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Fossil Q Founder 2.0 Review

Fossil has officially launched its latest models in the Q line here in the Philippines and just by straight up looking at them, we could already sense that they aim to bring the attractive aesthetics their company is known for and imbibe it with the functions of a smartwatch. What we have here is the Q Founder 2.0 which has very little differences from the other models on its line (Q Wander and Q Marshal) as we noted during our previous hands-on article.

For this review, let’s take a deeper look at how it performs in the long run and if it’s a considerable device in the basket of smartwatches available today.

Design and Construction

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The Founder 2.0 has a 46mm case which is slightly larger than the ones found in Wander and Marshal at 45mm. A watch with this large a case is not normal for wearables. Add to that its 14mm thick measurement and you get a chunky piece of gadget slapped on your wrist. It does look thick — like an oreo cookie with extra filling in the middle.

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Smartwatches started out with square form factors but as of late, a lot has already come out with round displays and this is what Fossil went with. We liked it since it looks more like a watch this way.

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One thing you’d notice right off the bat is that there’s a black bar at the bottom of the screen. This is where the company placed the ambient light sensor for its auto-brightness adjustments as well as certain added features that take advantage of this sensor. Undoubtedly, this flat tire look is noticeable and could be unsightly for some users.

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At the right side, we have the crown which acts as the only physical button on the device. With it, users can wake the screen or turn it off. It also brings you back to the home screen when tapped once, while pressing and holding it launches the menu.

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The Founder 2.0, just like the Wander and Marshal, both use a 22mm strap that’s swappable with other colors and materials. There are silicon, leather, and stainless steel variants to choose from.

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Its body is put together to receive an IP67 certification for water resistance meaning it could take on drizzles for some time but it’s not advisable to go swimming with it.

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Fossil has given it 400mAh of battery capacity which is actually more than the Marshal’s 360mAh. Their smartwatches charge wirelessly through the use of Qi and the package comes with a charging cradle that sticks to the underbelly of the watch using a magnet.

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Although it has a beefy form factor, wearing it actually looked nice and not overblown even for me that have thin wrists. However, its thick profile makes its face hard to keep under the sleeves and tends to pop out under the cuff.

Display

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The Founder 2.0 carries a 1.5-inch LCD touchscreen display which is fitted with a 360 x 326 resolution, equating to a decent 240ppi. Images and graphics are pretty sharp and colors are vibrant enough but still not as vivid as having a Super AMOLED display.

Swiping across the screen is so far fluid while display brightness is decent. We’ve used it for an extended period of time and navigation was lag-free with no hiccups.

Setup, OS, and Apps

Setup is fairly simple but could take a good 10 – 15 minutes since it will give you a tour of how to operate the device. Also during this time, the smartwatch will download the compatible apps that you have on your Android phone so you can use them on the watch anytime (like Shazam, Strava, Maps, etc.).

Android Wear is the software that’s making the Founder 2.0 function and this is also the reason why a lot of Android apps can be opened and used on the smartwatch. You just have to first download the app with the same name to be able to connect the two devices to each other. From there, the aforementioned setup will begin and in this very app is where you can download and collect different watch faces.

 

Features and Performance

Gesture operation – During the startup tutorial, it will teach you how to operate the smartwatch without even having to touch it in case your other hand isn’t free. All you need to do is to flick your wrist up or down, or do some gestures and you will be able to scroll, go back, and select options.

Fitness tracking – The Founder 2.0 has a built-in fitness tracker that shows you how many steps you’ve done, calories burned, and minutes active. These, among other details of your activity, is uploaded wirelessly to the Fit app after installing and pairing with the watch. Do take note that there’s no heart rate sensor embedded inside the device as well as sleep tracking in case you’re looking for those two features.

Notifications – As long as the watch is paired to the smartphone, it will be able to receive and display notifications so you won’t need to keep on checking your phone. Users can choose which apps will send notifications to the Founder 2.0 through vibration. From there, you can choose different options like giving a thumbs up (if it’s a message on Messenger) or open the phone directly to the app before even grabbing your handset.

IP67 certification – As mentioned earlier, the smartwatch is IP67 certified which means you get extra protection from water and dust. The water rating suggests that you can have it wet under the rain or while taking a shower, but it’s not sealed enough to go underwater for long periods.

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Voice commands – The wearable has five pinholes on its side which are dedicated for the microphone. With it, users can dictate a sentence or phrases to search over the internet or reply to a message. It works pretty accurately as long as you’re not in a really noisy environment.

We’ve worn it for the last couple of weeks and we could say that it performs as it was advertised. It effectively tracked our activities (which consisted a lot of walking) and delivered notifications from different apps like Facebook, Messenger, and Instagram. Apart from those, we also used the watch to quickly check the temperature, get directions via Maps, and set an alarm whenever we needed to. It is a handy gizmo that positively complements the smartphone.

Another thing that we liked about it is that although it runs on Android Wear, iOS users can still use it if the Apple Watch isn’t their cup of tea. However, there are still some limitations as to the features but all in all, it’s still pretty thoughtful for them to open it for Apple users.

Battery Life

Considering that it has slightly more battery capacity than its other model, the Founder 2.0’s 400mAh battery only lasted us one full day before we needed to charge it again. However, take note that this was when the display was always on with notification and vibrations all turned on. After we deactivated the always-on display feature and powered off the device before sleeping, we yielded around 2-3 days of usage before its juice ran out.

Its wireless charging capability is pretty cool but having no cables to plug in also has its disadvantage. Charging the watch takes longer at about 4 hours to complete. We’re pretty sure it won’t take that long if it’s physically connected via microUSB.

 

Conclusion

We enjoyed our time with the Founder 2.0 since it’s a good-looking timepiece with smart functions. The perks that the company threw in proved useful like the one-handed operation and its fitness tracking capabilities. However, we found certain aspects still lacking like the battery life, the time it takes to fully charge the device from zero, and don’t forget the unsightly flat tire design.

In its entirety, this wearable is still a good consideration if you’re in the market for a smartwatch since it’s attractive, does what it’s marketed to do, and has simple operations. These factors altogether help make its negative qualities more tolerable.

The Fossil Q Founder 2.0 is priced in the Philippines at Php16,000.

Fossil Q Founder 2.0 specs:
1.5-inch LCD display @ 360 x 326 resolution, 240ppi
Intel processor
4GB storage
46mm case
14mm thick
22mm interchangeable straps
IP67 certified
Built-in fitness tracker
Gyroscope
Bluetooth 4.1 low energy
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
400mAh battery
Android Wear OS

Pros:

  • Circular design
  • Neat and aesthetically pleasing to look at
  • Interchangeable bands
  • One-handed operation
  • IP67 certification

Cons:

  • Flat tire approach (black bar on screen)
  • No heart rate sensor
  • No sleep-tracking feature
  • Charging takes long


Kevin Bruce Francisco is the Senior Editor and Video Producer for YugaTech. He's a Digital Filmmaking graduate who's always either daydreaming of traveling or actually going places on his bike. Follow him on Twitter for more tech updates @kevincofrancis.

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