Thinking about purchasing a smartwatch and are wondering what the differences are between the Fossil Gen 4 vs Samsung Gear S3?
There are a number of key differences between these watches.
In my particular case, deal breakers, but these key differences will depend on what it is you want from your watch and what you want it to do.
Below I run through the differences and hopefully it will give you a little more clarity as to which might suit you better.
Let’s get this show on the road!
Fossil Gen 4 Overview
Spotify, Google Play Music
Slightly better screen res
Slightly larger screen size
Swim tracking via 3rd party apps
2-year warranty (S3 is 1 year)
Can d/l music to use offline
Smaller size than S3
Can’t respond to messages w/ iPhone
Slower processor than S3
Have to have a subscription to d/l music
No speaker so cannot answer calls
Poor battery life
Gear S3 Overview
Spotify, Google Play Music
Can d/l music
UI is great
Compatible with leading fitness apps
Can answer calls
Locate your phone
Can add events directly
NFC only works on Samsung devices
Samsung pay not as popular
So what are the Differences between the Fossil Gen 4 vs Samsung Gear S3?
Below the copy, in this article, you will find an infographic comparing all the specs of the two phones.
Immediately below we list the main differences in terms of specs and run through how they might affect you.
Specs, however, are not the be all and end all of a good smartwatch.
We will run through some other things that you may want to consider.
Like what you may ask?
An example is the NTC function.
If you are from the US, then this particular feature might not be an issue, but where I am from, Samsung Pay is not available in any shops.
In that case, the Gear S3 would be useless to me if I wanted to have that feature on my phone.
This is just one of a number of things to consider before you buy.
We will run through them further on.
In the meantime, let’s run through the spec differences and what they will mean to you.
I think it is pretty obvious what the difference in screen resolution means for you. The better the resolution the more clear the display is for you.
This helps to make things easier on your eyes.
The Fossil has a slightly better resolution with 454×454 resolution as opposed to the Gear S3 360×360
Does screen size really make a difference?
Well, these guys seem to think so.
To be fair the difference in screen size is very small, and actually, although the fossil has the larger screen size, it is actually still the small watch in size, mostly due to the S3’s rotating bezel controls.
The Fossil Gen 4 can be used for swimming tracking
This is a feature which will sit well with those who swim a lot and who are looking for a smartwatch which helps track their swimming data.
This feature will distinguish between what type of stroke you are swimming (freestyle, breaststroke etc) and record and display data accordingly.
The Fossil Gen 4 supports swimming and you can download 3rd party apps to help with tracking your swimming data.
The Gear S3 is water resistant but is not recomended for swimming.
So although the function is not built into the watch itself with an app such as Strava you are able to track your swim distances.
The Fossil Gen 4 is certainly not the most advanced swim tracking smartwatch available, but if you are happy with basic data for your swimming, it does give you that option.
Gear S3 compatible with Mapmyfitness & Myfitnesspal
Mapmyfitness is a popular app made by Under Armour and has a large community along with over a million downloads in the play store with a 4.4-star rating.
The cool thing about this app is that you can integrate it with Under Armour’s ‘Smart Shoes’ to further track your exercise.
Anyhow, I know when I work out I use a 3rd party app which works fine on my phone, but some do not sync with many smartwatches.
Often the 3rd party apps are far more comprehensive and ‘better’ than the watch brands proprietary apps, especially for more niche workouts.
I certainly find that the case with Google fit.
It is of no use for me when weight training.
So being 3rd party app friendly is quite important, and no doubt as smart watches get more popular, then the available and compatible apps will grow.
This will, of course, depend on the platform, but I will discuss that later.
The Gear S3 does have available integration with Mapmyfitness. Fossil Gen 4 does not.
Myfitnesspal is the brother of Mapmyfitness which focusses primarily on food and your calorie intake.
If you are serious about weight gain or loss then diet is a huge factor.
Myfitnesspal compliments Mapmyfitness to help you achieve your fitness goals.
Both are made by Under Armour.
If you also use Myfitnesspal, unfortunately, this does not sync with the Fossil Gen 4.
If you are looking for alternative fitness apps, could try having a peek at these.
Gear S3 answers calls/has speaker
This is kind of a biggy for me.
I understand this might be a feature some might not use and that’s fine, however as a modern smartwatch, why wouldn’t you?
Why would you not have the ability to answer calls?
Even the previous generation of Fossil watches had this ability.
But, as it stands, the Fossil watch does not have a speaker so you will not be able to take phone calls on your Gen 4 smartwatch.
The Gear S3 does have this feature.
To add to this, not having a speaker also means that you are not able to play music ‘out loud’ on your Fossil Gen 4.
You are also unable to sign up to Apple music on the Fossil Gen 4.
You are, however, able to use ‘voice to text’ on the fossil gen 4 which is great for sending messages with little hassle.
Locate your phone
So there are a couple of different scenarios for this particular feature.
Scenario 1 being that you are in your home and have your watch, but cannot find your phone.
Provided you are within wifi/Bluetooth distance of the lost device you can send a signal to your phone from your watch and you should hopefully hear it vibrate or beep and you can be back on your way.
Great for absent minding people like myself 🙂
The other scenario is if you have completely lost your phone, for example, on a train or bus, etc and you need to be able to locate your device via GPS.
Samsung Gear S3 gives you the abilityto find your watch from your phone or vice versa.
You spend a lot of money on your phone and watch so it’s nice to have a little back up when mistakes happen rather than having to fork out for a new device.
While the Fossil Gen 4 you are able to find your phone if it is in bluetooth range you cannot find your watch without using a 3rd party app.
Along with that, there is no ability to find your devices via GPS.
I don’t know about you but when I’m spending a good amount of money, I want to be covered for the longest amount of time possible.
Things happen, and having good coverage is important.
With that said there is a reasonable difference in the warranty terms for these 2 watches.
A year is a big difference and definitely something worth considering.
Wear OS platform vs Tizen & UI
To be fair, at this point in time, these platforms are still developing.
Wear OS is a huge upgrade from the disaster that was Android Wear.
Android wear got to the point where manufacturers were using alternative operating systems in their watches.
It has improved significantly in recent times, but it probably still has a ways to go.
Given it is backed by Google and a complementary system to Android, the platform is there for them to very well.
Tizen, on the other hand, is Samsungs own proprietary marketplace.
Tizen was also said to have taken over a larger market share than Wear OS, which is pretty big news.
Though there are rumors Samsung may be reverting back to Wear OS.
What does this all mean for you?
Well, in regards to these watches, not a lot and in the present, not so much.
Looking at these 2 watches, it is fairly unanimous that the Tizen OS is slicker in the S3 due to the rotating bezel on the watch which makes selecting things far easier than on the Fossil.
The Gear S3 is one of the only smartwatches to have this feature and it is certainly highly rated by many users.
Right out of the blocks we can see the Gear S3 has superior battery life.
You will really want to consider whether having a long battery life is important when choosing between the Fossil Gen 4 & Gear S3 as there is a very noticeable difference in battery life between the two.
The Fossil Gen 4 is stated as having up to 24 hours battery life, and the consensus is that would be on an extremely good day.
It is probably the most common complaint with the Gen 4 – that the battery life is too short.
So if it bothers you that you will need to charge your phone at least once per day, then you may want to look at the S4.
I touched on this point earlier on but the way the UI works on both the watches is quite different.
The Fossil Gen 3 has 3 ‘knobs’ if you will, on the side of the watch. You can program in a button press to an app, which makes it easy to select your most popular apps, and the middle knob is for scrolling/ navigation.
Now, many people found the UI quite reasonable, but there were a number of people who ran into issues with the knobs getting caught on things, or when they extend their hand up and back, they would press the lever.
So while it’s UI is not bad, there were still some kinks with it.
In comparison, the Gear S3 is rated by many to be one of the best UI’s for smartwatches available.
Read any review of the S3 and everyone will be commenting on the bezel, and how great it is for selecting apps on the watch.
If you are one who has many events during your day or week and are looking for a smartwatch that is able to add events directly on the phone then you will want to look at the S3.
This particular smartwatch gives you the ability to add events directly into the watch.
Unfortunately for those looking at the Gen 4, you will not be able to add events directly on the phone.
There is a feature in which Google can automatically add events from emails that you receive, but again, no function to do so manually.
Now, if you like to listen to music when you are at the gym, on the bus or out walking, then music would be an important part of selecting a smartwatch.
I know for me it is one of the top 3 features I consider.
So which is more suitable?
Well, it depends on how you like your music.
Both watches have the ability to use Spotify in which you are able to download and listen to music offline.
This is where the similarities end.
The Fossil Gen 4 is funnily enough, also compatible with Google Play Music which again, you are able to download songs to use offline.
You are not able to download external music onto the device.
You must be subscribed to Spotify or Google Play.
You ARE able to download external music onto the phone, however, the is currently no app available for Google Play Music.
There are apparently apps in which you can download your playlist from GPM and use in your watch, however that is not the ideal framework to be working in!
So both have their pros and cons when it comes to music, so its something worth considering!
I won’t go into too much technical detail here other than to say that the Gear S3 has the more advanced chip which enables it to load faster and have a much longer battery life (as we have mentioned above)
There is a good article here which explains the differences between the 2 chips, and why the S3 has the more superior chip.
Both watches offer the ability to be able to respond to text messages directly from the watch.
With each watch, you are able to respond via voice-to-text, by quick response options, and by messaging on the phone.
The Gear S3 also offers the ability to doodle on the screen and the doodle is then sent as an image, so it does give that little bit extra flexibility.
It is also worth noting that both watches don’t exactly play well with Apple IOS, especially when it comes to messaging.
You will not be able to reply to messages if you have an iPhone, on either watch.
This is another very important feature for me, as I would love to be able to use my smartwatch for payments.
I really love the convenience that NFC on my mobile has given, and having the ability on my watch would be next level.
So how do they stack up?
Well, in my case, in particular, the Gear S3 is ruled out, for 2 reasons.
1. Samsung Pay is not available in my country yet.
2. Samsung Pay only works with Samsung devices.
Point #2 is pretty big, as Google Pay, which the Fossil Gen 4 utilizes, is compatible with any Android phone with NFC.
That’s a HUGE difference.
Samsung does have one advantage with its pay system because, as Joyofandroid point out:
“Even if the point-of-sale machine does not support NFC technology, you’ll be able to do payments thanks to MST technology that’s built into the latest Samsung smartphones.
MST or magnetic secure transmission interacts directly with the machine and allows you to do payments.”
It might be useful for a small minority at this point in time, but NFC is being widely adopted as the universal payment method.
And just to be clear, the Gear S3 is also able to make payments via NFC.
Summary of Fossil Gen 4 vs Samsung Gear S3
Overall, if I was to choose the better watch then I’d say the Samsung Gear S3 has a number of advantages over the Fossil Gen 4.
For my personal buying criteria though it would be scratched due to the issues with Samsung pay and its compatibility.
Ultimately, it really comes down to what features you want in your smartwatch, and what exactly you want it to do and what you intend to use it for.
I like the UI on the S3, the battery life is important and far better on the S3 and the ability to answer calls on the S3 is also, in my case a much-wanted feature.
In comparison, the Fossil Gen 4 offers more compatibility with its payments, has a longer warranty period and in my personal opinion, looks just that little bit cooler.
If I had the choice, I would love a mixture of both watches.
Neither of them quite fulfil all my requirements, but with the new generations coming out, they may not be a bad buy in a future sale!
Now Fossil has released the Gen 5 Carlyle. I would highly suggest checking out the upgrades that have been made since the Fossil Gen 4.