Shootout: The best hybrid smartwatch that doesn’t look like a pocket calculator

By Alvin Soon - 18 Dec 2017

Fossil Q Nate

Note: This article was first published on 12th October 2017.


The smart-looking smartwatch

These are the other smartwatches, the ones that don’t look like pocket calculators hanging off your wrist. They sacrifice some of the smarts, but they bring more of the watch, and won’t look out of place when dressing up. In this shootout, we have the Fossil Q Nate, Garmin Vivomove, Misfit Phase, and the Withings Steel HR.


Fossil Q Nate (Black Stainless Steel)

Activity tracking Steps, calories, sleep, goals
Notifications Call, text, alarm, calendar, apps
Case sizes 50mm
Water resistance 3ATM
Battery type Replaceable coin cell
Weight 75g
Price US$175

I grew very fond of the Fossil Q Nate (Black Stainless Steel edition) in the time I was testing it, mostly because it looks like a proper watch. While the Vivomove, Phase and Steel HR hybrids look like tech companies figuring out watches, the Q Nate looks like a watch company figuring out tech — and I’m surprised at how well it turned out.

First of all, that look. The Black Stainless Steel is handsome, manly and big. I like it, but I’ll concede that big may not be your thing. Fossil’s Q series of hybrids come in various sizes and looks, but the smallest one (for women) is still 40mm. The straps can be easily swapped around with compatible straps, which is nice.

The Q Nate has tiny numbers around the watch face to tell the date, but you won’t be able to make them out.

But then again, the Black Stainless Steel doesn’t make it easy to tell the time, with its black hands on black watch face colors. And the way it tells you the date is next to useless; press the top button and the hands move to a minuscule number on the watch face. Unless you can see recognize ant faces with your bare eyes, you won’t be able to tell the date with this watch.

Pairing the watch was seamless, and I liked how the Nate Q automatically synced time to my iPhone when I tested switching time zones. The Fossil Q app is also pretty and detailed; it even comes with instructions for the watch.

Besides its good looks, what makes the Fossil Q Nate stand out is its outstanding notifications support. Now, you only get six notification slots, which is less than the Misfit Phase’s nine. But while the Phase gives you seven apps to choose from, the Q Nate supports notifications from 54 apps, the most among these four hybrids.

The app is cleanly designed and comes with detailed instructions for the watch.

True, you don’t get the Steel HR’s digital screen or the Phase’s colored dot to see which app is buzzing you, but you don’t have to worry about missing a notification from your favorite app.

When it comes to activity tracking, the Nate Q only tracks steps (with calories) and sleep. Step tracking is on par with the rest of the hybrids, getting results in the general, if not specific, range.

The best way to think about the Fossil Nate Q is a nice, if big, watch that comes with very good notifications support and bare bones step tracking. You won’t be able to tell the date at all, but at least you’ll look fashionable not doing it.


+ Looks most like a nice watch

+ Lots of support for notifications

+ Seamless pairing and syncing

Don’t like

- Big style isn’t for everyone

- Can’t tell the date at all

- Basic activity tracking

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