Fossil knows what it’s doing when it comes to smartwatches, a point proven with its newest Q Explorist HR and Q Venture HR models, which combine plenty of technology with strong designs that retain the iconic Fossil look. These new fourth-generation watches fix one of the issues we had with the older Q Explorist, and with other similar smartwatches — they didn’t quite have the tech ability to replace a good fitness tracker.
Before we get to the tech, let’s look at the differences between the Q Explorist HR and Q Venture HR. It’s all in the design and style. The Q Explorist is the larger of the two watches with a 45mm stainless steel case and a 22mm strap size, while the smaller Q Venture HR has a 40mm case and an 18mm strap. There are five different designs for the Q Venture HR, with stainless steel or gold bodies and leather or metal link straps, or four different Q Explorist HR designs to choose from.
Take a look at the pictures to see the variations, and pay attention to the jewel-encrusted bezel and lugs on the all-metal Q Venture HR models, and the dimpled bezel on the Q Explorist HR. The crown and button designs appear very similar to the third-generation models. Each watch has an extensive collection of more than 36 different watch faces to customize the look. This may sound excessive; but swapping the watch face is not only fun, but helps the watch fit in with more outfits for everyday wear.
How about all this new technology? All the Q Explorist HR and Q Venture HR watches have a heart rate sensor on the back (hence the HR being added to the name), and a series of watch faces that show your heart rate, plus GPS inside for use without a smartphone, NFC for contactless Google Pay payments, and a high enough level of water resistance to make them suitable for swimming. All this, combined with Google Fit, makes the new Fossil watches considerably more comprehensive fitness trackers than ever before.
Unfortunately, Fossil is still forced to use the aging Qualcomm Snapdragon 2100 processor, which means performance will likely be very similar to older models. Qualcomm has not announced a replacement wearable chipset yet, leaving Fossil with little choice on what chip to use now. Google’s Wear OS is also onboard, making the watches compatible with either Android or iOS devices. There’s also the usual array of sensors — ambient light, a gyroscope, an altimeter, and an accelerometer — plus a microphone to take hands-free calls or interact with Google Assistant.
While Fossil can’t do much about the processor, it has been able to work in some new battery technology. Don’t expect it to have increased beyond 24 hours of basic use; but do look for fast charging, as Fossil says the battery will be ready for a day’s worth of use after less than an hour on the charger. We don’t know the exact details on this yet, but it sounds like a decent development. Each watch has 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage space.
Depending on the style you choose, expect to pay between $255 and $275 for the new Q Explorist HD and Q Venture HR watches, and all are listed on Fossil’s online store now. Not a bad price when you consider some of the best watches under $500.
A version of this article originally ran on our brother site, Digital Trends.
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