UNBOXED: Reviewing the Fossil Q Founder
Other than the Apple Watch, you don’t hear too often about certain brands’ smart watches. Sure, they exist. But the market hasn’t necessarily taken off as fast as makers—and tech enthusiasts for that matter—would’ve liked. Android Wear is out there, and it’s certainly helping in the sense that it’s allowing developers to create smartwatches that are compatible across mobile platforms (to an extent).
But the best part about Android Wear is that, because of the software’s open nature (as opposed to Apple) its attracting the well-established watch brands into the tech world and enabling them to create products that stay true to their craft, but also appeal to a younger, techier consumer.
About the Fossil Q Founder
At CES, Fossil made it clear that they were serious about their wearables strategy heading into 2016. They told me that, in the next year, they plan to have on hand more than 100 wearable devices. Those range from fitness trackers to all sorts of gadgets. But leading the charge in their wearables strategy is a device that stays true to the roots of the company: The Fossil Q Founder.
Available now, the Q Founder keeps the traditional look and feel of a Fossil stainless steel smartwatch, but adds the flare of Android Wear. The touchscreen smartwatch works on both the iPhone (iOS 8.2 and higher) and Android (OS 4.4 and higher) devices, has customizable watch faces (including dozens of options from Fossil’s classic line of watches), tracks activity, provides countless notifications, and has Google Now baked into the device.
Battery life is reported to be around 24 hours (changes based on how much you use it, etc.). The straps are interchangeable and compatible with other 22mm straps made by Fossil. It’s IP67 rating means it’s dust and water proof up to one meter. And it has Bluetooth connectivity as well as the ability to—and this is a big one—hook onto the same WiFi network that the user’s phone is on to remain connected to the internet when out of Bluetooth range—a feature only available when paired with an Android device.
Full disclosure: I’m a Fossil addict. My work bag is Fossil. I’ve only owned Fossil wallets in my lifetime. And Fossil has always been my go-to brand for non-smartwatches. That said, I love the Fossil Q Founder.
It looks and feels more like a real watch than an Apple Watch—and this is coming from an Apple Watch user…
My experience with the device was a little limited because I’m walking around with an iPhone, but I didn’t feel like I was getting anything less out of the Q Founder. Sure, I couldn’t respond to texts or talk into the watch for phone calls, but the Fossil Q Founder pushed through notifications for more apps than my Apple Watch is able to, namely Facebook. And the watch face options are far more impressive with Android Wear than what’s available on the Apple Watch. As an iPhone user, again, the experience was limited in that I couldn’t download third-party watch faces (or apps for that matter), but the ones provided by Android and Fossil were more than enough to keep me satisfied.
To be fair, I felt like the rating for the Q Founder needed to be divvied up into two categories: those with an iPhone and those running on Android. Because of the limited nature of Android Wear on iPhone, I come in slightly lower than the rating for using the Q Founder with an Android device. When it comes down to it, though, I’m more concerned with the look and feel of the smartwatch itself, and the Fossil Q Founder is second to none. It’s the classiest, coolest, most well-built device that I’ve ever strapped to my wrist.