Hands on: Fossil Q Venture HR review

Now with a heart rate tracker

What is a hands on review?
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Our Early Verdict

The Fossil Q Venture HR takes the design of the original watch, improves it slightly and then adds in lots of new tech.

For

  • New HR tracker
  • Google Pay support

Against

  • Small screen
  • One day battery

Fossil took to IFA 2018 to update almost its whole range of smartwatches - including the other brands it makes devices for like Emporio Armani and Diesel - with what it calls its new Gen 4 tech.

This has some new inclusions such as a heart rate tracker, GPS and Google Pay support.

The Fossil Q Venture HR is a new addition to the range that looks similar to last year's Fossil Q Venture. It's marketed at women, with the larger Q Explorist HR aimed towards men, but the Venture HR may be a watch for you no matter your gender if you prefer smaller devices.

Fossil Q Venture HR price and release date

The Fossil Q Venture HR is available from Fossil's website around the world right now, and it's on sale in the US for $275, while it's £250 in the UK and in Australia it's AU$429.

The company's other new watch - the Fossil Q Explorist HR - won't be shipped until the middle of September 2018, so you might also be waiting until then for the Q Venture HR to ship.

Design and display

The Fossil Q Venture HR has all the same tech as the Q Explorist HR, it's just the design that differs. Both watches also have a premium metal build, but the Q Venture HR's body is much smaller.

The right hand edge of the watch has a crown that you can twist to cycle through menus, while programmable pushers sit above and below the crown.

It comes in rose gold, silver or gold, and there are nine different strap and color combinations for you to choose from.

There are metal link straps or leather options that come in a variety of different color combinations. The watch body is the same in all cases, except that the bezel differs on some variants.

You can have it with a clean brushed metal look around the outside, or you can have it with some small jewels around the outside. That's not a choice for everyone, but some will love the look.

Other than the extra pushers, the Q Venture HR has a similar look to 2017's model, but it's worth noting that this time around it's more water-resistant, as it can be submerged to a depth of 3 ATM, meaning it can survive a swim.

The case itself is small - so if you have smaller wrists you'll particularly like this look - at 40mm, and the thickness is 13mm. The screen takes up almost all of that, and it's an always-on technology, so you'll be able to spot the time without waking up the watch fully.

It's bright and easy to cycle through menus when you need to, but it's worth noting that the smaller display does make it a bit harder to interact with the touchscreen compared to the Q Explorist HR.

Overall, if you want a smaller size version of the Fossil Q Explorist HR you'll like the Fossil Q Venture HR.

Specs and features

A heart rate tracker sits on the rear of the Fossil Q Venture HR, which is one of the major upgrades for this new model. The watch is also capable of tracking your steps, sleep, and there's even a GPS sensor so you can monitor your location.

This makes it a far more appropriate sport device compared to the last version, but it's still not the perfect design to make for a must-have fitness watch.

Google Pay is also on the watch, so you're able to do contactless payments directly from your wrist - which is something else you couldn't do with the original Fossil Q Venture - and it will come toting the latest Wear OS software as well.

There's a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 chipset inside, so it should be capable of everything you'd expect on a watch of this type, and we haven't currently tested the watch enough to know about battery life.

Early verdict

So far, so good with the Q Venture HR. We've had significant time with the Q Explorist HR so far, and it seems to be a major upgrade so we'd hope for a similar level of improvement on the latest version of the Venture.

If you want a smartwatch with a small design and Wear OS software, the Q Venture HR looks to be a suitable option, but there's also the super-lightweight Skagen Falster 2 that may suit you as well.

  • IFA 2018 is Europe's biggest tech show. The TechRadar team is in Berlin to bring you all the breaking news and hands-on first impressions of new phones, watches and other tech as they're announced. 

What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view. For more information, see TechRadar's Reviews Guarantee.