Wearables in the form of fitness bands and smartwatches are dime and a dozen. On one hand we’ve seen fitness brands get into the industry while smartphone and consumer electronics makers have tried to create devices that resemble traditional watches. Now, we’re seeing watchmakers like Fossil getting onboard the bandwagon to create smartwatches that look like the real deal but run Android Wear onboard. Here’s our review of the Fossil Q Marshal Smartwatch.
With a round 45mm case and thickness of 14mm, the Fossil Q Marshal is a big watch. The chunky links in the bracelet further reinforce the design element and so does the circular element around the screen. The bezel unfortunately does not rotate and neither does the crown. They certainly add to the illusion of a good-looking analog watch though. Sticking to a design and build that is entirely the same as a regular Fossil analog watch, the company has been able to create a device that is extremely comfortable. On the heavier side as far as watches go, the chunky digital timepiece sits perfectly on your wrist and could easily pass off as any other Fossil watch.
The front of the watch employs a 1.4inch display with a resolution of 320 x 290 pixels. It is a bit unfortunate that the company wasn’t able to include a completely round display. For a smartwatch that puts design front and center, this seems to be a bit of a disappointment. Another area of concern is that the display on offer doesn’t go all that bright. If you plan to step outdoors a fair bit, this can prove to be an issue because the colors tend to wash out under direct sunlight.
Charging takes place via a magnetic dongle that wirelessly tops off your smartwatch. We would’ve liked if Fossil included a more robust dock given the premium standing of the watch but as it stands, the magnetic dongle gets the job done. Battery life-like any other Android Wear watch is a little over a full day and depends entirely on the number of apps you have syncing and displaying notifications. Thankfully it takes just over an hour to completely charge the 360mAh battery powering the watch.
Internally, the watch is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 processor, 512MB of RAM and 4GB of storage. There’s also WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 onboard. The capabilities of the Fossil Q Marshal are exactly the same as every other Android Wear device out there. By design, Google has mandated that Android Wear devices maintain a base level of performance and since it is nigh impossible to skin the wearable OS, you are guaranteed a unified experience across such devices. The Q Marshal of course also includes activity tracking features like basic step counting and can sync these back to all of the popular fitness tracking apps like Google Fit. It can also be used around water due to the IP67 water resistance. Unfortunately the watch does not include a heart rate tracker which makes it a bit less than ideal for activity tracking.
The Marshal ships with the Fossil Q app onboard which is really the only differentiating factor here. The app gives you customisation options in the form of watch faces. We like the fact that the app lets you segregate these by color thereby making it quicker to pick out a new face. The rest of Android Wear experience is bog standard. Using a combination of gestures you can swipe in from the home screen to get to the app list. The apps themselves are often little more than widgets to control or view the main app on your phone but that’s alright since you wouldn’t want to do much on the small screen anyway. Android Wear like WatchOS for the Apple Watch is an experience that is best considered as an accompaniment to your phone and isn’t really built to be used as a standalone device.
All in all, the Q Marshal smartwatch running Android Wear is a smarter take on what is through and through a Fossil watch. The focus here is on design and a very macho look at that. The display proved to be a bit underwhelming and we wish the charger was a bit more substantial but that’s really nitpicking. Our bigger concern has nothing to do with Fossil and entirely to do with Android Wear in general which leaves quite a bit to be desired. The Fossil Q Marshal is priced at Rs. 21,999 and is possibly the most visually appealing smartwatch around but not quite the smartest.
- Premium design
- Decent battery life
- Underwhelming display
- Android Wear is light on features