The wristwatch - an antique piece of wearable technology that has stood the test of time since 1868.
It’s 2017, and many companies are attempting to reinvent what we think of as a watch. With greater technological capability, new design language and a focus on software, the dream is for the smartwatch to be a wearable panel into your life - saving humans the effort of taking a phone out of their pocket and giving companies a chance to sell you an extra device in the other.
But they ran into one problem that many companies don’t seem to understand. These devices are downright ugly.
From the bubbly look and feel of the Apple Watch, to the super edgy, Star Trek Communicator-esque Fitbit, smartwatches have never really been given the same care and attention of a traditional watch.
It’s at this point that Fossil Q Grant enters the fray - bringing the premium watch design that this watchmaker is known for with some smartwatch technology built in.
Does this hybrid smartwatch bridge this gap that every company has found impossible to connect?
In one word - premium. It’s actually a watch, and a large one at that. While the Q Grant may look slightly weird on smaller wrists, if you have the build for it, one of the nine different finishes is sure to be a beautiful addition to anyone’s life - far exceeding the £159 price tag.
But with this high level of finish comes a setback if you want to use this for anything other than a daily walk to work. With the included leather strap, things get a bit sweaty and uncomfortable, leading to a slight discolouration of the material. If you want to go running with this, I’d recommend getting a sports band too, to circumvent the problem.
From the simple initial set up (download the app, select the model of watch and go), to the end of its respectable 6-month battery life (using a watch battery, so no overnight charging needed), there were no connectivity or performance issues whatsoever.
Even in the rare moments I forgot the watch and went out without wearing it, my phone was always quick to reconnect whenever the watch was back within range, and no fiddling with the Bluetooth menu was needed to achieve this.
This is mostly thanks to the use of Bluetooth 4.1, maintaining a constant connection with no dropouts at all.
With a really simple software & hardware user interface playing nicely together, the Fossil Q Grant was a doddle to use. From the simple requests of checking the date with a press of the crown, turning the watch hands towards the corresponding date on the outside ring of the watch face, to the customisable buttons with functions like music control and operating the camera shutter.
Beyond this, extra traveller functions add a flair for the international businessmen & women, fitting Fossil’s intended target audience for a watch of this style.
But the most important question of a device like this, does it track steps and sleep accurately? In short, yes.
While it’s fair to say without GPS or heart rate monitors of more expensive, fitness focussed models, the Q Grant isn’t as accurate, it does enough of a job for the general consumer who just want to generally track their daily steps and distance (unlike the misfit Phase).
Sleep tracking, while another nice implementation and eye-appealingly represented through blue graphs, I found to be slightly inhibited by the device itself. I know I may be in the minority with this, so allow me to explain.
My comfortable sleeping position is on the side with my arm under the pillow. Doing this with the watch-bearing arm under the pillow made the sharper edges of this design dig into my wrist, ending with me simply taking it off. And things get worse if you’re lucky enough to have a partner to spoon (never thought I’d be taking this kind of direction in a gadget review).
Stuff such as this could be easily fixed by placing the watch on the other wrist or turning over if, of course, you are a wondrous sleeper who can stay on one side (which I am not).
So how does the Fossil Q Grant stand up? Well, without feeding too much into Fossil’s marketing strategy, it’s a near-perfect sequel to the traditional wristwatch.
In many ways, it manages to bridge that gap and make sense to consumers - it’s an actual watch, with the premium look and feel of a watch, complete with some smart tracking tech thrown in for good measure.
And the issues I’ve found are not deal breakers. I still wear this today and will continue to do so - a good sign that I actually like it!
Plus, for under £150, it’s quite the steal.
A great hybrid smartwatch, which with a wider range of sizes for all wrists, could be amazing for all.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.