This Fossil watch covers all the bases.
There were some gripes about the Fossil Q Control 3rd Generation relating to the design. But, isn’t that subjective? Some wanted more features, too. It didn’t offer NFC payments, nor did it have built-in GPS. For the price, around $250, alternatives do offer these things.
So, Fossil are back with the 4th Gen. They have addressed all concerns and included NFC and GPS. Additionally, an optical HR sensor.
Fossil are a big name in the smartwatch world and their latest offering does not fail to deliver. A great watch for a reasonable price
As with other Fossil smartwatches, this one runs Wear OS and can be paired with any Android or iOS device. Unlike the 3rd Gen, you get everything you want, feature-wise, in a smartwatch. It’ll accurately monitor your heart rate, you can use it for contactless payments and track your location whilst outdoors using the built-in GPS.
It offers 50m of water-resistance so you can shower with it on knowing it won’t get damaged. You can swim in it, but it’s best to stick to a pool and nothing deeper. It will track those swims for you, too.
There’s a built-in speaker to use with Google Assistant (but not calls). It will deliver your notifications, which you can also respond to, but it needs to be near your phone to do that.
The 4th Gen is undeniably good-looking. It has a classic mechanical look about it. It also hasn’t strayed too far from its predecessor, and why would it? Furthermore, it has a big glass face and bezel with characterful notches and crown-like buttons.
The thing that differentiates the Q Explorist from the traditional mechanical watches of the world is a clear 454 by 454 pixel 1.4 inch display. The OLED panel is lazer-sharp, bold and colourful.
Fossil haven’t included any overt branding. They’ve left a small logo on the buckle of the strap, but that’s it. There are options to include the Fossil logo by using some of their pre-set watch faces.
By default, the OLED screen is always-on. So these preset faces have been specifically designed to be low-energy.
The watch is 45mm in width, which is big by watch standards, but it doesn’t feel chunky. It’s lighter than the 3rd Gen by a considerable 14g, as well as being 2mm thinner. Dimensions are similar to the Samsung Galaxy Watch. Essentially, you’re getting prime screen real estate and little bulk.
On the belly of the Q Explorist you’ll find a heart rate sensor. It does stick out a little from the back, but, arguably the benefit of this is that the wireless charger sits snugly on it.
The watch comes in five different colours and they all offer a variety of materials and colours when it comes to picking a strap. They’re mostly 22mm. You’ll definitely be able to achieve your unique look.
As we’ve already praised Fossil for; in terms of features, they addressed every limitation the 3rd Gen had. Now you get contactless payments, GPS and a decent heart rate monitor. You can now walk out the door free of your phone. It’ll accurately log your distance, time and pulse. Don’t put this watch on a pedestal, though. It’s not going to replace sport watches.
It only takes a short time to set up Google Pay. Making contactless payments even easier than using your phone. You don’t need to be connected to the internet for it to work, either. It’s so convenient being able to stop at the store if you’ve remembered that you need something whilst out on a run.
You get everything you’d anticipated from a WearOS device. You can easily access Google Assistant, including using “OK Google” as a command. Or by simply swiping right on your home screen.
Mimicking the capabilities of Google Now, it’ll display everything you might want to know for your day ahead. Travel/traffic, weather and your calendar entries.
Swiping right can be customised to bring up Google Fit. Here you’ll get another useful update. It’ll tell you overall activity, broken down into your ‘move’ minutes and heart points, similar to Apple’s rings.
In the Quick Settings section you’ll see a lot has changed from the previous version. You’ll find quick shortcuts to Google Pay and a power-saving mode. You might also want to switch to airplane mode, do not disturb or change the brightness of the screen. It’s much more intuitive.
As for battery life, Fossil claim you will get a full day. This really depends on app use. It depends how you use your watch. There are some power-hungry apps, including Google Play Music. This might make your Q Explorist run other apps more slowly. But, if you’ve got music playing, logic would suggest you’re concentrating on a run and not other apps. When used intensely, the battery can be run down in as little as six hours. Again, you’ve been advised not to use this as a dedicated sports watch.
This isn’t unusual for WearOS devices, though. Some will typically only give you half a day so you might want to charge it whilst you sleep.
Prices have dropped significantly recently, which is great. You get a decent smartwatch at an acceptable price. Originally up for $250, you could spend a little more and get a Series 3 Apple Watch, which is arguably similar enough to a 5 that it’s still a powerful device.
There’s always going to be the Samsung Galaxy Watch (around $280), which never disappoints. It might be a little more thickset at 46mm, but you get reliable GPS, NFC and offline Spotify.
Fossil has taken some great leaps with the Q Explorist HR 4th Gen. It looks awesome and it has all the appeal of a fashion brand watch. It has some great features and smartwatch capabilities, even fitness.
For the price, you get a great watch. Our only advice is not to compare it to leaders Apple or Samsung, as it’s not on the same level. If Fossil continues to develop this range and a 5th Gen is in the making, you can guarantee it’s going to be a hot device to watch out for.