Want to know what’s changed in the fossil Gen 4 from the Fossil Gen 3?
Is it worth the extra money to get the latest, or are you getting a similar product with the Gen 3?
Below I run through all the things you need to know about the Fossil Gen 3 vs Fossil Gen 4 and answer all the important questions you need to know before you buy.
Read on to find out more.
Fossil Gen 3 vs Gen 4 – Specs Comparison
Below I have put all the important specs into an easy to compare chart, so you can see all the important features of each watch.
Further down I discuss the important differences and what they mean for you.
Fossil Gen 3 vs Gen 4 Features Compared
One distinguishing feature about these two is their impressive physical appearance.
Both Gen 4 Explorist and Gen 3 are classic looking smartwatches with their stainless steel appeal.
The designs in both smartwatches are captivating, with a classy and elegant touch which is not something you would easily find in a lot of smartwatches.
Gen 3 is the slimmest and sleekest of the two with a 12.5mm thickness compared to the Gen 4, which measures 13mm.
Whereas Gen 4 has a smaller case dimension of 45mm in blue, its counterpart comes in a 46mm stainless steel case.
If you don’t like the watch bands on offer when buying the Gen 3, you can swap them for any 22mm band in stainless steel or leather.
Its predecessor also has a 22mm band size but only offers one strap material option in leather with silicone backing.
Gen 4 is available in Blue (FTW4016P), Rose Gold, Smoke, Silver, and Black while Gen 3 is available in Smoke, Silver, Steel Strap, and Brown Leather.
Gen 3 Explorist has three distinctive physical buttons with the rotating crown at the right side, flanked by two buttons at the sides.
Gen 3 Explorist does not have a GPS or NFC, which is a kind of a big deal, especially when you’re buying a smartwatch.
This means that you can only get an estimated guess when tracking your distance, steps, and calories burned because it is not possible to accurately measure these things without a GPS and a heart-rate monitor.
It also means you cannot make payments via Google Pay and similar apps.
Fossil has addressed these issues in Gen 4 by adding a built-in heart-rate monitor, GPS, and NFC, making it altogether more appealing.
You can now leave your house even without your smartphone and log the time and distance of your workout accurately while keeping a close tab on your heart rate.
The NFC in the watch makes contactless payment at the supermarket a breeze even when you don’t have an internet connection.
Fossil Gen 4 is waterproof, it is 3ATM and IP67 certified.
Gen 3 Explorist also has an IP67 rating, which means both the smartwatches stay waterproof up to a depth of 30 meters of water.
You can easily wear it in the rain or keep it in the shower and even use it to track your swimming without worrying about damaging your smartwatch.
With 320mAh, the Fossil Gen 3 Explorist got a hard hit for its poor battery performance.
Even during minimal usage, it fails to get through two full days.
And this isn’t even the worst part about its battery performance because charging times are inconveniently long.
Probably the only convenient thing about this is the wireless charging disc.
The battery in the Gen 4, unfortunately, still leaves you wanting.
Although Fossil claims that it can last “all day,” the battery runs out in six hours with intensive use.
Perhaps you might be able to get a full day out of it if you use it conservatively, but it’s still not good enough.
Imagine you forgot to charge your smartwatch the night before (we all do).
It would be nothing more than a decorative piece on your wrist.
If you were wanting a smartwatch with longer battery life you could look at the Samsung Gear S3.
Software, Performance, and Features
Fossil made no effort to update its chip in the Gen 4 Explorist.
Both Gen 4 and Gen 3 uses the Snapdragon 2100.
Replying to messages, scribbling on the screen, or using text templates isn’t as accurate as a smartphone with the Gen 3.
But it does a decent job with short two to three-word responses.
Loading data through your phone or WiFi connection can be quite slow with the Gen 3.
But it doesn’t affect general interactions with the stored apps on the phone and user interface because it does not require much loading.
What Fossil has failed in processor power with Gen 4, it has made up for it in performance.
It has taken some of the best features of Wear OS and has made it even better.
Instead of changing faces when you swipe right, you will now directly access Google Fit, which is also much updated from Gen 3.
The Quick Setting menu now has shortcuts to access Google Play, along with icons for power-saving mode, brightness, do not disturb, and more.
These little tweaks have now made the Gen 4 more intuitive and faster.
If only Fossil had updated its Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip, it would have been on par with some of the leading smartwatches on the market.
Fossil Gen 3 vs Fossil Gen 4 – Pros & Cons
Fossil Gen 3 Overview
Fashion-focused, classic and attractive design
Body built for durability
Customizable watch faces and straps
Useful programmable buttons
Microphone and loudspeaker
No GPS, NFC, and HRM for outdoor activity, Google Pay, and heart rate monitoring respectively
Poor battery life
Takes a long time to charge
Can track only basic activities
No SIM slot
Limited Functions when paired with iPhone
Fossil Gen 4 Overview
NFC Google Pay
One day battery life
Can be heavy and bulky for workouts
Not entirely compatible with iOS (cannot reply to messages or calls)
Fossil Q Gen 4 Explorist vs Fossil Q Gen 3 Explorist Verdict
As far as smartwatches go, Fossil Gen 3 Explorist is one elegant, classy watch with a dash of glamour.
This one continues Fossil’s trend of substantial, chunky steel watches with that dose of industrial charm.
Gen 3 is clearly designed more for its style and look.
Gen 4, on the other hand, comes packed with all the standard hardware and software and rightfully belongs to the group of the high-end mainstream smartwatches.
Fossil Gen 4 Explorist is a clear upgrade from the Gen 3 smartwatch.
There is not much difference when it comes to the style and looks of both the smartwatches, but Fossil has clearly been able to improve on the drawbacks that it had with Gen 3.
Gen 4 has inherited the good looks of predecessor while adding a long list of all the features of modern smartwatches in the market.
Now Fossil have released the Gen 5 Carlyle, I would highly suggest checking out the upgrades that have been made to the Gen 4. In my opinion they are well worth the look.