gen 5 LTE has two buttons on the right and a rotating crown. The crown is used to scroll through the UI and press and hold to activate the Google Assistant. The two buttons next to the crown are used for shortcuts and can be customized to launch any app on your watch.
Like Bluetooth Fossil Gen 5, Gen 5 LTE uses pin charging with a magnetic connector. The watch will charge quickly and will be fully charged from empty in about an hour. The watch comes with a standard, comfortable and durable 22mm silicone band. But considering the style of the watch, I expected something less sporty and stylish. Fossil sells a pretty good leather band for $40, but I wanted to see a silicone band included instead.
The Fossil Gen 5 LTE is powered by a two-and-a-half year Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage. These specs are the same as the LTE-free Fossil Gen 5 released a year ago. I wanted to see the Fossil Gen 5 LTE running the latest silicon like the Snapdragon Wear 4100 or 4100 Plus, but it’s probably reserved for Fossil’s next-generation watches.
One of the most notable parts of Fossil Gen 5 LTE is the LTE itself. With 5G LTE over a dedicated mobile connection, you can answer calls and access all apps, even when you’re out of Bluetooth range. If you’re using an app like Spotify, you can connect the earbuds to your watch and stream music while tracking your run at the same time. It’s all free and useful. I love LTE on my watch, it has a solid connection.
Software, performance, battery
Fossil Gen 5 LTE runs the latest version of Wear OS with all Google products. Nothing special here about this particular watch. Same as Wear OS on Bluetooth Fossil Gen 5. For more information on what’s included here, check out: Fossil fifth generation review. However, there are a few things to mention.
First is the Google Assistant. Accessing Google Assistant and Ok Google support is fantastic, but the latter is broken and for months, but Google is working on a fix. I used the watch to change the lights or just ask the weather, and I don’t have to worry about where my phone is, even if it charges. Being able to access the Google Assistant at all times is a huge bonus of this watch.
The fitness tracking and health features of the Fossil Gen 5 LTE are also great, but they are lacking compared to the competition. It has common heart rate monitoring and manual fitness tracking. This is what you would expect from most watches. I use Google Fit, but since there is no automatic exercise detection for Google Fit, I feel that nothing more than tracking steps is useless.
LTE allows you to share numbers on Verizon as well. All calls made to your primary Verizon number go to your watch. That doesn’t mean that your watch and phone share a number. Verizon gives the watch its own phone number for calls and texts, and only passes calls to the watch. If your phone is turned off, you won’t be able to receive text messages on your watch unless specifically sent to your watch’s phone number. It’s an all-around complex system that works best when used primarily for data connections instead of calls.
The performance of Fossil Gen 5 LTE is pretty good even on older silicon. I didn’t feel any slowing down or stuttering through the UI. Everything is very soft. 1GB RAM of system version’H MR1′ and Wear OS 2.23. By default it is the latest version and the latest.
The battery life was fine. You can easily make your day on LTE with the display active all the time, but that’s enough. If I turn off AOD and use Bluetooth, it could probably be a couple of days, but it didn’t seem worth it. Fossil has 4 different battery modes if you want to push a bit further. Daily has everything except AOD. The extension disables all radios and features except Bluetooth, and you have to press the side button to check the time. Time turns your smart watch into a classic digital clock and displays only the time, while Custom lets you select each function and control the battery directly.
Should I buy it?
Probably not. This watch is one of the better Wear OS wearables, but it runs the latest wearable chips. It’s good enough for basic use, but I’m still seeing numerous issues with Wear OS. I also worry that Wear OS will not age normally on this watch.
It’s one of the few LTE-capable Wear OS devices for $350, but being locked into Verizon is a big downside. If you change your carrier, you’ll need to use the watch only with Bluetooth or buy a different LTE watch. Sorry if you want Fossil Gen 5 LTE and it isn’t in Verizon. You have to find another place.
If you’re not looking for LTE, the Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 has the latest hardware and costs $50 cheaper. Outside the Wear OS ecosystem, there are Samsung and Fitbit watches that do almost everything that Wear OS does. LTE Galaxy Watch Active2, for example, is $50 cheaper and works with all carriers. Fitbit also has Assistant on the Sense and Versa 3. Fitbits doesn’t have an LTE option, but I love it on my watch. I wish this was better or cheaper (or both).
Buy it if:
- I’m using Verizon and I want an LTE watch.
- I love Wear OS and willing to trust my old hardware this year.
Do not purchase in the following cases.
- I’m using T-Mobile or AT&T.
- You want the latest and greatest hardware.
- I don’t want other devices to charge every day.