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Polar Vantage V vs Fossil Sport Smartwatch (Major Price Difference)

Make no presumptions about the Fossil Sport even though it costs just a fifth of the Polar Vantage V. Both are excellent watches but for different folks.

fossil sport smartwatch vs polar vantage v main screen

The Fossil Sport Smartwatch costs much less than the Polar Vantage V.

Surprisingly, the Fossil Sport puts up a good fight against the Vantage V and is a clear winner if you prioritized the “smart” part in “smartwatch.” If your priority is sport, then the Vantage V is the clear winner.

Operating System

fossil sport smartwatch google assistant

August 5, 2020 4:02 pm UTC
The Fossil Sport runs on the Google Wear OS system, which means that it was geared towards functioning as a general smartwatch with multiple apps to assist you directly from the wrist. The Polar Vantage V comes with its own proprietary OS which is geared towards sports, fitness, promoting a healthy lifestyle and absolutely nothing else.

In terms of productivity, the Fossil Sport brings a lot more to the table. Because it’s a Wear OS system, you can add apps that you like such as games like 2048 or useful apps like Google Maps, Translate or Keep. It’s very convenient that the Google suite of apps is available on the Wear OS because you can get so much done on the wrist as a result.

The Wear OS also means that you get Google Assistant. This is a fantastic feature that makes the watch so much more useful than the Vantage. You will be able to tell your watch to schedule appointments in your calendar, find directions (with the help of Google Maps) and search for information.

The Polar Vantage’s OS pales in comparison. You can’t add any apps. Polar’s last major update gave it the Serene breathing app which complements the other apps such as a countdown timer, stopwatch and Strava Live Segments.

Winner: Fossil Sport Smartwatch

polar vantage v vs fossil sport smartwatch notifications

Notifications

Both smartwatches receive notifications without issue. On the Polar Vantage, you can’t reply to any of them regardless of whether you are paired to an Android or iPhone. A minor annoyance too comes in the form of how the Polar Flow smartphone app pushes every notification to your wrist. Meaning, if you use Google Maps, it will push directions to your wrist, vibrating every time you turn a corner.

The Wear OS is a lot more streamlined in its smartphone and smartwatch integration. The Fossil Sport will receive notifications from both Android and iPhones, and if you use the former system, you can reply to them using a keyboard, canned response or dictation through Google’s speech-to-text system. While these methods can’t beat typing on a smartphone, they are adequately accurate for simple messages.

Winner: Fossil Sport Smartwatch

Battery Life

fossil sport smartwatch battery saver

There’s a general trend out there that the bigger the smartwatch, the better the battery life. This runs true in this case, especially given that these two watches have significantly different hardware.

The Polar Vantage V’s screen is a unique screen reminiscent of a Gameboy Color. The brighter than ambient light, the clearer the display is, and if it’s too dark, you can turn on the backlight. Certainly a very energy-efficient display as this watch only requires charging once every few days.

The Fossil Sport Smartwatch is on the other end of the spectrum, and probably sits at the bottom in terms of battery life. The Fossil Sport will barely last a day if you use it in always-on mode and do nothing else. This means if you start using the watch to track your workouts, use it in cold weather or use its integrated GPS, you will have to charge the watch multiple times a day.

In my tests, I have seen the watch dip into battery saving mode a few times, which is quite unfortunate because that means my smartwatch loses all “smart” functionality.

Over the long term, this does not bode well for the Fossil Sport’s battery life. A deeply discharged battery will lose its lifespan at a much quicker rate.

Winner: Polar Vantage V

Comfort

A smaller, lighter watch is always more comfortable than a large, heavy watch. The Apple Watch, Fitbit Versa and the Fossil Sport Smartwatch proves this point.

The Fossil Sport Smartwatch is one of the lightest watches on the market and it’s very comfortable to wear all day long.

The Polar Vantage V is a lot bigger, heavier and is especially uncomfortable if you put pressure on the watch. This is particularly notable when you wear the watch to bed to track your sleep.

Winner: Fossil Sport Smartwatch

polar vantage v vs fossil sport smartwatch workout options

Fitness, workout and sleep functions

This is the space in which few watches can beat the Vantage.

Fitness and workout tracking

Both watches have an integrated GPS and can be taken into shallow water, so that’s a great start for the lower-pricedFossil Sport.

The Vantage has class-leading fitness and workout functions, especially for runners. Not only can it advise you as to whether you are putting adequate strain on your body to maintain or advance in your fitness, it can also create exercise plans for you. It will track your sleep and tell you whether you have recovered well and it has some of the best analytics.

polar vantage v vs fossil sport smartwatch daily activity

Runners will be especially pleased with the features that the Vantage has. On the web app, Polar has the Polar Running Program which tailors an exercise regime customized to your goal (5k, 10k, marathon), timelines and current level of fitness. The watch can also estimate your power output while running which is great to see your improvement over time.

The Fossil Sport Smartwatch has some similar features but its depth does not compare with the Vantage’s.

Through Google Fit, the Fossil Sport will ask you how many active minutes a day you’d like to do along with how many Heart Points you’d like to target every day. You earn Heart Points by keeping active and those points increase if you do more intense exercise.

Google Fit has many workouts that it can track but swimming is not one of them. You will have to download a third-party app.

Winner: Polar Vantage V

polar vantage v vs fossil sport smartwatch analogue watch face

Verdict

It’s hard to say one watch is better than another because these two watches are not on the same playing field.

The Fossil Sport Smartwatch provides excellent productivity for the price.  It provides most of the features available on higher-end smartwatches. It lacks a speaker and has poor battery life but otherwise can do almost everything its $295 Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle big brother can do.

The Polar Vantage V is a great fitness watch that will motivate and assist you in becoming a better athlete. It will even help you in your daily life. But for most people, it just doesn’t come with the balance necessary for folks trying to use it as a mini-smartphone on the wrist. It’s a really specialized watch meant for a select group of people.

Hence, buy the Sport if you are looking for an entry-level workhorse that will assist you in a myriad of tasks. Buy the Vantage if you are looking for a thoroughbred that will help you win races but scoff if you asked it to do heavy lifting.

August 5, 2020 4:02 pm UTC
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