Fossil Gen 6 vs. Fossil Gen 5: Should you upgrade?

Fossil Gen 6
Fossil Gen 6 (Image credit: Fossil)

Fossil Gen 6

Fossil Gen 6 Black Silicone

The wearable world is changing before our eyes, especially when it comes to Wear OS watches. If you want a watch with any kind of a future, you'll need to be open to newer models such as the Fossil Gen 6 smartwatches. Not only do you get the latest processor and improved performance, but your watch will be eligible to upgrade to Wear OS 3 in 2022.

Fossil Gen 6

Looking to the future

Improved health tracking
Snapdragon Wear 4100+
Eligible for Wear OS 3 upgrade
Two size options
Wear OS 3 not available until 2022
Pretty expensive

Fossil Gen 5

Fossil gen 5 Carlyle

The Fossil Gen 5 smartwatches were a hit when they first came out. While there may still be some appeal, users will have to start thinking about the bigger picture. Aside from having an outdated processor, the Gen 5 models are not eligible for the Wear OS 3 upgrade. Those who want the latest and greatest tech will want to look elsewhere.

Fossil Gen 5

Living in the past

Activity tracking
Stunning designs
Google Assistant
Built-in mic/speaker
Only one size option
Outdated processor
Not eligible for Wear OS 3 upgrade

Fossil Gen 6 vs. Fossil Gen 5: What to expect

When faced with whether or not to upgrade, several different factors will come into play. When choosing between the Fossil Gen 6 and Fossil Gen 5 smartwatches, the decision might be somewhat easier on you. Some major differences might sway you right off the bat.

If you want to invest your money in a wearable that has a much better shot at a guaranteed future, you'll want to upgrade to the Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch. These models have the latest Snapdragon Wear 4100+ chipset, and they'll also be eligible to upgrade to Wear OS 3 next year. However, the Fossil Gen 5 models will be left behind. You get an older processor and an outdated platform that will eventually be yesterday's news. If you're looking for the newest and best Android smartwatch, you can't go wrong with the Fossil Gen 6.

The Fossil Gen 6 can keep up with changing times

The first question you ask yourself when weighing the pros and cons of upgrading is the differences between the two options. When it comes to the Fossil Gen 6 smartwatches, the differences are likely big enough to sway your ultimate decision.

First, you'll notice the designs are fairly similar to previous models. This time, you can opt for either a 44mm or 42mm stainless steel case. These models are compatible with 22mm and 18mm interchangeable bands, respectively. You'll receive the same gorgeous 1.3-inch AMOLED display and two side buttons with a rotating crown.

If you're up to date on wearable news, you might've heard the Wear OS 3 announcement. Currently, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is the only device running on the new platform. However, there's a handful of existing and new watches that will eventually be eligible to upgrade to Wear OS 3, including the Fossil Gen 6 models.

Swipe to scroll horizontally
Header Cell - Column 0 Fossil Gen 6Fossil Gen 5
Display1.3-inch AMOLED, 416x416 / 326ppi1.3-inch AMOLED, 416x416 / 326ppi
SensorsHRM, accelerometer, altimeter, compass, gyroscope, off-body IR, SpO2, ambient light sensorHRM, accelerometer, gyroscope, altimeter, ambient light sensor
Battery life1 day1 day
ProcessorSnapdragon Wear 4100+Snapdragon Wear 3100
Storage1GB RAM / 8GB Storage1GB RAM / 8GB Storage
Onboard GPS✔️✔️
Mobile payments✔️✔️
Eligible for Wear OS 3✔️

Some other improvements might win you over. Compared to the Gen 5 models, the Gen 6 smartwatches promise to deliver 30% increased performance, including faster app loading. Fossil also states that these models offer lower power consumption, but the max battery life is still estimated at only 24 hours. Fortunately, the Fossil Gen 6 models can charge up to 80% in approximately 30 minutes. Previously, this took a full hour.

If you've owned a fitness smartwatch in the past, you know that heart-rate monitoring is a fairly common feature. Fossil has improved this sensor on the Gen 6 models and states that it "works even better in more situations." Another health-tracking improvement is the new SpO2 sensor, which can record blood oxygen measurements to determine how well your body is circulating oxygen.

Gen 6 wearable technology is designed to help users understand their health.

Fossil talks a lot about how much faster these models are. More specifically, the company states that Gen 6 wearable technology is designed to help users understand their health while also viewing their stats faster and better than ever. This is a vague statement, but by improving health-tracking and adding a faster processor, we're hopeful it will be a better user experience all around.

Many of the existing smartwatch features found on the Fossil Gen 5 are also available on the Fossil Gen 6 smartwatches. For example, you'll have a built-in mic and speaker, which is great for taking Bluetooth calls on your wrist. Users will also have access to Google Assistant and Google Pay. Other similarities include onboard GPS, activity tracking, and heart-rate monitoring.

The Fossil Gen 5 may be appealing, but it's losing its touch

Fossil Gen 5

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Joe Maring / Android Central)

From when they were first released until recently, the Fossil Gen 5 models were quite alluring for many reasons. The 44mm cases are available in many masculine and feminine designs, so it's easy to find a match for your style. You get a large and beautiful 1.3-inch AMOLED display as well as two side buttons and a rotating crown for easy navigation. The Fossil Gen 5 bands are compatible with 22mm interchangeable bands, so you can always change the look of your wearable.

One disappointment among Wear OS watches that continues to be a problem among new models is poor battery life. Fossil made an effort to improve this by adding battery-saving modes to the Gen 5 smartwatches. The issue is that while these modes do prolong battery life, they restrict certain features that most users rely on. The best-case scenario is that your battery will last for 24 hours.

Now that Snapdragon Wear 4100+ is available, the Fossil Gen 5 models aren't nearly as appealing.

When these models were first released, the inclusion of Snapdragon Wear 3100 was a big success. However, now that Snapdragon Wear 4100+ is available, the Fossil Gen 5 models aren't nearly as appealing. It's an outdated processor that offers decent performance thanks to the 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage, but it won't come close to what you get on the Gen 6 models.

As far as smartwatch features and fitness tracking are concerned, the Fossil Gen 5 offers most of the essentials that users look for. You'll have solid activity tracking, onboard GPS, heart-rate tracking, Google Assistant, Google Pay, and a built-in mic/speaker. Compared to the Fossil Gen 6 smartwatches, you won't have blood oxygen monitoring or the improved heart-rate sensor. The most important distinction is that the Gen 5 models will not be eligible for the Wear OS 3 upgrade.

Fossil Gen 6 vs. Fossil Gen 5: Should you upgrade?

Fossil Gen 6

Source: Fossil (Image credit: Source: Fossil)

While there once was a time when the Fossil Gen 5 smartwatches were some of the best wearables on the market, times are changing. A watch can offer all the features and design elements you could ever want, but if the internal specs aren't making sense anymore, it's time to reconsider.

Unfortunately, the Fossil Gen 5 models can't keep up with the changing times. These models (and previous generations) aren't eligible to upgrade to the Wear OS 3 platform. Creatures of habit might not see an issue, but support for older versions of Wear OS may dwindle over time. If you want a wearable that will stay current, you won't get that with a Fossil Gen 5 model.

You'll be glad to know the new Fossil Gen 6 smartwatches have the new Snapdragon Wear 4100+ processor for better performance. Fossil improved the health tracking on these models and added a blood oxygen sensor. You'll also be able to choose from two size options. What's more, these models will be upgrading to the Wear OS 3 platform in mid-2022. You may have to wait a bit, but at least you know the upgrade is coming, and you won't be wasting money on an outdated watch.

With all the upcoming changes, you should consider choosing a Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch over a Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch. You can pre-order a Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch now for shipping on September 27.

Courtney Lynch

Courtney Lynch is a freelance writer at Android Central. She's obsessed with all things health, fitness, and music. At any given time, she can be found checking out the latest and greatest gadgets while simultaneously petting her dog and sipping iced coffee.