I like Fossil smartwatches.
In my opinion, they are one of the classiest looking smartwatches out there.
In my article comparing the Gen 3 vs Gen 4 it became quite apparent, however, that there are a few drawbacks of the Gen 4.
Although it was a stylish watch with some great features there were a few things, which could almost be deal breakers for some people, including myself.
It really put me on the fence.
With the new addition of the Gen 5, one would hope that in this new smartwatch, Fossil have addressed these issues a delivered with a significant upgrade.
Yes, they have. The upgrades are really quite significant and in my opinion just too great to not choose the Gen 5 vs the Gen 4.
Read on to find out what has been changed and upgraded between the two watches.
Fossil Gen 4 vs Gen 5 Carlyle Features Compared
I personally think the Fossils are some of the nicest looking smartwatches around.
They look fantastic.
So what’s the difference as far as design goes between the Gen 4 vs the Gen 5?
The first thing of note is the bezel has been smoothed out the make the watch look a lot smoother.
Along with that, the corners are a bit more rounded and with less mass.
The design is more modern and a significant change is in the weight.
The Gen 5 is a lot lighter than the Gen 4 which is somewhat of a big improvement given the comments of Gen 4 owners about the size and weight.
The Gen 5 weighs in at 3.69 ounces, while the Gen 4 is around 5 ounces.
Probably some of this could be due to the fact the strap now comes (as standard) with a silicone strap on the Gen 5 as previously on the Gen 4, it was a stainless steel strap.
It’s a fine line trying to find the balance between too big and too small when it comes to smartwatches.
Especially given that everyone has different size wrists.
I guess all we can do is make an informed decision.
So, is there any difference between the screen between the Gen 5 and Gen 4?
Actually there is, but perhaps not what you would have thought.
The screen on the Gen 5 is a little smaller than the Gen 4, and it also has a little less screen resolution but with higher pixel density.
Fossils Gen 5 is now 1.28 inches with a resolution of 416 x 416 and a pixel density of 328ppi.
Compare that to the Gen 4 which has a 1.4 inch screen, resolution of 454×454 and a ppi of 249ppi.
What does that mean?
Effectively this means the Gen 5 is smaller in size but should be a lot sharper than the Gen 4.
For more on Pixel resolution vs density, you can find out more here.
Personally, I thought it was a huge call to leave a speaker off the Gen 4, especially since the Gen 3 actually had one.
By not having a speaker, they removed the ability for some, in my opinion crucial features.
- No google assistant responses (via audio)
- No ability to take calls on the watch
- No ability to play music out loud
- No ability to get audible alerts
Those are some pretty useful features.
I get that you are not really going to want to play much music on your phone much due to quality reasons, but still, it’s an option smartphones should at least give you.
Not being able to take calls and get alerts on your smartphone these days is just staying behind the curve.
Any no Google assistant? Ouch
So how about the Gen 5?
There is a speaker and this solves all 4 of the above issues and is a significant upgrade from the Gen 4 to the Gen 5 Carlyle.
OOOIIEE the battery.
Now if you know anything about the Gen 4 you will know that despite being a nice looking watch, most complaints from people who bought the watch were about the battery life.
To be frank, it is not good.
Often you might be lucky to get through a day without the need to recharge.
Apps like the heart rate monitor or Google assistant would be eating up all that yummy power leaving a whole lot of people pretty frustrated.
The good news?
Fossil has made a point of addressing this.
They have addressed these issues specifically – “Gen 5’s improved heart-rate sensor is battery efficient”.
Along with providing a variety of battery modes that enables you to turn things such as your heart rate monitor and Google assistant off in order for the watch to last longer.
This is fantastic news, and along with all the other upgrades, it makes this watch a very promising prospect.
Was it enough?
Not for everyone.
Although near all people will tell you the battery is far better than the Gen 4, it still isn’t quite on the level of some of its peers in terms of battery life (such as the iWatch or Galaxy S3)
If you plan to have your heart rate monitor and Google assistant on continuously, you might still be stuck with battery life not quite up to the standard you might want.
Software, Performance, and Features
Much like the improvements to the battery, there have been some game-changing improvements to the performance and hardware of the Gen 5 vs the Gen 4.
Firstly, the RAM has increased from 512MB to 1GB.
Secondly, internal storage has been increased from 4GB to 8GB.
Most importantly however the biggest and best change has come in the form of a new processor.
The Gen 5 utilizes the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Wear 3100 as opposed to the Gen using the Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Wear 2100.
Now, how significant of an upgrade is that?
It’s very significant and smartwatch fanatics have been hanging out for the upgrade.
Performance is greatly increased.
Is this video, around the 6.24 mark, you can see clearly the better performance.
You may have noticed In this article I have left out a number of other features such as Google pay, water resistance etc.
• Has a speaker
• Upgraded RAM
• Upgraded Processor
• Upgraded Memory
• Improved battery life & battery features
• Smaller screen
Fossil Q Gen 4 Explorist vs Fossil Q Gen 3 Explorist Verdict
If I was going to purchase either of these watches, I would hands down work a few more hours, and wait a few weeks longer to purchase the Gen 5.
The upgrades are really just too significant to ignore.
Given a large portion of the issues people had with the Gen 4 have been remedied (for the most part), spending that extra $100 or so to have a more feature-packed, better running, higher-quality watch with less frustration is almost a no brainer.
Ability to take calls, audible Google assistant, alerts and music, these are almost enough for me personally to favor the Gen 5, but the icing on the cake with the hardware (processor, RAM & Memory) really tips the scale.
The better battery and battery features.
If the Gen 6 comes out with a better battery, then sure, Id recommend that too, but in the present moment, the Gen 5 is a very solid choice.