Wearables

Q Marshal - Android Wear goes high fashion

The Fossil Q Marshal can be easily mistaken as a regular analogue watch, until you raise your wrist and its touchscreen display comes to life (above).
The Fossil Q Marshal can be easily mistaken as a regular analogue watch, until you raise your wrist and its touchscreen display comes to life (above).PHOTO: FOSSIL
The Fossil Q Marshal can be easily mistaken as a regular analogue watch (left), until you raise your wrist and its touchscreen display comes to life (far left).
The Fossil Q Marshal can be easily mistaken as a regular analogue watch (above), until you raise your wrist and its touchscreen display comes to life.PHOTO: TREVOR TAN

Fossil shows smartwatches can also be trendy and good-looking

Fashion label Fossil must be thinking that it can do better after seeing the uninspiring designs of some smartwatches. After all, it has been making watches for decades.

The Q Marshal, one of Fossil's smartwatches to be available here, can be mistaken easily as a regular analogue watch.

That is until you raise your wrist and its 1.5-inch (360 x 360 pixels) touchscreen display comes to life.

The review unit comes in silver with a round stainless-steel case and an accompanying stainless- steel watch strap. Other models include combinations of black case with black silicone strap, and blue case with brown leather strap.

Like the Samsung Gear S2, the Q Marshal's bezel has grooves, though the bezel does not rotate like the S2's.

However, the grooved bezel does add brownie points to its looks.

There is a crown on the right that cannot be turned. It functions as the home button.

Watch traditionalists might not like Q Marshal's "flat tyre" design - typified by a small black space at the bottom of the display - which is similar to Moto 360 smartwatches.

  • TECH SPECS

  • PRICE: $479

    CASE MATERIAL: Stainless steel

    COMPATIBILITY: Android 4.4 and above/iOS 8.3 and above

    WEIGHT: 159g


    RATING

    FEATURES: 3/5

    DESIGN: 5/5

    PERFORMANCE: 4/5

    BATTERY LIFE: 3/5

    VALUE FOR MONEY: 4/5

    OVERALL: 4/5

You would think Fossil will design watch faces to circumvent this "design weakness". But most of the original Fossil watch faces have numerals and dials being cut off by the black space. I ended up using watch faces that I use for my Moto 360 (2nd Gen).

I am usually not a fan of stainless- steel watch straps, as they tend to cause abrasions to my wrists.

However, the Q Marshal's strap is smooth and comfortable. Plus, the Q Marshal can fit any standard 22mm watch strap, so you can easily change the strap.

Powered by Android Wear 1.5, the Q Marshal is compatible with both Android and iOS smartphones.

Once paired with your smartphone, you get the entire Android Wear suite, from notifications - such as Facebook updates, WhatsApp messages and e-mail- to voice commands to record a reminder or for setting a route to a destination.

On the down side, the Q Marshal does not have a built-in heart-rate monitor that is found in smartwatches such as Samsung Gear S2 and Apple Watch.

Also, the Q Marshal has a water- resistance rating of IP67. In other words, you can wash your hands but not swim while wearing it.

There have been reports that some Android Wear smartwatches, including Fossil Q Founder, cannot be paired with the Apple iPhone 7 or 7 Plus. The Q Marshal is not one of them. I managed to pair it successfully with an iPhone 7 Plus.

Battery life is average for a smartwatch. It lasted 1½ to two days before needing to be connected to its Apple Watch-like conductive magnetic charger.

• Verdict: If you hate those rectangular smartwatches in the market right now, the Fossil Q Marshal provides a good-looking and value-for-money smartwatch.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 12, 2016, with the headline 'Q Marshal - Android Wear goes high fashion'. Print Edition | Subscribe