First impressions: Fossil Q Venture slims down Android Wear for women

Baselworld 2017: Fossil's new smartwatches look like a decent upgrade
Fossil Q Venture first impressions

Of the slew of Android Wear watches unveiled by Fossil and its assorted brands, few were on display at Baselworld 2017, but we were treated to a peek of the Q Venture and Q Explorist, the company's latest full-screen devices.

The two devices have bene touted by Fossil as being the company's thinnest and sleekest Android Wear devices to date, and it's certainly true that the Q Venture is the most female-friendly fully featured smartwatch to date.

Essential reading: Best smartwatches 2017

The 42mm curvaceous case is far better suited to slender wrists than any Fossil smartwatch that's gone before, ably abetted by a series of bling-studded and rose gold colours – and of course, leather straps and link bracelet options.

At 11mm thick it's still ... plump, we'll say, sitting on the wrist with noticeably chunk, although the compact size means it still offers some comfort. Still, compared to its predecessor, the 45mm and 13.5mm thick Fossil Q Wander this is a real improvement, even if there's further to go.

First impression: Fossil Q Venture first credible Android Wear for the ladies

The 42mm Fossil Q Venture comes with a range of blingy styles

Baselworld and its associated announcements have seen a decent focus on female-focused Android Wear smartwatches, with Tag Heuer looking to reduce the size of its Connected Modular 45 to 39.5mm, and DKNY, Tory Burch, Marc Jacobs, Alpina and more looking to woo women with hybrid models. But few have managed to condense a full-display smartwatch into such a sleek device, which makes the Fossil Q Venture worthy of tentative praise.

As you'll note from the pics, we didn't get to see the Q Venture in action, although we're promised that the flat tyre dead spot on the screen has been fixed, and that screen resolution has been improved over last year's lack lustre Q Marshall and Q Wander.

First impression: Fossil Q Venture first credible Android Wear for the ladies

The men's sized Q Explorist will come with a classic arcade game

On the male side of the coin, the Fossil Q Explorist boasts a 44mm case, coming it at 12mm thick. Again, pretty chunky, and the design comes with some noticeable detail on the case, reminiscent of the Samsung Gear S3. Again, there's no flat tyre, but we weren't able to verify promises of improved screen resolution.

Fossil hasn't felt the need to break out cutting-edge tech on its smartwatches, favouring looks, style and customisation over winning head-to-head battles with Huawei and LG on fitness features, screen quality or advanced sensors.

First impression: Fossil Q Venture first credible Android Wear for the ladies

Flat tyre is a thing of the past for Fossil's Android Wear devices

However, like Tag Heuer and Huawei, it's swerved Android Wear's alternative crown or bezel control. The crown acts as a button for summoning the menu, but it doesn't turn for enhanced app control. We're not sure what manufacturers have against that feature either.

One of the focuses for Fossil Group brands embracing Android Wear 2.0 has been micro apps – brand specific applets that make each device unique. While we heard that Michael Kors will be using an Instagram app called My Social, Fossil is set to include a "vintage arcade game". Why? Who knows, but we like the sound of it.

We'll update this hands on piece with pictures of working Fossil Q models ASAP plus look out for in-depth reviews before the Q Venture and Q Explorist go on sale in autumn.

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