When we put together our Smartwatch Comparison Guide, we had reviewed all of the watches save for one. But our review unit for that missing piece, the Qualcomm Toq, is now in hand. We have a lot more time to spend with it before publishing our Toq review, but these are our first impressions.
In setting up the Toq, my biggest surprise was that you have to actually cut the watch's band to fit your wrist. Setting up the band is a surprisingly complex process, as you wrap it around until it fits comfortably, cut the rest off, insert a pin, and squeeze it all into the clasp. It's only a one-time deal and isn't particularly difficult. But it is a little unusual to have to go through that much setup (not to mention permanently mutilating part of the band) before you can even use it.
Once you get the band set up, though, you basically have a custom form-fitting smartwatch. Just be sure not to gain lots of weight around your wrist, or you might be out of luck.
It's a very nice-looking smartwatch, if you ask me. Its band is sleek, the form factor is light (though the face is pretty big), and its colorful Mirasol display looks terrific. It's much sharper than the screens on rivals like the Pebble and Sony SmartWatch 2, and it looks great in direct sunlight. That low-powered screen should also help to deliver great battery life, though we haven't spent enough time with it to have much to say about that just yet.
Navigating the watch is a pretty unique experience. The Mirasol display is a touchscreen, but tapping on the band just below the screen also serves as a home button. Tapping twice above the screen toggles the screen's light on and off.
The watch is only compatible with Android smartphones, so iPhone users need not apply. I quickly and easily paired it with a Nexus 5, and was getting notifications in no time. As with other smartwatches, a vibration on your wrist alerts you to an incoming notification. The companion Android app lets you customize which apps to receive notifications from, and so far it doesn't look like there are any apps it won't support. With some of the other smartwatches launching with limited notification support, that's an encouraging sign.
Talk may be cheap, but apparently Toq isn't, as the watch rings up for a hefty US$350. But remember that a) that price includes a wireless charging dock (the only way to charge it) and b) this is a limited-edition product. Qualcomm thinks its hardware should be playing a leading role in the upcoming wave of smartwatches, and the Toq is its showcase product for OEMs. Based on my first hours with this gorgeous Mirasol screen, I'd say they're making a pretty convincing argument.