The smartwatch I usually wear is pretty dumb. It’s an older model that looks cool and counts my steps but that’s about it. Recently, I upgraded to the Fossil Gen 5 smartwatch and let me get right to the point: This is a gamechanger. 

The watch lets me talk to the Google Assistant all day, asking inane questions about the weather and the occasional trivia. (Turns out almost 17 million people live in Zimbabwe.) It has a built-in speaker so you can make phone calls without pulling out your phone. If it had a laser to cut through steaks and could shine a beacon to summon Batman I would not be any happier, although (Fossil, if you’re listening) they should add those features to Gen 6.

Like the Apple Watch Series 5, you can change the watch face, check your heart rate (or HR), and play music on the actual watch speaker. We’re not talking lush and smooth playback here but the fact that you can do that is what counts — calls sounded crisp and clear, too. I synced up to both the Samsung Galaxy Note 10 and an Apple iPhone 11 Pro, then asked Google to call my wife. No problems. She said the tin can I was talking into sounded pretty good. I asked Google about the dangers from mosquitoes, souffle recipes, upcoming movies in my area, and NFL injuries and it worked every single time.

For fitness, the options are a bit overwhelming in a good way. If you really want to go for a swim with a $295 watch (for the HR-enabled stainless steel model I tested) you can. The watch tracks your steps and calories burned. The Google Fit app shows your Move Minutes (how much you move) and Heart Points (workouts). Honestly, the wealth of data makes it seem like Fossil and Google crammed a fitness trainer inside the watch.

At $295, the Gen 5 looks more like a “real” watch than the main competitor (the Apple Watch) with some heft and a more rugged look. The GPS? It’s built-in. Internal storage? Yep. Pay with the watch? Sure. Lord above, the watch even has a flashlight mode. It’s finally a smart enough watch to wear every day (and charge only once a day, by the way). Laser-cutting meat is next on the list, but until then the Gen 5 is the bomb. | Get it on Amazon >

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