Because it took Google so long to release version 2.0 of the lukewarmly received Android Wear OS, Fossil Q smartwatches have already reached their third generation despite not being part of the platform’s support group at launch back in 2014.
Nowadays however, the American fashion designer and manufacturer that also sells licensed accessories for top brands like Emporio Armani, Michael Kors or Diesel may just be the single most committed company (or group) to the Android Wear “cause.”
There are probably two things that make the “Gen 3” Fossil Q Explorist and Q Venture special, although the full specs and features aren’t in yet. First, compared to their forerunners, these stylish circular timepieces arguably look sleeker, disposing of the so-called “flat tire” element that played down the elegance of the Q Founder, Marshal and Wander.
More importantly, it’s worth highlighting that in a sea of sporty or outright cheap-looking Android Wear 2.0 options, with exorbitant “luxury” devices as the only fashion-focused alternative, the Fossil Q Venture and Q Explorist don objectively chic designs at sensible price points.
They’re not ultra-affordable, setting you back $255 with leather bands or $275 in stainless steel-strapped variants. They’re also technologically modest by 2017 standards, packing 512 MB RAM each and seemingly lacking everything from heart rate monitoring to GPS and NFC support.
Still, at the end of the day, third-generation Fossil Q smartwatches are capable of most everyday wearable tasks, including showing smartphone notifications on round touchscreens, tracking steps, distance and calories burned, setting custom goals and reminders, as well as running standalone apps from a dedicated Play Store. The Explorist apparently has its own microphone and speaker too, sporting a 44mm case and interchangeable 22mm straps, compared to the 42/18mm Venture.
Both “collections” are up for pre-order stateside now, shipping from September 24.