Fossil Q Marshal Review (2017): My First Fossil Smartwatch

One of my first watches as a teenager was a Fossil.  I loved that watch. It was so cool.  So when I saw the Fossil smartwatch display in Best Buy, I got pretty excited, but my wallet took a hit.  

My intention with that visit was to buy the Samsung Gear S3 (which I did)​ and a Garmin smartwatch (which I did), but had no intention that I'd also walk out with a Fossil.

The guy helping me at Best Buy didn't know a whole lot about the Fossil line and neither did I at that time.

For instance, I didn't know Fossil had 3 distinct smartwatch lines.  Best Buy just had the Marshal, so that's what I bought.  Specifically, I bought the cool-looking Smoke stainless steel model.

As luck would have it, as I made my way back to my office through the mall, I saw the Fossil store.  I just had to check it out.  I quickly learned that my Marhsal was one of 3 smartwatch lines.  I had a super friendly salesperson explain to me the difference across 3 Fossil smartwatch lines, which I explain the video below:

Once I understood the nuanced differences, I came to like and dislike the Marshal.  What do I mean by this?

One the one hand, I appreciated that the Marshal is the most masculine Fossil Q smartwatch of the 3.

On the other hand, I preferred the more elegant styling of the Wander and Founder 2.0 models.

Since I'm on a smartwatch collecting spree, I had no intention to return the Marshal.  But I did go ahead and buy the Wander and soon after the Founder 2.0.​

Fossil Marshal Overview
  • Design - 8/10
    8/10
  • Ease-of-Use - 8/10
    8/10
  • Battery - 6/10
    6/10
  • Comfort - 8/10
    8/10
  • Features - 8/10
    8/10
  • Speed - 6/10
    6/10
  • Price - 9/10
    9/10
7.6/10
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This review won't be as in-depth as others because I cover much of the Fossil Q smartwatch features and details in my Fossil Q review.  The thing is, the only difference among the 3 Fossil Q smartwatches is design; the smart functions are all the same.

  • table of contents
  • specifications
  • photos
  • Video

Video Overview

Design

I don't normally jump into design, but in this case, it's the main component to this Marshal review because design is the only distinguishing feature among all Fossil Q smartwatches.

The Marshal is by far the most masculine design of all Fossil Q smartwatches.

It starts with the rugged grooved bezel which is a design feature you find on many outdoor/sports watches.  While the Marshal certainly isn't a rugged outdoor smartwatch (it's not even waterproof for starters), it exudes a touch of rugged style with the grooved bezel.​

Another masculine feature, which is also a design feature of the Founder 2.0, is the seamless connection between watch case and band.  This particular design element distinguishes the Marshal from the Wander.

Photos Showcasing the Design

Marshal Case/Strap Options

If you like the Marshal design, you have 3 to choose from.  While I opted for the unique smoke stainless steel, you can also choose from a black watch case or classic silver stainless steel.  Yeah, I know if you visit the Fossil website you'll see more, but that's because you can mix and match Fossil straps (of which there are many) which results in many, many Marshal styles.

For instance, you can get stainless steel bands (smoke or silver), leather (many colors), silicone (many colors) and canvas bands (many colors and designs).

PRO BUYING TIP:  

Make sure, if you buy a Fossil smartwatch, to buy one with the stainless steel band.  The reason for this is the stainless steel bands are not sold alone whereas the leather, silicone and canvas bands are sold independently.  Fortunately, I bought all 3 of my Fossil Q watches with the stainless steel band.

Personally, I don't care for the black Marshal case.  The reason is that there are so many watches that are black.  If you're going for the elevated design of a Fossil watch, get the silver or smoke stainless steel models.  

There aren't many smartwatches with the thick link watch band that is found on many non-smartwatches.  If you like this look and feel, then that alone may be the deciding factor for you to buy the Marshal (or Founder).

The Smoke Stainless Steel Model

As stated, I fortuitously bought the smoke stainless steel.  I say fortuitously because the Founder nor Wander comes in the smoke watch case.  This adds another unique dimension to the Marshal.

As far as I'm concerned, the smoke stainless steel is a gorgeous color, falling in between black and silver.  ​It has a mysterious look to it and isn't a terribly common watch color which adds to its coolness.  Moreover, since you can buy the Founder in the silver stainless steel, you might as well buy the Marshal in the color that's not available in the other Fossil smartwatch product lines.

Comfort

I don't find the Marshal as comfortable as the Fossil Wander.  It's the larger link steel band that makes the Marshal heavier and clunkier.  This is another reason I prefer the Wander.

The result is that the Marshal tends to slide down my wrist more than the Wander.

Please keep in mind that these comfort comments are pretty small issues, but nevertheless worth mentioning.  It's details like this that I believe help the buying process.​

The diameter of the watch case is fine. It fits well and unless you have an unusually small wrist, this watch will fit fine.  My wrists are medium sized in circumference.  

This watch with the steel band is heavy.  It's one of the heavier smartwatches I own and have tried (which is a lot by now).  However, the steel band definitely adds to the weight.  If I wish to wear a lighter watch, I can easily use one of my Fossil leather, silicone or canvas straps.  It goes without saying that steel bands will make any watch more expensive.

The Glass

For some reason, some smartwatch face glasses/screens smudge a lot.  The Marshal is one that does smudge a lot.  I don't like it; I'm constantly wiping the glass against my shirt or pants to clean it.  It attracts and oils which smudge and are quite visible, especially in certain angles in relation to the light.  This is one pet peeve I have against certain smartwatches.

Main Purpose

Most of our smartwatch reviews include a section "Main Purpose" or something similar because in my experience as an avid smartwatch fan, wearer, user, tester and collector is that each smartwatch is created for a particular overarching purpose.  In some cases, smartwatches are developed for very specific purposes.

For example, the Nixon Mission is primarily targeted for skiing and surfing activities.

Another example is the Fitbit Blaze is for fitness.

And yet another example is most Garmin smartwatches are designed for people who want a very powerful GPS ... runners, swimmers and trekkers.​

So, what's the main purpose of the Fossil Marshal smartwatch?

That's easy.

It's for people who want a masculine, nicely designed watch that's appropriate for the office, going out and in general, more formal occasions... yet still want all the fun, useful and novel features of a smartwatch.​

In fact, Fossil Q entered the smartwatch market with the desire to offer people a traditional looking watch with the smartwatch functionality.  When you look at many other smartwatches out there, you can definitely see there's a need for this.  That said, since Fossil has jumped into the smartwatch market, many brands have launched design-focused smartwatches for everyday wear.  Examples include the Samsung Gear S3 Classic, Huawei and ASUS ZenWatch 3.​

Quick and Dirty Review of Key Features

If you're like me and you don't like having to visit another URL to get more info, here's a quick and dirty synopsis of the smart functions you get with the Marshal.  If you do enjoy reading in more detail, be sure to read our main Fossil Q smartwatch review.

Feature

Details

Speed

I'm not singling out the Marshal here. This is a comment about all Android Wear smartwatches and that is it's not terribly fast.  I would love the swiping and functioning to be much more responsive.  It's not a deal breaker and if you only ever own an Android Wear watch you probably wont' notice, but once you try the Samsung Gear S3, you'll see what I'm talking about.

Email

While I have my Android Wear complaints, one big plus with Android Wear, which is developed by Google, is how well it integrates with all Google products such as email, Google Keep and Google Calendar.  The email works great and is very reliable with respect to receiving notifications in a timely manner.

Text Notifications

Text notifications work just fine.  One very nice text messaging feature is the keyboard, which has the letters large enough that you can quickly dash off text messages fairly accurately.

Calendar

Like email and text messaging, the calendar works really well.  It's designed and displays well enough that it's actually functional on such a small screen.

Fitness Tracker

This is not a fitness-oriented watch.  I don't wear the Marshal to the gym or on runs.  However, it will track your steps throughout the day and distance walked which is great so that all your metrics are tracked even if you use a different smartwatch or activity tracker for your workouts.

Battery

Meh. It's okay.  It gets you through the day and then some.  But I've yet to have this watch make it through 2 full days.

Phone Calls

I can easily make and receive calls.  The speaker is loud enough and mic is sensitive enough to use the watch as a phone which is super cool.  FYI, your mobile phone does need to be nearby.

Spotify

Spotify on Android Wear is just okay.  It's pretty clumsy and difficult to navigate, but it kinda does the job.  Spotify app is much better for Samsung Gear S3.

Maps

While most Google products are great, the maps isn't so great.  It's a bit small for my liking.  If mapping is key for you, look toward Garmin watches.

Keyboard

I really like the keyboard for Android Wear Google apps such as gmail and text messaging.

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Terrific looking masculine design.
  • Unique (especially the smoke stainless steel model).
  • Plenty of apps to choose from since it runs on Android Wear operating system.
  • Nice selection of watch faces including the ability to choose from many background colors.
  • Built-in speaker and microphone.
  • Doesn't look like the typical smartwatch.  Totally fine for wearing at formal occasions without looking like a space-age fitness nerd.
  • It's solid and heavy.  If you like this look/feel, this is definitely a good watch design for you.
  • Plenty of watch straps to mix and match via Fossil.  This makes customizing your Marshal super easy, although I think the stainless steel band looks best.
  • The keyboard:  The keyboard for email and text messages is excellent.  The letters are large enough and you don't have to scroll too much to access all the digits.  This is a terrific benefit of Android Wear smartwatches.

Cons

  • Swipe technology can be a little sticky (this is common with Android Wear smartwatches).
  • Heavy (this could be a pro if you like heavy watches).
  • Glass smudges frequently.
  • Could benefit from longer battery life.
  • I'm not crazy about the notched/grooved bezel.  I prefer the more refined smooth bezel of the Founder 2.0.
  • No heart rate monitor sensor.  While this is not meant to be a hardcore fitness watch, I like watches that track my heart rate throughout the day.  I know, it sounds weird, but I think it's interesting to see the fluctuations in heart rate throughout the day.
  • Battery charge connector has too weak of a magnet and doesn't stay on the watch as snugly as I'd like. 
  • Not waterproof.  Come on already, please let's get waterproofing a standard feature.  I don't like having to remove my watch when I gotta bath the kids (for example).

Conclusion

Is this the best "smartwatch" I have?

No, it's not.  I prefer the Samsung Gear S3 and I like the design of my TAG Heuer connected more.

But, I like the design of the Marshal more than the Gear S3 and I really prefer the price of the Marshal over the TAG.

As a smartwatch, there's nothing special about this watch.  There's really nothing terrible either.  It's your run-of-the-mill Android Wear smartwatch.

As a fashion piece, it's pretty cool.  It's definitely one of the nicer looking smarwatches I have.  In fact, my appreciation for Fossil Q smartwatches in general grows each week as I acquire, test and use more and more smartwatches.  While I do wear my Samsung Gear S3 Classic and TAG more often, I do appreciate the masculine look of the Marshal which definitely has its place on my wrist when in certain moods or wearing certain clothes and/or heading out to certain occasions.​

For the money, assuming you're not looking for a top notch fitness smartwatch or something that needs GPS or something waterproof, you won't be disappointed with the Marshal.  Yes, it's heavy... but that's part of its charm.  You either like that or you don't.

My verdict is this:  If you like the design, buy it.  I recommend the smoke stainless steel because it's unique and you will enjoy the fact you have a smartwatch unlike many other styles worn today.  ​

Remember: If you want to read more about my opinion and experience with Fossil Q smartwatches generally, visit our main Fossil Q smartwatch review page.

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