I have reviewed a few different watches that would fall into the smartwatch category, but none that would fall into the “true” smartwatch category (i.e., ones that run an operating system and can have apps installed). As I am not an iPhone user, picking up that watch really made no sense, and in the Android world, those watches seem to hit the tech sites. That is, until our pals over at Fossil had their latest generation being cooked up. Once they we made available, we raised our hands to check one out, and that brings us to today’s review of the Fossil Q Marshal smartwatch.
As a newbie to the world of Android Wear, I was cautiously optimistic when I unboxed the Fossil Q Marshal. First thing to do was charge it up, and that was the first bit of “cool”. Rather than plugging a cable into the watch, you stick the magnetic induction charger on to the back of the watch, and let it drink in the electrons. I like this as a charging solution for a watch, as you’re not left wondering how you’re going to cover up a micro-USB port to keep things water-resistant. As an added bonus, for those with metal sensitivities, the case back is then plastic (to allow for that charging), so you are somewhat isolated from the metal of the watch.
Next up after charging was getting the watch synced up to my phone, and that was very painless (wouldn’t you know, there’s an Android Wear app for the phone that walks you through it). Once that was done, I popped it on to my wrist, and started wearing it around. The first thing I noticed about the Fossil Q Marshal when wearing it is that it is not a small watch. At 45mm and 158g, this is definitely in the realm of dive watches. If you’re used to those, no problem. For those who are not used to wearing a watch, that size and weight could be a shock to the system.
Most of the time when I was wearing the Fossil Q Marshal, I wore it as the only watch for the day, though there were a few instances where I double-wristed (for example, at the gym). In my day-to-day, the Fossil Q Marshal worked well. While I initially had the screen on all the time, I quickly changed it to only activate when my wrist came up. Yes, it drops into a lower-power setting when you don’t turn off the “always on”, but it still drained the battery quicker than I would have liked. With the screen off except when I was actually looking at the watch, I was easily able to stretch the battery out over a couple of days before worrying about charging.
For me, getting the notifications on my wrist (whether it be meetings or text messages) was a novelty. I do wish that the silent alarm on the Fossil Q Marshal was a bit stronger, or had the ability to be turned up. It’s a fairly “calm” motor, which means that if you’re fairly active, you might miss it vibrating on your wrist. If you do notice it, though, you can very easily reply to text messages on your phone (using voice-to-text). In fact, the “Ok Google” integration was pretty fun to mess around with, be it quick searches for pictures of a bird, or telling the watch to set a timer or alarm for you.
As most people would be wearing the Fossil Q Marshal for most of the day, there shouldn’t be any surprise that it has fitness tracking built in (though no heart rate monitor). While this would not be the primary usage for a watch like this (at least not for me), it’s a tidy value add. In terms of what I quickly saw on the dial (other than alerts), I did like seeing the weather information quickly on the watch (just make sure to have your location turned on on the phone so it can pull that data).
With the amount of base adjustments you can make to the watch (just like an Android phone), along with all the watch faces and Android Wear-specific apps you can install, it would be very easy to make the Fossil Q Marshal “your own”. I left things fairly stock in my testing, and even if I owned it, I found myself realizing that I very likely would not do a whole lot more to it, other than perhaps a few more apps. I just found myself really not wanting to fiddle around with things a whole lot, and Android Wear seems setup to let you do just that – it will work right out of the box. Of course, if you’re the power user sort, you can easily dive into all sorts of things with the Fossil Q Marshal.
So, how did I like the watch after my time with it? Let’s put it this way. It’s not a bad watch, by any means, it just would not be replacing my favorite mechanical. With a watch like the Fossil Q Marshal, it really is more of a general purpose watch (as opposed to a fitness-oriented one that you have on at the gym), and would rightly want to replace whatever watch you might normally wear, be it quartz or mechanical.
For me, that’s just not a need or use case that I have. When it comes to checking what meeting I need to be in, I can easily look at my phone or the screen of my computer. Yes, the Fossil Q Marshal putting that information on your wrist does make it convenient, but it’s not any less disruptive than pulling a phone out of your pocket. I have no doubt that there are people who love their smartwatches – I am just not one that resides in that camp. I found it nice to visit, but not somewhere I would want to live.
For those who are in to smart watches, in my limited exposure to them I can safely say that the Fossil Q Marshal is worth checking out. With its steel case and bracelet, and round shape, it really feels much more like a watch than a plasticky gadget on the wrist. With Android Wear on board, you have a range of capability right out of the box, with the capability to customize it even more if you want to. And, at $295, the Fossil Q Marshal is definitely not a watch to break the bank. While the Fossil Q Marshal is not necessarily for me, if these watches are of interest to you, I think it’s worth checking out. fossil.com
Watch Review Summary
- Brand & Model: Fossil Q Marshal
- Price: $295
- Who’s it for?: You want a robust smartwatch that looks like a watch, and you carry an Android phone
- Would I wear it?: Intermittently, sure. As a regular daily wear, though, that would be a tough sell for me
- What I’d change: I’m looking forward to future iterations that slim things down
- The best thing about it: The at-a-glance weather and notifications information on the wrist is pretty handy
- Storage: 4GB Flash
- Operating System: Android Wear™
- Sensors: G-Sensor, Gyroscope
- Compatibility: Android™ Devices 4.3+ and iOS 8+ / iPhone 5
- Connectivity: Bluetooth® Smart Enabled / 4.1 Low Energy, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n – Powered by Android Wear™
- Battery Type: 360mAh
- Battery Life: Estimated all day
- What’s In the Box: Wireless Charger (USB type) / Quick Start Guide
- Functions: Personalize Your Dial / Control Your Music / Voice Activated Google / LED Flashlight / Google Maps Enabled / Interchangeable Watch Band
- Outside Temperature: Yes
- Heart Rate: No
- Activity Tracker: Built In Fitness Tracker
- Touchscreen: Yes
- Notifications: Social Media / Text / Email / App Alerts / Multiple Time Zones / Alarm Clock / Calendar Alerts
- Timer: Yes
- Text and Voice: Yes
- Case Color: Silver
- Case Size: 45mm
- Case Shape: Round
- Case Thickness: 14mm
- ADDITIONAL DETAILS
- Collection: Q Marshal
- Warranty: 2 Year Limited
- Water Resistant: IP67
- Interchangeable: Yes
- Interchangeable Compatibility: 22mm
- Closure: Single Pusher Foldover Clasp
- Strap Color: Silver
- Circumference: 200 +/- 5mm
- Strap Width: 22mm
- Strap Material: Stainless Steel