Fossil is bringing its LTE-packing Gen 5 smartwatch to the UK letting you take calls, download apps and generally make it possible to live that untethered life from a Fossil smartwatch.
The Gen 5 LTE was first announced back in January at CES 2021 and launched not long after with Verizon named as the US network partner. Fossil apparently worked closely with Google to bring its first cellular connected watch to life.
In the UK, it'll be Vodafone who will enable the support in another territory, having already offered similar support for the Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Watch, the Oppo Watch and is set to bring LTE to life on the Huawei's Watch 3 as well.
In terms of how it will work, you'll need to have an eligible Vodafone subscription. We are still waiting for confirmation of pricing, but it'll likely be similar to the monthly contract required through its OneNumber plan offered when you grab an Oppo Watch, Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch via Vodafone. That would let you share minutes and data across your phone and smartwatch.
That will then get you access to features like answering calls, receiving texts and accessing features like Google Assistant, which usually requires being connected to your phone. Crucially, this LTE support on the Fossil Gen 5 LTE is only available for Android phone owners.
As a reminder, the Fossil Gen 5 LTE essentially takes the same watch it launched back in 2019 and gives it that extra connectivity support. You're still getting something that runs on Google's Wear OS and is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon Wear 3100 processor. So that's not the the newer Snapdragon 4100 chipset that showed signs of notable performance improvements on Mobvoi's TicWatch Pro 3.
It's still one that works with Android phone and iPhones, though as mentioned, the cellular support is only available for Android users. You're still getting a 45mm case available in two colourways, built-in GPS, Wi-Fi, NFC for Google Pay and a built-in speaker to make it possible to take calls. There's also the promise of 24-hour battery life, though that's likely to be less when you factor in LTE use.
We scored the non-LTE packing Gen 5 a 3.5.out of 5 when we reviewed it back in 2019, citing disappointing call quality, dodgy connectivity between phone and watch and Wear OS just not being a particularly great smartwatch software to live with.
A bigger problem here with the Gen 5 LTE is what is on the horizon for Google's OS. According to Fossil's Chief Commercial Officer Greg McKelvey, existing Wear OS watches won't be upgraded to the new version of Wear that is being formed by Google and Samsung. That would likely include this very watch among other Fossil-built watches that have launched recently.
That big change for the platform was unveiled at Google's I/O developer conference last month, signalling that Google is planning to make its biggest overhaul of the smartwatch OS that still lags behind the competition including the Apple Watch.
The Fossil Gen 5 LTE is available now on Vodafone for £329 if you really want a a Fossil smartwatch with LTE powers. Our advice though, given what is around the corner from Google and the fact this watch isn't going to get that big new Wear update, this doesn't seem the wisest purchase right now when you're going to miss out on some big software goodies in the not too distant future.
Maybe wait for the Fossil Gen 6, which is likely to be bang up to to date with that exciting new version of Wear.