Best Fossil Smartwatch Android Central 2020
If you're in the market for a new Wear OS smartwatch and happen to like classically styled watches, then the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle is going to be for you. Fossil is one of the few Wear OS watchmakers out there that continues to produce not only good looking but also top of the line specced devices out there. The Carlyle has a classic look that can work for almost any occasion with swappable bands, snappy performance, and a speaker for calls. Fossil has some other great choices as well. Whether it's a sports focus, fashion, or even a hybrid watch — Fossil has an option for you.
- Best Overall: Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle
- Best Value: Fossil Gen 4 Venture
- Best for Fitness: Fossil Sport
- Best for Fashion: Fossil Gen 5 Julianna
- Best Hybrid Watch: Fossil Commuter
Best Overall: Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle
While Wear OS may have some shortcomings, the Carlyle from Fossil does a fantastic job of making the best of an okay situation. From a style standpoint, the Carlyle has all the makings of a classic watch with its round casing and three-button layout. For navigating the OS, you have a rotating crown that lets you scroll through notifications, apps, and make selections. Programmable buttons flank the crown on either side that can be mapped to specific apps or functions of your liking.
Back to the case for a moment, the 44mm watch comes in two color choices with a stainless steel silver as well as a black steel option. They can each be customized with a standard 22mm watch band allowing a bit of flexibility to better morph with you as your style demands. Considering the amount of tech packed into this watch, the device is surprisingly slim and light which lets it nearly becomes an afterthought until you need it.
As for the tech inside, you'll get a vibrant AMOLED display that offers an always-on view. The main drawback of this display is that in direct sunlight, it can be a tad on the dark side. Inside the watch comes with the newest Snapdragon 3100 processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, NFC for payments, and GPS. Along with the GPS for tracking, there is also a heart rate monitor to aid in fitness tracking. Throw in 3 ATM water resistance and the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle is a complete package of style and performance that helps to make this the best Fossil has to offer.
- Snapdragon 3100 and 1GB RAM
- Lightweight and stylish
- Microphone and Speaker
- Battery life could be better
- The screen is a bit dim in daylight
Classic out, future in
The Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle is the smartwatch from Fossil that's the best option for most people. It can go anywhere to get through your day in style.
Best Value: Fossil Gen 4 Venture
Much like our overall winner, the Fossil Gen 4 Venture offers classic watch stylings with robust internals coming in a just as solid of a discount. The Venture has a 40mm case with multiple color options and 18mm swappable watch bands, letting you find a combination that best fits your style. The stainless steel case houses several sensors, including NFC, GPS, and a heart rate monitor. You also get the same benefits of the three-button layout as we did from the Carlyle with two programmable as well as the rotating crown.
This watch comes with the aging Snapdragon 2100, and while it is still a reliable processor, with only 512MB of RAM the watch can be a bit sluggish at times. The vivid display is a welcome setup, albeit dim in direct sunlight, with its exceptional colors and always-on option. The included 3 ATM water resistance means your watch is safe from spills, showers, and can even track your swimming.
So, if you're looking for a great looking watch and would like to save some money, the Fossil Venture is a good one to check out.
- Stylish and solid build
- NFC and GPS
- 3 ATM water resistance
- Older processor and only 512MB RAM
- Battery life is lacking
Good looking watch, and a palatable price
The Fossil Venture is a prior gen watch, it still has a lot to offer. It carries all the same sensors as the current-gen watches, only an older tech.
Best for Fitness: Fossil Sport
When it comes to a fitness-focused watch, there are a few key factors that need to be met. The watch needs to have sensors for data tracking, be lightweight, and a battery to get through your training sessions. The Fossil Sport has all of that and then some. Fossil has come up with a watch that not only runs the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 3100 processor but looks good while keeping up with your workouts.
The design of the Sport features a 41mm two-tone case with a nylon base and an anodized aluminum top. These material choices allow for lots of color options from standard silver and grey to red and blue, with pink and gold in the mix as well. Utilizing the same three-button layout as the Carlyle, the Sport has the style and functionality to keep up with you in any situation.
The Sport goes toe to toe with the Gen 5 Carlyle in many aspects, but when it comes to the internal specs, the one area it falls short is within the RAM category. Though they opted for the newest processor, unfortunately, it's hampered by the inclusion of only 512MB of RAM which causes the OS to be far more sluggish than one would like. Aside from this misstep, Fossil crammed GPS, heart rate tracking, 5 ATM water-resistance, an altimeter, NFC for payments, and more into a very lightweight watch. So if you want a watch with some pizazz while you get your sweat on, the Fossil Sport is just the ticket.
- Lots of color options and super lightweight
- Included microphone and speaker
- Latest Snapdragon 3100 processor
- Only has 512MB RAM
- Struggles in the battery department
Best for Fitness
Sweatin' with tech
Fossil's Sport has all the sensors for tracking your workouts. A bump in the RAM and better battery life are the only things holding it back.
Best for Fashion: Fossil Gen 5 Julianna
With the Julianna, Fossil has packaged everything the Gen 5 Carlyle has to offer into a wearable with just a bit more fashion sense. The Julianna gets the same Snapdragon 3100 processor, 1GB RAM, 8GB storage, microphone, speaker, and all the other excellent internal specifications — while wrapping them up in a stand-out package.
Julianna offers two case styles for its 44mm size in both a black and rose gold; then a rose gold with rhinestones encircling the case. The watch also includes Fossil's three-button layout and a standard interchangeable 22mm watch band. The Julianna is a smartwatch for a person who wants to avoid FOMO while looking great doing it.
- Unique fashion style for the case
- Snapdragon 3100 and 1GB RAM
- Inclusion of a speaker and microphone
- The display is too dark in direct sunlight
- Unsatisfactory battery life
Best for Fashion
Looking good while staying connected
Generally, when smartwatches try to be fashionable, they tend to skimp on tech. Not so with the Julianna. Its tech is as good as its design.
Best Hybrid Watch: Fossil Commuter
If you are looking for a smartwatch, that doesn't look like a smartwatch then you should take a gander at the Fossil Commuter watch. This watch falls into what's known as a hybrid smartwatch category. It has the traditional mechanical watch face, instead of a screen, while still having a Bluetooth connection to your phone to give it some smarts.
The Commuter is a classic looking watch with three-buttons that allow programmable functions. There is no touchscreen, so all interactions with the watch occur via these buttons. It comes in a wide variety of colors and finishes and can be customized by changing out the 22mm watch band. The watch face has physical hands that operate as you'd expect them to. However, when connected to your phone, the hands will move in specific ways to indicate the type of notification you've received while also giving haptic feedback.
You'll be able to track steps, and your sleep as well as have 5 ATM water-resistance. A great feature this hybrid watch offers is that you won't need to recharge it as it uses a standard CR2430 battery that gets you up to 1 year of use before it'll need replacing. You also get up to two weeks of data tracking between syncs to your phone. So if you'd like to follow some of your fitness goals and get notifications from your phone, but don't want a screen on your wrist, then the Commuter is for you.
- Classic looking watch without a screen
- No need to recharge
- Two weeks tracking between data syncs
- Navigation on the watch can be tricky
- Need to remember what watch hand movement means per notification
Best Hybrid Watch
Let's give it a hand(s)
Using a smartwatch with a screen has drawbacks: bright light reduces visibility and low battery life. The Commuter's hybrid screen gets around those flaws.
There are so many smartwatches out there, and a good number of them are running Google's Wear OS software. However, not all Wear OS devices are created equal. Fossil has a wide variety of smartwatches, and many of them are quite good.
While on the pricey side, the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle is worth it for a device that balances excellent style with excellent performance. This is why the Fossil Gen 5 Julianna is also a fantastic pick if you want a high performing watch with some added fashion flair.
Saving a few bucks while looking good is never a bad thing, and if your performance demands aren't too high, then you'll likely be happy with the Fossil Gen 4 Venture. When fitness is your focus, then you need a watch that does the same — and the Fossil Sport is there when you need it.
Should you lean towards minimalist in terms of a smartwatch and would like a more classic style than tech-forward, you'll be well taken care of by the Fossil Hybrid Commuter. Fossil's long history in traditional watches allows them to utilize their lineage of style and craftsmanship to offer a smartwatch to fit you regardless of your needs.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Chris Wedel is a fan of all things tech. Living in the rural midwest with his wife and two young boys can make finding ways to stay connected with all the gadgets and streaming services complicated, but it's a welcomed challenge. Bring it on!
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