Dec 05 AT 10:30 AM Sean Riley 18 Comments

7 reasons I’m excited about the Qualcomm Toq

Qualcomm-toq-630

AAM-Qualcomm-Toq

A little over two months ago Qualcomm unveiled their smartwatch known as the Toq. Pre-orders are now being accepted, and Toq will begin shipping in the next 1-3 weeks. I’ve been tracking the Toq closely since its announcement, and looking at its core feature set and components, it appears to me that Qualcomm has built a smartwatch that strikes a balance between power and simplicity that will deliver precisely the experience that most smartwatch users would want out of their device. We’ll share our full impressions of the Toq once we have had some time with it, but for now we wanted to let you know what we find compelling about the concept of the Toq.

1. Mirasol Display

Qualcomm has been showing off devices with Mirasol displays for a few years now, including Mirasol-based e-readers at their CES booths. Without diving too deeply into the tech (check that out here if you are interested), the appeal of Mirasol is that it’s a color display that reflects light rather than transmitting it, similar to e-ink. This makes it easier on the eyes than an LCD or OLED and also means that it is easily viewable in sunlight. The Mirasol tech is a great fit for a smartwatch because it delivers an always-on color display with long battery life.

2. Always On

Speaking of an always-on display, that is the second feature of the Toq that has me really excited. Perhaps I get excited about weird things, but I don’t want to have to wake my watch up to find out what time it is. The entire purpose of wearing a smartwatch is to make accessing basic information and notifications as simple as glancing at my wrist. Because the Toq’s Mirasol display reflects light, you will need to activate its built-in light to see the screen in the dark, but that seems like an easy tradeoff for not having to push any buttons in brighter environments.

3. Battery Life

The Toq’s battery life can be measured in days rather than hours, and for a smartwatch that is a huge advantage. I don’t want to take my watch off the charger in the morning and end up nervously watching its battery meter tick down to 0 near the end of the day. Having a device that requires charging only once every 2-3 days is a very different proposition than doing so every night.

4. Wireless Charging

The other piece of the power puzzle is charging your Toq. With its wireless charging capabilities, I think Qualcomm has selected the right tool for the job. Having to fumble around with a port on a device the size of a smartwatch seems awkward and will likely lead to drops and scratches. So long as you have a nightstand or a table in your bedroom, simply placing the Toq onto its dock would have very little effect on your routine. Plus, the optional wireless stereo headset uses the very same dock, making your Toq charging experience even easier.

qualcomm-toq-wireless-dock

5. Compatibility

Toq will work with any Android phone running 4.0.3 or higher. At last count, that represents about 72% of all Android devices. While this does leave some people out, the reality is that almost anyone using a device that’s not running Android 4.0.3 or higher is unlikely to be interested in a Toq anyway.

6. Design

This may be subjective, but I think Qualcomm has done an excellent job with the look of the Toq. The battery is built into the band, keeping the body of the watch thin so you might look like something out of sci-fi movie. Everything is controlled by the touchscreen, and because the Toq’s wireless charging eliminates the need for a port of any kind, the device is completely seamless.

7. Bluetooth Stereo Headset

qualcomm-toq-headset

The stereo headset is optional, so it may be a bit of a rogue entry in my list. If you do add one, though, you gain the ability to control your phone’s audio or take a call through Toq. As someone that commutes to work by bike, this is a tremendously compelling feature. We are rapidly approaching winter here in Wisconsin, and so the prospect of not having to dig my phone out of my pocket is increasingly compelling as the temperature drops. And as I mentioned before, the headset can even charge wirelessly using the same dock as the Toq.

Wrap-up

As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, what makes the Toq so appealing to me is that while there may be a lot of innovative technology in it, the concept that Qualcomm is delivering is very minimalistic. From its design to its functionality, the Toq is a companion to your smartphone, eliminating the need to constantly get a phone out of your bag or pocket. The Toq screen is always on and ready to display whatever notification you need in an instant. A smartwatch should be about putting information in front of you as quickly as possible. If it can’t, there is no reason why you wouldn’t just reach into your pocket for your phone. It appears that Qualcomm had this kind of frictionless experience in mind while designing the Toq, and based on everything we’ve seen so far, they appear to have nailed it.

Sponsored by Qualcomm(R) Toq(TM) — The smartwatch that’s always on, active and visible in any light.

Source: Qualcomm

Sean has been with Android and Me for over 4 years and covering mobile for the last 5. He occasionally muses about gadgets and tech outside of the Android universe at Techgasms.

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  • w9jds

    I really wanted to get one. Signed up for notifications the second it appeared and everything but with my new computer, Google Glass, new phone I can’t exactly afford it at them moment haha.

    It does however look amazing.

  • nivekkev

    I think they have nailed everything but the price, that is still bothering me. If they could find a way to get that down then they have a big hit on their hands…

    • ihatefanboys

      $350 is not that expensive. What would you want it to be ? $99. Our cell phones cost $600, a smartwatch for $350 seems reasonable. Maybe theyll have some down payment arrangement or something, who knows.

      • domi1k

        Here it’s 500 euros for a Galaxy S4 and 350 euros for the smart watch.

        I’m not that crazy! On top of that Samsung will release a new model in January – here’s hoping they finally made one with their flexible transparent displays.

  • thekaz

    Ugh. I have to admit that I just breezed through the post once I saw the “sponsored” box…

    The price is quite a bit high. The battery life I could deal with as long as I can charge it at night on my nightstand. Using a generic Qi charger would have been preferred (and the reason I am keeping my eye on the Agent smart watch).

    • http://www.anthonydomanico.com Anthony Domanico

      ha, yeah sponsored posts have that effect. ;)

    • http://www.technogasms.com Sean Riley

      The price tag is certainly going to be their biggest hurdle, but that’s the cost of early adoption with these things.

      Generic Qi charger would have been nice, but I do like what they have done with their dock and given the frequency with which you’ll need to charge it I don’t imagine I’d feel the need to have multiple chargers around for it as I do with my phones.

  • http://nickvettesephotography.com Nicholas Vettese

    Everything you wrote about this device makes me want to get one, except the price point. For the price, I can get a Nexus 5, so why should something smaller cost just as much (this is rhetorical. No need to go into the specifics).

    If the price came down, I would definitely think about picking this up. They seemed to have thought of everything, down to the charging, which is awesome.

  • Andy_jr

    I agree with everything in this article.

    I don’t care about wireless charging and the wireless headset as much as the other items, but the Mirasol display (which enables long battery life and always-on capability) and thin form factor make this the most interesting smart watch to me. And of course, compatibility with most Android phones is key also.

  • vitriolix

    Like the form factor and the display Tech, but I just can’t stomach the garish gradients all over the UI

  • aranea

    I’ve been excited about mirasol displays for awhile now. Yet this phone is a little bit on the expensive side for me right now. Plus they need to make it water resistant and support other bluetooth headphones.

  • nt5000

    I am interested because it has a SIM card. Doesn’t require a phone to work. Watch w/ SIM card and Bluetooth headset. Done!

    That’s why Samsung gear sucks. You need a phone for it to do anything.

    Could be big.

  • Harsh Solanki

    this is very great and same is this app named “muse chat” in google play….made new friends and guys do try for different ways to chat. the link of the app is given below….https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=treline.app.musechat

  • Drake

    The new tech used in the Toq definitely has the potential to change the entire smartwatch market, check out http://smartwatchforiphone.com/2013/11/18/qualcomm-toq-smartwatch-release/ for more info

  • E-man

    Could be better looking for my taste. I’m still holding off for the Google watch!

  • G2

    Have you heard Adidas Smart Run?

    Hi! Here’s my humble entry. :)
    plese watch and like.

    • donger

      No one cares.

  • Daniel Smedegaard Buus

    Well, I’ve been skipping AndroidAndMe news more and more since the site was acquired by I-forget-whom, which is depressing since it used to be my authoritative Android news source, but I have to say thank you for clearly providing me with the exact time that was perfect to leave the site altogether.

    Good luck with your commercials interspersed with mass-produced copy-and-paste news.

    Cheerio!