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Apple Watch Series 5 vs. Fossil Sport Smartwatch (Sport and SMART watch?)

Is this even a comparison? You might be surprised. We go through both watches with a fine-toothed comb and declare a winner.

apple watch series 5 vs fossil sport smartwatch main screen

We all love the tales of underdogs and the rags to riches stories. There’s something very powerful about having someone less privileged win against someone who always had a silver spoon.

The Fossil Sport Smartwatch is definitely less privileged than the Apple Watch Series 5. It commands a lot less in price but is still a fully functioning smartwatch, less a few features that the Watch has. But is it an underdog? Or is this a “you pay for what you get” scenario?

I’m assuming that you’re an iPhone user since the Apple Watch is only compatible with iPhones. For the few Android users reading this, know that the Apple Watch will not work with an Android phone but you have many great, competitive options to choose from.

Related: Apple Watch Series 5 Review | Fossil Sport Smartwatch Review

apple watch series 5 vs fossil sport smartwatch notifications

August 5, 2020 10:02 pm UTC

Productivity

Non-Apple products face certain adversities when paired to an iPhone. This is one major win for the Apple Watch Series 5.

Notifications, email and messages

One of the biggest differences you will notice when using the Fossil Sport on an iPhone is that you can read notifications, but you won’t be able to respond to them. Whereas if you used an Android phone, you would be able to.

This problem does not exist on the Apple Watch which will allow you to reply to all notifications where a reply is possible. You can reply to notifications by using a canned response, speech-to-text input or by using Scribble which involves drawing letters to form words.

apple watch 5 email

For some reason, email notifications don’t seem to be forwarded onto the Fossil Sport, even when it’s appearing on my iPhone. On the Apple Watch, everything is seamless. Not only can you interact with the email or message on the notifications screen, the Watch also comes with a corresponding app so you can access your messages and email as if you were on your phone.

Assuming you needed to input text, the Sport also has the same input functions, except it has a keyboard instead of Scribble. In my opinion, the keyboard is superior to Scribble because it is a faster form of input.

Winner: Apple Watch Series 5

Apple Watch Series 5 calls

Calls

I really enjoy being able to answer calls on my wrist because a watch is always conveniently on your wrist while a smartwatch might be buried deep in a bag or in another room. Having a speaker is generally a premium feature and hence while the Apple Watch Series 5 has it, the Fossil Sport does not.

Calls from the Watch were easy because you could access your contacts or use a keypad to enter a phone number. Answering a call was easy and the speaker was clear enough for you to understand the caller and the microphone also transmit voice clearly.

Winner: Apple Watch Series 5

apple watch series 5 vs fossil sport smartwatch apps

Apps

The benefit of having a big user base can be seen in their respective app stores. Google’s Wear OS — present in the majority of smartwatches — comes with Google Play where you can download many apps from games to productivity tools. This includes Google’s suite of apps including Maps, Translate and Keep.

Apple’s App Store also has many excellent apps to download including games, sleep tracking tools and productivity apps. There is no Google Maps for the WatchOS though, so you’ll have to settle with Apple Maps.

The Watch does have some really good innovations including a compass, a language interpreting app and also a noise meter app that notifies you if you are in an environment that will damage your hearing.

Winner: Tie

apple watch series 5 vs fossil sport smartwatch app store

Apps performance

On an operating system level, both watches are more or less equal. But the Sport loses out on the Watch because its performance is noticeably poor. While the Watch sails through commands, the Sport will stutter, hang and then suddenly come back to life.

This seems to be a typical issue with Wear OS watches but what the top-of-the-line Fossil Gen 5 smartwatches have shown us is that better hardware can resolve it. While the Sport has the latest processor, the Snapdragon 3100, it only has 512MB of RAM which bottlenecks the watch.

This is one of the two major weaknesses of the Sport.

Winner: Apple Watch Series 5

Battery Life

The second major weakness of the Sport is its battery life. While the Apple Watch is a “charge daily” watch, the Sport is a “charge at least once daily” watch.

Depending on what you do with the Sport, it can require multiple charges a day. Its small battery won’t be able to last a full 16 hour day if you turn on constant heart rate tracking, activate its always-on screen and use its integrated GPS. The number of times this watch has fallen into a power-saving state is much higher than any other watches I have reviewed.

Winner: Apple Watch Series 5

Comfort

The Apple Watch 5 and the Fossil Sport are small, lightweight watches which make them very comfortable. I have reviewed larger and heavier watches and they always feel like they’re clamped down on your arm and then leave imprints when you take them off. These two watches do not do that and are comfortable.

Winner: Tie

apple watch series 5 vs fossil sport smartwatch workout app

Sports

Both watches are neck-and-neck in terms of hardware. You can take both watches into the swimming pool as you can take both of them out running without bringing your phone for GPS tracking. Both will also measure your heart rate.

Software

But you will notice the difference between them in terms of software. On the Apple, everything is integrated into the Health app, which comes with an iPhone.

Whereas on the Fossil Sport, you will need to download Google Fit (in addition to the Wear OS smartphone app).

apple watch series 5 vs fossil sport smartwatch workout activity tracking

Another downside for Sport is that it has no native swimming workout tracking. This means you have to download a third-party app in order to track your swims. On the Apple Watch, you can track swimming both outdoors and indoors natively and each mode will give you different data.

I enjoyed both watches’ workout tracking. Both have over 40 workouts you can choose from. It was a bit annoying that the Apple Watch did not display my speed like every other watch would. But my bigger concern is that the Sport’s battery was draining at an alarming rate when you use it’s integrated GPS. The Apple Watch will last a full day reliably.

Just as a side note, both watches do not have sleep tracking natively. And I can see a good reason why — their batteries will fare poorly with another eight hours of usage. That said, you can download a third party app to do this.

Verdict

Competing with the Apple Watch Series 5 is not easy. The Watch has access to features that are exclusive to Apple products. The most notable of which is the ability to reply to notifications.

The Sport’s features parallel the Watch’s closely and if we were comparing the Watch vs the Sport on an Android phone, then the chasm between them becomes smaller.

But we must not forget the biggest chasm here is price. The Watch is multiple times more expensive than the Sport. In this light, you get great value with the Sport regardless of which platform you pair it with.

But if you do decide to buy the Watch, then you are choosing the absolute best watch you can buy for the iPhone for general purpose use. The smooth integration, number of apps, and being able to reply to notifications just makes it worth it.

Horses for courses. If you are looking for a simple, cheap watch, the Fossil Sport Smartwatch is fine, and it’s not a case of “buy cheap, buy again.” The Watch is great if you want the best from the get-go.

August 5, 2020 10:02 pm UTC
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