Fossil Gen 2 vs. Gen 3 Smartwatches: Features, Pros and Cons

By | November 14, 2018
(Last Updated On: November 12, 2018)

Fossil is a known watchmaker that has also gone into making smartwatches.  When it comes to fashionable smartwatches, there are very few companies that can rival this company.  Fossil is now offering the fourth generation of its smartwatches, but how did their previous models fare?

Here’s a look at Generation 2 and Generation 3 Fossil smartwatches.

Generation 2 Fossil Q

There are quite a few Gen 2 Fossil Q models that are still available on the Fossil website. These are all refurbished and are currently selling for $109, down from $255 if you look at the company’s online store. These models are covered by a two-year warranty and include:

  • Q Wander. Currently available Q Wander variants are black silicone and light brown leather.
  • Q Founder. Refurbished models include white silicone, dark brown leather, and black silicone.
  • Q Marshal. Stainless steel and smoke stainless steel are available.

Gen 2 Fossil Q design

Depending on the model you choose, Gen 2 Fossil smartwatches give you a choice of metal cases in silver, black, or rose gold. You can pair these with silicone, leather, or stainless steel straps in a variety of colors. These smartwatches work with any 22-mm straps, as well.

Features of the Generation 2 Fossil Q

These smartwatches might look different with its choices of band and case materials, as well as the colors available, but they pretty much work the same way and offers similar features.

Activity tracking

The Gen 2 Fossil Q can count your steps, the distance you travel, and the calories you burn. It can also monitor your sleep. What’s more, it can tell you about the outside temperature, so that you would know whether it is too hot for a run or a good day to be outside.  Onboard sensors include the g-sensor, which can detect motion and linear acceleration. The device also has a gyroscope, which measures orientation and angular velocity.

Smart notifications

Fossil’s second-generation smartwatches can connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi, allowing you to get notified if you get a text message or a phone call. You can also get social media and calendar alerts, as well as emails and notifications from other apps. Furthermore, you can use your Fossil smartwatch as an alarm clock.

The Gen 2 smartwatches have an embedded microphone and speaker that allow you to interact with Google Assistant.

Other features you should know

The second-generation Fossil smartwatches use a battery that gives you up to 24 hours of use. Each of these devices has Wear OS by Google on board, and they also use Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Wear 2100.

You also have 512 megabytes of memory and 4 gigabytes of storage. These smartwatches are known to be water-resistant, with an IP67 rating.

The Fossil Q Wander and Q Marshal

For you to have an idea of how these smartwatches fared, here are short overviews of some Generation 2 Fossil smartwatches.

Fossil Q Wander

The Fossil Wander (read full review here!) is a slimmer version of other smartwatches. It has a great-looking design, interchangeable straps, and a magnetic charger. However, it does have a flat tire screen.  Prices for the Fossil Wander on online retailer sites range from $150 to $280. It gets a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5.0. (Check out the latest rates on Amazon here!)

Fossil Q Marshal

The Fossil Q Marshal has a price range of $260 to $400 on online retail sites. It has a rating of 3.6 stars out of 5.0 stars. Customers on Amazon praised this smartwatch for the bright display that was visible even if the brightness is set to low. It also looked good. But they did not like the flat tire screen. (Check out the latest rates here!)

Generation 3 Fossil Q Smartwatches

Several Gen 3 models are still available on the Fossil website. These are:

  • Q Explorist. This is available in luggage leather, navy leather, black silicone, stainless steel, smoke stainless steel, and gold-tone stainless steel.
  • Q Venture. This has the following color and straps options: stainless steel, pink stainless steel, gold tone stainless steel, sand leather, luggage leather, and brown leather.
  • Q Venture Rose. This was designed primarily for women and has the two-tone stainless steel and the gold-tone stainless steel versions.

On the Fossil website, pricing for the Gen 3 Fossil Q smartwatches fell from being in the $250 to $280 range to only around $170 to $195. Aside from these, there are also refurbished smartwatches sold on the Fossil online store, with prices ranging from $109 to $138.  But how did they perform?

Fossil Q Venture

The Fossil Q Venture is more oriented towards fashion rather than tech or fitness. It has a muted yet elegant look, and the interchangeable straps mean that you could change up the looks as you wish.  However, the Fossil Q Venture does not have all the features you would expect from a fitness smartwatch. You will need to look for alternatives if you want a heart rate monitor or a built-in GPS.

The Fossil Q Venture is priced at around $190 to $275 on online retailer sites. It has a rating of 3.6 stars out of 5.0 on Amazon.com.

Fossil Q Explorist

Like the Q Venture, the Fossil Q Explorist is more focused on fashion and not on offering too many features on the smart side of the equation. It still does not have a GPS sensor or a heart rate monitor. It also came out at a time when smartwatches still needed better battery, so you would need to charge this smartwatch every day.

The Q Explorist is available on online retailer sites for anywhere from $175 to $255. It garners a rating of 3.5 stars out of 5.0 on Amazon.com.

Fossil Q Gen 2 vs. Gen 3

Aside from the lower prices and the dates of their release, there are very few differences between the second and third generations of Fossil Q smartwatches.  So many features are similar. For instance, the smart notifications and the watch features are mostly the same. You get the same notifications for your text messages, emails, and calls. You also get alerted if somebody liked your post on Facebook, or if something happens in any of your apps. You also get reminded of your appointments. These smartwatches also offer multiple time zones capabilities, personalized dials, an alarm clock, voice-activated Google, as well as an LED flashlight, Google Maps, and interchangeable watch band. This means that not only can you buy any 22-millimeter watch band, you can also swap your Fossil 2nd generation bands with 3rd generation bands.

When it comes to activity tracking, the refurbished 2nd Gen Fossil Q smartwatches offer more options with its sleep tracking being enabled. These are not found in Generation 3 smartwatches. All of these smartwatches, however, counts your steps, keeps track of the calories that you have burned, and measures the distance you have traveled.

Inside, the refurbished 2nd generation Fossil smartwatches and the 3rd generation smartwatches that are still available on Fossil’s website have the same specifications. They all have the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100, 4 gigabytes of storage and 512 megabytes of memory.  Connectivity options for these smartwatches are also the same. You can connect your smartwatches via Bluetooth Smart, Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy, or Wi-Fi.

So why are the Generation 3 Fossil Q smartwatches more expensive? The newer smartwatches have more sensors. The Gen 3 smartwatches have an ambient light sensor and an optical sensor, which allow them to automatically adjust the brightness of the LCD screen. This means that looking at your smartwatch in low light conditions or total darkness will not hurt your eyes, while also enabling you to see things even under direct sunlight.

Side by side comparison of features for both the Generation 2 and Generation 3 Fossil Q smartwatches

Model  2nd Gen Fossil Q  3rd Gen Fossil Q 
Activity tracking     
Steps  Yes  Yes 
Distance   Yes  Yes 
Calories burned  Yes  Yes 
Sleep  Yes  No 
     
Sensors     
Accelerometer  Yes  Yes 
Gyroscope  Yes  Yes 
Light  No  Yes 
Optical  No  Yes 
     
     
Smart notifications     
Social media  Yes  Yes 
Text  Yes  Yes 
Email   Yes  Yes 
App alerts  Yes  Yes 
Multiple time zones   Yes  Yes 
Alarm clock  Yes  Yes 
Calendar alerts  Yes  Yes 
Personalized dials  Yes  Yes 
Music control  Yes  Yes 
Voice activated Google   Yes  Yes 
LED flashlight   Yes  Yes 
Google Maps enabled   Yes  Yes 
Interchangeable watch band  Yes  Yes 
     
Compatibility     
Bluetooth® Smart Enabled   Yes  Yes 
4.1 Low Energy  Yes  Yes 
Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n  Yes  Yes 
Android compatibility  4.4+  4.4+ 
iOS compatibility  9.3+  9.3+ 
     
Battery life  24 hours  24 hours 
Water resistant rating  IP67  IP67 
     
Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ Wear 2100  Yes  Yes 
Wear OS by Google  Yes  Yes 
Storage   4 GB  4 GB 
Memory  512 MB  512 MB 

What you would miss with both generations

One of the things that you would miss out on if you go with the Fossil Generation 2 and Generation 3 smartwatches is the embedded GPS sensor that would have allowed you to leave your phone at home when you are out running.  Furthermore, these smartwatches do not have a heart rate monitor.  The absence of a heart rate monitor means that these Fossil devices will not be able to give you a comprehensive picture of your fitness and health.  The fitness data these smartwatches collect are fundamental and similar to the data provided by the Fitbit smartwatches that are at least five years old.

Another thing that is missing from these Fossil smartwatches is the ability to use your device to pay for things.  These devices do not have an embedded NFC chip, which is necessary for Android Pay and other mobile payments.

How they compare with the latest generation

Fossil has been coming out with smartwatches that are heavy on fashion value, but not so much on the smarts. The Gen 2 and Gen 3 Fossil Q smartwatches delivered run-of-the-mill fitness and smart features that make them pale in comparison with other brands such as the Apple Watch and Fitbit’s smartwatches.

The good news is that the Generation 4 Fossil Q smartwatches seem to be trying to correct this. The latest generation now includes an embedded heart rate monitor and GPS sensor. The Gen 4 Fossil Q also features NFC payment capability.  In short, the newest generation of Fossil smartwatches is giving customers what they have always wanted in a smartwatch. Not only that, but Fossil also included three physical buttons on the watch case, a design that you first saw on the Gen 3 Q Explorist. Furthermore, you can now swim with your Fossil Q with the Gen 4 having 3 ATM waterproof rating.  However, even with the new features and the new looks, it seems that the new generation Fossil Q uses the same processor and offers the same memory and storage as the Gen 2 and Gen 3.

Should you buy the older smartwatches?  Yes, if you are looking for smartwatches that are cheaper than $200, then the Gen 2 and Gen 3 smartwatches are a good choice.  This is especially true if you are willing to forego on the heart rate monitor, the NFC payments, and the included GPS.  These smartwatches do look great and have the same power as the Gen 4.

How does Fossil Q compare to other smartwatches like the Moto 360? Read here!

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