Fossil Q Commuter hybrid smartwatch review

Stylish and full of smarts, the Fossil Q Commuter gets you to work on time

Take a long, hard look at the Fossil Q Commuter, and you’d never guess there’s a boatload of smart features under the face of this watch. That’s the beauty of hybrid smartwatches — they’re easily disguised as traditional, mechanical watches, but they have Bluetooth connectivity that enables a variety of other functions. The Q Commuter is a particularly exceptional hybrid, because not only does it look stunning, but it also adds the ability to check what time you’ll get to work.

Gorgeous and comfortable

The Q Commuter is the most stylish hybrid watch we’ve seen from Fossil to date. Our review model has a white face, with a sturdy and thick brown leather band. Choosing a watch relies heavily on personal preference, and we fell in love with the Q Commuter’s design immediately. The lugs slope down, meaning there’s hardly any gap between the watch strap and your wrist. It sits comfortably, and the experience is the same as wearing a traditional watch.

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The 42mm watch is perhaps a hair thicker than most traditional watches, but it’s hardly noticeable. There’s a small sloped bezel around the watch face, and there are three buttons on the right edge; they’re all clicky. We’ll get to these buttons soon, but they essentially act as the trigger key to certain functions.

There’s only one subdial on the watch face, and it serves two functions. One half of the subdial measures the steps you’ve taken to a preset goal. The left half of the subdial is split into four partitions, and they each are different categories the subdial’s hand moves to when an action takes place. If you get a notification, for example, the orange subdial hand will move to “Alert” for a few seconds. The watch’s hands and minute indicators also glow in the dark, which is helpful when checking the time at night.

The Q Commuter is the most stylish hybrid watch we’ve seen from Fossil to date.

Our favorite part of the watch may be the leather strap. It doesn’t feel flimsy or cheap. It’s thick, easy to buckle, and breathable. In the few weeks we’ve worn the watch, the band aged well — that hasn’t been the case for most leather bands we’ve seen on smart or hybrid watches. If you’re not a fan of the look, you can easily swap out the strap for any other 22mm watch bands.

If the white face and brown leather Q Commuter doesn’t appeal to you, Fossil has a number of other variants you can choose from. These include a black face with a black stainless-steel link strap, a navy blue face with a blue leather strap, and more.

It’s not all great news, though. You’ll want to be careful with swinging your arm about, because we’ve already noticed a scratch on the glass.

Your commute, at a glance

Fossil churns out a lot of hybrid smartwatches, and considering there are several fashion brands under the Fossil Group — including Skagen, Misfit, Kate Spade, and Emporio Armani — it’s easy to find another hybrid watch with the same exact features. The Q Commuter distinguishes itself with the ability to quickly find out how long it will take to get to work.

Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The Commute feature is our favorite feature on this watch. Simply add in a destination address into the connected app — like your work — and the watch will use Google Maps to show you the time you’ll arrive at your destination. We’ve mapped this function to the bottom button, so as soon as we press it, the hour and minute hands move to the estimated time of arrival. It’s always been accurate for us, even with New York City’s frequent train delays.

Assigning notifications to numbers will require memorization work from you.

What else can the Q Commuter do? There are several other functions the app allows you to set to each of the three buttons. If you’re not interested in the commute function, you can set the top button to play or pause music from your phone; you can ask for the time in London with the middle button; or you can have your phone ring in case you can’t find it with the bottom button.

There are several presets you can switch through on the app, so if you’re out on a run, switch to the music preset and the buttons will now let you  play and pause your music, as well as choose the next or previous track.

Once paired with the Fossil Q Android or iOS app, you can start setting either a contact or an app to each of the 12 numbers on the clock. You can bundle multiple apps together, group contacts to one number, or even mix apps and contacts together, though that may get confusing. This method of assigning notifications to numbers will require some work from you, because you’ll have to memorize the configurations. If you don’t, these alerts will be pointless. It takes a few days, but once you get the hang of it, the notifications are certainly useful.

The vibration feedback is strong enough to make you glance at your watch. We set numbers one through four with personal contacts — so the watch’s hands will point to those respective numbers for any calls and texts from these contacts. The rest of the numbers are tied to notifications from apps. If we get a notification from Twitter, the hour and minute hands will move to 7. At that point, it’s up to you to determine if you want to open your phone to see the notification.

Fitness and sleep

The Q Commuter also tracks your steps, like a very basic pedometer. You can add a goal, like 10,000 steps a day, and the orange subdial hand will slowly move from 0 to 100 the more you walk.

Once you hit your goal, it will stay at 100 until the next day. Open the app and you can see the actual number of steps you took, as well as distance traveled and calories burned. We compared the results of the step counter with the Apple Watch and found them to be close. The fitness tracking feature is rudimentary, but we appreciate it being available.

Sleep tracking is surprisingly accurate, as well. The watch isn’t too uncomfortable to wear to bed, and it accurately recorded the amount of time we were asleep. In the app, you can break the data down between the amount of time awake, in restful sleep, and in light sleep. Like the fitness tracking it’s fairly basic, but it does the job.

Never worry about charging

The best part of a hybrid watch is that it does not require daily charging. In the almost month we’ve used the Q Commuter, our battery is around 85 percent. The watch uses a coin cell battery, and it will likely last for 6 months to a year. There’s an easy way to remove the back of the watch to replace the battery, which you can do for cheap.

Fossil Q Commuter hybrid smartwatch review
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends
Julian Chokkattu/Digital Trends

The watch is also water resistant up to 50 meters, which means you never have to worry about jumping in the pool with the Q Commuter on.

Price and availability

The Fossil Q Commuter starts at $155, but if you want a stainless steel strap, the price can jump to $175. For all its good looks and genuinely useful smart functions, it sure is a bargain. You can nab one from Fossil’s website now.

DT Editors' Rating: 4.5/5

Product Review

This featherweight Fossil might be the lean smartwatch you've been waiting for

Fossil has released its first-ever smartwatch featuring Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100. For $255, it comes equipped with a heart-rate sensor, built-in GPS, and more, but does the Fossil Sport live up to the hype? We take a closer look.
Product Review

With style and feature upgrades, Misfit's next-generation Vapor 2 gets it right

Misfit’s next-generation smartwatch, the Vapor 2, packs built-in GPS, a heart-rate sensor, and more, into a beautiful design that starts from $250. We take a closer look at the company's latest device.
Mobile

These 100 best iPhone apps will turn your phone into a jack-of-all-trades

The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the world, and we want to bring out the best in yours. Behold our comprehensive list of the best iPhone apps, from time-saving productivity tools to fun apps you won’t be able to put down.
Deals

Make some time for the best smartwatch deals for November 2018

Smartwatches make your life easier by sending alerts right on your wrist. Many also provide fitness-tracking features. So if you're ready to take the plunge into wearables and want to save money, read on for the best smartwatch deals.
Cars

Uber rolls out rewards program that lets its most loyal riders lock in prices

Uber launched a new loyalty program today called Uber Rewards. It offers frequent riders credits to Uber Eats, car upgrades, and the ability to lock in prices on their most traveled routes.
Gaming

15 tips for keeping your vault-dwellers alive in ‘Fallout Shelter’

The wasteland can be an unfriendly place, if you don't know what you're doing. Here are 15 tips that will help your vault thrive in Fallout Shelter, including information on questing.
Mobile

Motorola Moto G7: Here’s everything we know

The Moto G6 range is still relatively new to the market, but rumors have already started about the Moto G7, which is expected some time in 2019. Apparently, a G7 Power version will be joining the G7, G7 Play, and G7 Plus.
Mobile

T-Mobile's new Revvl 2, Revvl 2 Plus are now available for purchase

Last year, T-Mobile launched its own line of branded smartphones. As a follow-up to their predecessors, the carrier has unveiled the Revvl 2 and Revvl 2 Plus -- complete with a sleeker design. Here's everything you need to know.
Mobile

How to take great photos with the Pixel 3, the best camera phone around

You’ve scored yourself a new Google Pixel 3 or Pixel 3 XL, and you want to take advantage of that incredible camera. We’ve got everything you need to know right here about how to snap the best photos with your Pixel 3.
Wearables

Google's Wear OS update 'H' promises battery life improvements

Google has rebranded its Android Wear operating system to Wear OS. Removing the Android name may help people better understand Google-powered smartwatches, which also play nice with iOS devices. 
Smart Home

Huawei could soon take on Google and Amazon with a new digital assistant

According to a report from CNBC, Huawei is working on a new digital assistant that could try to take on the likes of Google and Amazon's Alexa. Huawei already has a digital assistant in China, but the new one will be aimed at markets…
Mobile

Leak shows a third, budget Google Pixel 3 with a Snapdragon 670, headphone jack

The Google Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL are considered to be two of the best Android smartphones, but it looks like Google could be prepping a third. A budget Pixel 3 device that boasts some of the best features of the other two has been leaked.
Mobile

Use multiple phone numbers on one device with Verizon’s ‘My Numbers’ app

For those who have separate phone numbers and devices for your work and personal lives, Verizon wants to help you get more organized. With its new "My Numbers" app, you can use up to four additional phone numbers on a single smartphone.
Smart Home

All the best Amazon Black Friday deals for 2018

Amazon may be an online-only retailer, but that doesn’t mean its Black Friday sales are anything to sniff at. In fact, due to its online status, Amazon has huge flexibility with the range of products and deals it can offer. Here's our…