Smartwatches haven’t set the world alight in the way some people were predicting. Although Android got a head start in the battle for our wrists, the Apple Watch accounts for around 50 percent of all smartwatch sales. Thanks to the much-improved Android Wear 2.0 and improvements of some much-needed style after the entry of traditional watchmakers like Fossil into the market, it’s worth looking beyond Apple’s technological timepiece.
 We really liked the Fossil Q Founder,but the company made some subtle improvements with its follow up. The Fossil Q Explorist is a smartwatch that deserves a place on your shortlist, and possibly on your wrist. It’s stylish, it runs Android Wear 2.0, and it’s not ridiculously expensive.

​Design & Style:
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​At first glance you could easily mistake the Fossil Q Explorist for a traditional mechanical watch. Crafted from stainless steel, it features a case that’s 46mm across. A notched bezel goes around the outside of the circular AMOLED display and  is mercifully free of the flat-tire effectthat plagued older Android Wear watches. The bezel doesn’t move, but there’s a rotating crown on the right flanked by two buttons. The case is 12.5mm thick and you can attach standard 22mm straps. The Fossil Q Explorist unit came with a standard steel link strap which fit very nicely after some minor adjustment. This is a good-looking smartwatch with an understated, masculine style that means it pairs just as well with a suit as it does with t-shirt and jeans. The build quality is excellent and you’ll find yourself wanting to show it off, though it may be too chunky for smaller wristsThe Fossil Q Explorist is also a little heavy. There were times during the workday when it felt slightly uncomfortable. You certainly aren’t going to forget you’re wearing it. We found the touchscreen display bright and easily legible in most environments. It’s sharp at 454 x 454 pixels and perfectly round — there’s no cut-out section at the bottom. It’s responsive to the touch although typing on a display this size is never a great experience. The rotating crown is useful for scrolling through notifications, but it feels a little soft when you press it. The buttons angled above and below it have a satisfying click to them and it’s a shame this is missing from the crown. As that is the one you press the most. However, we did like the fact that you can set the two flanking buttons up as handy shortcuts to trigger whatever you want.


​Smooth performance most of the time:

​Inside the Fossil Q Explorist, there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor backed by 512MB of RAM. Navigation was generally silky smooth and it’s reasonably fast to load apps and games. Compared to older smartwatches it’s fast, compared to the latest Apple Watch it feels a little sluggish. The Wear 2100 processor is a little out dated now, and we are hoping to see a new chipset soon.
Since it runs Android Wear 2.0, you’ll use the Android Wear app for Androidor IOS to pair your smartphone. The watch can also download apps directly via the onboard Play Store and there’s 4GB of storage to fill. Connectivity is via Bluetooth 4.1 or Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and notifications are accompanied by a gentle buzz that’s just right. As an Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch, the Fossil Q Explorist will automatically track your activity via Google Fit so you can set daily goals, track steps taken, calories burned and record workout sessions. It is extremely water resistant rated, so there’s no need to fear rain and you can wear your Fossil Q Explorist in the shower or during a short swim if you really want to.
The Fossil Q Explorist lacks the convenience of a heart rate sensor and GPS. Truthfully, this Smartwatch is far from a full-fledged fitness tracker, but it’s not really trying to be and we think it offers enough for most people. It’s easy to incorporate the fitness data into your watch face, and there are plenty of fun and traditional options to choose from. You can swipe left or right to switch between watch faces on the Q Explorist or dig into a larger selection via the Android Wear app on your phone. We recommend to use the Fossil Classic watch face as it struck a nice balance showing date and time it also has a sweeping second hand, alongside steps, fitness goal progress, and a battery life indication. You get a couple of games preloaded on the Fossil Q Explorist, but in my opinion they’re a waste of space. There’s also a flashlight option that lights up the watch face, as well as standard utilities like the alarm, contacts and a stopwatch.
You can also use Google Assistant through the Fossil Q Explorist by holding down the crown. It’s handy for quick searches or dictating text messages if you’re paired with an Android smartphone.

Android vs iOS
We tried the Fossil Q Explorist out with an iPhone for a few days before switching and pairing it with an Android phone. Unfortunately, there was a big difference between the two! If you have an iPhone, then you’ll get most notifications on your Fossil Q Explorist, but you won’t be able to act on them. You can’t reply to text messages or handle calls, but you have to keep the Android Wear app open in the background, and if not the iPhone will frequently disconnect. But worst of all, it drains the battery quickly.  To unpair the watch from the iPhone you have to factory reset the Fossil Q Explorist and pair with the Android phone, which meant setting it up completely from scratch. Unfortunately, this is something you have to do with all Android Wear watches.
Once we paired the Fossil Q Explorist with an Android phone it was smooth sailing. We could answer calls, respond to messages, and it stayed paired! Battery life was noticeably improved as well.

Conclusion


​​The Fossil Q Explorist is not the most advanced smartwatch, but reasonably priced and stylish. I recommend it if you plan on using it with an Android smartphone, iPhone users should move along, however we think the Fossil Q Explorist compares favorably with the smartwatches on the market today. It is one of the best, if not the best option for men seeking value without compromising on style.
​​Pros:
  • Large clear display
  • Great design 
  • Price point
​​Cons:
  • One day battery life
  • Can only use proprietary charger
  • Not the newest technology for a smartphone