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Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR - Nice watch with poor stamina


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With a high-quality exterior, a stylish and easy-to-read AlwaysOn display and WearOS as a clear and easy-to-use operating system, the fifth generation of the Fossil Carlyle HR can convince in the test. In everyday life it can be used well as a smartwatch and fitness tracker and does not look too different from a classic wristwatch. Unfortunately, the pleasure is too short and, depending on usage, it has to be back on the power after a few hours. However, the loading is very quick.

 

Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR - Nice watch with poor stamina
Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR Quick Review: Round, bright display

Like most of its competition, the Fossil Carlyle HR is one of the round smartwatches with a circular OLED display. At 1.3 inches, it has a pixel density of 325 ppi, which means that it is narrowly defeated in a direct comparison with the models from Apple or the Fossil Sport, but doesn't have to hide any further. With a “True Color” color depth of 24 bits, as with most smartwatch displays, around 16.8 million colors can be displayed, which also appear very bright. 

Even if this high maximum brightness improves readability significantly, especially in incident sunlight, it also drains the battery, which has little endurance anyway. Another method to prevent rapid battery death is to switch off the only optional AlwaysOn display. Then it is only activated when you raise your wrist or when you type in directly.

Fossil Carlyle HR Gen 5 Test: more than a watch

With Google WearOS, all the usual functions and applications of the operating system, including the Google assistant for voice input, can be used very well. The prerequisite for this is, above all, a smartphone with Android 6.0 (except for Go editions) or iOS 10 and newer for the setup. Then not only messages from smartphone apps such as social networks, email services or applications such as weather or calendar can be received, but various training sessions can also be recorded. 

For this purpose, the Carlyle has GPS, a step counter, various sensors and an optical heart rate monitor. If you want to recharge your batteries while jogging, you can also pay from your wrist using payment systems such as Google Pay thanks to NFC. Without a smartphone within reach, however, this could be difficult, because the lack of eSIM compatibility means that mobile Internet via LTE is not possible here. A compass for classic orientation is also not integrated.

Test data on Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR

Operating system: Wear OS
Random access memory: 1 MB
Dimensions: 44 x 44 x 12 mm
Flash storage space: 8 GB
Display pixel density: 325 ppi
Display type: OLED
Display size: 1.3 in
Display form: round
Product: Fossil Carlyle HR Gen 5
Battery charging time measurement: 1:06 hours
Battery runtime measurement: 22:30 hours
Battery capacity: 310 mAh
Inductive charging: Yes
Bracelet material: leather
Compass: No
Display colors: 24 bit
Microphone: Yes
Easy to change bracelet: Yes
LTE module: No
NFC: Yes
Sim card slot: No
eSim: No
GPS: Yes
WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS: Yes
Position sensor: Yes
Heart rate monitor: optically
Pedometer: Yes
Brightness sensor: Yes
Control smartphone music player via smartwatch: Yes
Speaker: Yes
Waterproof: suitable for swimming
Altimeter: Yes
Bluetooth: Yes
Weight: 75 g
Accelerometer: Yes

High quality and extensive

The high-quality workmanship of the Fossil Carlyle cannot be faulted: the leather bracelet we tested was comfortable to wear and, if necessary, can easily be exchanged for other bracelets, such as those made of stainless steel or silicone. The round exterior misses the bezel that is common on wristwatches, but scores with three function buttons on the right side. While the outer ones can be programmed for quick access to apps or specific requests, the middle one serves as a rotatable main button, similar to the crown of the Apple Watch. This makes it easy and uncomplicated to scroll through menus and lists. In the test, we found the respective pressure points of the buttons to be pleasant.

The Carlyle is also waterproof to a depth of 30 meters (3ATM) and has a microphone and speaker on the left edge. These are mainly used for the Google Assistant, the mediocre sound quality is not enough for more. Inside, there is also a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 and a 1 GB RAM, which together ensure a noticeably faster performance compared to the predecessor.

A big flaw of the smart watch, however, is its battery: Depending on usage, it can run out after well under a day with normal use we measure 22:30 hours. Fossil tries to counteract this fact with various energy-saving modes, which can either be timed or individually adjusted. Especially the "Sunlight Boost" for better readability in the sun can quickly empty the battery when training with GPS and Co.

Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR Pros:

  • Sharp AlwaysOn display
  • WearOS as the operating system
  • Extensive equipment
  • High quality

Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle HR Cons:

  • No cellular
  • Battery life of less than a day
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