The Fossil Q Founder achieves its goal of having a smartwatch that looks like a suitable watch, but today this is not an exclusive selling point. Even traditional gadget manufacturers are achieving similar results.
After gadget makers started producing smart, connected watches, it would never be long before traditional watch brands came on the scene. Companies like Tag Heuer, Casio, Nixon and Michael Kors have launched Android smartwatches, as well as one of the most popular fashion watch brands in the world: Fossil.
The Fossil Q Founder is the company’s first foray into the Android Wear smart watch market, a device that has since joined the inauguration of the Marshal and Wander devices. Elsewhere on the Q line, there are some basic gadgets connected with health and fitness tracking benefits.
But we’re here to talk about Q Founder, the foundation of the company’s smartwatch offering. A watch that, like the Motorola 360, has a “flat tire” bar in its design. Does this unique design feature cost this fashion brand dearly or is this the Android Wear watch?
Fossil Q Founder: Design
Fashion brands and watchmakers are benefiting from the hype-smartwatch, producing products that look much more like a “suitable” watch. So much so that it started influencing electronics manufacturers – just take a look at the Samsung Gear 3 to see it.
This does not mean that companies like Motorola, LG and Huawei have not done well. But the accessories, clasps and overall look of the Fossil Q Founder look a little more like watches. It looks more like the real deal.
The large 47 mm circular housing has a polished and beveled edge, while the metal link strip has a comforting sturdiness and opens and closes using a familiar style button fastener.
If a metal elastic bracelet is not to your liking, you can buy the Q Founder with a leather strap. In addition, you can easily exchange the strap for one you like, thanks to the addition of the quick release pins on the strap loops. The watch accepts any 22 mm bracelet. So, if you prefer leather, canvas or a Milanese style bracelet, you can use yours.
Fossil chose to decorate the single button on the side of the box in a box that looks and looks like the traditional crown. The textured finish tries to make you try to transform it, but unfortunately, it’s just a push button. And like virtually every other Android Wear smart watch available, it’s the only button.
Underneath the main body of the watch, there is a black matte disc that sits very comfortably on the arm. There is no heart rate monitor here, so it is completely smooth and comfortable to use.
Fossil Q Founder: Exhibition
Overall, the quality of the 360 x 326 resolution round screen is excellent. The details are sharp in this size, which means that there is no obvious distortion or distortion in the length of the arm. In addition, gradients and colors look great on the screen, which means it’s great for colorful watch face options.
There is a major disadvantage, however, that cannot be ignored: the “flat tire” blackout bar at the bottom, which we have already mentioned, prevents the watch face from actually being “round”, as nothing is displayed in this bottom section.
The second minor complaint concerns the choice of screen technology: Q Founder uses an LCD panel, not AMOLED, so that the always-on ambient screen does not have too high contrast, making it difficult to see the time when the watch is inactive, especially in daylight.
Fossil Q Founder: Software
Q Founder currently runs Android Wear v1.5. With Google controlling the Android Wear ecosystem a lot, it’s no surprise that the software experience is practically identical to any other watch loaded with the wearable operating system.
Like other watch manufacturers, Fossil added its own flavor by preloading it with its own watch faces. They can be customized using the clock setup options or you can download and install the Fossil Q app from the Google Play Store on your Android phone. Android Wear also supports iOS for Apple users, but it is quite limited.
Read: What is Android Wear really like on iOS?
The Fossil Q app for Android allows you to adjust the colors and styles of the watch faces, in addition to choosing what information should appear in the widgets on the screen. The only problem with the smartphone app – and it is important – is that, for the most part, it forgets that its watch exists or pretends that it is not connected. Oops.
Often, when starting the Q app, we received a screen asking us to set up a clock as if it never existed, or taking us to the clock overview screen with a warning that it was not connected. When it works, however, it offers a large number of customization options.
Not to mention our general frustration with parts of Android Wear that still seem unintuitive. Of course, this is Google’s fault, but it is an ongoing problem that we experience with all of these devices. For example, cards presented to show part of a notification are not well designed, usually showing the same Google Now cards over and over, even after they have been discarded.
Instead of using Qualcomm’s Snapdragon chips, Fossil has partnered with Intel, with the result generally decent. The cards slide away easily, while scrolling through the list of applications and the settings are quick and usually without stuttering.
The only area of performance that we found to be poor was the automatic wake-up feature. If it worked, there was a noticeable delay between raising an arm and activating the screen. Sometimes, I didn’t wake up the screen. We also had a delay when using the “Ok Google” voice search feature. But we found that to be the case with many other Android Wear watches out there – again, it’s Google’s fault.
The 4 GB of internal storage ensures that if you want to save some albums on your Fossil watch to listen offline via Bluetooth headphones, you can do so – and don’t worry about taking your phone with you.
Other hardware features include the usual collection of fitness tracking sensors to count your steps. But since there is no heart rate monitor, as mentioned earlier, and no built-in GPS, this watch is not really designed with fitness fanatics. Not that you watch a watch like that anyway.
With an Android Wear watch, it is generally considered good if the device worn on the wrist can take an entire day without dying. With Q Founder, this is certainly the case.
Even with a long and busy day, starting at 7 am and ending after 10 pm, we still think that the 400mAh battery arrived at bedtime with about 30% charge left. Unfortunately, it never reached the end of a second day of testing, even with minimal usage.
Once depleted, the watch’s battery can be recharged using the charging cradle which – although it looks cheap – is much more attractive than most docks or cradles that usually come in retail smartwatch boxes.
The main center section of the support is padded and covered in a material similar to PVC, while the translucent loading disc glows red or blue during loading. It’s a secure fit, keeps the watch protected and looks great on a nightstand.Verdict
What Fossil gets right compared to traditional electronics manufacturers’ smartwatches, as you might expect, is in the overall design of the Q Founder. The case, bracelet and accessories ensure that this fashion device reaches enough points of difference to stand out from the similar Android Wear crowd.
Except for one big problem: that “flat tire” erased at the bottom of the design. It prevents the circular dial from being round, as is a problem with the Moto 360 and some other models. This alone sees Tag Heuer Connected a much more attractive prospect, despite its considerable additional expenses (and we mean considerable).
Speaking of price, we would take Fossil ahead of the competition, with competitive prices, on a support similar to Moto 360 and Huawei Watch, but the most beautiful option in general. Assuming, of course, that you’re fine with dropping the heart rate sensor.
As with any Android Wear smartwatch, the other drawback is the software, which still looks awkward to use with its card-based notification system and graphics that are not yet suitable for a (more or less) round display.
Overall, it is this “flat tire” and the current state of Android Wear that leaves the Fossil Q Founder with more questions than answers. And it only helps to open the door to suitable round views and other operating system perspectives, like the Samsung Gear S3.