Smart watches started out looking different than a traditional watch in order to get noticed. But that shouldn’t mean everything has to be tap, tap, tap. A conventional “look at the hands to tell the time” watch still has its place on many a wrist, especially if “smart” features can be added in. That’s why Fossil’s Q Commuter works so well: combining the traditional with the modern to create a classy looking watch well worth wearing.
Before we get to the features, let’s go right to and then right past the big problem with smart watches — battery life. The Q obviates that right away because its internal battery is the conventional replaceable type (no charging), and so can power the watch and all its functionality for up to 6 months. No touchscreen smartwatch even comes close to being able to do that.
And speaking of a touchscreen, there isn’t one. Looking at the Q shows you the most important thing a watch can do — tell the time (and thanks to non-battery powered luminescence, that goes on as well in the dark as it does in sunlight). But a closer look at the watch’s face shows an inner circle adding to that basic function with the smart “extras.” Which we’ll now get to.
So how does the watch communicate since there’s no LCD screen? When your connected phone wants to tell you there’s a notification (app alert, email coming in, text message, social media, alarms, calendar alerts, you get the idea), it’s conveyed through the watch vibrating and the hands moving to a prearranged number on the dial. There’s also a built-in fitness tracker — use this to track movement (steps, distance, calories burned) by looking at that inner dial and watching where the hand is moving to.
Of course there has to be control over the most important smartphone functions, so the Q does this through customized hard buttons on the side of the crown: letting you control your music or take a picture (remember to take the phone out of the pocket for that), work the fitness tracker or o other things, such as having it ring your phone when it’s hidden under papers on your desk. It’s also worth noting that Fossil’s cloud storage of data is “kept” in the USA. What’s even better is that the information your phone can provide can now be noted while it’s still in a pocket or briefcase or backpack, while what’s on your wrist only calls attention to its design and not a ton of technology.
The Q Commuter is made from stainless steel, is waterproof up to 165 feet and comes with a dark brown leather band (but takes interchangeable watch bands providing they’re 22mm). It’s compatible with iPhones (iOS 9+) and Android phones (OS 5+) through compatible free apps. It retails for a very reasonable $155.00.