Should you buy the Fossil Gen 5 LTE or the Apple Watch SE?

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LTE-focused smartwatch

Fossil Gen 5 LTE



An affordable iOS option

Apple Watch SE



Android users interested in a Wear OS smartwatch with LTE connectivity will appreciate the new Fossil Gen 5 LTE. While LTE is the main focus, it has a plethora of other essential features. You’ll have GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity/health tracking, Google Assistant, and NFC payments.

$349 at Fossil

Pros

  • GPS, HRM, NFC
  • LTE connectivity
  • Activity/health tracking
  • Built-in mic/speaker
  • Google Assistant

Cons

  • More expensive starting point
  • Only works with Verizon

If you’re already an iOS user and you want a smartwatch that doesn’t cost a fortune, you’ll love the Apple Watch SE. For all intents and purposes, it’s a lite version of the Apple Watch Series 6. You’ll enjoy all the key features, including optional LTE, GPS, activity/health tracking, heart-rate monitoring, and more.

$269 at Amazon

Pros

  • GPS, HRM, NFC
  • Optional LTE connectivity
  • Activity/health tracking
  • Apple Fitness+
  • Two size options

Cons

  • No always-on display
  • Not for Android users

Fossil Gen 5 LTE vs Apple Watch SE: Picking sides

If you’re currently shopping around for a smartwatch, there’s no shortage of options out there. Two examples you might find yourself comparing are the Fossil Gen 5 LTE and the Apple Watch SE. These are two very different smartwatches, but they do share a lot of the same features.

This probably goes without saying, but if you’re looking for the best Android smartwatch, you’ll want to buy the Fossil Gen 5 LTE. It’s almost identical to the original Fossil Gen 5 models with LTE connectivity added to the list of features. On the other hand, the Apple Watch SE is available in both a GPS model and a model with cellular connectivity. If you don’t need LTE, the GPS model is more affordable but it’s not going to work for Android users. Both watches are efficient, but consider your operating system requirements before making a final decision.

The Fossil Gen 5 LTE is the ideal connected smartwatch

Fossil Gen 5 Lte Rose Gold

Fossil Gen 5 Lte Rose Gold Source: Fossil

If you’re not quite familiar with the Fossil Gen 5 LTE, that’s probably because it’s a relatively new release. It’s also the first smartwatch from Fossil Group to offer LTE connectivity. This is a great opportunity for Android users who are seeking an LTE smartwatch that will help them stay connected without always having to pull out a cell phone.

Fossil Gen 5 LTE Apple Watch SE
Display 1.28″ AMOLED, 416 x 416 1.6-inch or 1.8-inch Retina LTPO OLED display
Case size 45mm 40 or 44mm
Color options Smoke, Rose Gold Silver, Space Gray, Gold
Battery life 24 hrs+ 18 hrs
Sensors HRM, accelerometer, altimeter, gyroscope, compass, ambient light sensor, Off-body IR sensor HRM, accelerometer, always-on altimeter, compass, gyroscope, ambient light sensor
Connectivity Bluetooth 4.2 LE, Wi-Fi, LTE Bluetooth 5.0, Wi-Fi, LTE (select models)
Water resistance 3 ATM 5 ATM
Memory/storage 1G / 8GB 1GB / 32GB
Operating system Wear OS WatchOS
Voice assistant Google Assistant Siri
Always-on display ✔️
Built-in GPS ✔️ ✔️
NFC payments ✔️ ✔️
Built-in mic/speaker ✔️ ✔️

As mentioned earlier, this new smartwatch inherited nearly all the same features as the original Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch. However, this time around, you only get to choose from Smoke or Rose Gold color options. You get the same stunning AMOLED always-on display. The Fossil Gen 5 LTE is compatible with 22mm interchangeable bands. If you’re not big on silicone bands, you can always buy something that’s better suited to your style.

The Fossil Gen 5 LTE also has plenty of features to go around. In addition to the basics like smartphone notifications, you also get some more advanced features. You’ll enjoy built-in GPS, activity/health tracking, heart-rate monitoring, a built-in microphone and speaker, Google Assistant, and Google Pay.

As you may notice, all of these features were carried over from the original model. The big difference is that you have LTE connectivity, but it’s only available through Verizon. Those who want to stay connected will love this upgrade. You can send texts, receive calls, and stream music without relying on your phone.

Fossil Gen 5 LTE Rose Gold

Fossil Gen 5 LTE Rose GoldSource: Fossil

Those who keep up with Wear OS know that there’s a new processor in town — Snapdragon Wear 4100. Given that this is a new smartwatch, you might expect it to have the new processor. Unfortunately, the Fossil Gen 5 LTE is still rocking the 3100 chipset. This might be a bummer, but the good news is that you’ll still enjoy smooth performance thanks to the solid storage/RAM that you get.

Another important note is that Wear OS battery life is still mediocre. It’s better than what you get on any Apple Watch (more on that later), but it could still be improved. The battery only lasts a day with typical use. You can use the battery-saving modes to make it last longer, but this has its setbacks. When you use Extended Mode, you can still utilize essential features and you’ll need to recharge the watch every few days. It’s rather restricting, but you can also use Time Only Mode. You’ll only be able to use your watch as a clock, but this allows the battery to last for a week.

The Apple Watch SE is an affordable option for iOS users

Apple Watch Se On Wrist

Apple Watch Se On WristSource: Luke Filipowicz / iMore

One of the main reasons you may not already own an Apple Watch (other than presumably being an Android user) is the expensive price tag. If you’ve always wanted one, you’ll be happy to know that the Apple Watch SE is much more attainable. It was launched alongside the more-robust Apple Watch Series 6 in September 2020. How do they differ? The SE is basically a lite version of the Series 6. It offers most of the same key features, but some of the more advanced perks are left out.

For starters, the Apple Watch SE does not offer the always-on display. This may not be a huge deal for some users, but it is an odd omission. Unlike the Series 6, the SE cannot take electrocardiogram (ECG) or blood oxygen readings. As far as similarities go, you do get the always-on altimeter that debuted on the Series 6 and support for heart rate and irregular heartbeat alerts. For those who want a modern, attractive smartwatch with notifications, app support, and activity/health tracking, this is an incredible value.

If you’re curious about how it performs, there are a few key factors to consider. First, the Apple Watch SE runs on watchOS 7 and has the S5 processor. If you’re reading between the lines, yes, that means that it does not have the newer and faster S6 processor that the Series 6 has. Fortunately, you’ll still get solid performance. Apple states that basic daily tasks, like scrolling through menus and launching apps, is smoother and faster on the Apple Watch SE.

Apple Watch Se

Apple Watch Se Source: Luke Filipowicz / iMore

As you might’ve heard by now, Apple introduced a new subscription service called Apple Fitness+. This gives you access to a plethora of video-led workouts that are available on any Apple device. Once you select a program, you can easily view your real-time metrics on the screen as you exercise, so you don’t have to keep looking down at your smartwatch

There are many great reasons to buy the Apple Watch SE. Most importantly, it’s the most affordable option from the company without having to buy a much older model. After all, you take a risk with older models as they may not continue to get watchOS updates for much longer. You’ll have tons of essential features, including GPS, heart-rate monitoring, activity and sleep tracking, smartphone notifications, app support, music storage, Apple Pay, and more. If you don’t mind the lack of always-on display and the omission of advanced health sensors, the Apple Watch SE is a smartwatch worth your consideration.

Fossil Gen 5 LTE vs Apple Watch SE: Which should you buy?

When all is said and done, a major factor in your decision will be determined by whether you’re an Android or iOS user. If you happen to be flexible on that, then the next deciding factor might be the price difference between these two watches. It’s not enormous, but it’s still worth a second though. However, if you don’t mind splurging for an Android smartwatch with LTE connectivity, you’ll be better off with the Fossil Gen 5 LTE.

If you don’t absolutely need LTE connectivity and you’re also an iOS user, you can save some money by buying the Apple Watch SE GPS model. It’s more affordable and you still receive many amazing perks, including fitness tracking, sleep monitoring, heart-rate tracking, Apple Pay, and Apple Fitness+. If you do end up choosing a model with cellular connectivity, it will cost about the same as the Fossil Gen 5 LTE.

LTE-focused smartwatch


Fossil Gen 5 LTE Rose GoldFossil Gen 5 LTE Rose Gold

Fossil Gen 5 LTE

Well-rounded connected wearable

If you need a watch that keeps you connected without having to depend on your phone, you’ll appreciate the Fossil Gen 5 LTE. It has everything the original Gen 5 models had, but now you get LTE connectivity as well. The price tag may be a bit steep for some and don’t forget that it only works with Verizon.

An affordable iOS option


Apple Watch SEApple Watch SE

Apple Watch SE

A give and take

Android users won’t be able to do much with an Apple Watch, but it’s perfect for iOS users. The SE is a slimmed-down version, but don’t count it out! You can opt for a model with LTE connectivity. Not to mention it still has the essentials, including GPS, activity/health tracking, and heart-rate monitoring.

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