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Does A New Update Make This The Wear OS Smartwatch To Beat?

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A few weeks ago, Google announced a new YouTube Music smartwatch app. Oddly enough, it didn’t launch on Wear OS but debuted on the Apple Watch. While this may have surprised some wearable tech watchers, it hasn’t come as a surprise to many people who think Wear OS needs more love from Google. 2020 has seen a wave of smartwatch launches as everyday well-being takes center stage. The OPPO Watch and TicWatch Pro 2020 are among the Wear OS devices that impressed us in 2020.

Fashion watches have taken the brunt of the onslaught in the smartwatch industry. Fossil has been one of the most coveted fashion watch brands in India for the past decade and a half, with a strong retail presence and brand awareness. It’s also one of the brands that made the switch to smartwatches, combining its style DNA with a strong partnership with Wear OS. We placed the Fossil Gen 5 – The Carlyle HR Smoke Stainless Steel smartwatch under the scanner. While this device has been around for a while, it’s a whole new beast after a recent update. It also reignites the debate around the best Wear OS smartwatch experience.

We will address this issue first. The OPPO Watch is one of the best wearable devices we’ve tested this year, but it could be down to personal preference – square versus circle. While I prefer an Apple Watch-style square smartwatch experience, many users prefer a circular face. I find Samsung’s wearable devices with their rotating bezels also a strong case for a circular smartwatch. Right off the bat, the Carlyle HR is one of the most beautiful smartwatches you can buy. It’s the gorgeous brushed metal finish that builds on Fossil’s design that sets it apart. Although the metal strap looks stylish, you can swap it out for any standard watch strap. The screen is another plus: a vibrant 1.28-inch display with a resolution of 416 x 416 pixels (328 PPI).

It’s not just the display, the Gen 5 also comes with an impressive spec sheet that includes a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor, 1GB of RAM, and 8GB of internal storage. The battery life is average. It got better after I installed the new update, but I still found myself looking for the charger in the evening, every day I was using the watch to track a one-hour workout and respond to the occasional call of my wrist. I paired it with a Samsung device and my callers could hear me quite clearly when I used the watch as a speakerphone. It’s not something I would recommend for longer calls, however. We love the quick charge feature that powers your watch to 80% in about 50 minutes. It also allows you to use the sleep tracking feature.

While battery life is one of the main improvements in the new update, there are other great features as well. There is a new tracker that can estimate your cardio fitness level (VO2 max – which has become a key metric in 2020) during workouts and intensive training. Frequent hand washing is one thing thanks to COVID-19 and we have seen that the new Apple Watch includes a smart timer for hand washing. This is also one of the new features you can use on the Fossil Gen 5; it works well but is not quite transparent like the Apple Watch.

The new update combines with solid hardware to make the Fossil Gen 5 a compelling proposition; one of the best Wear OS options you can buy. While Wear OS has made some improvements, there is still a lot to catch up with with Apple’s Watch operating system continuing to expand its lead over its competition. But if you don’t have an iPhone (the Fossil Gen 5 also works well with iOS) and you’re in the market for a smartwatch, this device is worth a look in your set.

Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch, Carlyle HR Smoke stainless steel costs Rs 22,999

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