Fossil Q Founder smartwatch: hands-on


After Swiss powerhouses Tag Heuer and Swatch made their reserved entries in the post-"not a smartwatch" age, American designer brand Fossil is another traditional watchmaker who got the digital bug and produced a range of wearables. Here, we'll be taking a look at the stainless steel Q Founder, which is the company's first ever Android Wear smartwatch, and also a genuine Fossil watch that's priced in the ballpark of direct competitors like the Moto 360, LG Watch Urbane, and Huawei Watch.

Design


The Q Founder has to be the biggest Android Wear smartwatch so far, with its thick 46mm case that somehow manages to be even more imposing than the already "manly" Moto 360. We certainly can't picture the Q Founder on a small wrist, or worn by someone going for an unassuming look. If you get the stainless steel strap, you will probably have to pay a visit to the watch repair shop to get some links removed. Otherwise, you might want to go for the brown leather strap.

There's also a crown on the Q Founder, one that won't twist but is susceptible to presses. One press turns the screen on, a harder one jumps into the Android Wear app drawer, and that's about it. We should also note that a heart rate sensor isn't present, which isn't all that surprising considering the Founder isn't a sports watch. That said, the Q Founder is water and dust resistant, so at the very least you can shower with it.

Display


Like the Moto 360's screen, the one on the Q Fossil Founder is of the "flat tire" variety. The black part is where the ambient light sensor lives on the smartwatch, adjusting the brightness setting depending on the environmental lighting conditions. If you can tolerate that, good, but we rather didn't have to put up with that on a fashion-conscious Fossil watch.

User Experience


An Android Wear smartwatch at heart, the Fossil Q is compatible with Android and iOS devices and comes with its dedicated Q companion app. There, you will find a collection of Fossil's own watch faces, which can be customized with different background colors. Everything else that happens between watch and phone is handled by the Android Wear app, which beams phone notifications and Google Now cards to the watchface.

Performance


The Q Founder is powered by an Intel Atom Z34XX chip with 1GB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. There's no GPS on board, so you won't be able to use this one as a running watch. The 3-axis accelerometer gives basic fitness tracking features, such as step counting. Thankfully, the frugal Android Wear runs smoothly on this modest equipment, and the 400mAh battery should be good for a day's work. Unfortunately, you will have to charge the gadget every night, and there's no getting around that.

Check out these CES 2016 hands-ons while you're at it:


Expectations


The Fossil Q Founder is a stylish smartwatch from a reputable brand, but it's not for everyone and it doesn't boast any sort of innovation. At $295, it isn't priced very competitively either. It looks like traditional watches are still a bigger priority for Fossil, and we can't really see the Q Founder convincing traditionalists in Android Wear's virtues. Then again, there's a train for every passenger out there, right?


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10 Comments

1. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Would've bought this if not for the flat tire. Got the analog Fossil Q Grant instead. May return it for a Gear S2 though.

2. Feanor

Posts: 1346; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

I find the Samsung Gear S2 the ugliest of the lot. Somehow only Samsung managed to produce a smartwatch that screams that it is designed by a tech brand. Looks like plastic too, even if this not, and in both versions. Motorola Moto 360, Huawei Watch, LG G Watch R and Urbane, and of course Fossil Q Founder and TAG Heuer Connected all look not only better, but simply more real. Congratulations to Samsung for the nice interface and the cool rotating bezel, but the design looks massively cheap when you see it live.

4. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

To each his own, but if it has a screen on it I'd rather it look like a piece of tech rather than a piece of jewelry (which is why I'd prefer the normal S2 to the Classic). Why pretend to be something it's not? Though, I'd only get the black S2, not a fan of the silver one. As for being plastic, I don't mind because it makes it lighter, and I'm not a fan of huge, heavy watches. The bottom of the Fossil Q Grant is plastic and it is noticeably lighter than normal Fossil watches.

7. Feanor

Posts: 1346; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

I also prefer the standard S2 than the Classic, because it looks more honest. But my problem is not that it looks digital, but that the finish is terrible and it looks cheap. Btw, the S2 is not plastic, I think it's stainless steel but it manages to look like silver sprayed plastic. Really horrible design finish. I don't even know how it got such praise for its design. It's general shape is just bland but the surface treatment and other details, like the buttons make it look dead cheap, like something it cost you $20.

6. tedkord

Posts: 17307; Member since: Jun 17, 2009

The Gear S2 Classic is a great looking watch.

3. Mxyzptlk unregistered

Motorola take note. This is how you make a smartwatch.

5. sgodsell

Posts: 7207; Member since: Mar 16, 2013

Clearly you never looked at the second gen Moto 360. Although I still love how Motorola hide the band under the first gen.

8. Feanor

Posts: 1346; Member since: Jun 20, 2012

I also like this more than the Moto 360 because it's very similar but more substantial looking. It also has a better connection between the watch and the bracelet. Something that is a weak point of both 1st and 2nd generation of the Moto 360 with a metal strap. To me both this watch and the Tag Heuer Connected show that the traditional watchmakers have still some experience to show in designing something you wear around your wrist comparing to the tech brands.

9. Ilikkaman

Posts: 39; Member since: Dec 29, 2015

Huawei fat in android wear currently. Urbane 2 could have held the crown but was pulled from the market

10. Ilikkaman

Posts: 39; Member since: Dec 29, 2015

For the win. Dang auto correct

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