Baselworld 2017: New Fossil Q Smartwatches

Our exclusive look at the inexpensive Android Wear 2.0 and hybrid classic models

Forever on the quest to contextualize releases in the worlds of smartwatches and wearable tech we got all the advanced details on Fossil‘s forthcoming Q smartwatches. Revealed during the Baselworld watch and jewelry fair, the new Q pieces can be divided into two distinct groups: hybrid classic and Android. The former are more akin to traditional timepieces from the brand, but with connectivity and tracking; the latter feature Android Wear 2.0, a touchscreen and an array of useful functions. Both showcase substantial design upgrades from the previous Q iterations and new color options. With diameter size ranging from 40 to 44mm, they’re on par with other smartwatch (and hybrid) releases of late. Here, though, the price is under $300.

The two new Android models, the Q Venture and Q Explorist, do appear to be gendered but, really, either can be worn by anybody. The rose gold finishing of the former (which also comes with a gold finish and gems), atop the 42mm stainless steel case, is pretty but dynamic. As for other exterior features, the Venture also comes with interchangeable strap and bracelet options. Most important here, however, is the broad touchscreen digital display: clear and sharp, with ample room for the time, indicators and notifications. Further, a wearer can customize their watch face, drawing from a substantial amount of relevant indicators and shortcuts.

The Explorist (44mm) looks a bit more industrial and technical, with two additional pushers. It also comes in a fun blue and white colorway. The touchscreen is the same as the Venture, with an interface that’s simple to toggle through. Both models connect to smartphones through wireless syncing. At 11.5mm, the Venture is the thinnest from Fossil yet (and thinner than most if not all competitors) while the Explorist isn’t much thicker at 12.6mm. Each can be charged magnetically, with a battery life lasting up to 24 hours. As for functionality, there’s smartphone notifications, music control and the welcome addition of a microphone and speaker. Fitness-tracking integration allows access to some of the most popular, including Google Fit, UA Record by Under Armour, and Jawbone’s UP. There’s Google Assistant and the Google Play Store in the watches.

The Q Activist and Q Accomplice ranges both come in slim stainless steel cases. The design here is analog, meaning there are no digital notifications or controls. The latter is handled through the Fossil Q app. Notifications happen twofold: the case can vibrate and the hands can sweep around—each programmable to be associated with certain functions. Through the watch, one can trigger a photo from the phone, control music and even make the phone ring. Most impressive here, these watches have both fitness- and sleep-tracking abilities which they port to the app via Bluetooth. Without a touchscreen, the rechargeable battery on each of these watches lasts up to four months. Both the Accomplice and Activist lines have a clean, classic look and there’s something quite powerful to the less obtrusive way they keep track and share information.

The new range of Fossil Q smartwatches will be available for Fall 2017. The hybrid classic pieces start at $155 while the Android Wear 2.0 watches will be priced between $255-275.

Images courtesy of Fossil