If you’re on the market for a new women’s smartwatch this season, the Fossil Q Wander might just be the watch that you’re looking for. It touts an all-day battery and an IP67 dust- and water-resistance rating, and its interchangeable bands allow for easy style change-ups throughout the week.
The Fossil Q Wander features
The Fossil Q Wander Smartwatch is a 45mm women’s accessory with a detachable, interchangeable 22mm watch strap. Featured here is the Black Silicone Strap on the Black Stainless Steel watch face, but the Wander comes in a variety of straps and finishes, including a light brown leather, stainless steel, and rose gold-toned stainless steel.
The Wander has a built-in fitness tracker that tracks steps, distance, and calories burned, and it runs on an Android Wear operating system (compatible with Android 4.3+ and iOS 8+). It connects to your Android or Apple device using Bluetooth 4.1 or Wi-Fi, contains 4GB of storage space for new apps, and has both a microphone and speaker integrated into the system so it can take voice commands and generate audible alerts.
In terms of function, the Wander is a smartwatch, not a dedicated fitness tracker. This means that it can’t track things like your heartbeat, but in exchange, it can handle everything from calendar alerts to vibration-based wake-up alarms. It can display personalized watch faces, control your music, search Google using only your voice, and help you navigate using Google Maps. When paired with your smartphone, it can also handle text, email, social media, and app alerts on its 320 x 290 LED touchscreen display.
The entire Wander (Women’s) and Marshal (Men’s) ranges feature the same functional watch face in different finishes, with the main difference between the two lines being the watches’ lug ends. As a result, any Wander or Marshal watch will operate the same way, making switching your style or band very easy.
All Wander and Marshal smartwatches charge with a very cool magnetic Fossil charger (which attaches to the metal bottom of the watch face) and provide up to 24 hours of battery life, depending on use, on a single 2 hour charge. The stainless steel case has an IEC rating of IP67, meaning that it’s dustproof within an 8-hour test and water-resistant for up to 30 minutes in 1 meter or less of water. In other words, it’s rain-safe and desert-safe, but not recommended for use during activities like swimming.
The Fossil Q Wander experience
The Wander is a gorgeous watch with secure, easy-to-switch interchangeable watch bands. I tested out Fossil’s black silicone band for this review, and I loved the sporty, androgynous look of the band with the black Wander watch.
The bands release from the watch lugs with retractable pins, so the heavy Wander watch face is securely attached and never at risk of slipping out of its case. It was very easy to set up and charge, and the design is really sleek–most of the styling and personalization rest in the hands of the user, so you’re able to customize the bands and large, LED watch face whenever you choose. The microphone and speakers are nothing more than subtle, pin-sized holes in the side of the watch, and the crown and touchscreen are both soft-touch and responsive.
The Wander has a very “Apple Watch-esque” feeling to it, in my opinion, save for one big difference: it’s round instead of being rectangular. It has a similarly substantial weight and thick body, functions and feels very much like a tiny digital display. There are smartwatches that are primarily tech and smartwatches that are primarily style; this is the former. Like most Fossil pieces, the Wander’s design is very modern and very functional, without too much glitz or glamour. It’s a luxury item, but it is far from ostentatious.
As I mentioned in the first half of this review, the Wander features the exact same functional watch face as the men’s Marshal, and is primarily different in the style of its lugs. This means that its watch face is 45mm for both both men and women, which I wasn’t crazy about. I’m relatively small at 5’2″, and the Wander watch face and lugs are almost wider than my wrist–my 6’1″ partner tried it on as well, and it looked very much at home (and rather dashing!) on his wrist. Because of the sizing, I would go so far as to say that men and women can both wear both the Marshal and the Wander, so long as they customize with watch bands that suit their personal style.
The Wander’s watch strap was also a little too large for my wrist, despite being designed for women. When using the smallest hole, it slips up to about 1/3 of the way up my forearm, so I would recommend that petite women choose a different model from the Fossil line. Alternately, you can select a leather watch strap and have a watch shop add an extra hole on the band to customize your size.
It’s a shame that the watch band didn’t fit me perfectly, because the soft silicone finish of the strap is gorgeous. It resists lint very well (something that silicone doesn’t always do!) and has a velvety finish that’s excellent for sensitive skin or use during workouts.
In terms of setup, the Wander was a breeze–perhaps the easiest setup I have ever experienced. It charges relatively quickly with a very sleek magnetic mechanism, and it runs on an Android Wear platform. For those unfamiliar with Android Wear, it powers a variety of smartwatches and acts as a mini app store on your phone. You simply download the Android Wear app on your phone, turn on your Bluetooth capabilities, and pair the two devices. Once paired, you can use the app on your phone to load new apps to your watch, customize your watch face, set up alerts, and so fourth.
The Wander takes both touch and voice commands, which was endlessly amusing for someone who grew up watching spy movies, reading spy books, and following spy TV shows. Its coolest feature, for me, is not the weather, the time, or even the activity monitor. Nope, it’s the fact that I can look at the Wander, pretend that I’m secretly an Alias-style secret agent, and ask my smartwatch to look something up, text a contact, or call someone to arrange for a secret drop site (aka lunch date).
All in all, the Fossil Q Wander Smartwatch is an excellent piece of technology that’s stylish and easy to use. Even those who struggle with technology will be able to use it, and the best part of all? Its design is far more unisex than Fossil’s branding would suggest. If you really love a piece that’s made for the opposite gender, I bet you anything that it’ll still look awesome on you–so men and women alike will be able to thoroughly enjoy both the Wander and the Marshal.