Samsung Galaxy Watch/ Active 2 vs Fossil Sport Smartwatch

This is not only a Wear OS vs Tizen OS head-to-head battle, it's also a battle of Samsung's best smartwatch going against Fossil's entry level Sport.

fossil sport galaxy watch main screen

The previous review that I wrote involved the Samsung Galaxy Watch/ Active 2 vs the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle. It’s the fairest way to compare two major smartwatch platforms because both perform at the same level.

With the Fossil Sport Smartwatch, we get into entry-level territory in Fossil’s lineup of watches. The Fossil Sport is a great watch at its price point, but it has a hard time challenging the Galaxy line of smartwatches in terms of smoothness and performance.

Chiefly because the Galaxy Watch series represents the flagship line of smartwatches. Comparing an entry-level Fossil Sport to the Galaxy Watches, one first reaction, comes down to price — a question of whether you can tolerate the losses for major savings.

But on more thorough consideration, you will also have to consider your OS preference, your battery lifespan requirements and your preference in watch size, which are also major differences between the two watches.

Related: Fitbit Versa 2 | Ticwatch Pro | Polar Vantage V | Garmin Fenix 6 Sapphire

fossil sport galaxy watch battery saver

Let’s start with battery life

One major problem that comes with the Fossil Sport Smartwatch is the limited battery life. “Limited” is a neutral term that I’ve decided to use here, but personally, I’m more inclined to call it “poor” because of my desire to have an always-on screen and constant heart rate monitoring.

But as they say online… “YMMV.” Your Mileage May Vary.

If you aren’t as particular as I am, you will do OK with the Fossil Sport’s battery life. In almost all my days wearing it, with the features I need, it will not last the 16-hours of time I’m awake. I would use the watch and towards the evening, it would show the greyscale power saving mode. The Galaxy Watch would last two days.

I expect all watches to have an always-on screen because I really dislike having to jerk my arm to wake the watch up. I like being able to see the time regardless of how my watch is angled.

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Samsung Galaxy Watch 4

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Garmin Venu SqGarmin Venu Sq

Garmin Venu Sq

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Fossil Gen 6Fossil Gen 6

Fossil Gen 6

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Fitbit SenseFitbit Sense

Fitbit Sense

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Amazfit GTS Fitness SmartwatchAmazfit GTS Fitness Smartwatch

Amazfit GTS Fitness Smartwatch

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I also like having a constant heart rate reading, but that’s because I just like having more information rather than less. Almost all watches I have reviewed (including the Galaxy Watch) will also be able to do this without sweating battery life, but the Fossil Sport does.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch

Wear OS vs Tizen OS

The operating system of both watches is likely the biggest differentiator. For Samsung users, the integration you get with a Samsung phone and Samsung smartwatch is unbeatable. Everything is smooth and streamlined.

I personally use a Samsung Note 9 and have paired it with both systems. The experience with Wear OS watches is also great and I can’t complain.

If you are using an iPhone, bear in mind that the experience won’t be as good. For example, you can’t reply to messages or email on an iPhone while using a non-Apple Watch.

fossil sport galaxy watch text message email

Emails and Text

The great thing about using a Samsung smartphone with a Samsung watch is that you get seamless integration. You can access your emails and messages as if you were on the phone itself. That means you can read past messages and emails from all accounts.

You can’t do that on a Wear OS with the default apps, but you can interact with these through notifications.

Inputting text is done through hand-writing letters to form words, using a canned response or using a keyboard. The Wear OS offers you a 26-alphabet keyboard while the Galaxy Watches uses a T9 predictive text number pad keyboard. You can also use the speech-to-text systems.

In practice, I rarely ever needed to go through my messages or emails on my phone. I generally would use my phone instead for more heavy tasks. Hence the Fossil Sport’s superior keyboard and speech-to-text system wins here.

Winner: Fossil Sport Smartwatch

fossil sport galaxy watch voice assistant

Speech-to-text, voice assistant

Both watches allow you to input your text using their speech to text system and it is in this domain that Google shows its superiority.

I am always of two minds of what I think of Google. On the one hand, the more information I give them, the better they are at helping me with daily tasks. On the other, Google knows more about me than my close ones…

Nonetheless, Google transcribes what you say much better than Bixby (its Samsung counterpart). Bixby can get really frustrating to use because it does not output text properly.

This has further implications on its voice assistant functionality. Bixby has really lacklustre functionality compared to Google Assistant.

fossil sport galaxy watch find australia question

Google Assistant can help you find information and help you find directions. Bixby can’t. Bixby will only do things within a very small scope. It can start a timer (if you can get past it not being good at differentiating “for” and “four”), it can tell you the weather and it can do calculations. Google Assistant can do all of those, but better. Just look at the screenshot above where I asked “Where is Australia?”

Winner: Fossil Sport Smartwatch

Calls

Because there’s no speaker on the Fossil Sport, you can’t answer and chat on that smartwatch. Calls on both the Galaxy Watch and Active 2 are good and convenient.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch

Weight and comfort

The Fossil Sport is a lot smaller and lighter than both the Galaxy Watch or Active 2. It therefore is a lot more comfortable to wear than the Samsung watches as weight makes the watch “feel like it’s there.” It makes you notice.

Of course, there’s something to be said about the materials used to make the watch. The Galaxy Watch seems the highest quality to me. The metal bezel and watch case makes it really feel high quality, and ironically, its weight also gives you some confidence. The Active 2 feels very high quality because of its curved-edge screen like many modern smartphones.

Contrast this to the Fossil Sport, which is made of plastic. It really doesn’t inspire the same feeling or confidence. Not that it makes a difference in functionality.

All these watches use standard 22mm straps so you can switch them out if you do not like the strap that they come with. I personally did not like the silicone strap of the Galaxy Watch. The silicone strap of the Fossil Sport and the leather strap of the Active 2 are great.

Winner: Fossil Sport Smartwatch

fossil sport galaxy watch health tracker

Workout & health

Samsung Health is superior to Google Fit as it’s a more comprehensive wellness app.

Some features Samsung Health has include sleep tracking, calorie counting and fitness/relaxation programs. Google Fit does not but luckily the Wear OS has an extensive app store where you’ll likely find whatever tracker you are looking for.

Samsung Health uses a heart to measure the calories burned, workout minutes and counts whether you have moved every hour. Google Fit has two metrics — the self-explanatory Move Minutes and Heart Points. The latter measures the intensity of your activities to give you a score.

As a workout tracker, both will likely have the sport that you’re interested in. The Samsung watches comes with almost 40 exercises you can pick from while the Fossil Sport comes with almost 50. Both can be brought swimming too, so that’s a plus.

In the end, we have to go back to the limited battery life available in the Fossil Sport. I think that will be a big problem if you do not intend to charge it after usage because the integrated GPS in the Fossil Sport is a major drain on its battery life.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch

Rotating bezel, crown or virtual bezel?

Samsung watches come with a rotating bezel which you use to navigate and scroll, but only the Samsung Galaxy Watch stays true to one of the best features from Samsung.

I really like the Galaxy Watch’s mechanical rotating bezel. You know that every time you heard a click and felt the bezel advance a notch, you have just scrolled one fixed unit.

Contrast this to the Active 2’s virtual bezel where you would use your finger around the circumference of the screen to navigate. Haptic feedback lets you know when you’ve moved forward.

The last of them is the Fossil Sport Smartwatch which has a rotating crown. There are no notches or haptic feedback here. Because of how small it is, sometimes it can be quite difficult to make small adjustments. Nonetheless, it is a physical control and therefore I still like it a bit more than the virtual bezel of the Active 2.

Winner: Samsung Galaxy Watch

fossil sport galaxy watch watch faces

Verdict

This isn’t as clear cut as the Fossil Gen 5 Carlyle is, when compared to the Samsung flagship watches.

I believe that you can’t go wrong with either (unless you use an iPhone). You are getting great value with both watches and especially good value with the Fossil Sport, given that it does 80% of what the Galaxy Watch does.

I’d advise anyone in a dilemma to think about your priorities in terms of battery life, OS preference (which includes a consideration for the voice assistants) and then let your budget lead the way.

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