Fossil Q Grant review

Fossil takes on Withings and co with its analogue watch / activity tracker hybrid
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Fossil Q Grant
By Fossil
If you’re looking for a snazzy looking, well-built, Fossil watch and you think you might be interested in some basic fitness tracking, and that vibration alerts from your smartphone would be useful, get a Q Grant. But only if you’re using an iPhone, the Android connectivity is a shambles. If you want a good-looking watch-esque fitness tracker with a bit more oomph in the activity monitoring area, check out Withings Activité range. Battery life of just a week is pretty disappointing and, while the app is nicely designed, it’s basic at best. The Fossil Q Grant range looks great, just don’t expect anything too clever.

  • Range is super stylish
  • Step counting is consistent
  • Nicely designed app
  • Personalised notification alerts
  • No sleep tracking
  • Battery life is disappointing
  • Android pairing is shambolic
  • It’s very bulky

The Fossil Q Grant is the hilariously named analogue watch contender from the new Q connected range. It sits alongside the Q Founder Android Wear smartwatch, the Q Dreamer and Q Reveler fitness trackers.

It's clear that Fossil is betting big on wearable tech. Not only does the American fashion brand have those four new devices on sale, all in collaboration with Intel, it's also just splashed the cash buying out Misfit.

But, before we see what happens with that particular acquisition in 2016, the Q range takes centre stage. Read on for our thoughts on the company's watch/fitness tracker hybrid.

Fossil Q Grant: An analogue tracker

It seems like an eternity ago that Withings made us all question exactly what the word smartwatch meant by unleashing the Activité – an analogue style watch with fitness tracking smarts.

Since then, there have been a whole host of hybrid watch/fitness trackers land, including the likes of the Mondaine Helvetica 1 Smart, the Nevo Watch and the Runtastic Moment.

Fossil Q Grant review

All of which fall into the not-quite-a-smartwatch category, offering up a mixture of activity tracking and smartphone notification features, without ever going the whole smartwatch hog by packing in a digital display and an operating system.

It's a category the Q Grant comes in. However, unlike the Withings, Runtastic and Mondaine models, Fossil's effort stays even truer to its traditional watch roots by actually remaining an analogue watch. Its rivals are only analogue in appearance; they have the hands and numbers of a regular watch, but are in fact powered digitally with the time set from a paired smartphone. You actually have to set the time and date on the Q Grant using the dial on the side and your actual fingers. Imagine that.

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And that's not the only big difference. The Q Grant is very much a watch first and a fitness tracker second. Yes, that could be said of any watch in this emerging new genre but the Q Grant takes the prize by not even bothering to give you a dial showing your activity progress on the watch face. Again, you're going to have to use your actual fingers, this time to fire up the companion smartphone app (more on that later) if you want to see your step count.

Fossil Q Grant: Build and design

Fossil Q Grant review

There are three dials on the watch face though, one showing the 24-hour count, one showing the date and one a 60-second stopwatch. Useful on a watch, sure, but not very handy if you want to see how well you're doing against your daily step goal.

On our review model those dials, and the main hands and Roman numeral markers, were rose gold tinted; as was the brushed stainless steel case, lugs, dials and clasp. This model, by far the most female friendly, comes with a sand leather (pinkish) strap. However, "by far the most female friendly" doesn't actually mean female friendly. The Q Grant is quite chunky, measuring in at 15mm thick and weighing in at around 72g. It's bulky. Very bulky. That's not to take away from the fact it's good-looking and clearly well made. Just don't expect anything svelte and you won't be surprised.

On the back is a reminder of why it's thicker than your average Fossil men's dress watch. The Intel logo on show indicates that, behind the snazzy face, is the tech engine room, packing a 3-axis accelerometer along with a Bluetooth 4.1 LE radio.

As mentioned, you set the time and date yourself using the main dial, the other buttons are used to operate the chronograph stopwatch. It all works as a traditional watch should but there's nothing 'smart' about the setup. At least on the front. Tucked in on the lower left corner on the underside is an LED light, which we'll come back to later.

As mentioned, we had the rose gold option on test – there are three other (and much more manly) options available and Fossil has around 20 different straps on sale too. On that note, any 22mm strap will fit, so you can customise to your heart's content.

Water resistance is measured at 3 ATM, so it will survive a splash and the odd bit of submergence, but don't take it swimming.

Fossil Q Grant: Activity tracking

Fossil Q Grant review

Calling it activity tracking is actually a stretch. The Q Grant is a glorified pedometer. It counts steps and nothing more. The app will use those steps to guestimate calorie burn and distance travelled, but don't go expecting anything fancy like stairs climbed, elevation or heart rate monitoring.

There's no sleep tracking either, which is a function all of the Q Grant's main rivals offer.

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On the plus side we found the step counting to be consistent, which we always say is the main thing. When using an algorithm to count steps based on the movement a device's sensors pick up, there's never going to be complete accuracy. That's not just the case with the Q Grant, but with all fitness trackers, especially ones devoid of GPS connectivity.

So it's important that the count stays true to the device. With the Grant, we found it to be a little bit shy of what our Microsoft Band 2 was telling us we'd stepped – around 5-10% less each day – but that's not saying its inaccurate. The Microsoft Band 2 might be overly generous. Whatever the reason for the discrepancy, the important factor is consistency and the Q Grant had that during our week or so of testing.

If you hit your step goal – changeable in the app, by the way – the Q Grant will buzz and you'll see the LED glow orange.

Fossil Q Grant: Notification alerts

One aspect the Q Grant trumps the Withings and Mondaine alternatives on is smartphone alerts. Like the Nevo Watch, when something happens on your smartphone – a call, SMS, email, Facebook, calendar, WhatsApp and so on – the Q Grant vibrates and shows a blue LED.

There's no reading or previews available – the Q Grant has no screen remember – but it's a simple way to keep track of what's going on in your digital world.

You can customise the alerts that come through and how they behave – choosing the apps you want alerts about, the contacts you want alerts from, and whether you want lights, vibrations or both. You can also customise the LED colour for a specific alert too – with 7 different colours on offer.

Fossil Q Grant: The app

Fossil Q Grant review

The new Fossil Q app is the same one that the Reveler and Dreamer bands sync up with. If you've read our Reveler review you'll already know that it screams hipster with its slick iconography and clean user interface.

It's split into three sections: Q Activity, Q Curiosity and Q Notifications. The first section is nowhere near as detailed as you'd get from the likes of Fitbit and Jawbone, with simple step charts on offer and nothing more. You can connect to Under Armour, UP By Jawbone, Google Fit and Apple Health to sync and share your data though.

Q Curiosity is Fossil's gimmicky, kitschy attempt to help you get in touch with your surroundings. Every day you're given a challenge to do. For example, "Wrap your favourite object in paper and make it pretty. Don't forget to top it off with a bow!" Exactly. Utter nonsense and we'll say no more.

The Q Notifications tab is where you sort out the alerts you want pinged over to the watch, as mentioned in the previous section.

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It's at this point we should mention that, if you're using the Q Grant with an Android smartphone, you're in for a frustrating experience. If you're lucky enough to get the watch paired (fourth time lucky for us) then you'll experience dropouts (even when the Android Bluetooth menu has the watch as connected) and even complete forgetfulness by the app that you've ever had a Q Grant paired.

It's a sorry state of affairs indeed. On iOS we had no problems however – so hopefully the Fossil devs will sort the Android issues out soon.

Fossil Q Grant: Battery life

Battery life on the Q Grant is a week, which, in smartwatch terms, is pretty good. But, as mentioned, this isn't quite a smartwatch and that 7-day usage is pretty shoddy compared to the Mondaine Helvetica 1 Smart and Withings Activité models that measure their life-cycles in months and years, not days.

Amazon PA: Fossil Q Grant

The charger is a bit like a stand, so it's handy on your bedside table or on a desk. It looks a bit cheap and nasty compared to the stylish watch though, although it works well.

Water resistance is measured at 3 ATM, so it will survive a splash and the odd bit of submergence, but don't take it swimming.

How we test

Paul Lamkin


Wareable Media Group co-CEO Paul launched Wareable with James Stables in 2014, after working for a variety of the UK's biggest and best consumer tech publications including Pocket-lint, Forbes, Electric Pig, Tech Digest, What Laptop, T3 and has been a judge for the TechRadar Awards. 

Prior to founding Wareable, and subsequently The Ambient, he was the senior editor of MSN Tech and has written for a range of publications.

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