Fossil Q Explorist HR review

Fossil's techiest watch ever

TechRadar Verdict

Fossil's latest watch looks great and comes packed full of tech as well. It's not the most advanced smartwatch in the world, but considering its price you'd be hard pressed to go wrong with this Wear OS device.


  • +

    Large, clear display

  • +

    Great design

  • +

    Expanded fitness tech


  • -

    Only one day battery

  • -

    Can only use proprietary charger

  • -

    Not the newest chipset

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There are a plethora of Fossil watches already on the market, but the company has made some serious upgrades to its range with the Q Explorist HR.

The Fossil Q Explorist debuted back in 2017, and the tech quickly aged. A lot of the competition around the Explorist improved, including some watches from the Fossil brand itself.

With the Q Explorist HR, Fossil has made a concerted attempt at making a watch that competes with the latest products like the Samsung Galaxy Watch or Apple Watch 3, without losing the unique Fossil looks.

There’s also the new Fossil Q Venture HR, which is marketed at women but may be suitable for anyone looking for a smaller wristwatch.

With lots of new tech pushed inside, a new even more premium design and a focus on the fitness prowess of what the company is calling Gen 4 tech, the Fossil Q Explorist HR may be right up your street.

Fossil Q Explorist HR price and release date

  • Out now
  • Starts at £249 / $255 / AU$429

You can now order the Q Explorist HR from the official Fossil website in the US, UK and Australia.

The price of the watch differs depending on what version you're looking to buy. The cheapest version with a silicone or leather strap is set at £249 / $255 / AU$429. If you want the watch with a stainless steel strap you'll have to spend a touch more at £269 / $275 / AU$469.

Design and display

  • Various case colors and strap materials to choose from
  • A premium but big build
  • Screen looks good but has a large bezel

The Q Explorist HR is a larger watch - the company has its new Q Venture HR for those with smaller wrists - and it features a premium-build metal design. It's a 45mm case size, which is on the larger end of watches and gives it the space for a larger touchscreen in the middle.

We don't know the exact specs for the display - for some reason Fossil doesn't share this information - but it looked bright and clear. We found it easy to move around the display with our finger as it's a larger size than some other smartwatches.

You have a selection of different designs to choose from. For the watch body, you'll find it comes in blue, silver, black, rose gold, gunmetal or smoke and each is made of stainless steel.

There is also a variety of strap options including metal links or silicone. There's also a leather option - this is the one we've reviewed, and we really like it - that has silicone on the inside that makes it comfortable for exercising. You can see all of the design and strap combinations on Fossil's official website.

We've found the brown leather mixed with blue body to be a bold look, but the Q Explorist HR looks attractive in this color. It sits large on your wrist. but you won't find it all that heavy as Fossil has managed to keep it light.

The case thickness is 13mm, which is about the standard for a smartwatch. It's also water resistant, or what the company calls swimproof. Specifically, it has a resistance rating of 3ATM, so you'll be able to take this in a pool or shower without worrying about ruining it.

The right hand side of the watch has two buttons that you can tailor to open whatever apps you see fit, while in the middle there's a crown that you can rotate to skip through menus within the UI.

If you're looking for a watch with a particularly big display, this is well worth putting on your shopping list of potential options. Be warned though, you can still see a relatively thick black bezel running around the outside - the screen won't reach out to the edges of the watch.

There's also an always-on screen option here that means you'll always be able to glance at the time on your wrist without raising it and waking up all of the smart features. It's a small feature, but a nice touch.

James Peckham

James is Managing Editor for Android Police. Previously, he was Senior Phones Editor for TechRadar, and he has covered smartphones and the mobile space for the best part of a decade bringing you news on all the big announcements from top manufacturers making mobile phones and other portable gadgets. James is often testing out and reviewing the latest and greatest mobile phones, smartwatches, tablets, virtual reality headsets, fitness trackers and more. He once fell over.