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Fossil Q Venture review

Fossil’s Q Venture smartwatch is slim and stylish, and doesn't need the extra bling

Fossil Q Venture review arm
Fossil Q Venture
MSRP $255.00
“Heavy on bling, the Fossil Q Venture is light, easy to use, and relatively affordable.”
  • High-resolution display
  • Lightweight case
  • Looks elegant
  • Interchangeable watch straps
  • Smooth interface
  • Limited iOS capabilities
  • No NFC
  • Battery only lasts a day

Fossil’s latest smartwatch for women is the Q Venture, and it brings a few aesthetic changes from its predecessor, the Q Wander. Running Google’s latest version of Android Wear, the Q Venture has a smaller case and thinner watch straps, making it ideal for women who want a more compact smartwatch.

The Fossil Q Venture is a necessary step forward. It’s stylish, more subtle in size, has a better software experience Android Wear 2.0, and not too pricey. Let’s take a closer look.

Lightweight, even with all the bling

The Fossil Q Venture packs a lot of bling into a fairly compact body. Similar to the Michael Kors Access Sofie – where a silver watch face is surrounded by pavé setting stones – the Q Venture adds a bit more glitz. Gemstones surround both the watch face and the first four links of the wristband; calling this watch sparkly is an understatement. With a rose-gold tone, it’s a statement piece we think looks more appropriate for evening wear than a casual outfit.

Brenda Stolyar

The 2016 Q Wander has a 45mm casing and a thickness of 13.5mm. This time around, the Q Venture is both smaller and thinner with a 42mm case size and 11.5mm thickness. But even with all the extra décor, we were pleasantly surprised the watch didn’t feel as heavy on the wrist as it looks. Even after an entire day followed by a night of events, it feels so light we almost forgot we were wearing it. Since it’s not too bulky, you can also pair it with other jewelry without feeling like there’s too much arm candy.

Unfortunately, as is the case with most watches with link straps, the watch doesn’t fit perfectly out of the box. Our stainless steel link strap was too large, and we had to get quite a number of links taken off. Sadly, it was then a little too snug, which is what we had to settle for if we didn’t want the watch to be too loose.

We were pleasantly surprised the watch didn’t feel as heavy on the wrist as it looks.

The good thing is you can take the watch to any Fossil store to get the links taken out for free, or any watch repair shop can easily do the job as well. We also have a guide if you want to remove the links yourself.

The Q Venture does allow you to switch things up with any 18mm straps thanks to a quick-release mechanism. Even better, if you’re not a fan of the gemstones surrounding the watch face, Fossil offers several other models without any gemstones — including a black, gold, and rose gold tone, and these are paired with silicone, metal link, or leather straps. The company makes it easy to choose the look right for you.

There’s only one button on the right side of the watch, unlike the men’s Fossil Q Explorist, which has three buttons to trigger shortcuts. You won’t have the same convenience with the women’s Q Venture.

Solid performance, small display

Almost all Android Wear smartwatches released in the past two years are powered by the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, and pack 4GB of internal storage for music playback. We didn’t have any issues with performance, as the user interface runs smoothly and is fast to react — important when the watch is reliant on a touchscreen.

Fossil Q Venture review on crown
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends
Brenda Stolyar/Digital Trends

The display, however, is slightly above standard. The Q Venture has a high 454 x 454-pixel resolution on its 1.2-inch AMOLED screen. It’s only slightly bigger in comparison to the 1.19-inch display on the Michael Kors Access Sofie, but it’s hard to ignore the gems on the bezel because they make the screen feel smaller. The AMOLED screen gets bright, making it easy to read in direct sunlight; it’s also vibrant and colorful, making the watch faces pop more and visually pleasing.

Regardless of the gemstones, we’re happy to see a slightly larger display here. It’s essential, especially since you’re using the smartwatch to always look at all sorts of notifications.

Android Wear works best with Android

The Q Venture runs on the revamped Android Wear 2.0 platform, which Google launched early in 2017. Even if you aren’t familiar with Android, it’s extremely simple to use. Swipe down for your settings, swipe up to see your notifications, and swipe to the left or right on your watch face to change it.

The pre-installed watch faces on the Q Venture are more quirky than subtle.

The sole button lets you open the app drawer to access apps such as contacts, weather, the Google Play Store, Google Fit, and more. There’s also no rotating crown or bezel, so you’ll have to manually scroll through the menu using the touchscreen. There’s also the Fossil Q microapp that allows you to customize and save some of the pre-set watch faces.

The pre-installed watch faces on the Q Venture are more quirky than subtle, which can make it tough to find a suitable one for a watch that’s quite bold. For the models without the gemstones, the quirky watch faces could work well on days you’re looking to add pops of color to your outfit.

We specifically enjoyed the watch face called ‘Original Boyfriend,’ where you can set multiple dials on the watch face to showcase different information. For example, we set it to show what’s on our agenda for the day, one favorite contact, and the amount of steps we’ve taken. Adding these “Complications,” is easy, and available on a few other watch faces. With the Google Play Store available on the watch itself, you can browse and install a variety of third-party watch faces as well.

Google Fit is the built-in fitness tracking app, and it tracks your steps, calories burned, and distance traveled. There’s also Google Fit Workout, which tracks how long you’ve exercised for, and the number of calories burned based on a variety of different workouts, strength training, and challenges. It can also automatically start tracking a number of different workouts.

Other fun features include pre-installed games like Bold Bot and Maze, which are time-killing apps that are weirdly addicting if you’re bored on a train. You can check out our guide to the best Android Wear apps to find a few good alternatives to install.

If you have an iPhone, the experience is limiting.

With Android Wear, you can also access the Google Assistant by simply holding down the button on the side of the Q Venture. It’s almost similar to the Google Assistant on your phone: You can ask it to send messages, set reminders, provide weather updates. Sadly, you can’t use it to control your smart home devices.

Android Wear works best with Android phones. If you have an iPhone, the experience is far more limiting. You can’t respond to iMessage and SMS messages, and the Android Wear app needs to constantly be available in the background. If you’re looking for a smartwatch that you can rely on for full-functional use with your iPhone, go with the Apple Watch Series 3.

One-day battery life

The Q Venture comes with a wireless charging puck that connects to the smartwatch magnetically. Fossil claims the 300 mAh battery can last for 24-hours, which we found to be somewhat accurate. Using the watch to its fullest extent, the Q Venture hit about 10 percent by midnight after taking it off a full charge at 8:30 a.m. That’s about average with most Android Wear smartwatches, which means you will have to charge this device every night.

Price, availability, and warranty

The Fossil Q Venture will cost you $275 for the stainless steel straps – including the rose gold gemstone-laden variant we tested out. It will set you back $255 for the leather or silicone options. You can purchase it from Fossil’s website.

Fossil offers a limited two-year warranty that covers any manufacturing defects. The warranty doesn’t cover accidental damage to the case or watch strap.

Our Take

The Fossil Q Venture is a great compact women’s smartwatch for an affordable price. While we don’t particularly enjoy the rose-gold bedazzled option, we think the more subtle color variants look flattering on the wrist.

Are there better alternatives?

Yes. If you want a more upscale smartwatch of higher-quality, the Michael Kors Sofie is a great option for women. While the display is a bit smaller, it includes the same Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip and 4GB of storage. It’s also a lot pricier ranging from $350 to $495, but there’s a variety of pavé set stone designs to choose from.

Another option is the Misfit Vapor which also has the same specifications, but with a larger AMOLED display coming in at 1.39-inches. For those with smaller wrists, the buckle watch strap means you don’t have to go through the trouble of taking links off. It’s also cheaper than the Fossil Q Venture, has a heart-rate sensor, and a $200 price tag.

Fashion brand smartwatches aren’t the most feature-rich wearables, as they usually focus on design first. We recommend taking a look at the Huawei Watch 2, which has GPS, a heart-rate sensor, and NFC, so you can make contact-less payments with Android Pay.

For iOS users, we recommend the Apple Watch Series 3. You’re able to take advantage of all its features, and it will work seamlessly with your iPhone.

How long will it last?

The Q Venture is going to last you about 2 to 3 years. The battery won’t last as long, and it’s unclear for how long the watch will get updates. The good thing is the watch is IP67 water-and-dust-resistant, which means you can take it underwater up to 1 meter for 30 minutes.

Should you buy it?

Yes, if you like the look of the watch and don’t want to spend too much, the Fossil Q Venture is a great choice.

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