Fossil Q Founder review

A suave and shiny Android Wear debut

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Our Verdict

If you love Fossil's traditional timepieces, you'll cling to the Q Founder. This smartwatch differentiates itself with a spec boost, but even these changes can't tear it away from Android Wear's inherent issues.

For

  • Handsome design
  • Compatible with iOS and Android
  • Additional RAM

Against

  • Quite large and heavy
  • Flat tire display
  • Middling battery life
  • Doesn't push the bar for Android Wear

Fossil is no stranger to wrists, but creating a smartwatch is a venture that this household name is only now getting its start on. The Fossil Q Founder is its first Android Wear device, with many more to come later in the year.

The Q Founder continues the trend occurring within Google's range of smartwatches of looking more like traditional watches and less like a piece of wrist-based technology.

For $295 (£279, about AU$382) Fossil's debut rocks with the best that Android Wear has to offer in regards to its looks. The Huawei Watch, Moto 360 and LG Watch Urbane are among the suit-friendly ranks and the Q Founder fits right in.

Fossil Q Founder

Currently, it isn't clear if it will support the recently announced Android Wear 2.0. But, it packs in the latest–now standard–Android 6.0 Marshmallow update for Android Wear, which brings along a slew of new gestures and permissions, as well as some other minor improvements under the hood.

In terms of other important factors, like value, compatibility and battery life, is this the best Android Wear smartwatch that money can buy? Not really. It's not a bad smartwatch, as it meets the same highs and lows of other devices. But that, in essence, is the Q Founder's greatest flaw: it doesn't do nearly enough to stand out amongst the Android Wear watches that came before it.

Display

The screen built into the Fossil Q Founder is perfectly readable inside and out, and from multiple viewing angles. It's a 1.5-inch LCD display that boasts a 360 x 326 resolution at 240ppi. For a quick comparison, the Huawei Watch sits at 286ppi and a resolution of 400 x 400, but looks only a smidge clearer than the Q Founder.

To address the elephant in the room, yes, the Q Founder features the flat tire look made famous (or infamous, depending on your feelings) by the Moto 360. If you're unaware, there's a flat bit of the screen where the ambient light sensor is located. I prefer the seamless, circular display of the Huawei Watch, LG Watch Urbane and others.

Fossil Q Founder

Whatever your feelings are about it and whether it's just an easier engineering shortcut, the small, black bar is there and, looking on the bright side, results in less bezel around the watch overall.