Fossil’s new Gen 5E smartwatches are paired-down versions of last year’s Gen 5 series, but they come in more sizes and at a more affordable price. As well as three new 44mm styles, the new Gen 5E is available in a new 42mm size, which features smaller bezels to maintain the same 1.19-inch OLED display. Both sizes of the Gen 5E will retail for $249, compared to the $295 starting price of the Gen 5.
At that price, you’re still getting most of the same features as the existing Gen 5 Wear OS smartwatch. The Gen 5E watches come complete with the sleep tracking, battery saving, and fitness features that came to the Gen 5 via a software update in August. They’re equipped with a speaker and microphone that allow you to make calls via a tethered Android or iOS phone or to make Google Assistant queries. They also include heart rate and activity tracking.
Unfortunately, the similarities also mean that you’re still getting a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, rather than this year’s updated Wear 4100 chipset. The Gen 5E have 1GB of RAM and a 300mAh battery. Water resistance is rated as 3ATM, which means they’ll be able to handle splashes or being used in the rain but not swimming, and they can also handle mobile payments via NFC.
As the lower starting price suggests, the Fossil Gen 5E smartwatches don’t come with all the bells and whistles of last year’s Gen 5. The crowns on the right-hand side of the watch faces don’t rotate on the new Gen 5E models, and there’s no standalone GPS so you’ll have to tether to your phone for the watches to know your location. Storage is reduced at 4GB compared to 8GB last time around, and there’s also no ambient light sensor, no altimeter, and no compass.
When we reviewed the Fossil Gen 5 last year, one of our biggest complaints was its price, which was too expensive at $295. At $249, the Fossil Gen 5E series is certainly more affordable, and it’s great to see more size options. It’s just unfortunate that they’re now running on a previous-generation chipset and still use a wearable OS that’s increasingly in need of a revamp.
The new Gen 5E series will ship “close to” November 3rd, according to Fossil’s website.