Fossil has unveiled its first-ever LTE-capable smartwatch, the Fossil Gen 5 LTE, at CES 2021.As expected, this is nearly the same smartwatch as 2019’s Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch, only with cellular connectivity.It’ll launch this year exclusively on Verizon for $349.
Update, January 21, 2021 (03:54 PM ET): It looks like things are happening a lot faster for the Fossil Gen 5 LTE than expected. Although Fossil told us it would land in the Spring of this year, it’s already here — just ten days after the company announced it.
Today, you can grab Fossil’s first LTE-powered watch from its official website for $349. Conversely, you can also head to Verizon and buy it there for the same price. You can also take advantage of a Verizon payment plan and pay $14.54 each month for 24 months.
Keep in mind that the Gen 5 LTE is exclusive to Verizon. Even if you buy it directly from Fossil, you’ll still only be able to activate its LTE capabilities on the Verizon network. In other words, if you’re not on Verizon or don’t plan on switching, the Gen 5 LTE isn’t for you.
Original article, January 11, 2021 (08:00 AM ET): Wear OS smartwatches with LTE connectivity are few and far between. Mobvoi has really been the only company committed to LTE Wear OS smartwatches, but now we can add Fossil to that list. Fossil has announced the Fossil Gen 5 LTE, it’s first-ever LTE-equipped smartwatch.
Having access to an LTE connection on your watch is invaluable to some people. It means you don’t need to have a phone nearby in order to send texts or receive calls. And because all Gen 5 smartwatches have a built-in speaker, taking calls from your wrist is that much easier.
However, you’ll need to be a Verizon customer to use Fossil’s new smartwatch. The Fossil Gen 5 LTE is Verizon-only at the start, though Fossil says it’s working to add support for other carriers in the future. While we’re on the subject of exclusivity, this is an Android-only smartwatch, too. Fossil is also working on iOS compatibility, though it doesn’t have a timeframe for when that may happen.
Related: Wear OS in 2020: The most stagnant smartwatch platform
As the name suggests, the new watch is almost identical to the company’s previous Gen 5 watches. The Fossil Gen 5 LTE has the same display, processor, RAM, and storage configuration as the version we reviewed in 2019. That means it, unfortunately, misses out on Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Wear 4100 series chipset. However, we felt the performance of the 3100 chip was perfectly acceptable. Battery life was good too — thanks in part to Fossil’s custom battery modes — though it’ll be interesting to see how an LTE connection affects battery longevity.
There’s one other caveat worth mentioning: the LTE smartwatch somehow misses out on the most recent software update Fossil rolled out last August. It will launch without VO2 max estimates, the new wellness app, enhanced custom battery modes, and more. Fossil hopes to bring this software update to the LTE variant “soon.”
The Fossil Gen 5 LTE is available for pre-order now and launches in the US this Spring for $349, and will launch globally later this year. Two color options are available: a smoke-tone stainless steel case with black straps and a rose gold-tone stainless steel case with blush straps — both in the larger 45mm size. We’ve linked to Fossil’s landing page below, but you’ll also be able to find it on Verizon.com and in select Verizon stores this Spring.