Fossil Gen 5 vs. Gen 5E: What’s the difference and which should you buy?

by Jeremy


A perfect lifestyle watch

Fossil Gen 5


Fossil gen 5 Carlyle

Lite yet efficient wearable

Fossil Gen 5E


Fossil Gen 5e Render

If you want to go big or go home with your smartwatch experience, the Fossil Gen 5 is where it’s at. It’s nearly identical to the Fossil Gen 5E, with a few exceptions. On this model, you get built-in GPS, additional storage, and a rotating crown. It only comes in one size, though.

From $240 at Amazon

Pros

  • Onboard GPS
  • Heart-rate monitoring
  • Activity/sleep tracking
  • Google Assistant
  • Google Pay

Cons

  • Only one size option
  • More expensive

If looks are more important to you than internal features, you might find yourself favoring the Fossil Gen 5E. You’ll have two size options to choose from, which is ideal for users with smaller wrists. It’s slightly more affordable, but you’ll sacrifice GPS and a few other perks.

From $180 at Amazon

Pros

  • Heart-rate monitoring
  • Activity/sleep tracking
  • Google Assistant
  • Google Pay
  • Two sizes

Cons

  • Lacks onboard GPS
  • No rotating crown
  • Less storage

Fossil Gen 5 vs. Gen 5E: What’s the difference?

Choosing between two Android smartwatches will depend on numerous factors, especially when you’re dealing with two very similar wearables from the same company. Take the Fossil Gen 5 and the newer Fossil Gen 5E, for example. While the design varies slightly, there are some bigger differences at play.

Fortunately, both models are packed with plenty of new features that came with a recent software update. As for the key differences, the Fossil Gen 5 includes onboard GPS, 8 GB of storage, and a rotating crown. The Fossil Gen 5E is a lite version of the original model. You only get 4 GB of storage, and you’ll have to rely on connected GPS with your phone. While you have a side button, it doesn’t have a rotating crown. However, you will have two different size options: 44mm and 42mm.

If you care more about design and affordability, you’ll likely prefer the Fossil Gen 5E. If you want more features for your money, the Fossil Gen 5 is the better option. It’s more expensive and only comes in one size, but you can’t beat the extra perks that this wearable offers.

The Fossil Gen 5 offers a few important extras

fossil gen 5

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central Pictured: Fossil Gen 5

When the Fossil Gen 5 was first released, it was pretty impressive on multiple levels. While that may still be true, times have changed, and it’s becoming less impressive with age. Our latest Fossil Gen 5 review digs into what these wearables are like one year later. In short, the once-new Snapdragon 3100 is no longer the latest processor — and it shows.

Even with the addition of 1 GB RAM and 8 GB storage, Wear OS on the Fossil Gen 5 still has its pitfalls. Hopefully, more companies will follow Mobvoi’s lead with the TicWatch Pro 3, and the Snapdragon 4100 chipset will start popping up in Wear OS devices sooner rather than later.

The Fossil Gen 5 might be the older model, but it’s still got a stunning design. It only comes in one size (44mm), but there are multiple variants to pick from depending on what look you’re trying to achieve. You also get a colorful 1.3-inch AMOLED display. The watch has two easy-to-use side buttons and a rotating crown for navigating through menus. These models are compatible with 22 mm interchangeable bands. When you want to shop for a new Fossil Gen 5 band, you’ll have an array of choices.

Fossil Gen 5 Fossil Gen 5E (Men’s)
Dimensions 44x44x12 mm 44x44x12 mm
Display 1.28″ AMOLED 1.19″ AMOLED
Sensors Heart rate, accelerometer, gyroscope, compass, altimeter, ambient light Heart rate, accelerometer, gyroscope
Battery life 1 day 1 day
RAM/Storage 1 GB RM, 8 GB Storage 1 GB RM, 4 GB Storage
Water-resistance 3 ATM 3 ATM
Onboard GPS ✔️
Two size options ✔️
Music storage ✔️ ✔️
Mobile payments ✔️ ✔️
Sleep tracking ✔️ ✔️
Extended battery modes ✔️ ✔️

Another perk that may come in handy is the various battery-saving modes that you can take advantage of. While these modes can limit functionality, they’re mainly designed to prolong your battery life in between charges. For instance, Extended Mode allows you to use essential features every day while only needing a charge every few days. If you don’t want to be limited in using your smartwatch, Daily Mode will still require you to charge it each night.

While the Fossil Gen 5 offers 1 GB RAM and 8 GB storage, there’s still room for improvement.

It’s no secret that Wear OS needs work, especially in comparison to other leaders on the market. While the Fossil Gen 5 offers 1 GB RAM and 8 GB storage, there’s still room for improvement. The Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor provides you with decent performance, but there are still typical software bugs that cause Wear OS to lag behind its competitors in this department.

While the Fossil Gen 5 isn’t exactly a fitness smartwatch, it has the main features you need to track your health and activity. This model comes with built-in GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity tracking, and water resistance up to 30 meters. The new update adds sleep monitoring and cardio fitness tracking with VO2 max estimation. You also get a wide range of smartwatch features, including Google Assistant, Google Pay, music storage, and a mic/speaker for taking Bluetooth calls on your wrist.

The Fossil Gen 5E cuts a few corners

Fossil Gen 5E

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central Pictured: Fossil Gen 5E

When you buy the lite version of any device, you can expect it to cut a few corners. In the case of the Fossil Gen 5E, there are a few missing features you’ll want to consider. Most importantly, you won’t have onboard GPS with this model. As a result, you’ll need to have your phone with you to track your route during an activity. If activity tracking isn’t your main goal, it might not bother you that the Fossil Gen 5E lacks onboard GPS.

The Fossil Gen 5E is missing an altimeter, a compass, and an ambient light sensor.

There’s also a slight downgrade in terms of storage. The Fossil Gen 5 offers 8 GB while the Gen 5E tops out at 4 GB. This might seem trivial, but considering this is a brand-new watch running on an old chipset, it can affect the overall performance. This might not be a deal-breaker for everyone, but it’s worth mentioning that the Fossil Gen 5E is missing an altimeter, a compass, and an ambient light sensor.

Now that we know what’s missing, let’s talk about the one advantage the Fossil Gen 5E has over the original models. This time around, you can choose between two case sizes. Not surprisingly, the larger 44mm models come in a few different masculine designs, including Black Stainless Steel and Brown Leather. The smaller 42mm models are available in more feminine designs, like Blush Silicone and Rose Gold Stainless Steel. Regardless of which model you choose, you’ll have access to a wide variety of interchangeable Fossil Gen 5E bands.

Fossil Gen 5 vs. Gen 5E: Which should you buy?

Fossil Gen 5

Source: Joe Maring / Android Central Pictured: Fossil Gen 5

If you’re a fan of extras and don’t want to miss out on key features such as built-in GPS, you’ll probably want to stick with the original Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch. It also provides you with more storage and a satisfying digital crown for easier navigation. If you can live with the one 44mm case size option and want these few extra features, you’ll be happy to choose the Fossil Gen 5.

Perhaps those extras don’t really jump out at you. If you’re buying a Fossil wearable to enjoy the gorgeous design and a few smartwatch perks, the Gen 5E might be more your speed. You get two different size options with this watch, which is a departure from the original models. It has all the same updates and new perks, too. The only other major differences are the lack of GPS, less storage, and a slimmed-down side button setup.

There isn’t a huge price gap here, so your decision will come down to what features and design elements matter most to you. If you want more bang for your buck, then you should probably consider the Fossil Gen 5. If you want to save a few bucks and won’t miss the perks, go with the Fossil Gen 5E.

Perfect lifestyle watch


Fossil gen 5 Carlyle

Fossil Gen 5

The full experience

If you want every feature possible, then you probably don’t want to compromise on GPS. If this is a must-have perk in your eyes, you’ll want to go with the Fossil Gen 5. You also get more storage and a smooth rotating crown.

Lite, yet efficiently wearable


Fossil Gen 5e Render

Fossil Men’s Gen 5E 44mm Stainless Steel Touchscreen Smartwatch

Lite, but still impressive

Those who like having options will appreciate the Fossil Gen 5E. You get to choose between a 42mm and 44mm case size. You won’t have onboard GPS, and you’ll have less storage, but these might not be major drawbacks to you.

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