Fossil Q Grant review

Fossil is really getting into the smartwatch market and following the Q Founder with Android Wear we've got our hands on the Q Grant, an analogue watch with smart features. Here's our Fossil Q Grant review. See also: Best smartwatches 2016.

Also see: Best Black Friday Smartwatch Deals

What is a semi-smartwatch? Simply put, it's the name we give to an analogue watch which also has smart features. It gives consumers the choice to wear a 'normal' watch but still benefit from modern tech like Bluetooth connectivity. Fossil puts it quite nicely saying it's "A smartwatch for analogue watch lovers."

Fossil Q Grant review: Price and rivals

You might be surprised to hear that the Fossil Q Grant price is a rather reasonable £165 which is a lot cheaper than the firm's £259 Q Founder which runs Android Wear.

That price is for the 'dark brown leather' model which we looked at but there are more expensive options. It's still our favourite of the bunch but you can also opt for a stainless steel model, sand leather (which has a rose gold finish) or black leather (which has a black metal finish. All of these are yours for £185 which is still affordable.

There are cheaper semi-smartwatches out there such as the Martian Notifier (£129) and the Elephone W2 Smart Watch (£59), but they pale in comparison to the Fossil Q Grant. If you can stretch to a higher budget, the Guess Connect semi-smartwatch (£289) adds voice commands and the ability to read out texts and answer calls on your watch.

Fossil Q Grant price

Fossil Q Grant review: Design and build

As mentioned, a semi-smartwatch means the device looks and works like a regular analogue watch. It is one after all and the Fossil Q Grant is leagues ahead of the competition when it comes to design and build.

It may be more expensive than some rivals we've tested but you're buying a well-known and respected brand in watches.

The Q Grant is a real head-turner with it gorgeous watch face, in this case in a stylish cream colour with roman numerals and a sunken section in the middle which houses three more dials (we'll explain what they do later).

We love the chunky 44m metal frame on the Q Grant which has a chrome finish where it meets the glass and a bushed finish round the edge for a two-tone look. There's also the matching buttons and crown on the right-side. The leather strap is comfortable and starts to look weathered after a while, adding character – it's 22mm and quick release so it's easy to change it.

Bear in mind that the more feminine 'sand leather' option is still a 44mm case which will be too big for a lot of women. It's also not the most slender of watches at 15mm making it all the more manly.

Fossil Q Grant colours

The sad thing is that the back of the watch is made from a light grey coloured plastic, and while the back doesn't really matter much this does go a reasonable amount up the side of the watch where is meets the metal. It's clearly visible when the watch is on your wrist detracting from the overall style somewhat. Even the FFC ID and another long series of digits are visible if you look hard enough.

Last but not least on the design and build front is the 3ATM rating which means its splash proof and water resistant but you shouldn't dunk it fully so don't wear it swimming.

Fossil Q Grant review: Specs and features

There's not a massive amount to talk about when it comes to the Fossil Q Grant specs since the watch doesn't have a touchscreen and therefore the need for serious components although there is an Intel logo on the back indicating the supplier of the tech element.

Fossil Q Grant plastic back

Instead, the smart features come in the simplistic form of a vibration motor and LED lights (one on either side of the case). Connected to an iPhone (5 or later with iOS 8.2 or later) or Android (version 4.4 or later) over Bluetooth (4.1 LE) you can get notifications through to the Q Grant.

A note on connectivity is due as we had issues using the Q Grant with Android with frequent drop outs and sometimes even had to pair it with the phone as if it was the first time. Other reviewers seem to have had the same issue but not with iOS. We've seen some software updates since receiving our sample but nothing has fixed it sadly.

Using the Fossil Q app, you can customise the notifications you get starting with contacts. You can set up to five favourite contacts, each with a different colour (choose from seven options) and vibration patterns so you know who is calling or texting you. It's just a shame you can't have a setting for all other contacts so you're limited to just the favourites.

Fossil Q Grant LED

The LEDs (see above under the left-button) can also be used to notify you of other things such as when certain apps have a notification on your phone or even when a particular hashtag or emoji is used.

Customisation includes how strong the vibration is and the length of delay between the vibration and the LED coming on – handy if you need more time to glace at the colour. You can just have one or the other if you like, too. There's also the choice of which LED to use or have both flashing.

The Fossil Q Grant can also track your activity thanks to its 3-axis accelerometer providing basic information via the app such as steps taken, distance covered and calories burned. There's nothing fancy like a heart rate monitor, elevation or sleep tracking.

It's a shame then, that one of those three small dials on the watch face isn't linked to your activity progress. We imagined that one would be your step count (or percentage of goal) like the Withings Activité but sadly none are. Instead they are for (left to right) stopwatch minutes, stopwatch seconds and 24 hour count. You control the chronograph stopwatch with the two buttons either side of the watch crown.

Fossil Q Grant charger

Battery life is quoted at a week but we found the watch can go for longer if you don't get too many notifications. It's easy to charge it though as the supplied stand is also a wireless charger.

Fossil Q Grant: Specs

  • Android 4.4 or later
  • iPhone 5 onwards, with iOS 8.2 or later
  • Bluetooth 4.1 LE
  • 3-axis Accelerometer
  • Vibration/Haptics engine
  • Wireless charging with included dock
  • 3ATM water resistant
  • 27mAh battery
  • 44mm case
  • 15mm thick
  • 72g
  • Android 4.4 or later
  • iPhone 5 onwards, with iOS 8.2 or later
  • Bluetooth 4.1 LE
  • 3-axis Accelerometer
  • Vibration/Haptics engine
  • Wireless charging with included dock
  • 3ATM water resistant
  • 27mAh battery
  • 44mm case
  • 15mm thick
  • 72g

OUR VERDICT

The Fossil Q Grant is easily the best looking and well made 'semi-smartwatch' we've reviewed. It's both stunning and affordable although the plastic back which shows is a shame. Smart features including customised notifications and activity tracking work well but are fairly basic and limited. Our main issue is the connectivity issues with Android.