Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs. Fossil Gen 5: Which should you buy?

Galaxy Watch 3 45mm Black
Galaxy Watch 3 45mm Black (Image credit: Andrew Martonik / Android Central)

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 (45mm)

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 45mm Render

The new Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is for those who want to be able to do anything and everything with their wearable. IN addition to tracking health and fitness metrics, you'll have optional LTE connectivity, onboard GPS, and NFC payments. It comes in two sizes and a few different colors as well.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 (45mm)

A galaxy full of features

New health/fitness perks
Optional LTE
Two size options
Better battery life
Mighty expensive

Fossil Gen 5

Fossil gen 5 Carlyle

The Fossil Gen 5 is one of the best Wear OS watches to-date. You'll have better performance thanks to upgraded RAM ad storage along with the new Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor. Other key features include onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity tracking, and NFC payments.

Fossil Gen 5

Wear OS at its best

Attractive design
Google Assistant
New Snapdragon Wear 3100
Only one size
Lacks optional LTE
Short battery life

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs. Fossil Gen 5 What's the difference?

It's not hard to tell that the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 and the Fossil Gen 5 are two very different smartwatches with a few common threads. Choosing between the two will depend on a couple of key factors. Do you want LTE connectivity on your wearable as well as a robust health/activity tracking suite? If so, then you'll want to go for the Galaxy Watch 3.

Alternatively, if you'd rather save some money and buy a more affordable device that offers a nice blend of looks and functionality, you'll be better off with the Fossil Gen 5. At the end of the day, The Galaxy Watch 3 is the better choice but it comes at a price point that might be too high for some users.

The Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 is all about features

If you're a fan of tracking your health and fitness, you'll love the new upgrades this successor brings. Surprisingly enough, the Galaxy Watch 3 has already received its first update, which enables a handful of new features in the U.S. and other select markets.

You'll now have advanced running analysis to help improve your form and better sleep tracking with sleep scores. It enables VO2 max support, which measures your maximum oxygen uptake during an activity. This update also allows the Galaxy Watch 3 to measure the amount of oxygen in your blood. However, we're still waiting for the electrocardiogram (ECG) sensor to be available for use outside of South Korea. This feature allows your watch to detect an irregular heartbeat, which could be an indicator of a more serious health condition.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 (45mm)Fossil Gen 5
Dimensions45 x 46.2 x 11.1mm44 x 44 x 12 mm
Display1.4-inch AMOLED1.3" AMOLED
SensorsHRM, accelerometer, gyroscope, barometer, ambient light sensor, electrocardiogramHeart rate, accelerometer, gyroscope, altimeter, ambient light
Battery life2 to 3 days, varies by model1 day
Water resistance5 ATM / IP683 ATM
Operating systemTizen OS 5.5Wear OS
Mobile payments✔️✔️
Optional LTE✔️
Military-grade durability✔️

The new Galaxy Watch 3 is backed by Tizen OS 5.5, which has received some important improvements. Samsung says that the new version of the operating system will do a better job of automatically detecting and tracking workouts. Also present on the new version are built-in run coaching and recovery tools. You can connect to some 120+ home workout videos via the Samsung Health app. Once you choose a program, you can cast it to your TV and view your stats as you go.

Although not quite as exciting as some of the others we've mentioned, another new feature is fall detection. This feature is designed to recognize is a user falls when engaged in dynamic motion, so it won't work when you're still. Your watch will require a network connection to notify your emergency contact of the fall and share your location. It's a thoughtful addition but pales in comparison to the other new perks.

The Galaxy Watch 3 has a sleek new design.

If you owned the predecessor or had been eyeing it at some point, you'll likely notice the Galaxy Watch 3 has a sleek new design. You'll also have your choice of either a 41mm or a 45mm model. As usual, the smaller model is marginally less expensive, but it's certainly not cheap. The larger model is available in stainless steel or titanium while the smaller version lacks a titanium option. The color choices include Mystic Black, Mystic Silver, and Mystic Bronze.

While it's not wildly slimmer, you will notice a difference in the thickness of the Galaxy Watch 3 and its predecessor. This is great for those who don't want a thicker watch on their wrist when working out. The watch uses replaceable bands, and you can even use the ones from the original Galaxy Watch if they're the right size. The 41mm model uses 20mm bands while the 45mm model uses 22mm bands.

The Fossil Gen 5 boasts looks and functionality

Fossil Gen 5

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

If you're feeling like you'd prefer something that's not as intense about tracking and is more focused on looks and functionality, you might prefer the Fossil Gen 5. It's only available in one size (44mm), but there are numerous variants to choose from depending on what aesthetic you're going for. It also has a colorful 1.3-inch AMOLED display with two side buttons and a rotating crown for seamless navigation. The Fossil Gen 5 uses 22mm replaceable bands, so it's easy to switch up your style whenever you feel like it.

Another improvement is the battery-saving modes that help you prolong its battery life. Unfortunately, these modes do limit certain aspects of functionality. Most people buy a smartwatch so they can use the features throughout the day, and the battery-saving modes can hinder that. In short, you can expect to charge the Fossil Gen 5 every day or so.

The Fossil Gen 5 comes with the latest Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor.

Whether you're a beginner or an expert on smartwatches, most users can agree that Wear OS is a constant work in progress. The good news is that the Fossil Gen 5 comes with the latest Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor. When you combine this with the upgraded 1 GB of RAM and 8 GB of storage, you get much better performance.

The Fossil Gen 5 may not be geared toward health and fitness enthusiasts, but it does offer decent health and activity tracking. You'll also enjoy onboard GPS, heart-rate monitoring, and water resistance up to 30 meters. Some of the smartwatch features include Google Assistant, Google Pay, music storage, and a mic/speaker. It's not quite as sophisticated as the Galaxy Watch the 3, but the Fossil Gen 5 is still one of the best Android smartwatches on the market right now.

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs. Fossil Gen 5 Which should you buy?

If you've got stars in your eyes when you think about all that you can do with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 3, then the expensive price tag might be worth it. Now that it offers improved tracking perks, health and fitness enthusiasts may want to give this watch a try. It's also ideal for users who want a wearable with LTE connectivity and a sleek but durable design. However, if you don't feel that the features are enough to justify the price, you might want to choose something a bit more practical.

On that note, the Fossil Gen 5 is a reasonably priced smartwatch that is an excellent companion for those who want a fashionable lifestyle wearable with some great features. You won't have LTE, military-grade durability, or more advanced tracking, but maybe those aren't important to you anyway. If you're content with the essentials such as GPS, heart-rate monitoring, Google Assistant, Google Pay, and music storage, the Fossil Gen 5 is a solid choice.

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.