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Google's Wear OS is not in the best state right now, but it's serviceable if you want a smartwatch that integrates deeply with your phone. When you decide to make do with Wear OS, Fossil is usually there to offer an array of acceptable devices. Over a year ago, we reviewed the Fossil Gen 5 and it was one of the best Wear OS smartwatches at the time. Since then, very little has happened in the Wear OS world. That's why the Fossil Gen 5 LTE is exciting: it's one of the few LTE-enabled Wear OS devices on the market, and LTE on watches can be a real game-changer, in my experience.
Fossil Group has been Google's main partner with Wear OS for years, producing dozens of watches under a handful of different brands. The company's main flagship watch is the Fossil Gen 5, which is nearing two years old. Fossil didn't announce a Gen 6 line at this year's CES show, but there is a new LTE version of the Gen 5 coming this spring.
Fossil is known for making some of the best-looking smartwatches on the market, which also tend to offer a good compromise when it comes to features. The brand's fifth generation of timepieces is currently on sale, down to its lowest price ever at only $139, which is more than 50% off its initial retail price.
Almost since the platform's inception, Facer has been one of the best third-party apps on Wear OS. It allows users to create and share watch faces with no programming knowledge, and now it will come installed by default on some of Fossil's smartwatches.
Wear OS smartwatches aren't for everyone, but Fossil's Gen 5 watches are some of the best ones to buy. They operate on the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip paired with a full gig of RAM, making it one of the snappiest experiences with Google's wearable platform around. And right now, you can buy a Gen 5 watch for as low as $143.20 from Fossil's website when you use the coupon code exclusive.
Fossil is the main manufacturer of smartwatches running Google's Wear OS software, and the Gen 5 is the company's main series at the moment. The smaller Gen 5E launched earlier this month for $250, but now you can get the regular models for just $189.00 on Amazon. That's a savings of $106 compared to the typical price.
Samsung's new smartwatch on the block is the Galaxy Watch3, featuring the company's latest hardware and software packed into a traditional-looking watch. However, at a starting price of $400 (with configurations that make it almost $500), it's not an impulse purchase. There's also the competition to consider, namely the Fossil Gen 5.
It's fair to say that Wear OS has been stagnating lately. Google announced a few updates for its smartwatch operating system last week, but they're more like minor improvements than the major overhaul many feel the platform needs. Fossil and its subsidiaries make a lot of Wear OS watches, and now the company is taking matters into its own hands with an exclusive update that adds new health-tracking capabilities, a Phone app tile, and more.
The Fossil Gen 5 is one of the best Wear OS smartwatches you can buy, thanks to a stylish design and solid hardware let down only by Qualcomm's lackluster support for the platform and the inherent bugginess of Wear OS. The Garrett styling of the Gen 5 has the same hardware as the regular model, only wrapped up in a fancy new exterior. The usual $295 price tag is quite high, but if you grab it at Amazon now you can get it for the much more palatable $179 ($116 off).