Qualcomm Toq: Great Display, But Quirky
The new Qualcomm Toq is elegantly designed, has great battery life and has serious limitation. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy one.
The Toq (“tock”, as in “tick-tock”) has a large face, but the watch portion is fairly thin because the battery is housed in the clasp. This makes it more elegantly designed than other smart watches, in our opinion.
That said, the band design needs work. You actually need to cut the band to size, in order for it to fit on your wrist. The Toq also doesn’t accept other watchbands, which means you’re stuck with what’s included. The clasp is also an issue: it gets in the way when typing, and undoing the clasp a lot of effort.
One of the Toq’s big advantages is its 1.5″ Mirasol display, which is pretty easy to see – even in direct sunlight. Backlighting is available but rarely needed. The Toq’s screen also doesn’t suffer from glare like some other watches (Galaxy Gear, anyone?).
The Toq uses a button-free user interface, depending entirely on its touchscreen for interactivity. In general, the touch screen is smooth and responsive, but there are one too many ways to interact which led to some confusion.
Although there are no buttons. there are two “touch sensors” you’ll need to familiarize yourself with. The “Home Lock” sensor is integrated into the watch band and used to start the device up. A second sensor controls the backlight level.
Changing watch faces is easy, but you’ll have to swipe a special “Clock Face Slider” portion of the screen vs. just making it another touch screen option.
You app menu choices are limited to the following applets:
- Communications Hub
- Music Player
The Toq Android app will let you rearrange the order of these in the menu.
No App Store Support
Qualcomm doesn’t offer an app store, which is a huge negative for any smart watch. All you get are 8 built-in Applets at this time.
The Toq’s Music applet is really basic, but it works. You can pause, skip or go back in a playlist and raise and lower the volume.
The Calendar app displays appointment alerts.The Communications Applet lets you place calls using your Android phone – or send pre-formatted replies from the watch. There’s no built-in speaker, which means you’ll need a Bluetooth headset or your smartphone itself to make calls – which kind of defeats the purpose.
Toq Smartphone App
The Qualcomm Toq Android app lets you set Settings and Preferences, plus offers a Getting Started section.
In the app’s Appearances menu, you’ll find a selection of clock styles and Icon Styles for the menu.
The “Favorite Applets” menu lets you arrange the order of applets as they appear on the smartwatch.
Messaging & Status Features
Your Android apps will sync notifications with the Toq. This includes popular social media apps like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter. The amount of information you’ll get is limited, however.
The Toq also lets you create, edit and reuse canned reply messages and reorder them in the watch menu. This can save time for a wrist device.
The Toq has excellent battery life, thanks to its power-efficient Mirasol display. In our brief time with the watch, it lasted about 4-5 days with moderate use. The Pebble still beats that at 5 to 7 days between charges. Recharging takes 2-3 hours.
Another cool feature about the Toq is its wireless charger that uses magnetic induction. It’s neat, but not a huge advantage that we can see.
For the money, the Toq is a limited device that doesn’t compare favorably on either features or price with the three leaders in the market (the Pebble Smartwatch, SmartWatch 2 and Samsung Galaxy Gear). It has no app store. It has no support for iOS. And it has limited applet choices.
That said, if what you want is a sleek, modern smart watch that displays basic information, a few watch face choices, a color touchscreen you can see in sunlight, long battery life and a cool wireless charger – then this is the watch for you. If you can stomach the $349 price and cutting your band to size.
To be fair, Qualcomm has said from the beginning that the Toq was a limited-edition proof of concept for its Mirasol display.
This short review by the Verge is excellent and matches our impressions.
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