Fossil Gen 5 vs Galaxy Watch Active 2: Which Smartwatch Is Better?

Fossil Gen 5 vs Galaxy Watch Active 2: Which Smartwatch Is Better?
Image source: Fossil / YouTube video (screenshot)

Fossil and Samsung both have just announced their new smartwatches. The new Fossil Gen 5 gives users what they have been craving for: a longer battery life, a built-in speaker, better memory, and improved performance. It also brings better integration with iPhones. On the other hand, Samsung Galaxy Watch Active 2 brings stylish design, improved fitness tracking and a digital rotating bezel. Let’s check out how the Fossil Gen 5 and Galaxy Watch Active 2 stack up against each other.

Design and display

Fossil Gen 5 smartwatches come in two different variants: Carlyle HR and Juliana HR. The Carlyle style is available in Smoke, Black, and Dark Brown colors. Juliana HR features stones around the bezel, and is available in Rose Gold, Rose Gold Black, and Rose Gold Blush colors. Both models have a premium, round design and a stainless steel case.

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Both the Carlyle HR and Juliana HR are 44mm watches with 12mm of thickness. They both sport 1.28-inch OLED displays with 328ppi of pixel density. The Gen 5 watches are compatible with 22mm straps. They get a swim-proof speaker and microphone for taking phone calls on the wrist and interacting with Google Assistant.

The Fossil Gen 5 comes with 3-ATM water resistance, meaning they are swim-proof up to a depth of 30 meters. In contrast, the Galaxy Watch Active 2 offers 5-ATM water resistance, which would protect the watch up to a depth of 50 meters.

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 has a round and sporty design. Samsung has launched a Bluetooth-only model with an aluminum body, and an LTE model with a stainless steel body. Both of them are available in two different sizes: 40mm and 44mm. The 40mm version sports a 1.2-inch Super AMOLED display with 360 x 360 resolution. The 44mm version gets a larger 1.4-inch Super AMOLED display, though the resolution remains the same.

Samsung’s smartwatch features a digital bezel around the screen, which offers haptic feedback to emulate the rotating bezel of the original Galaxy Watch. The Watch Active 2 screen is protected by Corning Gorilla Glass DX+. The Bluetooth version will be available in Rose Gold, Silver, and Black colors with matching silicone straps. The LTE model would arrive in Gold, Silver, and Black colors with a leather strap.


Fossil Gen 5 watches run Google’s Wear OS software. It brings all the Google apps including Google Assistant, YouTube, Google Fit, and Google Translate to your wrist. The Gen 5 watches also have some pre-installed apps that users will find useful. They include Spotify music streaming service and Noonlight personal safety app.

Fossil Gen 5 also gets the ability to answer calls for the connected iPhone. Previously, Fossil’s watches allowed users to take calls only on Android devices. Now the iPhone owners will also be able to take calls on their wrist. The feature isn’t available on the Gen 5 right now, but will be enabled via a software update in the future.

Samsung’s wearable device also supports both Android and iPhones. The Galaxy Watch Active 2 runs Samsung’s in-house Tizen OS. It supports Twitter, YouTube, Spotify, and many other apps. You can also use Google Translate on the Watch Active 2 as long as it is connected to the Internet. Samsung offers My Style feature in the Galaxy Wearable app, which allows you to customize your watch face.

Battery life

This is one of the biggest highlights of the new Fossil watch. The company has used ‘Smart Battery Modes’ to let you find a balance between functionality and battery life. It includes four different modes: Daily, Extended, Custom, and Time-Only. The Daily mode offers the standard experience with all the features turned on.

The Extended mode disables some features such as WiFi, NFC, location, and the always-on display to extend the battery life to several days. The Custom mode lets you decide what features you want to disable and what to keep enabled. The Time-Only mode turns it into a “dumb” watch that does nothing more than showing you time. The Time-Only mode is turned on automatically when the device is running low on battery.

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 packs a 247mAh battery inside the 40mm model and a 340mAh battery for the 44mm version. The device supports WPC-based wireless charging. The device hasn’t been tested yet, so there is no way to tell how long it lasts in real life. Samsung claims the Watch Active 2 battery “lasts the day and more with normal usage.”

Features and specifications

Fossil Gen 5 is one of the very few smartwatches running Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon 3100 processor. The Wear OS software is not incredibly fast and smooth, so Fossil has bumped up RAM to 1GB to ensure that the smartwatches run smoothly. The Gen 5 watches pack 8GB of storage, giving you more space to store your media.

Fossil’s smartwatch also packs NFC for contactless payments via Google Pay, GPS, Bluetooth 4.2 Low Energy, accelerometer, and WiFi. It also has a heart rate sensor and rapid charging that charges the battery to 80% in just one hour.

The Fossil watch is also capable of sleep tracking and activity tracking. It also gets Cardiogram, which monitors how your heart rate changes throughout the day to look for “signs of undiagnosed diabetes, sleep apnea, hypertension, and atrial fibrillation.”

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 features GPS, accelerometer, ambient light sensor, barometer, gyroscope, the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology, and a heart rate sensor. It also supports NFC and LTE connectivity. The LTE version allows you to make and receive calls, meaning you can leave your phone at home.

The Watch Active 2 runs Samsung’s in-house dual-core Exynos 9110 processor. It packs 768MB RAM for the Bluetooth version and 1.5GB RAM for the LTE model, though both versions have the same 4GB of internal storage.

Samsung’s watch is capable of tracking a wide range of workouts, and can track many of them automatically. It can monitor your stress levels and offer tips. It stores your health data in the Samsung Health app. Samsung has also added the electrocardiogram (ECG) support, which enables the Galaxy Watch Active 2 to detect atrial fibrillation. However, it hasn’t yet received the FDA approval.

Pricing and availability

The Fossil Gen 5 is currently available on the company’s website for $295. It will become available at other retailers in the coming weeks. A wider release is scheduled for August 26.

The Galaxy Watch Active 2 will hit the store shelves on September 27. Samsung will start accepting pre-orders on September 6. The Korean company has priced the Bluetooth-only model at $280 for the 40mm size and $300 for the 44mm size. The pricing of the LTE version will vary depending on the carrier. You can expect it to be more expensive than its Bluetooth-only sibling.

The Samsung watch has a more affordable starting price, better Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, and better water resistance. It also supports wireless charging and a digital bezel, both of which are missing from the Fossil watch.

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