PROS / The Fossil Q Founder has 1GB of RAM, which is more than any other smartwatch.
CONS / The case and stainless steel band scratch and scuff easily.
VERDICT / Fossil's Q Founder smartwatch will definitely turn heads. It's a premium-looking and performing smartwatch with a bright screen, but it may be too big for some wearers.
One of the hurdles that several smartwatch manufacturers have yet to overcome in the smartwatch space is forming a successful marriage between technology and fashion. Some designer accessory companies, like Guess and TAG Heuer, have decided to capitalize on tech companies' fashion shortfalls by putting their own spin on the smartwatch. Most recently, Fossil joined the smartwatch race with its Fossil Q Founder watch.
Fossil says connected accessories' looks are just as important as how they work, and we agree. The Q Founder succeeds in what it set out to do. Aesthetically, it stands outs from other smartwatches because of its premium construction and functionality: It's outfitted with top-tier specs. With 1GB of RAM, it has more memory than any other smartwatch. But Fossil's watch is far from perfect. It's 1.8-inch AMOLED screen is bordered by a huge bezel, yet the watch still suffers from the flat-tire effect. This means its circular screen isn't a full circle because a thin, black strip blocks the screen's bottom that houses the sensors and circuitry. It isn't as noticeable on the dark-colored faces, which this watch has plenty of, but on white watch faces, it's hard to ignore.
You can choose from a leather band or spend a little extra for a stainless steel link bracelet. We tested the model with a link bracelet. It's a bit chunky, weighing 5.1 ounces and is a half-inch thick. By default, the link band only fits a man with large wrists. You'll need a watch link removal kit or you'll have to stop at your watch store to get a proper fit. After wearing the watch for a couple days, the underside of our watch clasp became scuffed. The marks wouldn’t wipe away with a damp cloth, so be careful not to bump into objects, because the stainless steel seems to scratch easily.
If you are looking at this watch from a tech standpoint rather than from the view of someone with an eye for fashion, the Q Founder performs just as well as other smartwatches. It has a 1.6-GHz Intel Atom processor instead of the more common Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor. It runs Android Wear, and it can track steps and help you sift through and interact with notifications. Its 400-mAH battery will give you one day of battery life, which is a little bit less than average. Unfortunately, this smartwatch lacks a heart rate sensor, which is a minor disappointment.
Fossil's approach to the smartwatch is quite impressive. The Fossil Q Founder finds the happy medium between classic timepiece and modern gadget. Smartwatches have come a long way since their inception, and the Q Founder is the perfect example to prove it.