Fossil is one of the few Wear OS smartwatch makers to release high-quality devices continually, so it's understandable if you're wondering about getting the Fossil Gen 5E or regular Gen 5 smartwatch this Black Friday. Both watches offer very similar styles, technologies, and each runs Google's Wear OS software with a few tweaks from Fossil.

Fossil released the original Gen 5 line of watches in mid-2019, and the Gen 5E dropped in October 2020 with a few internal changes as well as new designs — not to mention a lower price. There are many similarities between these two watches that can make choosing one difficult. Here are five reasons why you should save some money and go with the Fossil Gen 5E over the Gen 5.

Beauty and brains

Fossil Gen 5E

Performance on a budget

The Fossil Gen 5E brings a classic look to the world of smartwatches. You'll be able not to track all of your workouts and stay connected to your phone, never to miss another message or call.

1. Both watches are running the same processor

Fossil Gen 5ESource: Fossil

Many smartwatches out there are still running the older Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 processor, and both the Gen 5E and Gen 5 use the newer 3100 option. No, this isn't the absolute latest SoC out there (that belongs to the 4100 series) but it's still a reliable chipset.

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Generally, when a company decides to release a less expensive version of a previous device, it will save money by using a less powerful or cheaper piece of hardware like the processor. That's not what happened with the 5E. The 3100 offers solid daily performance, and due to the additional co-processor, it also brings improved battery life. This means that you won't have to sacrifice usability or power because you wanted to save some money.

2. You get a choice in case sizes

Fossil Gen 5e LifestyleSource: Amazon

The Fossil Gen 5 is offered in many colors and style options, but all of them share the same 44mm case size. While 44mm isn't massive, it may be a bit on the larger size for some people. Unfortunately, the Gen 5 doesn't offer anything smaller for those who want or need a timepiece that isn't going to take up their whole wrist.

In the Gen 5E, Fossil brought some new styles out and a choice in case sizes. For those who still want a bigger watch, there is still a 44mm option available, and if you prefer something a little smaller, you can opt for the 42mm. When Fossil made the smaller case size available, it did so without shrinking the display.

Each watch offers the same 1.28-inch AMOLED full-color display. Fossil accomplished this by narrowing the bezels surrounding the screen to not reduce the display size. Both watches use standard bands with a 22mm on the larger smartwatch and 18mm for the smaller. By going with the Fossil Gen 5E, you get a great looking device that also gives you a choice in sizes.

3. It has the same durability and fitness features

Fossil Gen 5e LifestyleSource: Fossil

Other features typically stripped away from a product when released at a lower price are durability and software features. The Fossil Gen 5E maintains all of that. With a water resistance rating of 3 ATM, this smartwatch can handle more than just a mist. This rating means that it's capable of surviving water pressure equal to 30 meters.

Because Fossil took the extra effort to build this level of resistance into the 5E, Fossil made use of it in software. The suite of workouts that can be tracked using the Gen 5E include swimming, running, biking, sleep tracking, and more. By keeping all of the same fitness tracking features from the software in the more expensive Gen 5, you won't have to sacrifice your active lifestyle because you are wearing a smartwatch.

4. Nearly identical internal hardware

Fossil Gen 5e LifestyleSource: Fossil

With the 5E, onboard GPS didn't crossover. In rare instances, not having location services built directly into the watch may affect the 5E's usage in certain situations. Because both the Gen 5 and 5E need to be connected to a phone for data anyway, the latter will simply use the phone for location services.

This means that you can still see your workout distance and other location-based info, like maps, on the Fossil Gen 5E with no problems. The 5E also has a speaker and microphone for calls, music, Google Assitant, and more, to round out a capable device. NFC has also been included for use with Google Pay so you can make contactless payments. Fossil also kept the heart rate sensor, accelerometer, gyroscope, and off-body detection.

One of the biggest and one of the essential hardware retentions was the 1GB of RAM. Many Wear OS watches use less RAM to cut costs, but while this saves the manufacturer money, it costs you in performance. It was found years ago that anything less than 1GB RAM in a Wear OS smartwatch meant that nearly all facets of usability were deeply affected. So in the case of the Gen 5E, you can save money while also getting the performance you want.

5. Cost

Fossil Gen 5e LifestyleSource: GSM Arena

Despite all of the similarities, the biggest difference is still cost. You get virtually the same device, but save yourself some money. The value proposition in the Fossil Gen 5E over the Gen 5 becomes more apparent as you stack up everything that is the same and what is different.

By sharing nearly identical internal hardware and the same software experience from the Gen 5, then offering different case sizes and a lower price for the 5E, you can get a great Wear OS smartwatch experience and save money. Who doesn't want to keep some extra cash in their wallet? This sentiment rings especially true during the holidays. Don't lose out on buying a gift for someone because you overspent on the Fossil Gen 5. Go with the 5E and make your money go farther.

Beauty and brains

Fossil Gen 5E

Performance on a budget

The Fossil Gen 5E brings a classic look to the world of smartwatches. You'll be able not to track all of your workouts and stay connected to your phone, never to miss another message or call.

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