By Pauline Joy M. Gutierrez
ONE of the most popular brand names in the US, Fossil has unveiled a new collection of smartwatches that’s as straightforward as smartwatches go. Beyond digital timekeeping, it has all the basic features one would find in standard wearable technology: notification and alerts for events and such, along with activity-tracking, among many other features.
However, and not surprisingly, what makes it a standout in the battleground of smartwatch supremacy lies not on its interior machinery but, rather, on its façade. The signature Fossil classic look, of course, comes to mind.
Being a rather new player in a tech-dominated arena of smartwatches, the American behemoth decided to do what it does best, which is watch optimization first and then slowly working in the technology. The result? It brings to the market smartwatches that look like one’s favorite traditional watch but can perform—and perform very well—the significant functions one expects from smartwatch.
Only recently, Fossil launched the Q Wander and Q Marshal, the newest flagship to the generation of Fossil Q Smartwatches that traces its roots to the first-generation Fossil Q Founder launched in 2015. Parallel to this was the introduction of the Q Nate, Q Crewmaster, Q Gazer and Q Tailor analog smartwatches.
Fossil Q Marshall and Wander falls under the general touchscreen/display watch category, while the Fossil Analog Qs fall under the hybrid ecosystem.
“Fossil is, first and foremost, a fashion brand. We then brought the technical know-how in building very beautiful watches while adding in the technology of Android Wear, and by using the [wearable-focused] Snapdragon 2100 chip,” Fossil Q expert Justin Paxton said at the official launch of the Fossil Q watches in the Philippines.
The Q range is competitively priced and falls in line with tech company-manufactured wearables, like the second-generation Moto 360 and the Huawei Watch. The Q Marshal and Q Wander models start at P16,000, while the hybrid watches start at P10,300.
All the Q range products feature a proprietary Q companion app, wherein users can change their settings, track their daily activity and customize which apps and contacts will send them notifications. Nonetheless, there’s more to them than all that.
Here, we look closely at the specs of the smartwatches under the two product categories:
Fossil Q Touchscreen Smartwatch
LIKE the Q Founder, which was Fossil’s first full-on venture into the Android Wear (Google’s smartwatch platform) platform, both the Q Marshal and Q Wander feature always-on displays and a haptic sensor that vibrates whenever the device receives a notification.
Both smartwatches run Android Wear 1.5 and are compatible with Android 4.3+ and iPhone 5/iOS 8.2+. The Q Wander and Q Marshal are also the first ones to use the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, which makes for longer battery life and sharper response time.
The watches are Wi-Fi enabled, offer 4 gigabyte of storage (with approximately 2 GB are usable), have IP67 water-resistance, and sport a 360mAh battery capacity, which can last up to a full day. Upon unboxing, users will see that the device comes with the new magnetic disk charger that latches onto the back of the device.
With its built-in speaker and microphone, Android phone users can also leverage Google Now.
Sensor-wise, the Q Marshal utilize G-Sensor, Gyroscope and Compass sensors while the Q Wander utilize G-Sensor, Gyroscope, Compass and Pedometer sensors. Dressed to the nines, both devices have limitless options for personalization, including interchangeable straps in genuine leather, silicone and stainless steel. It also has numerous digital customizable options per watchface.
Q Marshal and Q Wander’s physical dimensions measure 45x14mm and 45×13.5 millimeters, respectively. The physical watch face adopts a very traditional watch design, complete with a regular 22mm watch band and steel casing.
The Q Wander features a feminine texture with its soft finish and rose-gold sheath, while the Q Marshal sports a rugged look with its teeth-like ring that protects its glass display. On the side of both watches is a crown which resembles that of an old-fashioned timepiece positioned at the “3” dial that functions as a start-up button.
However, in order to accommodate an ambient light sensor, the Fossil Q Marshal’s 1.5-inch, 229 ppi display is cut off at the very bottom, same as with Wander. It also lacks an optical heart-rate sensor. Still, among other areas which the new Qs improve upon, these segments might still be seeing further advancements.
Fossil Q Hybrid Smartwatch
THE Fossil Q hybrids look like a regular watch but act like a smartwatch. This innovation is a nod to the need of the late-adopters, those who want to keep up with the modern shenanigans but still yearn for the physical appeal only traditional watches can bring to the table.
This year’s addition to the Q range don’t just improve on design, but also pack upgraded hardware.
For one, it has three physical (and rather quite useful) buttons at the side of the body. Using the Fossil Q Link technology, the bottom pusher can be used as a “remote control” that can switch music, chime a lost phone and can also act as a camera shutter. The middle brings up alarm times, a second time zone, plus the date; while the top button is dedicated to the date only.
By far the most useful feature, however, is its smartphone notifications. It’s a feature where users can choose up to six contacts and six apps in their filtered notification settings. Enter an alert and the hybrid smartwatch will gently vibrate and its hands will move to the hour marker they assigned to their contacts/apps.
As far as its features go, all the watches under the hybrid category include activity-tracking, sleep-monitoring and custom goal-setting, among others—with all records accessible via the Q app. Bluetooth technology allows the hybrid smartwatches to alert users of accomplished fitness goals or incoming smartphone notifications with the same vibration or spinning minute and sub-eye hands technology.
The Hybrid smartwatches run up to six months (based on usage) on a standard watch battery—no charging required. All the Fossil devices have limitless options for personalization, as well.
These watches, along with the Q Marshal and Q Wander, are available in all Fossil and WSI stores and selected L Timestudio and Wristpod.