For the past year or so, the smartwatch revolution has belonged exclusively to tech companies, who are better at designing electronics than fashion wearables. But earlier this month, Tag Heuer finally released its first Android Wear smartwatch, and Fossil isn’t far behind.
At $275, the Q Founder, which we actually got a glimpse of back in August, is a more sanely priced wearable compared to $1,500 Tag Heuer Connected, but despite their huge price difference, the two watches do share one big similarity. Both wearables are the only smartwatches powered by an Intel Atom processor, rather than the more common Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor.
Apart from that, the Q Founder doesn’t do much more than what other Android Wear watches can do. You can get glance notifications, track steps, change the watch face all through Wear’s card-based operating system. The watch works with Android 4.4+ and iOS 8.2+ (though in a much more limited capacity). Fossil is being strangely quiet about the display type and resolution. We’ve reached out to Fossil for further clarification.
Update: Screen is an LCD panel at 360x326 and 240ppi. Not bad, but not great either.
But the most disappointing feature is the inherited “flat tire” design, most famously present on Motorola’s Moto 360 wearables. Motorala has said that particular design choice comes from a technical limitation of trying to keep the bezels as thin as possible, while still needing that thin shelf to fold over the display. It looks like Fossil ran into a similar problem.
The casing only comes in silver, but the watch strap is removable so you can slap on whatever leather, metal, or other material you want. But that’s not exactly the design freedom you have with Moto Maker, which makes Q Founder a hard sell at only $25 cheaper than the new Moto 360. Fossil is a watch brand first, so it’s design will most likely be its biggest selling point. But at first glance—with not much customization, a chunky 13mm watch case, no heart rate monitor, and only day-long battery life—the Q Founder sounds painfully average.
Here’s the Q Founder compared to other smartwatches. Click the top left corner to embiggen.