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Samsung Galaxy Watch3 vs Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle

Samsung's Galaxy Watch3 is new and shiny while the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle has always been a favourite of mine. But does new always mean better?

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle main screen

The Galaxy Watch3 came out at a time when the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle just got a new update which patches the gaps in features which Google’s Wear OS has.

The Gen 5 is a great watch. I have always had the greatest respect for it. It’s innovative, fast and still is my favourite Wear OS smartwatch.

It was the sole smartwatch that could provide decent performance on older Wear OS versions which were very sluggish.

Both smartwatches are general purpose and they are great at looking professional and helping you increase your productivity.

Related: Samsung Galaxy Watch3 vs Fossil Sport Smartwatch | Samsung Galaxy Watch3 vs Ticwatch E2 | Samsung Galaxy Watch3 vs Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 | Samsung Galaxy 3 vs. Apple Watch Series 5 | Samsung Galaxy Watch3 Review

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle band vs strap

Band and strap

The first biggest thing you’ll notice is that the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle has a metal band. I like the metal band because it’s very easy to get the watch on and off.

It was a bit of work to get it all adjusted and working at first, though. There’s no adjustment kit included so you’ll need your own tools and ingenuity to get that out. 

I used pliers, paper clips and a mallet. 

The Samsung Galaxy Watch3 has a leather strap which is pretty standard. It’s fine but not a distinguishing factor, and so the win really goes to the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle.

Winner: Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle

Bezel vs Crown

A major innovation with Samsung smartwatches is the rotating bezel. That is honestly my favourite navigation tool.

The Fossil Gen 5 has the more typical crown. It works, but being small, it’s a bit more finicky than Samsung’s rotating bezel.

Think of it this way: the bezel is like controlling a volume control knob in your car, whereas the crown is like tightening a thumbscrew, except precision matters.

Software

Oh boy, I could almost copy and paste my Samsung Galaxy Watch Active2 review here and be done with the review. But I am an honest guy.

If you read between the lines, what I’m saying is that there really isn’t much difference between the Galaxy Watch Active2 and the Galaxy Watch3.

The Olson twins probably are more different than the Galaxy Watch3 and its predecessor in terms of software.

The Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle follows a very typical Wear OS implementation with some proprietary apps that I don’t use much. 

But a recent update added the Wellness app which… I’m of two minds about it, but I’ll cover that in a later section.

Integration

Right now, both operating systems offer great functionality for day-to-day activities, and I couldn’t be more pleased with how well integrated the Samsung Galaxy Watch3 was with my Samsung phone.

Compared to the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle, the Samsung Galaxy Watch3 is able to access my emails and text message logs directly. There’s no way of doing this on the Wear OS without downloading third-party apps.

But in all honesty, it’s a bit of a minor inconvenience. I rarely use that functionality as I always just reach for my phone.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch3

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle speech to text

Speech to text

More importantly is the speech to text function on the smartwatches. This is a crucial function because it removes a lot of tedious scrolling and tapping on the screen.

I really enjoyed replying to texts on the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle. I could be out doing stuff like biking and I can reply to messages instantly on my smartwatch rather than taking my smartphone out of my pocket (which is doubly hard because sweaty pockets have more friction).

The same can be said for the Galaxy Watch3. The speech to text function works, just not as good as the Wear OS’s.

Sometimes, that’s OK. Other times, it gets frustrating. While Wear OS isn’t perfect, it’s the closest to perfect. Samsung is a bit further from the standard set by Wear OS, so expect to be pulling out your smartphone more often with the Watch3.

Winner: Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle bixby vs google assistant

Voice assistant

A voice assistant is a very useful tool on the smartwatch. Sometimes, I really don’t want to deal with tapping and scrolling so I tell Google Assistant (on the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle) or Bixby (on the Samsung Galaxy Watch3).

Google Assistant has a major advantage over the Galaxy Watch3’s Bixby. That is, when you ask it a random question, it will search the web for an answer. So you can find out what’s the capital of Australia, for example.

Bixby can’t. Bixby just gives up.

Otherwise, both systems can help you set timers, check the weather and check your agenda. Bixby is just hampered by Samsung’s lesser speech to text system which therefore dampens the Bixby experience.

Winner: Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle app store

Apps

The Wear OS’s Google Play Store has some really good apps. What I really liked is that you can get a bunch of Google-only apps such as Maps, Keep and Translate.

Google Maps is particularly useful because it helps you navigate without having to pull out your smartphone.

You get the same map that you get on your smartphone and you can also run navigation on it. This is great for bike commuters who are seeking the most bike-friendly route but don’t have a phone mount on their bikes.

The app store on the Wear OS is also much larger than Samsung’s Tizen OS. So if you are going to want to find something more niche, you are more likely to find it on the Play Store.

Winner: Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle sport workout

Sport

Samsung is much better than Fossil in this regard.

Why? Samsung Health is just a better system because it’s more comprehensive.

Google Fit on Wear OS smartwatches are a bit more of a disjointed experience. There just isn’t the one central location for everything health related.

For example, if you want to track your water consumption, Samsung Health can help you with that. Google Fit cannot.

Google Fit has the advantage of having more exercises to choose from, but Samsung triumphs this by offering a running coach which paces you to a certain goal. 

The running coach can also give you information about your footwork’s symmetry and it can also estimate your VO2Max. I didn’t expect to see these functions in a general purpose watch but if you are a runner, this would be very useful.

Fossil adds a new layer on the Wear OS’s default programs. There’s an app called Wellness that I am on the fence about.

On the one hand, it adds a few cool features such as Cardio Fitness level, sleep tracker and an activity tracker. The first two are very cool and very useful. The third one is a bit of an overlap on Google Fit’s capabilities.

I mean, the Wellness’s activity tracker can only record “indoor” and “outdoor” activities. When the data goes to Google Fit, it won’t record the type of activity you engaged in. I am not sure what Fossil was thinking when they implemented this feature.

Oh, did I mention? Both watches can be taken swimming but Google Fit does not have a way to record swimming workouts.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch3

Calls

Both watches can make and answer calls. It’s a convenience I really like to have because sometimes I don’t want to carry my brick of a phone around. Or if my phone is too difficult to take out, it’s great to be able to have a conversation on your wrist for convenience.

Winner: Tie

Samsung Galaxy Watch 3 vs Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle watch faces

Price

My bigggggggggest gripe with the Samsung Galaxy Watch3 is its price. It’s a good watch, but I really don’t value it higher than the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle.

As of now, the Galaxy Watch3 is demanding the same price as the Apple Watch Series 5, but offering noticeably less than Apple.

Its features also aren’t superior to the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle, especially considering the price.

Winner: Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle

Verdict

The Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle is a great watch and it still sets the bar for the best general purpose smartwatch.

It’s a premium priced smartwatch but I think it’s worth it. 

The Samsung Galaxy Watch3 is even more expensive and represents poor value as it is right now. I would say it’s so similar to the Galaxy Watch Active2 that it really isn’t that impressive.

Take any watch from Fossil’s Gen 5 series and you’ll be happier.

=> Skip to the chase: Our Epic guide on the best smartwatches for different uses and devices
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