In our review of the original Gen 5, we praised Fossil for ensuring the hardware was able to deliver a smooth and responsive user experience (something older Wear OS smartwatches have generally struggled with), but battery life was still middling, with daily charging a must for consistent use.
This new LTE model expands the Gen 5’s feature set by allowing for phone-free usage, including the making/taking and sending/receiving of calls and messages, respectively, without the need to carry your smartphone with you.
The trade-off comes with the added power demands that an LTE cellular radio places on the watch’s relatively small battery, which could already be drained at a relatively fast clip without too much trouble.
While Fossil already has a series of power profiles, designed to disable different sensors and features on its wearables in order to extend battery life, there’s a question around why the company didn’t also decide to upgrade the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset found within the standard Gen 5 to the newer and more power-efficient Wear 4100 or 4100+ platform that Qualcomm launched last year.
At the time of writing, the Fossil Gen 5 LTE is only available in the US, on sale from both Fossil directly and Verizon – the watch’s exclusive carrier partner – who offers support via its Number Share service, in order to allow access to the benefits of the watch’s LTE functionality.
It’s currently available for US$349 in two finishes: black and rose gold, and only in a 45mm casing size, paired with a silicon strap (additional straps can be purchased directly from Fossil).
If your heart isn’t set on cellular connectivity, the Fossil Group also just announced the Skagen Jorn Hybrid HR with 14-day battery life, as well as the Michael Kors Access Gen 5E.