comscore Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR Review: Great design letdown by Wear OS
Review

Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR Review: Great design letdown by Wear OS by Google

Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR is the best of Wear OS in the market right now. However, it has tough competition from Samsung Galaxy Watch for wearables compatible with Android.

Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR Review 1

Photo: Rehan Hooda


Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR 3.5 5
BGR Rating :
3.5/5

Highlights

  • Great design with premium build and improved hardware.

  • Difficult to see under direct sunlight.

  • The battery life is fine but the settings look complicated.

At the Only Watch Auction on November 9, the Patek Philippe Grandmaster Chime sold for a record price. At 31 million Swiss Franc, the Grandmaster Chime is now the most expensive watch ever made. The auction shows that Swiss watches still command a premium and time keeping remains a valuable profession. However, for a large part, watchmaking seemed to be losing its sheen. The industry expected entry of technology companies to change it. But, in reality, it has not. Apple Watch made its debut in 2014, and was expected to revolutionize watches. Five years later, my belief is that Apple Watch is great but rest of the tech companies have failed. After wearing Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR on my wrist for nearly three weeks, I’m certain about it. Also Read - Samsung Galaxy Watch LTE Review: The one to stay fit and connected

When Pebble launched its Kickstarter campaign, it seemed like wearable computers will become the next big thing. With Apple Watch, Cupertino showed that it is possible to put a computer on your wrist. It almost became inevitable that Google will follow and make Android the platform for non-Apple wearables. However what followed can be described as industry retreat. Motorola and LG announced exit from smartwatch market. Samsung ditched Android Wear for its own Tizen OS. Huawei also pivoted away from Google. Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi launched its first smartwatch only this month. Enter Fossil, the American fashion and manufacturing brand. It has single handedly given a new lease of life to Google’s wearable operating system. It’s newest wearable – Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR – wants to be the best wearable in the market. Is it? Can it compete with Apple Watch and Samsung Galaxy Watch. Let’s find out. Also Read - Xiaomi Mi Watch with 1.78-inch AMOLED display, WearOS platform launched in China

Watch: Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch Review

Design and Display

Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR is one of the best looking smartwatches out there. It features a circular watch face which is in line with traditional watch design. The base of the watch has a protruding element for the heart-rate sensor, which means it won’t stay flat on a surface. Our review unit comes in a black case with a thickness of around 12mm. There are also options for black or smoke stainless steel case. Our review unit is accompanied by black silicone case, but I would recommend getting the stainless steel version instead. The smoke stainless steel as well as black silicone variants are priced at Rs 22,995. Also Read - Apple Watch Series 5 Review: Always On

fossil, fossil gen 5 smartwatch, fossil gen 5 carlyle hr review, fossil gen 5 review, fossil gen 5 india price, fossil gen 5 features, wear os, fossil gen 5 vs samsung galaxy watch vs apple watch

Since this watch uses a standard 22mm single prong strap buckle, it becomes easier to pick alternate strap from a local store. 22mm straps being common in the industry, you get a number of options to customize the watch. The silicone strap that came with our review unit seemed to be less comfortable to wear and attracts dust easily. I have washed the silicone strap multiple times since I got it. The smartwatch is water resistant up to 3ATM, which means it is safe to use under a depth of 30 meters. While you can safely go for swimming, it is not recommended for activities like scuba diving.

At the front, you get a 1.28-inch display with a resolution of 416×416 pixels inside a case size of 44mm. This is the most comfortable size for a watch of this shape. It fits perfectly on my medium wrist and offers very clean look. The display, however, is not the brightest that I have seen on a smartwatch. If you set the display brightness to automatic then reading under direct sunlight becomes very difficult. In comparison, a cheaper smartwatch like the Amazfit GTS offers a brighter display that is easy to read under direct sunlight. While Fossil has built a mode called Sunlight boost, it didn’t seem to make much of a difference.

fossil, fossil gen 5 smartwatch, fossil gen 5 carlyle hr review, fossil gen 5 review, fossil gen 5 india price, fossil gen 5 features, wear os, fossil gen 5 vs samsung galaxy watch vs apple watch

I set the brightness to automatic throughout my testing, there were times I manually changed it to level 3. If Fossil begins work on a successor to Gen 5 then brighter display should be top in terms of priority. On the case, there is a rotating crown and two pushers. The pushers on the Gen 5 Carlyle HR are not as effective as say on a chronograph. The top pusher opens Fossil activities while the bottom pusher takes you to activity tracking. Both the pushers are customizable. The best part of this design, however, is the rotating crown. Since the whole interface of Wear OS is vertical in layout, the crown makes it easier to navigate. The feedback offered by the crown is really good and it works like a charm at all times.

There is a speaker on the left side, which can be used to listen to Google Assistant, music or make phone calls. My primary watch is a Casio Edifice and when I switched to Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR, the experience was seamless. I got almost similar fit on my wrist and I could use a Chronograph-style watch face to replicate the features. There are a number of watch faces to choose from but those from Misfit did not work. I eventually settled on Tag Heuer Carrera watch face available on Facer app. I would say that Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR is among the best looking smartwatch in the market right now.

fossil, fossil gen 5 smartwatch, fossil gen 5 carlyle hr review, fossil gen 5 review, fossil gen 5 india price, fossil gen 5 features, wear os, fossil gen 5 vs samsung galaxy watch vs apple watch

Hardware, Wear OS and Smartwatch Features

Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR runs Wear OS 2.10 with August security patch. It is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform with 1GB of RAM and 8GB internal storage. Fossil has opted for the best in terms of hardware, but the software seems like a major letdown. Every time I used the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR, it seemed like the hardware and the software did not communicate with each other really well. As soon as you start your Wear OS smartwatch, there is a considerable lag while navigating between screens. This experience reminds me of the very early days of smartwatches from Pebble.

On Fossil, you click the crown to open the app drawer and while scrolling through them is easier, the apps look like a second class citizen. You will notice this with Google’s own application. As soon as you click on Play Store, there is a split second difference between the launch time and the main screen. You will not see similar lag when you open the App Store on Apple Watch or the Tizen store on Galaxy Watch. Even the Google Assistant takes its own sweet time to load queries. I enabled Assistant to listening mode on Fossil Gen 5 and my smartphone and asked a query, the phone immediately answered the question but the watch struggled. Spotify comes with a barebones features and Google Play Music is the only way to download apps.

The smartwatch pairs with an Android smartphone via Wear OS application. This app is really clean and allows you to change the watch face, arrange your tiles, change notification and agenda settings. It also lets users control Google Assistant features and gestures like always-on screen and tilt to wake. The app works fine but there were times when the app did not connect with the watch immediately. These issues are clearly of Google and Qualcomm’s doing and Fossil seems to be paying the cost. For me, it is clear that Wear OS is still a work in progress.

While software remains a disappointment, the smartwatch functionalities do work well. The notifications from your smartphone are mirrored instantaneously and since it runs a proper OS, you can respond to them. Say you get a message on WhatsApp, apart from viewing it, you can reply to that message. You can either reply with smart suggestions or type using a full QWERTY keyboard. The smartwatch is tethered and it can be used to make or receive calls. My callers said I sounded OK when I held the watch closer to my face but at length, they said I sounded tinny. The overall hardware is really impressive.

The fitness tracking features, be it tracking steps or heart rate, are very much accurate. I compared the result of step tracking and heart rate with another wearable and Fossil seemed more accurate. I also liked the fitness tracking features of the wearable. When tracking my run, walk and cycling, the sensors captured data with great accuracy. The price that one pays is basically for superior sensors that have fewer false positives. While the experience is not as crazy as closing rings on Apple Watch, the Google Fit experience is commendable. If you are a fitness enthusiast then Fossil Gen 5 offers plenty of options to work with. However, if you are professional then you should look at professional fitness wearables from brands like Garmin or Polar.

fossil, fossil gen 5 smartwatch, fossil gen 5 carlyle hr review, fossil gen 5 review, fossil gen 5 india price, fossil gen 5 features, wear os, fossil gen 5 vs samsung galaxy watch vs apple watch

Battery Life

Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR runs Wear OS with little tweaking but the company knows Google‘s limitations. Fossil has built its own battery modes that are different from standard Wear OS battery settings. When you slide from the top and click on battery, you have four battery modes: Daily, Extended, Custom and Time Only. The Daily, as the name implies, enables all the sensors and offers one day battery life. In the Extended setting, the sensors and Bluetooth are enabled during active hours to save battery life. In this mode, you can get to the second day without any issue. With Custom setting, you can save your own experience. I used this setting the most during the past three weeks with the Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch.

I enabled always-on screen and touch-to-wake, while disabling location, system sound, tilt-to-wake and Wi-Fi. This got me anywhere between one and three days of battery life depending on use and notifications during the day. The last mode, Time Only, only has basic watch functions. This is the mode you use when you don’t have a charger around or want to go for a week without having to charge. In this mode, the watch won’t show notifications and will work like an analog watch. It is the mode I used during weekends when I didn’t really use the smartwatch functions a lot.

fossil, fossil gen 5 smartwatch, fossil gen 5 carlyle hr review, fossil gen 5 review, fossil gen 5 india price, fossil gen 5 features, wear os, fossil gen 5 vs samsung galaxy watch vs apple watch

Should you buy?

When my editor assigned me the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR for review, I wanted it to be the absolute best. At that time, I did not know that state of Wear OS that well. After using the Fossil Gen 5 for more than three weeks, I feel bad for Fossil. The Fossil Gen 5 is one of the best looking smartwatches in the market right now. I have absolutely no doubt about its design and build quality. It is elegant and makes me think of Tissot T-Classic and Seiko Presage, which are among the best watches in the premium segment.

Unlike Apple Watch, it has a proper circular watch face which will resonate with most watch aficionados. It is also not clunky looking when compared to Samsung Galaxy Watch LTE and is more akin to Galaxy Watch Active. Apart from the design, the watch also works very well as a fitness device by accurately tracking steps, heart rate and other physical activities.

The included guided breathing is a very good function. One feature I missed the most is sleep tracking, which Google Fit does not allow just yet. However, the overall experience seemed like a disconnect between the hardware and software. While it works well for sometime, there are times when the hardware and software seem to sing a different song. It is an experience you don’t expect from a smartwatch priced at Rs 22,995.

In a nutshell, the best of Wear OS is far from the most ideal experience. If you want a Wear OS device, this is the one to buy without any doubt. However, Samsung Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Watch Active running Tizen might be a better bet. With Gen 5 Carlyle HR, Fossil has proven its might as a watchmaker but software is a whole different ballgame.

For the latest tech news across the world, latest PC and Mobile games, tips & tricks, top-notch gadget reviews of most exciting releases follow BGR India’s Facebook, Twitter, subscribe our YouTube Channel. Also follow us on  Facebook Messenger for latest updates.
  • Published Date: November 26, 2019 9:23 AM IST



new arrivals in india

Micromax In 2b
Micromax In 2b

8,999

Vivo Y72 5G
Vivo Y72 5G

20,990

Tecno Camon 17
Tecno Camon 17

12,999

Tecno Camon 17 Pro
Tecno Camon 17 Pro

16,999

Realme C11 2021
Realme C11 2021

6,999

Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G
Oppo Reno6 Pro 5G

39,990

Oppo Reno6 5G
Oppo Reno6 5G

29,990

Samsung Galaxy M21 2021
Samsung Galaxy M21 2021

12,499

OnePlus Nord 2
OnePlus Nord 2

27,999

Poco F3 GT
Poco F3 GT

27,999

Samsung Galaxy A22 5G
Samsung Galaxy A22 5G

19,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10T 5G
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10T 5G

13,999

Samsung Galaxy F22
Samsung Galaxy F22

12,499

Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite
Xiaomi Mi 11 Lite

21,999

Infinix Note 10 Pro
Infinix Note 10 Pro

16,999

Infinix Note 10
Infinix Note 10

10,999

Vivo Y73
Vivo Y73

20,990

OnePlus Nord CE 5G
OnePlus Nord CE 5G

22,999

iQOO Z3
iQOO Z3

19,990

Realme C25s
Realme C25s

9,999

Poco M3 Pro 5G
Poco M3 Pro 5G

13,999

Realme X7 Max 5G
Realme X7 Max 5G

26,999

Oppo F19
Oppo F19

18,990

Motorola Moto G40 Fusion
Motorola Moto G40 Fusion

13,999

POCO M2 Reloaded
POCO M2 Reloaded

9,499

OPPO A74 5G
OPPO A74 5G

17,990

Oppo A53s 5G
Oppo A53s 5G

14,990

Vivo V21 5G
Vivo V21 5G

29,990

Realme C25
Realme C25

9,499

Realme C21
Realme C21

7,999

Realme C20
Realme C20

6,799

Motorola Moto G60
Motorola Moto G60

17,999

iQOO 7
iQOO 7

31,990

Samsung Galaxy M42 5G
Samsung Galaxy M42 5G

21,999

Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra
Xiaomi Mi 11 Ultra

69,999

Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G
Xiaomi Mi 11X Pro 5G

39,999

Xiaomi Mi 11X
Xiaomi Mi 11X

29,999

Realme 8 5G
Realme 8 5G

13,999

Samsung Galaxy F02s
Samsung Galaxy F02s

8,999

Samsung Galaxy F12
Samsung Galaxy F12

10,999

POCO X3 Pro
POCO X3 Pro

18,999

Realme 8 Pro
Realme 8 Pro

17,999

Realme 8
Realme 8

14,999

Vivo X60 Pro Plus
Vivo X60 Pro Plus

69,990

Vivo X60 Pro
Vivo X60 Pro

49,990

Vivo X60
Vivo X60

37,990

OnePlus 9 Pro 5G
OnePlus 9 Pro 5G

64,999

OnePlus 9R 5G
OnePlus 9R 5G

39,999

OnePlus 9 5G
OnePlus 9 5G

49,999

Samsung Galaxy A72
Samsung Galaxy A72

34,999

Samsung Galaxy A52
Samsung Galaxy A52

26,499

Micromax In 1
Micromax In 1

10,499

Asus ROG Phone 5
Asus ROG Phone 5

49,999

Samsung Galaxy M12
Samsung Galaxy M12

10,999

Motorola Moto G30
Motorola Moto G30

10,999

Motorola Moto G10 Power
Motorola Moto G10 Power

9,999

Oppo F19 Pro Plus 5G
Oppo F19 Pro Plus 5G

25,990

Oppo F19 Pro
Oppo F19 Pro

21,490

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro Max

18,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10 Pro

15,999

Xiaomi Redmi Note 10
Xiaomi Redmi Note 10

11,999

Realme Narzo 30A
Realme Narzo 30A

8,999

Realme Narzo 30 Pro
Realme Narzo 30 Pro

16,999

Infinix Smart 5
Infinix Smart 5

7,199

Samsung Galaxy F62
Samsung Galaxy F62

23,999

Samsung Galaxy A12
Samsung Galaxy A12

12,999

Nokia 5.4
Nokia 5.4

13,999

Nokia 3.4
Nokia 3.4

11,999

Realme X7 Pro 5G
Realme X7 Pro 5G

29,999

Realme X7
Realme X7

19,999

Vivo Y31
Vivo Y31

16,490

Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G
Oppo Reno5 Pro 5G

35,990

Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 Ultra 5G

1,05,999

Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 Plus 5G

81,999

Samsung Galaxy S21 5G
Samsung Galaxy S21 5G

69,999

Vivo Y12s
Vivo Y12s

9,990

Vivo Y51A
Vivo Y51A

17,990

Samsung Galaxy M02s
Samsung Galaxy M02s

8,999

Xiaomi Mi 10i
Xiaomi Mi 10i

21,999

Oppo A15s
Oppo A15s

11,490

Tecno Spark 6 Go
Tecno Spark 6 Go

8,499

Vivo V20 2021
Vivo V20 2021

24,990

Vivo Y20A
Vivo Y20A

11,490

Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power
Xiaomi Redmi 9 Power

11,999

Motorola Moto G9 Power
Motorola Moto G9 Power

11,999

Motorola Moto G 5G
Motorola Moto G 5G

20,999

Vivo V20 Pro
Vivo V20 Pro

29,990

Xiaomi Mi 10T
Xiaomi Mi 10T

35,999

Xiaomi Redmi 9i
Xiaomi Redmi 9i

8,299

Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro
Xiaomi Mi 10T Pro

39,999

Infinix Hot 10
Infinix Hot 10

9,999

Vivo V20 SE
Vivo V20 SE

20,990

Vivo V20
Vivo V20

24,990

Micromax In 1b
Micromax In 1b

6,999

Micromax In Note 1
Micromax In Note 1

10,999

OnePlus 8T
OnePlus 8T

42,999

Samsung Galaxy F41
Samsung Galaxy F41

15,499

Best Sellers