If you’re hoping for an iPhone X at launch, get ready to wait

Https%3a%2f%2fblueprint api production.s3.amazonaws.com%2fuploads%2fvideo uploaders%2fdistribution thumb%2fimage%2f81674%2fce8df591 585b 4d93 9c40 2a9a818d4226

Apple’s upcoming iPhone X has reportedly been plagued with production issues — but the company’s manufacturing woes might finally be over.

KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, a respected supply chain source, claims that Apple and its partners have ironed out the problems that have hampered the initial production. Kuo wrote in an investors note he shared with Macrumors that the worst of those challenges have been solved, clearing the road ahead for a ramped up manufacturing schedule. 

Kuo identified three major problems Apple and its partners faced that were causing the production headaches. The most challenging of these was likely the flexible printed circuit board (FPCB) for the iPhone X’s antenna. Original supplier Murata couldn’t meet Apple’s demands, and the parts had to be sourced entirely from a second supplier after manufacturing had already begun.

Another prominent issue was much more widely publicized recently: the infrared dot projector for the new TrueDepth front-facing 3D camera system, aka Romeo. The wide-angle lens for the rear camera also reportedly suffered from quality issues at the supplier level, which have now been resolved.

Apple’s main manufacturing partner, Foxconn, reportedly shipped out the first wave of iPhone X devices earlier this week, presumably after the supply bottlenecks were solved. A Taiwanese publication claimed that the manufacturer was just starting to pump out about 400,000 units per week. 

Apple overcoming its production bottlenecks is exciting for everyone eagerly waiting for the iPhone X preorder period to begin on Oct. 27, but there’s still some bad news: Kuo downgraded his projections for how many devices Apple will be able to ship before the end of the year. 

He thinks Apple will only be able to bring 25 to 30 million units to market before 2018, down from his previous estimate of 30 to 35 million, which isn’t great news for consumers as there are expected to be around 50 million preorders alone for the X. 

Kuo only expects that Apple will be able to ship two to three million of the devices to its distribution channels for the Nov. 3 launch, well under the massive demand. That means that most people won’t come close to one of the new smartphones, at least not right away.

If you’re hoping for one of the deluxe new phones, get ready to wait. Apple has a ton of new phones to make.

Https%3a%2f%2fvdist.aws.mashable.com%2fcms%2f2017%2f9%2f4e95b582 2b4a 69e3%2fthumb%2f00001

Set the mood and ambiance with Wiz Connected Lights’ home lighting system

Why it matters to you

Wiz Connected Lights offers various lighting options that you can control anywhere based on your mood.

There is no shortage of companies designing ways to light your home for your every need.

 Wiz Connected Lights is hoping its voice-controlled lighting system will be the last one you ever need to buy.

The system was rolled out in North America in late August and features smart LED light bulbs, recessed lighting, and sensors, among other things, to keep your home well-lit. No smart home hub is required to turn on the system, which lights up through an app that allows you to “pair and share” in 30 seconds.

To activate Wiz Connected Lights, link up the lighting system to your home’s Wi-Fi using an intelligent setup system that is quick and easy. All you have to do is screw in your Wiz light bulb or plug in a Wiz luminaire.

Then, download the company’s app, which you can find on Google Play and the Apple App Store, which allows you to “pair and share” by tapping on your screen once and quickly clicking your light switch three times. Wiz does the rest, identifying the lights and activating them in under a minute.

There are multiple ways to light up the Wiz Connected Lights system, including through Wi-Fi on the app, remotely on your mobile network, using the Wizmote infrared remote control, through preset scheduling, or through voice commands via Amazon Echo or Google Home. You can access two preferred light modes with a simple click.

You can also use the app to remotely set up and control different rooms for different lighting options. Guests are also able to control your lighting if you give them access to your Wi-Fi network and Wiz app.

The Wiz Connected Lights system comes equipped with 64,000 shades of white and 16 million colors you can choose from. If you’re away from home, you can use the app to access vacation mode and turn your lights on.

The system can also connect and interact with a number of motion-detection cameras, sensors, mobile GPS, and even the weather app. One such example is the Nest camera, which can turn your lights on when it detects movement. It can also change the lighting to fit the mood when the temperature changes.

In fact, the Wiz Connected Lights include various preset white light functions such as cozy, warm, daylight, cool, focus, relax, and bedtime. It also includes more dynamic lighting options such as fireplace, mojito, forest, ocean, romance, and sunset.

You can buy the lighting system at Costco stores, online through Home Depot, and for $40 on Amazon.

Editor’s Recommendations

Razer made a webcam with a selfie light for streamers

Razer launched two new products today for streamers: the Razer Seiren X portable microphone and the Razer Kiyo webcam with a selfie light. These two products are Razer’s latest attempt to become the popular choice for microphones and webcams, which people normally don’t go to it for.

The Razer Kiyo webcam comes with an adjustable ring light with twelve white LEDs, which you can control to twelve levels of brightness. It has a four-megapixel camera that can record up to 1080p at 30 fps or 720p at 60 fps, and it’s compatible with popular streaming tools XSplit and Open Broadcaster Software. The Kiyo comes with a 1.5 meter braided cable terminating in a USB 2.0 connection. It’ll sell for $99.99.

The webcam looks good in theory, but it faces an uphill battle for adoption, as most popular streamers don’t seem to have any major lighting problems and therefore, might not need a selfie light. A lot of Razer’s older streaming equipment, like its original Razer Seiren Elite microphone, don’t have the best reputation for quality either. Many gamers prefer the Blue Yeti for a microphone but still get Razer mice and mechanical keyboards.

The Razer Seiren X microphone, beside a Razer keyboard and mouse.

Razer’s newest attempt at breaking into the microphone market for streamers is the Razer Seiren X, a USB microphone that’s mechanically fastened to dampen vibrations. It has a removable desk stand and zero latency monitoring to remove audio lag. The Seiren costs $99.99.

In developing the two products, Razer says that it sought top streamers from Twitch and YouTube for input and to test out early prototypes. Both are designed for portability so streamers can travel and game. The two products are available for purchase on Razerzone.com and in stores worldwide by the end of the year.

[embedded content]

How I broke Instagram Stories

Hi, my name is Ray Wong and I have a very, very serious Instagram Stories addiction. There, I said it. Don’t judge me.

But I’m not your usual junkie. I posted so much on my IG Stories during my recent vacation in Japan that I broke it (well, sort of). And boy, was I pissed.

I had this crazy idea of my very first trip to Japan being free of social media. I wanted to visit the Land of the Rising Sun with fresh eyes, free of the pressure to post anything and really disconnect from this perverse “pics or it didn’t happen” culture we now live in.

I was on track to commit to no social media as I boarded my flight. I deleted Slack once I was seated. Twitter was next. I’ve long stopped checking Facebook (are you still on Facebook?). And I rarely post anything to Snapchat anymore; I mostly use it to message friends.

But I couldn’t delete Instagram. If I could only pick one social media platform to use forever, it’d be Instagram. I created an account on the very first day it went live in 2010 and I hope I’m there on the last day if it ever closes down.

Almost as soon as I landed in Tokyo, my Instagram Story became a torrent — and I mean that — of video clips. 

I’ve been to other Asian megacities before, but Tokyo was so different. The people, places, and sounds. It was all so infectiously wonderful. To the point where I couldn’t resist documenting it all.

I felt compelled to share, share, and share. And share, share, and share some more. 

By the end of my first real day exploring the city, I had posted over 100 video clips to Instagram Stories. You know how there are little lines on the top of a person’s story that tells you how many clips are in their IG Story? Mine weren’t lines. They were dots. Really, tiny dots.

Here’s what a typical Instagram Story looks like with about a dozen or fewer stories:

See the lines at the top?

And here’s what every day of my trip in Japan looked like:

Dots. Tiny dots.

Dots. Tiny dots.

I didn’t want these “vlogs” or memories to disappear, so I decided to save them at the end of every day so that I could watch them again later.

But when I went back to my Airbnb after an incredible first day out, my heart sank. 

I discovered all of my clips from the first 2-3 hours in Shinjuku were gone. I panicked. I thought it was a bug. It had to be!

But no, it turns out that 100 clips is the maximum number of clips that can be posted to Instagram Stories within 24 hours. Post more and it deletes the ones from earlier. I literally had to manually tap on my screen and count the number of clips Instagram Stories allowed to figure this out.

Instagram has confirmed to Mashable that 100 clips (photos or videos) is indeed the maximum number of Instagram Stories that can be posted at one time.

Sigh.

People even joked on Twitter about my Instagram Stories problem:

I lost who knows how many memories — the rawest, most genuine first thoughts on Japan and the city’s many pachinkos and arcades — but it’s OK. I’ll live.

I realize that I’m in the extreme minority where 100 clips isn’t enough (I don’t share anywhere near this much on a daily basis), but I would like to see the cap increased. It opens up the potential to some real long-form storytelling or vlogging on Instagram.

The 15 seconds people record here and there everyday adds up quickly, and at 100 clips, it can total up to about a 25 minute story. I never had a story longer than about 15 minutes, but if I were to guess, I probably had over 30 minutes worth of  video on that first day. 

I don’t know anyone who posts as much as I do to Instagram Stories, and maybe that’s a lesson in itself. Should I post less? I could, but I could also use YouTube for vlogging. YouTube’s great, but when I see how frictionless it is to string together a daily “vlog” on Instagram, it only makes me want more from the visual platform.

But maybe I’m asking for too much. The beauty to Instagram is that it’s short and to-the-point and you’re constantly browsing new content from people you know and don’t know. YouTube’s for longer videos. Instagram’s the king of short-form. Different platform for different lengths. It’d just be nice if Instagram Stories would let me record a little longer.

Https%3a%2f%2fvdist.aws.mashable.com%2fcms%2f2017%2f10%2f6d7536c4 f71c 7854%2fthumb%2f00001

Your pet can now play video games because technology is amazing

A sensor lights up. You hit it. Another sensor lights up. You hit that one. A third sensor lights up and when you hit it you get a reward. No, I’m not describing Whack-A-Mole—it’s CleverPet Hub, the first “gaming console” for dogs. (In the above hypothetical you are a dog.)

CleverPet Hub is an app-enabled device that uses light and sound games designed to entertain and challenge your furry friends. The sensors on the CleverPet Hub react to your dog’s paw or nose pressing them and dispense food when they do it correctly. Games start easy and progress in difficulty as your pup gets the hang of things. 

If your dog is the type that destroys everything he comes into contact with, the CleverPet Hub will apparently prove a formidable opponent. The Hub is durable enough that CleverPet claims no dogs have yet been able to break into it to steal food. Hopefully this will give your furniture a break.

Because the CleverPet Hub only dispenses one piece of kibble at a time, your dog isn’t going to go overboard on food but it may take a little while to get him to figure it out. Many reviews on Amazon recommend using larger treats at the beginning. 

The CleverPet Hub is marketed towards dog owners who feel guilty about leaving their dogs at home all day without anything to keep their mind engaged. For this reason, CleverPet Hub seems to work best with dogs that are already high-energy and food-motivated, but they still assert that “dogs of all temperaments and energy levels can play on the Hub.”

CleverPet has an adorable YouTube channel with footage of real pets playing with with their Hub. This golden retriever puppy is too cute for words so just enjoy:

[embedded content]

The CleverPet app allows you to turn the CleverPet on and off, or you can set a schedule for when to offer challenges. You can even set different hours for the week vs. the weekend. The app will also update you on how your pup is progressing through his challenges, and allow you to start a challenge over if you think he needs more practice. 

Apparently the CleverPet trainers are still working on challenges to add to the Hub. They just recently pushed Color Match to the Hub for dogs who have worked through the more difficult games and are ready for a new challenge. In this game, dogs have to keep pressing sensors until they’re all the same color. If you’re like me and assumed dogs couldn’t see color, this may be surprising. Here’s some CleverPet scientists explaining what’s up with that. 

[embedded content]

Mashable‘s Kellen Beck, who wrote about CleverPet when it was up for pre-sale at CES 2016, was impressed by the idea. The CleverPet Hub is available on Amazon now for $297.99. 

Oh, and don’t despair cat-owners. If YouTube is to be believed, cats can absolutely learn how to use CleverPet too. 

Email Marketing Goes Hand-in-Glove With E-Commerce Shipping

ShippingEasy on Thursday launched Automated Email Marketing as an addition to its customer management module.

This new tool has a powerful rules engine that helps users increase sales, the company said. It can carry out the following actions:

  • Set up a trigger to send an email to first-time buyers immediately after an order is downloaded — customized with a logo and specific coupon code if desired;
  • Automatically send an email requesting customer feedback on the order and shipping process, defined by order size and set for sending after a specific interval to ensure delivery has been made;
  • Define targeted customers for loyalty rewards or coupon promos by various criteria, including how often and how much they purchase, or when and how long ago they made a purchase.

Automated Email Marketing also can be set up to help generate product reviews, upsell related products, and win back customers.

Shippingeasy

A library of plug-and-play templates come with it, including for coupons, product review requests, feedback requests, first-time buyers and VIP buyers.

Back-End Support

ShippingEasy’s cloud-based e-commerce shipping platform offers the cheapest United States Postal Service postage rates, according to the company.

It’s compatible with existing UPS and FedEx accounts, and works with Endicia.

Users can integrate it with shipping APIs from 3dcart, Amazon Prime Shipping, Amazon Seller Central, Bigcommerce, ChannelAdvisor, eBay, Etsy, Magento, QuickBooks, Shopify and more.

“ShippingEasy is mostly about inventory management in the delivery chain,” said Michael Jude, research manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan.

“They already manage the shipping process, so adding email-based marketing would be a real time-saver for their clients,” he told CRM Buyer.

“ShippingEasy has unique data that no other vendors have without deep integrations,” said Rob Zaleski, the company’s digital content marketer.

“We have all connected store and marketplace details, product details, order details and shipping-related details,” he told CRM Buyer.

The Automated Email Marketing tool connects with user companies’ order and shipping data, allowing automatic triggering of emails while users carry out their normal operations, Zaleski said.

ShippingEasy customers can add their own customer or user lists to the company’s systems at any time.

Purpose-Built for E-Commerce

ShippingEasy’s automated email funtionality was “designed and built exclusively for e-commerce companies,” Zaleski said. Because ShippingEasy is cloud-based and uses the Software as a Service model, “no installed hardware or databases are needed.”

The company’s customer management module, including the new automated email marketing tool, is priced at US$9 to $49 per month, depending on the number of orders a customer processes.

“Unlike many competitors, customers can have an unlimited number of subscribers and lists,” Zaleski pointed out.

Target Market

The automated email marketing tool is geared toward small business e-commerce firms. It’s mainly used to target consumers, but it could be used in a B2B environment, Zaleski said.

That said, automated email marketing “seems to have much more resonance in the B2C space,” noted Frost’s Jude. “It’s largely supplanted the traditional fliers people used to receive in the mail.”

Automated email marketing wouldn’t work as well in the B2B environment, he suggested, because “it’s very hard to target the right people, and purchases are mostly a pull kind of thing, not push.”

ShippingEasy’s automated email marketing tool is “a convenient time-saver that also boosts customer service for small businesses or the network of individual sellers,” said Cindy Zhou, principal analyst at Constellation Research.

“These small businesses are resource-challenged,” she told CRM Buyer, “when it does to designing and executing emails to customers for offers or related products, or informing them of shipping status.”


Richard Adhikari has been an ECT News Network reporter since 2008. His areas of focus include cybersecurity, mobile technologies, CRM, databases, software development, mainframe and mid-range computing, and application development. He has written and edited for numerous publications, including Information Week and Computerworld. He is the author of two books on client/server technology.
Email Richard.

Facebook is rolling out peer-to-peer PayPal payments for Facebook Messenger

Why it matters to you

PayPal’s new peer-to-peer payments feature makes it easier than ever to pay your friends through Messenger.

Facebook and PayPal are partnering to make it easier for you to pay your rent. On Friday, October 20, the two tech titans announced PayPal for Messenger, a new feature that lets Messenger chatters select PayPal as a peer-to-peer funding source.

Starting October 20 in the U.S., Messenger users on iOS and Android will gain the option of sending and requesting money in Messenger. It’s easy: From the composition screen in a group message or one-on-one conversation, tapping Messenger’s blue plus-shaped icon pulls up the Payments button. From there, you’ll see a prominent PayPal button that, when tapped, switches your default funding source to your PayPal balance.

It’s a boon for the more than 450 million people who use Facebook’s local buy-and-sell groups, PayPal COO Bill Ready told TechCrunch.

“[This] is part of a broader movement where we’re meeting the user in whatever context they’re in,” he said.

Facebook

Facebook and PayPal teamed up last year for in-app peer-to-peer payments, but the integration wasn’t as deep. Messenger users could link their PayPal accounts to pay for goods and to make purchases directly from Messenger bots, but they couldn’t pay each other.

Still, over 2.5 million users linked their PayPal account with Messenger, PayPal said.

In addition to Friday’s expanded payments integration, PayPal announced new Messenger bot capabilities. Starting October 20  in the U.S. on the web (with iOS and Android to follow), PayPal’s bot will support notifications and receipts, and use natural language processing to help parse PayPal customers’ questions.

It’ll handle simpler requests, like password resets and questions about recent transactions, on its own. But for more complicated queries, it’ll hand the conversation off to a live rep.

“The unique thing here is that Messenger has opened up a platform that allows us to not only have a one-to-one communication,” Ready told TechCrunch, “but there’s a platform where we can go resolve things right inside of Messenger.”

This isn’t the first time PayPal has partnered with Facebook in regards to ecommerce. In December, the company processed payments relating to Uber rides ordered through Messenger. Additionally, it has helped PayPal-enabled merchants to sell products from the Shop section within Facebook Pages.

More recently, PayPal added a notifications setting to Messenger, making it easier for PayPal customers to manage transaction receipts in one place. These alerts include info such as order confirmations, shipping addresses, and total payments made.

“These new capabilities deepen our partnership with Facebook,” Ready told Digital Trends. “PayPal’s mobile-optimized experience, when combined with relevant, in-context commerce experiences, will help offer a compelling and frictionless commerce experience.”

Update: Added news that PayPal has introduced peer-to-peer payments in Messenger.

Editor’s Recommendations

Sneaker and streetwear reseller Stadium Goods just launched their first app


Stadium Goods, the online (and brick and mortar) marketplace for highly sought after sneakers and streetwear, is launching its first app.

Live today to coincide with the startup’s two year anniversary, the first iteration of the app is basically just a mobile marketplace.

But Stadium Goods plans to eventually build out this functionality and take advantage of location services and push notifications to get creative with its marketing strategy, the startup explained to TechCrunch. They also plan on giving app customers early access to specific product launches, which is a tactic that’s proven successful with other streetwear retailers.

While the sneaker resale market is crowded with big venture-backed startups like StockX and Goat, Stadium Goods is the only one wasn’t launched around a mobile app. It’s also the only one with a brick and mortar strategy. The startup has two locations in New York, which account for about 10% of the company’s total sales, with the other 90% happening online.

And Stadium Goods explained that out of this 90% of transactions occurring online, the “majority of them” are already happening via mobile. This should translate into a strong adaptation rate as customer migrate from shopping on the mobile web to their native app.

Stadium Goods has raised about $5.6M since launching two years ago. To coincide with their app launch they’re also running a 20% off sale on all purchases today.

You can check out their app on iOS here and on Android here.

YouTube Red greenlights a Tinder-themed romantic comedy series called Swipe Right

YouTube Red just greenlit a scripted comedy series about Tinder, Deadline reports. Swipe Right, written by and starring Carly Craig (Role Models), is about a mother and her two daughters navigating app-based dating in different ways.

Swipe Right is inspired by Craig’s real life, according to Deadline. She plays a woman who, frustrated with still being single on her 35th birthday, decides to go on dates with all of her 252 Tinder matches. Her younger sister is bored of being married and wants to start looking for romantic alternatives, while her recently widowed mother also decides to try online dating.

YouTube Red has greenlit several other scripted series recently, including an e-sports comedy from Dan Harmon and a drama series produced by Dwayne Johnson about insurance agents who travel forward in time to save people’s lives.

About a year ago, The Verge reported that YouTube Red only had around 1.5 million paying subscribers, and has had trouble convincing its users to switch to a paid format from a free one. YouTube is now competing for money and eyeballs with streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, and it still needs to convince viewers it can produce high-quality content.

Swipe Right is set to premiere on YouTube Red in 2018.

Fossil Q Explorist review

Smartwatches haven’t set the world alight in the way some people were predicting. Although Android got a head start in the battle for our wrists, the Apple Watch accounts for around 50 percent of all smartwatch sales. But thanks to the much-improved Android Wear 2.0 and the injection of some much-needed style after the entry of traditional watchmakers like Fossil into the market, it’s worth looking beyond Apple’s technological timepiece.

We really liked the Fossil Q Founder, but the company has made some subtle improvements with its latest Android Wear release. The Fossil Q Explorist is a smartwatch that deserves a place on your shortlist, and possibly on your wrist. It’s stylish, it runs Android Wear 2.0, and it’s not ridiculously expensive, but there are caveats, and they extend beyond the fact that “explorist” is not a proper word. Let’s take a closer look.

Classic, chunky style

At first glance you could easily mistake the Fossil Q Explorist for a traditional mechanical watch. Crafted from stainless steel, it features a case that’s 46mm across. A notched bezel goes around the outside of the circular AMOLED display, which is mercifully free of the flat-tire effect that plagued older Android Wear watches.

The bezel doesn’t move, but there’s a rotating crown on the right, flanked by two buttons. The case is 12.5mm thick and you can attach standard 22mm straps. Our smoke steel review unit came with a standard steel link strap, which fit very nicely after some fiddly adjustment. You can take it to a watch specialist to remove links from the strap so it fits you, or you can read our guide to learn how to do it yourself.

This is a good-looking smartwatch with an understated, masculine style that means it pairs just as well with a suit as it does with t-shirt and jeans. The build quality is excellent and you’ll find yourself wanting to show it off, though it may be too chunky for smaller wrists.

The Fossil Q Explorist is a smartwatch that deserves a place on your shortlist, and possibly on your wrist.

The Fossil Q Explorist is also heavy. After removing a couple of links to get the fit right, ours weighed in at 166 grams (5.85oz). Just to put that in perspective, our iPhone 8 only weighs 148g (5.22oz). There were times during the work day, amid frenzied typing, when it felt slightly uncomfortable. You certainly aren’t going to forget you’re wearing it.

We found the touchscreen display bright and easily legible in most environments. It’s sharp at 454 x 454 pixels, and perfectly round — there’s no cut-out section at the bottom. It’s responsive, too, though typing on a display this size is never a great experience.

The rotating crown is very handy for scrolling through notifications, but it feels a little mushy when you press it. The buttons angled above and below it have a satisfying click to them and it’s a shame this is missing from the crown, especially since it’s the one you press the most. However, we did like the fact that you can set the two flanking buttons up as handy shortcuts to trigger whatever you want.

Silky performance most of the time

Inside the Fossil Q Explorist, there’s a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor backed by 512MB of RAM. Navigation was generally silky smooth and it’s reasonably fast to load apps and games.. Compared to older smartwatches it’s fast, compared to a flagship phone, or the latest Apple Watch, it feels a little sluggish. The Wear 2100 processor is a little dated now, and we really hope to see a new chipset next year.

Since it runs Android Wear 2.0, you’ll use the Android Wear app for Android or iOS to pair your smartphone. The watch can also download apps directly via the onboard Play Store and there’s 4GB of storage to fill. Connectivity is via Bluetooth 4.1 or Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n and notifications are accompanied by a gentle buzz that’s just right. There’s no NFC here, so you can forget about making contactless payments with Android Pay.

fossil q explorist 12

Simon Hill/Digital Trends

As an Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch, the Fossil Q Explorist will automatically track your activity via Google Fit, so you can set daily goals, track steps taken and calories burned, and record workout sessions. It is IP67 rated, so there’s no need to fear rain and you can wear your Fossil Q Explorist in the shower or during a short swim if you really want to.

Fitness fans may bemoan the lack of a heart rate sensor and GPS. Truthfully, the Fossil Q Explorist is far from a full-fledged fitness tracker, but it’s not really trying to be and we think it offers enough for most people.

It’s easy to incorporate the fitness data into your watch face, and there are plenty of fun, futuristic, and traditional options to choose from. You can swipe left or right to switch between watch faces on the Q Explorist or dig into a larger selection via the Android Wear app on your phone. We mostly used the Fossil Classic watch face as it struck a nice balance — showing date and time, with a sweeping second hand, alongside steps, fitness goal progress, and battery life.

You get a couple of games preloaded on the Fossil Q Explorist, but they’re a waste of space. It’s hard to imagine why you would play them – maybe if your smartphone was unavailable. There’s also a flashlight option that lights up the watch face, as well as standard utilities like the alarm, contacts, and stopwatch.

The Play Store isn’t exactly bursting with great options for smartwatches, but we found Bring! quite handy for shopping lists and AccuWeather was better than the default weather app.

You can also use Google Assistant through the Fossil Q Explorist by holding down the crown. It’s handy for quick searches or dictating text messages if you’re paired with an Android smartphone.

Android vs iOS

We tried the Fossil Q Explorist out with an iPhone 8  for a few days, before switching and pairing it with the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact. Unfortunately, there was a big difference between the two.

If you have an iPhone, then you’ll get most notifications on your Fossil Q Explorist, but you won’t be able to act on them. You can’t reply to text messages or handle calls, for example. You have to keep the Android Wear app open in the background, and if not the iPhone will frequently disconnected. But worst of all, the battery life was abysmal.

fossil q explorist 7

Simon Hill/Digital Trends

We had to factory reset the Fossil Q Explorist to unpair it from the iPhone 8 and pair with our Android phone, which meant setting it up completely from scratch (this is something you have to do with all Android Wear watches).

Once we paired the Fossil Q Explorist with the Sony Xperia XZ1 Compact, it was plain sailing. We could answer calls, respond to messages, and it stayed paired. Battery life was noticeably improved as well.

The Achilles’ heel

As much as we like the Fossil Q Explorist, silly moniker aside, it does harbor a major glaring weakness and that’s battery life. Fossil said the wearable has an “estimated 24-hour battery life.” But then there’s an asterisk before the admission that, “battery life varies based on usage.”

The only way you’re going to get 24-hour battery life from this smartwatch is if you barely use it.

Even with the “Always-on display” turned off, we found that the Fossil Q Explorist needed to be charged up every night at a minimum. Some days, particularly when paired with the iPhone, the Fossil Q Explorist didn’t even make it to bedtime before having to be connected to the circular charger.

Fossil Q Explorist Compared To

We were surprised to find an uptick in battery life when we switched to an Android phone. Ostensibly the Fossil Q Explorist was actually doing more, so the fact that battery life was better with the Xperia points to an issue with the iPhone connection.

Incidentally, the circular charger provided is very weakly magnetic, so it slips off far too easily. Charging time seems to average around three hours, so you’ll want to get into the habit of setting it to charge while you sleep.

Price, availability, and warranty

You can get yourself a Fossil Q Explorist, with stainless steel strap, for $275. If you go for a leather strap instead then $20 drops off the price. It’s available from Fossil’s website.

Fossil offers a limited two-year warranty that covers defects in material or workmanship. It doesn’t cover your strap, any accidental damage, or water damage.

Our Take

The Fossil Q Explorist is a reasonably priced, stylish, Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch, that’s easy to recommend if you plan on using it with an Android smartphone — iPhone users should move along.

Is there a better alternative?

If you use an iPhone, then it’s going to be hard to look past the Apple Watch, particularly since it starts at $330. If you use a Samsung Galaxy phone, then the Gear S3 might be your best bet at around $350. Anyone who wants to stick with Android Wear should check out the Huawei Watch 2 at $300.

Those are the top competitors in terms of tech, but fashion fans may be prepared to pay a bit more for something like the Movado Connect, which starts from $595, the Emporio Armani Connected, from $345, or the $350 Michael Kors Access Grayson  and Sofie.

Even with the weaknesses, however, we think the Fossil Q Explorist compares favorably with the rest of the field. It is one of the best, if not the best option, for men seeking value without compromising on style.

How long will it last?

The Fossil Q Explorist is going to continue to look good for years to come, but the battery will degrade over time and software updates are liable to tail off after two years. They may look like traditional watches sometimes, but smartwatches are very much part of the tech world and sadly that means limited longevity.

Should you buy it?

Yes, if you want an attractive smartwatch to use with an Android phone that will blend in at work or play at an affordable price, we don’t think you’ll find a better option than the Fossil Q Explorist. The lack of NFC, GPS, and heart rate sensor is reflected in the price. If you’re okay with a heavy watch and a daily charging routine, it’s worth buying.

Editor’s Recommendations